HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (2/26/13) – Most of us are familiar with the meaning of the word “mimic.” Basically, the act of mimicking is defined as mirroring, copying, or imitating in speech, expression, gesture, and even to go as far as taking on the appearance of someone or something else.
If you are a geek, like me, then the word mimic might hold a different meaning for you altogether. In popular role playing games, such as Final Fantasy, a mimic is a job class. A mimic can use every innate ability they have previously learned in the game during battle, making them quite a force to be reckoned with. Typically, it allows a character to copy an ally’s previous commands without using MP [magic power] or precious items from their inventory.
Mimics can also be your enemies in-game. These beasts will often take on the appearance of stationary objects, such as treasure chests, and once triggered, will make an unsuspecting adventurer sorry he or she ever got sidetracked by such a chance encounter. Usually, these unanticipated battles crop up when you least expect them and are less than prepared.
Actors are the mimics of the real world. We travel from place to place taking on different personalities, character traits, quirky ticks, vocal inflections, and a variety of outward appearances. Why do we do this? The answer may be different for each individual, but when you get right down to it, we love, not only to entertain others, but to entertain ourselves. Losing yourself in a character completely unlike yourself is a freeing experience that many never get the chance to enjoy. Once you start, you become somewhat addicted to the feeling of putting yourself on hold as you act out the lives of others. That bug bites you, and, from then on out, you are constantly chasing the adrenaline, relentlessly chasing that next role, taking it on, and making it yours.
Excitingly enough, former Madisonville resident Leva Bates is taking her real life job class, the mimic, to a whole new level.
For many years, I traveled around with my best friend Leva, and we entertained people from all over the United States, both on-stage and behind the scenes. One notable thing that we did together along the way was become trained stuntwomen. As life goes, friends become separated as they take on new opportunities, and for the last eight years Leva has been using those stunting skills we learned so many years ago to dominate the wrestling scene in Orlando, Florida.
Not only is Leva a pro-wrestler, but she is also a fulltime entertainer at Universal Studios Florida where she is contracted in their superstar parade as a dancing costume character. You might remember her as the angry chicken, Carlos, from the movie Hop. She performs as Sarah Connor in the Terminator 2 stunt show, and as Figurehead, a summoned demon, in Universal’s Sinbad stunt show. Busy as she is, Leva also finds time for outside gigs such as commercials and music videos. In fact, she recently scored a part in a music video for Rantham Stone.
“Rantham Stone is doing a Superman-themed music video, so of course they called me,” laughed Leva.
Why would the brothers from Rantham Stone associate Superman with Leva? We’ll get to that soon enough. First a little background on how she got into wrestling.
“I didn’t even know there were wrestling schools until somebody told me,” says Leva. “I was working at Universal Studios and they film TNA [Total Nonstop Action] Wrestling there. When I first moved to Orlando, I was there all the time to watch TNA, because I’ve always loved wrestling. You know this. I used to have Nitro parties at my house and you were always there. So I was like, ‘Alright, free wrestling. I’m going to go watch it.’”
“I ended up becoming friends with a lot of other guys who worked at Universal and were starting wrestling training. They wanted to know why I wasn’t going to school. I’m like, ‘Wait. There are wrestling schools? How am I just now finding out about this?'” laughs Leva.
Initially, Leva decided to visit FXE Wrestling School because she was interested in training to become a manager, but was quickly informed by her teachers that she wasn’t a manager; she was a wrestler.
“Becoming a part of FXE was a goal of mine,” explains Leva. “Originally, they had AJ Galant, Matt Bentley, and Devon Dudley teaching there. At one point, there was a slight split within the school. When Devon left to go do his school with his brother, Bubba Ray [The Dudley Boyz], I went with him. I’ve been with that school [Team 3D Academy] for five years now.”
Leva has a pretty impressive laundry list of wrestling credits to her name. She has been a part of Wrestlicious, Shimmer Women Athletes, Shine Wrestling, and TNA, just to name a few.
