Born into a family of professional wrestlers, Savelina Fanene, better known as Nia Jax, hope to inspire other plus-sized women while she makes waves in the WWE.
As the aunt of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s mother, Nia is a member of the Anoa’i family with a long line of professional wrestlers.
Also known for wearing a full bodysuit while wrestling, the 6-foot-tall pro started with bodybuilding. Nia had always been selfconscious about her size and credited her family for the reminder that beauty comes from within.
She left bodybuilding to become a plus-sized model, which gave her the confidence and opportunity to inspire other plus-sized women.
"Being my size is something I've had to deal with my whole life,” she said in 2016. “I've always been a big girl. I've always had curves, and I never could relate to any of the girls like the Victoria Secret models. Once I realized, when I became a plus-size model, that there were more women like me, my confidence immediately shot through the roof.”
Her change into professional wrestling came after Nia witnessed one of the greatest WrestleMania events of all time. The day her cousin, Dwayne Johnson, took on John Cena at Sun Life Stadium in Miami on April 2012.
“I remember being ringside at WrestleMania 28, watching my cousin Dwayne (The Rock) face Cena, and thinking to myself, ‘I have to do this!’” she told WWE.com.
Apart from inspiring Nia into the world of professional wrestling, Dwayne is a willing training partner but also ready with solid advice.
“I told her don’t worry about championship titles and don’t be concerned about becoming famous, just always remember that the most powerful thing you can be IN AND OUT of the wrestling ring, is yourself,” Dwayne wrote on a Facebook post in 2015.
The following year Dwayne posted a video of them working out together, while he gushed about her abilities. “This woman has the potential to be one of the most dominant female superstars the WWE has ever seen,” he said.
In 2018, Nia posted a picture of herself in a one-piece bathing suit with the hopes that it would help women with their body insecurities.
“After this amazing #Wrestlemania weekend I had a chance to speak to a bunch of young women & men. Most, if not all of them, mentioned that my #BodyPositive mindset had helped them to be able to find confidence within themselves, which really touched me and even brought me to tears numerous times,” she wrote.
Nia’s love for the industry started during her childhood, and her only reason for waiting until adulthood to join the industry had everything to do with her feelings about her weight.
“I always had a love for the business. I considered wrestling at a young age, but I never could relate to any of the Divas. I have always been a bigger girl, and I did not think that WWE would want a girl my size, so I never expressed my dream to wrestle,” she told WWE.com in 2015.
However, after her family helped her overcome her fears, Nia knew she made the right decision the moment she first stepped into the ring.
“I remember arriving at my tryout and being extremely nervous, but the second I stepped in the ring, I knew this was where I was supposed to be,” she said.
In 2019, Dwayne remembered years gone by when he shared a throwback picture of his grandfather and the French wrestler, André the Giant.
Taken during the 1970s, Dwayne captioned the image, “Here’s the “8th Wonder of the World” André the Giant, using my 315lb grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia as a booster seat and making my granddad look like a little boy.”