Lana recently appeared as a guest on the 411 Wrestling Interviews Podcast and spoke at length about phasing the Russian accent out of her WWE character. Featured below are some of the highlights.
On being asked to tone down her Russian accent: “I just had to talk slower, I talk really, really fast. So I think it’s sometimes harder for me to talk with no accent, because I talk really fast. And then I listen to myself back and I’m like ‘Woah, I need to slow down!’ So when I was doing the whole Russian accent, that wasn’t hard. Once I got into that mindset, I grew up around Russians, I grew up around people with accents, so it was just like I just talked like that all the time. I felt like, it was, sometimes when I talk without an accent, I talk fast, and I have to remind myself, really fast, I talk really fast in real life, and I have to remind myself to slow down. So, that is a little bit of a challenge. I think a little bit of the challenge more was probably last year, I was told they wanted to me to lessen my accent, lessen, lessen, lessen my accent until I had no accent, so I kept on doing that. I think, it just would get a little irritating, not even irritating because you can’t get irritated, but with the WWE Universe that they would be like ‘Ugh, she’s going in and out of the accent.’ It’s like, ‘No, I’m not going in and out of the accent, I’m purposefully talking with less of an accent.’ It’s like, no, everything I do is on purpose so calm down.”
On why her accent changes weren’t as highlighted on WWE TV as Kofi Kingston’s when he lost his Jamaican accent: “Well, you’re asking me questions way above my pay grade. If they want to call the Chairman and ask him that, he might know. Whose to say, but, no, look, this is WWE. Everything is situational, everything changes minutely. We sometimes find out what we’re doing 30 minutes before we go live. We just do, after you’ve been, I don’t ask a lot of questions. My job is to execute whatever they want to the best of my ability. This isn’t, people think, we’re characters at the end of the day, it’s like a movie, a TV show, it is a TV show. You just do, if that’s what they want, like I said earlier, what we were talking before, it’s two hours, you only have so much to explain on a two hour TV show. RAW has a lot more time, three hours, it really does make a difference, that extra hour. So they told me, it was probably about this time last year, they wanted me to lessen my accent to eventually have no accent, so I said ‘OK’. They never gave any explanation. I think we were turning good guy, maybe they thought the Russian thing sounded harsher? I don’t know, I really don’t know. I just do what I’m told. I’m like ‘OK, great.” Maybe next week I’ll have an accent again, you just never know. I like to keep everyone on my toes. Maybe everything I’m saying right now is not even true, you never know. That’s the thing about Lana, I like to keep you guys guessing.”
On whether or not she feels her Total Divas run without her accent hurt her WWE character: “No, I think it’s two separate TV shows. Two separate networks. I don’t think at all effected, actually, I talked in a full accent, I mean I was on Total Divas for three seasons, and the first two I talked in a full, very thick Russian accent. So it didn’t at all effect it. I do know that our, the Chairman, and our bosses, they were always, that question, they’d go ‘It’s two separate TV shows, they’re completely separate, so one doesn’t effect the other.’ So if anything, it showed, for me individually, for me as CJ Perry, it actually gave me more liberty to actually be myself and have interviews like this. Because if I wouldn’t have been on Total Divas, I wouldn’t be having interviews like this. I would, if I did, it would be with full-on an accent. So before Total Divas, I’d have to do media full-on an accent, like morning shows, an accent, radio shows, an accent, red carpet shows, an accent, so for me, personally, I’m actually really happy I did that because I’m able to show like, ‘No, actually, I do play, I am a character, and that character the Ravishing Russian Lana, she is an extension of myself, but she is an extension of myself and I do speak perfect English and I do speak perfect Russian and I get to show both, because of Total Divas, so I’m actually very thankful for that.”
Check out the complete Lana interview from the 411 Wrestling Interviews Podcast at Transistor.fm.