“I didTNA twice, technically three times; one of them was a dark match, which just means that it wasn’t on TV,” explains Leva. “I’ve been on national television twice with TNA. I did the $25,000 fan challenge with Awesome Kong. Basically, I was an audience member that got the heck beat out of her. I actually suffered a mild concussion during that match. That was my first real huge shot. That actually kind of catapulted me to get other bookings elsewhere. A few months ago, they called me back and they wanted me to be a part of a biker group called Aces & Eights. I was a 'plant' they had backstage, and I got to mace Hulk Hogan and Sting [Steve Borden] in the face. Needless to say, I probably won’t be back for a while,” laughs Leva. “I wrestled Isis [Lindsay Hayward] during my dark match with TNA. She is seven-feet-tall and I’m only five-foot-two, so that was interesting.”
What is really unique about Leva’s wrestling career is her dedication to embodying the ultimate mimic, which brings me back to my aforementioned question. Why would anyone associate Leva with Superman? Easy. She’s superhuman.
A longtime fan of comic books, Leva has taken her wrestling career to the next level by pulling off a multitude of characters and costumes that would leave any comic fanatic impressed. I thought it best to give our readers a rundown of different characters Leva portrays in the ring, why she has chosen them, and how she embodies them during a match. Surely, by breaking these down, you will be able to get to know Leva a little bit better and develop an appreciation for the work that goes into pulling this off.
Chun Li – “Chun Li is super popular and I’ve been wrestling as her since the beginning. Doing the Chun Li character has crossed over into ‘Leva world.’ The first time I ever wrestled as Chun Li, I was like, ‘I’ve got to do nothing but kicks. I have to kick the whole time.’ If you’ve ever played Street Fighter, then you know that that is what Chun Li does. [i.e. Spinning Bird Kick, Flurry Kick, etc.] I was like, ‘Well, I’ve got to do that.’ And now, I do that all the time. My kicks are way better than my clotheslines and my punches. I think that has to do with being a trained dancer and just pretending I always did karate when I was a child,” laughs Leva. “So Chun Li has actually kind of bled into my life. I get requests for Chun Li all the time. You know how they have Hadouken in Street Fighter? I actually do a move, and I do it as every character; I do chops, palm strikes, and a double palm strike at the end. I wind up, hit them really hard, and scream 'Hadouken!' when I do it. So that has bled into real life, too. A lot of times, I’ll pick up something or do something that is character-based and it will merge into my wrestling repertoire. I do that a lot.”
Luigi – “The first time I ever did Luigi [from Super Mario Bros] I was in Kentucky and I was wrestling a guy. It was an intergender match. It was the first time I ever wrestled a guy in the ring, and it was the first time I ever cross-dressed as well. I decided that if I was going to come out wrestling a guy, I wanted to look like a guy. So I came out with the mustache,” laughs Leva. “I was wrestling Jonathan Cruz, who at the time, was wrestling under the name Bendejo. So the match was Luigi vs Bendejo. It was a really funny match. The next time I brought Luigi out, was either last year or year before last. My tag partner [Allison Danger] and I came out as Mario and Luigi. It was a lot of fun. You know how Mario and Luigi go under blocks, use their fists, uppercut, and bust them? I did that. A girl landed on the turnbuckle and was lying across it so that her belly was exposed. I got under her and started doing that. I have actually taken that move and used it a couple of other times as other characters. But seriously, who is one of the most famous duos of all time? Mario and Luigi. Allison and I try to do that. We select the most famous duos we can think of for our matches. One time, during filming for Shimmer [Women Athletes] in Chicago, we came out as Elwood and Jake from The Blues Brothers. We definitely wanted to do that.”
