The ex-UFC champion opens up about her fall from the top of the sporting landscape, her eclectic second act and how to prepare for the apocalypse
Ronda Rousey was once again situated on the dais to promote an event she’s prominently featured in, but this time the other participants weren’t fighters.
They weren’t even fellow WWE wrestlers, though she would do plenty of press over the next week in New York ahead of SummerSlam, where she will challenge for the women’s championship against Alexa Bliss.
On this day, Rousey was flanked by leading man Mark Wahlberg, director Peter Berg and others at a press junket at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills for the action film Mile 22, which opened Friday in the United States.
Rousey portrays Samantha Snow, an elite CIA operative on an extraction mission in Southeast Asia. She briefly appeared in the films Furious 7 and The Expendables 3, but Mile 22 represents her first major action role, and along with her burgeoning career in the WWE, Rousey’s second act is off to a rousing start.
She learned to wrestle last year at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, where the training included plenty of tutorials on acting. But now she had to figure out the nuances of film, too.
“A lot of people doubt that anyone can master more than one thing,” Rousey said, “and it’s easy to get stuck in (the mindset of) ‘you’re already good at this thing, you’re good at what’s comfortable,’ and it’s hard to try and learn something new with the world watching, because the first time you master something you do it in private.
“But I love those kinds of challenges and I love people doubting me.”
Rousey knows all about doubt under the magnifying glass of the public eye. Her career was in shambles just 20 months ago, and her post-UFC fortunes looked grim as she battled depression – and even contemplated killing herself – in the aftermath of two devastating defeats.
Rousey was loath to delve into the details of her emotional state following her fall from the top of the sporting landscape, but the 31-year-old opened up during a private speaking engagement moderated by Berg at his Santa Monica boxing gym.
“I did a whole lot of crying, isolating myself,” admitted Rousey, who paused intermittently to dab away at tears with a tissue. “(Husband Travis Browne) held me and let me cry and it lasted two years. I couldn’t have done it alone.
“There’s a lot of things you have to remember. Every missed opportunity is a blessing in disguise. I had to learn from experience. From the worst things, the best things have come as a result. Time is a great teacher. It’s that belief that time passes, even bad times.”
Now, Rousey is enjoying plenty of good times once again. She’s been praised for her performances in WWE and is already one of the organization’s top draws.
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