The pro-wrestler smashing ‘Disney princess’ stereotypes
STORY: At five-foot-three, Alexis ‘Friggin’ Lee might not be what you expect to see in a pro-wrestling ring.
But the 28-year-old has been making waves since her debut 10 years ago
when she became Singapore’s first female pro wrestler.
She’s been kicking past what she calls the ‘Disney Princess’ stereotype ever since.
We spoke to her at a 'Queen of Asia' championship match in Singapore.
[Alexis ‘Friggin’ Lee, Pro wrestler]
"Like, what actually really got me into it was to go through the high school bullying and wanting to empower myself.”
“So, I think that is one of the driving factor for like the 10 years that I have been doing wrestling. Besides that, I really love entertaining people, so it really makes it so worthwhile that we put our bodies through all that grueling blood, sweat and tears in the ring to just see and hear the passion from people that's watching, that's paying to watch us to do what we love."
Lee has had to fund her passion for the ring by working various day jobs.
She’s worked as a shipping operations executive, waitress, supermarket packer and fitness instructor.
At times, she would take up to three part-time jobs to pay for her training, costumes and overseas wrestling trips.
And while wrestling is a male-dominant sport, the presence of Lee and her fellow female wrestlers is an especially rare sight in Southeast Asia.
She and her opponent were the only women among 16 other competitors in the Singapore Pro Wrestling championship Reuters attended.
"I think it's because, you know, the culture and how it's a preconceived notion of how girls are supposed to be gentle, be nice, be like those princesses in Disney movies. So, and then pro wrestling kind of falls into the violent sports category, so no parents would want their daughters to be doing such things, you know, getting hit everywhere. It wasn't even easy for me at the start, with my parents being against it, I had to hide the fact I was wrestling."
"I do think it's an inspiration to women, to show that, you know, no matter what your background is, no matter where you come from, you can do something as long as you set your heart to it. There is no gender barrier, there is nothing that will stop you if you just follow your heart."
Despite previous failure to take on the world stage, Lee hopes that one day she can compete in front of thousands of people and inspire more women to take up the sport.
"Hopefully not too far in the future, instead of wrestling in front of a few hundred people, I'll get to wrestle in front of thousands of people to really make a name for myself, so that's always the goal."