The Crow – "Last weekend I was The Crow. I had tagged with another girl [Kimberly Whitehead] through another company called Shine Wrestling. Shine is filmed in Florida and aired once a month on iPayPerView. Well, this girl that I tagged with has been kind of losing her mind because she could never win a match. She’s like, ‘Maybe I should do tag wrestling. I’m a much better tag wrestler.’ Everyone told her 'No' except for me, because I’m a super hero and I help people,” laughs Leva. “So she and I tagged. When she got pinned, she blamed me. Even though I was like, ‘You’re a winner. You did fine.” I raised her hand and then walked away. Right after that, she attacked me. So I came back out as The Crow the next time we wrestled. It was her versus me. It became this huge feud. We even took it to Twitter. We were insulting each other on Twitter the entire two months between shows. So yeah, I came back as The Crow, it was pretty awesome. She wasn’t expecting it. I actually had my intro music changed for the match. I recently watched all the movies to get in the mindset. I do that a lot. If I’m doing a certain character I’ll watch movies or a TV show, just to get in the mindset. So I watched all of The Crow films. I think I skipped the fourth one, though. I tried, God bless,” laughs Leva. “I tried to give it a shot. I’m like, ‘God, it has David Boreanaz and Edward Furlong, this is going to be an awesome movie, a tease.’ Oh my God, anyway, I digress. Pull me back to the conversation. Ok, a line in the first movie, I just died, I had to use it. Eric Draven says, ‘Guess it's not a good day to be a bad guy, huh, Skank?’ I thought that was amazing so I used that in my intro. I usually come out to MC Chris’s ‘Geek’, which is appropriate. This time, my intro was the opening monologue from The Crow. ‘People once believed that when someone dies, a crow carries their soul to the land of the dead, but sometimes something so bad happens that a terrible sadness is carried with it and the soul can't rest. Then sometimes, just sometimes, the crow can bring the soul back and put the wrong things right.’ Then you hear a crow cawing, and then you hear me laugh and say, ‘Guess it's not a good day to be a bad guy, huh, Skank?’ Then I came running in. BAM! That was really cool."
"The Crow is a lot darker than what I normally do. I use a lot of comedy in wrestling. The Crow is a lot darker, but he has his moments where he says his one-liners and stuff. So it’s not like I’ve completely lost who I am, but The Crow represents revenge, retribution, setting the wrong things right, and that is pretty much what was going on with this story line. She turned on me, her only friend, just so she could get the win. So I came back with a vengeance. I was avenging the fact that she murdered our friendship, our partnership. The story line is still going on because she and I brawled outside after the match was over. Now I’ve got to plan something else dark,” laughs Leva.
Joker – “I’ve actually done the Joker [from the Batman series] a couple times. The first time I ever did the Joker, and I’m a little, not embarrassed, but I’m a little like, ‘Oh Leva, that was a little much. That was a little too much,'” laughs Leva. “I usually use the Joker if I’m going to be the bad guy. He’s super popular. You can do more maniacal and terrible things as the Joker and it’s accepted. So the first time I came out as the Joker, I was wrestling at a comic book convention. I definitely wanted to do a comic book character, and I knew I was going to be the bad guy. Heath Ledger had passed away a few weeks prior. I came out as the Joker and I took a bottle of sleeping pills out to the middle of the ring. They were all Gobstoppers, but it was terrible. I have never gotten booed as bad as I did at that moment. But I did my job, even though I took it a little too far.”
“A couple months ago, I was booked for a match and they wanted me to be the Joker. They had seen my pictures, so they asked about it. I was getting my outfit together and I couldn’t find my 'bang gun.' I have a bang gun. You pull the trigger and the bang flag comes out. I couldn’t find it, so I’m like, ‘Crap. I want to do something crazy.’ I found caution tape just randomly laying around my house, because I have caution tape for some reason,” laughs Leva. “I came out and I wrapped the entire ring in caution tape. The ref was trying to take it down and I just keep wrapping. I wrapped the ref up in it. It was ridiculous.”
