The rare ring of truth
By HEATHER BIRD -- Toronto Sun
She attained WWF superstardom as Sable but now, using her own name, Rena Mero has bigger plans for life after wrestling
Rena Mero (that would be the artiste formerly known as Sable) may strike some of you as an unlikely candidate for feminist role model.
After all, isn't this the woman who has made her living for the past three years flaunting her considerable assets in the wrestling ring? And is currently on tour touting her no-holds-barred appearance in Playboy, her second pictorial in the past six months?
No hair extensions: "It's all mine."
It's a little hard to match that public persona to the private woman who recently sued her employers for sexual harassment when they demanded she expose her breasts as part of her job.
While it might appear somewhat hypocritical, it's not. As any feminist knows the real issues are choice and control. That is, she gets to choose who ogles her man-made (as opposed to God-given) attributes. Under controlled terms.
Mero's highly-publicized $165-million lawsuit against the World Wrestling Federation was resolved two weeks ago. While she is bound by confidentiality agreements against discussing the details of the settlement, at least two conditions are evident. One, her husband, Marvelous Marc Mero, was released from the remainder of his wrestling contract and, two, it's clear the WWF has retained the rights to the character Sable, which was the vehicle to catapult Mero to pop culture fame.
Thus, the 30-year-old (she turns 31 on Sunday) is no longer allowed to market herself as the slinky minx who posed on the cover of the April edition of Playboy. An issue, by the way, which flew off the stands faster than any of those featuring Pamela Anderson, Cindy Crawford or Katarina Witt.
But severing her affiliation with the world of professional wrestling (an oxymoron?) hasn't seemed to hurt her marketability one iota. Her two-day whirlwind promotional trip to Toronto started at 4 a.m. yesterday in preparation for an early morning television appearance and included numerous radio spots plus sit-down interviews with four daily newspapers (one of which wanted to take her to Hooter's for lunch). It wraps up today with a public autograph session at the downtown Tower Records store. And the demand has been the same all over North America. In other words, her 15 minutes are well under way.
It was hard to know what to expect when meeting such a creature, especially since she's been quite candid about what she has to offer. There is, however, a temptation to break her into parts. Her breasts -- fake. (They were done about three years ago and, yes, she likes them.) Her perfect teeth -- real. ("I'm lucky because my family was too poor to send me to the dentist.") Her waist-length blonde hair -- dyed. But no extensions. ("It's all mine.") Her perfect nails -- fake. Her beautiful face is all real. ("There's been no work on it yet although I won't rule it out in the future.")
She can also take credit for her size three sinewy body which has 127 pounds stretched over a 5-foot, 6-inch frame. "It sounds so heavy," she frets. "But muscle weighs more than fat."
In order to stay in shape, she works out five times a week, two hours a day and eats a high-protein, low-fat, low-carb diet. That, she says, is how you eat when your body is your bread and butter. 'Cept there's no bread. Or butter.
Catalogue her parts and they still don't appear to match the sum. That's because there is a difference between selling sex and marketing sex appeal and it's a line she won't cross.
While she declined to discuss the details of her allegations of sexual harassment and a poisoned workplace, it is fair to say she had become increasing uncomfortable with the direction the WWF had taken in recent years. The general level of vulgarity of the show, which included routine exhortations to oral sex as well as pressure to expose her breasts, or "puppies" in wrestling parlance, had prompted her to ban her own daughter from her performances. (Recently deceased wrestler Owen Hart had issued the same edict to his family.)
And once she decided that, it became increasingly difficult to act out these scenarios in front of other people's children. Her recalcitrance then started causing problems with her colleagues and when she opened her gym bag to discover human feces, she knew it was time to move on.
So Hollywood beckons and the scripts are piling up fast. Still, the Meros know that a wave like this only lasts so long.
"We've really saved our money. If it all ended tomorrow, we'd be fine," says Marc with some satisfaction. "We could go home and never have to work again and enjoy the heck out of our lives." It's certainly a nice place to be. Especially when you've set the terms.