Harley Quinn – “I’ve done Harley Quinn [from the Batman series] a lot. I’ve always looked at Harley Quinn as me turned up to eleven, in a way. She’s hyper and very dexterous. I definitely do the cartwheels into splits as Harley Quinn when I’m her in the ring. I do that a lot in my own repertoire anyway, but I definitely pull that out and go to the eleventh level when I’m Harley. I crack jokes and act slightly maniacal, but not too maniacal, because she is a lovable character even though she is in love with a psychopath. Aren’t we all, though?” laughs Leva. “Harley is one of the characters that’s actually closest to me. Unfortunately, not that my love for her has waned, but I’ve realized, working at a comic book store off and on for the last six years [Bad Apple Comics and Mike’s Comics and Collectables], that everyone loves Harley Quinn. I never realized how big of a following she had. I would go to a convention, and the two most popular costumes were always Dr. Who, usually the eleventh doctor with the fez, and Harley Quinn. Harley is the most popular female costume at comic book conventions. I have five different versions of Harley Quinn for myself - just myself. You’ve got Arkham City and Arkham Asylum, which are the two video games she is in. And those are way different looks opposed to the comic book and the animated series. The animated series was actually where she was created by Paul Dini, FYI. Now, in The New 52, she looks a lot different. There are different artist’s renditions of her and different comic books have made her look differently. There are several different versions of her out there.”
Catwoman – “I wanted to do Catwoman for a long time. Catwoman is one of my favorites as well. She was one of the first comic books I owned. I bought Catwoman number one many moons ago at a Wal-Mart in the magazine section. I loved the Jim Balent version; the purple one. And then of course, I was obsessed with Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman in Batman Returns. I used to role play that I was her with my friends. Recently, Dark Knight Rises came out and Catwoman was in it. It wasn’t terrible. It wasn’t my favorite, but Anne Hathaway was a hell of a lot better than Halle Berry - a hell of a lot better. Catwoman is really big right now and I keep up with the trends. If something is popular I try to make it happen. I’m dying to do a Bane [DC Comics supervillain] one but you’ve got to find the right time for that, you know what I mean? You can’t just bust out as Bane for no rhyme or reason,” laughs Leva.
“Catwoman is another character that’s similar to Harley Quinn, just less hyper. I do a lot of ‘bendy stuff.’ There is a move I always like to do in my Catwoman outfit. It’s called a Muta Lock, which is named after Japanese wrestler, Keiji Mutoh. As Catwoman, I may dodge someone by doing the splits, and I always have the whip with me, so I’ll play around with the whip. I may not use it, because that would be cheating, but I always play with the ref and act like I’m going to whip him. I’m actually taking some stage combat classes on how to use the whip better, so I can actually do cool tricks with it. I do a lot of more dexterous, more flexible stuff as Catwoman. I do the same thing with Black Widow. I’ve done every Avenger. The Avengers is the quintessential comic book movie. That is how a comic book movie should be made and received.”
Incredible Hulk – “The first Avenger I ever did was the Incredible Hulk. This was way before The Avengers movie came out. I think it might have been when Edward Norton’s movie [The Incredible Hulk] came out. The Hulk is the simplest costume of all the ones I’ve done. The only purple shorts I could find at the time were Miley Cyrus shorts. I crossed out the name Miley Cyrus and just put 'Hulk Smash!' over it. I had a white tank top ripped up with a green bra underneath it, and then I had on my Hulk gloves. It was super simple. I didn’t paint my skin green because you’re rolling around with someone else and I’d totally ruin their outfit, and gear, and the ring,” laughs Leva. “If I could get a professional to body paint me so it wouldn’t sweat off, then I would totally do it. But that takes a lot of time and money that shows don’t usually provide us.”
Wolverine – “I did Wolverine when The Wolverine movie came out. Actually, the Wolverine I did was a Logan [James “Logan” Howlett]. I had the wife beater shirt on, and he wears his jeans, so I wore a jean skirt. I put my hair in pigtails, but I did the Wolverine bangs and rolled them into my pigtails so I would have 'the Wolverine hair.' I even bought toy claws. Actually, when I went to go lock up the girl I was wrestling, I 'shnicked' out my claws. That was a really funny moment. That one was a lot of fun because he has a healing factor. So, I tried to play it up a little bit, the healing factor. He’s more virile, too, so I try to be a little bit more virile in the ring. The one moment I knew I wanted to do in the whole match was pull my claws out at the very beginning so the other girl would spazz out. It was a lot of fun.”
Captain America - "Captain America was a character I did early in my career. I was booked on a fourth of July show somewhere in Jacksonville, FL. They were calling me 'Leva the American Diva,' so I knew I had to do something all-American. What’s more all-American than Captain America? That was way before The Avengers came out, so that had nothing to do with the movie. That costume has actually gone through multiple changes. The first time I did it, I just had a blue sports bra and I had to actually buy a little tiny star and sew it on my self. As the years progressed, I found a better blue sports bra that actually had the star on it. It was way bigger and much nicer quality. As time goes, as I find better costume pieces, I add them to my collection. I actually have his head piece now, and I always use the shield. The last couple matches I wrestled as Captain America someone has always tried to take the shield from me. Then, when they try to hit me with it, I duck it, come back and use the shield against them. Last time I did Captain America, I was wrestling this girl. Her name was Marty Bell. Her family is from Dominican Republic. Her and I were wrestling in Florida, and there were a bunch of kids, not quite back-woodsy, but just country kids kind of. Marty was hitting me, trying to beat me up, and I’m like, ‘I will never give in to terrorism!’ No lie. There was a terrorist chant against her. ‘Terrorist! Terrorist! Terrorist!’ One of my all-time favorite wrestling moments,” laughs Leva.
Hawkeye – “Hawkeye was just one I really wanted to do myself because Hawkeye is one of my favorite characters from The Avengers. He’s got a little bit more attitude. He’s fun. I’ve only wrestled as him once. I came out with a toy bow and arrow. I had goodie bags made, and I shot them into the audience. I had a couple arrows that I shot at my opponent. I missed her, though. I’m actually not a bad shot because of our history with archery. [Oddly enough, Leva and I used to teach archery lessons together.] It’s funny that we even have a history with archery,” laughs Leva. “If I’d had the money to get a good bow, I would have hit her. I aimed for her forehead and it went right past her head. I was like, ‘Oh no! Crappy bow!’ I did it with Hawkeye and I did it with Rambo. When I get weapons like bows, I spray-paint them the colors they should be. I had my bow and arrows all purple to match my outfit as Hawkeye. For Rambo, I spray-painted them black."
Rambo – “It was Jonathan Cruz’s suggestion. He said, ‘I just want to see you come out as a tiny Rambo, just covered in weapons.’ So it was the first time I was ever at IndyGurlz in New Jersey. Costumes cost me a lot of money. For this match I needed to do something that wasn’t ridiculously expensive. I had a black tank top, army looking jeans, and I had them tucked into my wrestling boots, which looked very military. I spent a little bit of money on the weapons, and to make the weapons look a little better. I spray-painted the bow and arrows black, as I mentioned before, so that they looked more military. I had a water gun that I shot the audience with. I also shot the girl I was wrestling. I kept a knife in my teeth. I had a string of bullets across my chest. I mean, I seriously came out covered in weapons. It was hilarious,” laughs Leva. “The ref just looked at me like, ‘Seriously?’ It’s funny because there is a magazine called Pro Wrestling Insiders, and it is the main wrestling magazine out there for wrestlers. And, well, I’m in it as Rambo. They have a funny caption on it like, “Seems the ref missed a couple foreign objects there.’ I just wanted to play with weapons and be slightly psychotic. I took an arrow, licked it, and stabbed her in the head with it. It was pretty awesome.”
Iron Man - "I actually had gear specially made to be Iron Man. Have you seen the second movie [Iron Man 2] where he has the Tony Stark convention in the very beginning, and all the girls come out in tiny little shorts and tiny midriff shirts? They are red and yellow outfits and they have the little arc reactor symbol on the chest. The gloves they wear have the symbols that glow. Well, I had that outfit made,” laughs Leva. “They don’t actually glow, the circles, but it’s a reflective material, and when you are under the strong lights in the ring, it looks like they are glowing. That was one of the very few costumes that I actually went to a seamstress and had her make for me. A lot of the time I make them myself. Most of the time, I just piece stuff together that I pick up at the Goodwill or something. What is great about Iron Man? He’s Tony Frickin’ Stark! I’m made of iron, so I can take a licking and keep on ticking. That’s what’s awesome about Iron Man. What I liked about the movies that I kind of incorporated into him, is the fact that Tony Stark carries the arc reactor on him. I want to do a separate Tony Stark outfit, too, for that very reason. But I don’t think I could wrestle in that. I might die,” laughs Leva. “I needed my Iron Man costume to be done right, as well as my X-Men costume.”
X-Men – “I just saw X-Men: First Class and they all had that blue and yellow uniform. So, I wanted my own First Class uniform as well. However, I wanted mine to be more comic-booky. Theirs were made of Kevlar and dark colors. I wanted mine to be more like the comic book, which is bright yellow and bright blue, so I made mine all Spandex. If I get called for TNA, or another huge company that may not let me use something like Batman because the symbol is trademarked, I can use this costume. TNA can use it on TV because it doesn’t have any trademarks. It does have the X on the front, but the X is not trademarked. Anybody can use an X. With that costume, I can do different characters. I’ve done Cyclops with that costume. For that match it was really cool, because I got to work with a girl who is not known for doing any sort of comedy in her match at all. She’s a very serious, strong style wrestler. So the first three or four minutes of the match was me trying to get her to show me her super powers,” laughs Leva. “It was awesome. I psyched her out because I had on my visor. She tried to Hadouken me. That was cute," Leva quips. "I proceeded to protect myself with a force field. She kept chopping at my force field but couldn’t get through it until I accidentally turned it off. Then she chopped the crap out of me. Strong style is a lot of chopping. Ouch!”
Robin – “Robin is awesome. He is just happy-go-lucky and always so eager to be a part of everything. They make him very cheesy and I kind of play the cheesy super hero character with him. That’s a lot of fun. I got a cape and mask that I wear. It’s cute. I always carry a plushy Batman with me when I do a match as Robin. Robin is full of heart, so when you are that character you’re full of heart, eagerness, and hope. I do that with him. The other characters know they are awesome already. But he’s like, ‘Hey, what do I do now? Ok, lets go!’ He’s like the ultimate good guy. He doesn’t have a chip on his shoulders like a lot of characters do.”
Captain Jack Sparrow – “I did Captain Jack Sparrow. I’m pretty impressed with how I turned out actually,” laughs Leva. “I watched the movies and got the Johnny Deppness of it. It’s like Keith Richards or something. I came out with the hands, all confused, backwards like, ‘Oh, there is an audience here?’ So that was a lot of fun and it was perfect because I was wrestling a girl who is known as a Canadian ninja. What is a ninja’s mortal enemy? A pirate! Pirate versus ninjas. Everybody talks about pirates versus ninjas. It was my first time doing a huge public match for Shine on iPayPerView. I challenged her. I told her that if I won, our tag team would get to face her for the belt. It was an important match. So I came out like, ‘I’m going to be your ultimate, worst mortal enemy - a pirate.’ It was awesome. I was definitely sexy with my facial hair. I lost half of it as the match went on,” laughs Leva. “With Captain Jack Sparrow, he’s like a drunken master with his fighting style. The thing is, if you rewatch the first movie [Pirates of the Caribbean], it’s amazing how he swerves everyone, throws them off, and completely gets away just by interesting happenstances. They are like happy accidents, but not, because he’s completely calculated it. He’s totally like a drunken master. I incorporated a lot of that into the character. I looked like I was playing around. We did a little sword fight where she was ducking my sword, then I threw the sword at her and approached her as she was ducking. I was using things to throw her off her game. That’s the best thing to do when your Captain Jack, because he doesn’t go straight in like Rambo does for the fight. Jack is a little trickster. That is one of the best things about Captain Jack.”
Spiderman - "The first time Shine ever contacted me about doing a show, they wanted me to be me fun, comic-booky, and silly, but also badass at the same time. That was completely Spiderman to me. Plus, the new movie had just come out [The Amazing Spiderman]. The movie was pretty popular. It was really good compared to the last couple ones. I was really happy with that movie. So I actually ordered a Spiderman suit. It looks just like the ones at Universal [Studios], but it’s not. It’s made for me. Spiderman has heart, he’s fun, and he tries not to take everything too seriously, but he still tries to save the day. That’s what I think they wanted from me, and that’s what I gave them. I even had a web shooter. I shot my opponent a couple of times with the web shooter. It’s all about agility and dexterity, especially in wrestling. I’m considered one of the small ones. With a lot of my characters - except for the Hulk, which is just ridiculousness - I try to do something that is a little bit more nimble. Not all of them are, but most of the time you’ll see that I choose the agile characters that go with me. Anytime I play D&D [Dungeons & Dragons], I’m always a rouge or some sort of an arcane trickster. When I played Fable, I was always the ranged fighter. Every time I play a role playing game I’m some sort of rouge."
Dr. Who – “I’ve done the eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith. Eleven is the newer, younger one. With Dr. Who, you use brains more than brawn. He’s more of a thinker than a fighter. Almost like a Captain Jack Sparrow, but less comicy. It’s all about using your brain and outsmarting your opponent. There is definitely an intelligence and wisdom bonus there, as opposed to strength and constitution,” laughs Leva. “I actually use more technical moves as the Doctor. I use a lot less brawling. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Dr. Who, but there are these weeping angel statues in one episode. When you look at them they are stationary. If you blink or turn your back, they creep up on you. Well I made that reference in a match once. I did that whole “Stop, don’t blink. Blink and you’re dead’ bit. It was pretty awesome.”
Cheshire Cat – “When you are the Cheshire Cat [from Alice in Wonderland], you use more chaos. I love using my tail. Smacking people with your tail is awesome. Pretending you’re a cat throws your opponent off,” laughs Leva. “If you sit there and start cleaning yourself, it’s going to throw your opponent off. That gives you an advantage. Any time you throw your opponent off, you definitely get some sort of an advantage there. That's especially true with Cheshire Cat. He’s giving you riddles. ‘Which way did she go? Does it really matter which way she goes? Woo hoo hoo! Shoot a smile!’ That was a lot of fun. A lot of times people are like, ‘Why are you a dog?’ You get really mad when someone calls you the wrong animal.”
The Punisher – “Punisher [a lethal Marvel Comics vigilante] is one of those rougher characters. As the Punisher, I came out with disappearing ink in my water gun and I sprayed the audience. It turned into water but they freaked out a little bit. Punisher is a little edgier than some of the other characters I do. He doesn’t necessarily follow the rules. He’s trying to get justice, but sometimes he ends up on the wrong side of the law because he may shoot somebody in the face instead of arrest them. I’m a little bit more edgy when I am Punisher because I’m punishing the wicked.”
Vincent Valentine Fan Girl – “During my very first match in front of a live audience, I came out as Vincent Valentine Fan Girl. Vincent Valentine was a character from Final Fantasy 7. He was the one with the really long hair and ragged red cloak. He was a rather sarcastic loner in the game. I came out with a black and red outfit, red goggles, and a red belt. I had my Vincent Valentine plushy [doll] with me. I wasn’t sure I could really come out as him. When you are first starting, you don’t know what your boundaries are. So you are basically testing the waters. I wear goggles a lot to accessorize my costumes to achieve that techno-punk look. Lately, I’ve started moving away from the goggles. I still use them, but now I’m doing more traditional cosplay. I’m actually looking like the character 100 percent, as opposed to just being inspired by the character. I have a lot of goggles. I have Space Invader goggles. They are one of my favorites even though I can't see through them," laughs Leva. " I’ll put them on for a match and the whole time it feels like I am going to trip and die."
Alice – “I did a Resident Evil match. The girl I wrestled was in a Jill Valentine outfit and I was Alice from the movie. It was basically a video game versus movie match. I actually came out in her exact outfit from the third movie [Resident Evil: Extinction]. She is a badass. Seriously, the match was an epic battle of two badasses. In the movie, Alice basically becomes superpowered because of the T-Virus. Everyone else turns into a zombie, but she becomes this super zombie hunter with superpowers. So I was in definite badass mode there. The girl I wrestled was Jill Valentine, and she had the spider on her chest that gave her powers. I even ripped off her spider at one point.”
Billy the Puppet – “I was Billy the Puppet from Saw once. It was dark and creepy. I have a huge fear of puppets, so this one has always creeped me out. I wanted to face my fears. I even drew his face on myself so that I looked just like a puppet. This was almost more about me facing my own fears. In Saw, you know how they are always putting people into traps and you must do certain things or you can’t get out? I would keep putting people in submission holds,” laughs Leva. “At one point, I was like, ‘The key to get out of this is in your belly,’ you know. I would say stuff like that. But I kept going back to the submissions. It was a much slower match but it was more methodical. I just kept putting my opponent into torture situations.”
Rick Grimes – “I was Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead once. I actually had a bunch of zombies planted out in the audience, and I was shooting them as I came out. The girl I was wrestling tried to take my gun. It didn’t work for her,” laughs Leva. “Basically, Rick is thrown into a situation where it's fight or die, and that’s the way I looked at that match. Fight or die. I totally didn’t die, so I totally won. But yeah, it’s like one of those ordinary people thrown into extraordinary situations scenarios. You become extraordinary. So, I kind of looked at that aspect of it. What happens when you become extraordinary?”
Gandolf – “Apparently, I like to wrestle with facial hair,” laughs Leva. “I have wrestled as Gandolf. The latest Lord of the Rings movie, The Hobbit, had just come out, so I wanted to wrestle as Gandolf, because Gandolf is one of my favorite characters from the series. I came out with a full beard, of course. I made my cloak shorter so I could kick and run, but I tried to do magic tricks in the match as well. I told my opponent, ‘You shall not pass!’ and I think I might have hit her,” laughs Leva. “You might think a wizard wouldn’t be that much of a fighter, but if you watch the movie, he fights more than he casts spells. He’s a full blown, ‘I’ve got a sword in my hand and I’m going to stab someone right in the face,’ type fighter. So, he makes way more sense than a Dumbledore or a Harry Potter. I’ve actually done a student from Hogwart’s before, but I’ve never done a character from the series.”
Nick Fury - "I wrestled as Nick Fury shortly after The Avengers movie had come out. Nick Fury was the only character that I hadn’t done yet from that movie. He’s a badass that doesn’t have to be a badass, but he is when he wants to be. I wrestled with an eye patch and everything. That was kind of rough. My depth perception was a little off. Nick Fury is a Marvel Comics super-spy. He was the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. for a long time, which is a fictional Marvel Comics law-enforcement agency. While Nick Fury was in charge, S.H.I.E.L.D. became one of the world's most powerful organizations. He had access to everything. Like I said before, Nick Fury is a complete badass without even trying.”
Jedi – “I’ve been a Jedi [from the Star Wars series] before. Leva as a Jedi. I’ve also done Princess Leia during a different match. At the end of my Princess Leia match, they cheated and pinned me. Then they hired Darth Vadar to come out with a bunch of Storm Troopers and arrest me as Princess Leia. It was a huge production actually. R2D2 was there and everything," laughs Leva. "During my second Star Wars match, I came out as a Jedi, as I mentioned before. Why would I want to be a princess when I could be a badass Jedi with super powers, have the force on my side, and actually use the force in my match? Why wouldn’t I be a Jedi?”
Believe it or not, that is just a short list of characters Leva has assumed in the ring. Although I will be unable to list all the characters she's ever taken on, other honorable mentions are as follows: Marty McFly [Back to the Future film trilogy], Indiana Jones [Indiana Jones film series], Rocky [Rocky film series], Freddy Krueger [A Nightmare on Elm Street film series], Thing 1 & Thing 2 [Dr. Suess], Thor [The Avengers], Scarecrow [DC Comics supervillain], Jason Voorhees [Friday the 13th film series], and V [V for Vendetta].
So as you can see, Leva owns the title of a real life mimic and turns it up to eleven. She has always put one-hundred percent into anything she has ever done, and I tip my hat to her.
To Leva: Way to stay true to your geeky nature while embodying characteristic traits of every hero and antihero you've ever looked up to, and applying it to a career you truly love and bust your butt dominating.
With that being said, I use this final paragraph as an excuse to include a photo of Leva as Marty McFly [Back to the Future film trilogy], because it just wouldn't sit well with me to exclude it.