Catherine Joy "C.J." Perry (March 24, 1985) is an American professional wrestling manager, model, actress, dancer, and singer. Although born in Gainesville, Florida, Perry was raised in Riga, Latvia and speaks fluent Russian. She is currently signed with the professional wrestling promotion WWE under the ring name Lana, where she manages Rusev.
The eldest of four siblings, Perry was born in Gainesville, Florida to parents of Portuguese and Venezuelan extraction. She spent several years of her childhood in the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic in the Soviet Union, where her father worked as a Christian missionary. Perry and her family remained in Latvia after it declared its independence from the Soviet Union in May 1990. From an early age, Perry aspired to become a ballet dancer like her mother. She attended the Riga Choreography School – the ballet school of the Latvian National Opera – and began dancing with the Latvian National Ballet at the age of 14.
At the age of 17, Perry returned to the United States. She initially lived in New York City, where she danced at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Hispanico, Broadway Dance Center and the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance. Perry later enrolled in Florida State University (FSU), majoring in dance and acting because she wanted to "experience the traditional American University" While attending FSU, Perry began attending Florida State Seminoles football games with Jenn Sterger, Fabiola Romero, and several other students, cheering from the bleachers while dressed as "cowgirls". The students – known as the "Florida State Cowgirls" – entered the public consciousness after being acknowledged by commentator Brent Musburger during a game between the Florida State Seminoles and the Miami Hurricanes that aired on ABC in September 2005. Perry parlayed the exposure into a modelling career, appearing in photoshoots in publications such as the RIDGID Tool Calendar and working as a spokesmodel for the energy drinks Matrix and Red Bull.
Upon graduating from FSU, Perry relocated to Los Angeles, California with the aim of working in show business.
Music and acting career
In 2009, Perry joined "No Means Yes", a girl group signed to Ne-Yo's record label comprising Perry (billed as "C.J."), Kat, Shea and Tanu. The group released one single – titled "Would You Like That" – and recorded two others (titled "7 Years Bad Luck" and "Burn Rubber") before disbanding in 2010. Perry stated on joining "No Means Yes", "A girlfriend of mine in college referred me to the man that was putting the group together. I honestly was so scared to sing and I didn't even know a song to sing at the audition so I sang "Jesus Loves Me." I remember them saying we can work with her tone because she has the right look and she is a model that break dances. I am so thankful to this day for that experience because I do not think I would have ever gotten the role in Pitch Perfect if I hadn't overcome my fear to open my mouth and sing". Perry went on to work as a backup dancer for performers such as Keri Hilson, Nelly, Pink]and Usher. In 2013, Perry starred alongside Kelley Jakle in the music video for Jakle's cover of the Paramore song "Ain't it Fun".
Perry trained as an actress at The Groundlings School and under the acting coaches Lesly Kahn and Larry Moss. She went on to appear in acting roles such as an episode of the television program The Game in 2011, the musical comedy film Pitch Perfect in 2012, an episode of the television program Banshee in 2013. She landed the lead role in I.C.I.R.U.S. as Brit in 2011. Perry was cast as a "Legacy Bella" in the sequel Pitch Perfect 2 in 2014.
Professional wrestling career
Managing Rusev (2013–2015)
In June 2013, Perry revealed that she had been signed to WWE and was sent to their developmental branch WWE NXT. Perry debuted in NXT on the October 23, 2013 episode of NXT, under the ring name "Lana", scouting Alexander Rusev during his match against C.J. Parker. On the November 6 episode of NXT, Lana became Rusev's "social ambassador", using a Russian accent and developing a character who majored in Foreign Affairs and Business and Social Media Marketing in college. In December 2013, the duo of Rusev and Lana were compared to Ivan Drago and Ludmilla Drago, the antagonists of the 1985 film Rocky IV. Rusev and Lana later appeared at NXT Arrival, where Rusev attacked Xavier Woods and Tyler Breeze.
While Rusev made his main roster debut at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view on January 26, 2014, Lana made her main roster debut on the January 31 episode of SmackDown, where she and Rusev in the following weeks appeared in a series of self-promotional videos and speeches. Rusev wrestled his first match on the main roster on the April 7 episode of Raw, squashing Zack Ryder. In early May, Lana began dedicating Rusev's matches to her "hero", President of Russia Vladimir Putin, as well as adopting an Anti-American, Russophilic gimmick.
Lana made some controversial comments during an in-ring promo prior to Rusev's match against Jack Swagger at the Battleground pay-per-view event, blaming the United States for current world events and praising Putin. Although she did not directly mention it, some media outlets said Lana was making reference to the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which happened three days before Battleground, to help build heat for Rusev in his feud against Swagger. A representative of WWE later told TMZ that the segment was not specifically about the Malaysia Airlines crash, noting that the Rusev-Lana storyline "has been a part of WWE programming for more than three months. WWE apologizes to anyone who misunderstood last night's segment and was offended".
Following the November 3 episode of Raw, Rusev defeated Sheamus in a WWE Network exclusive match to capture the United States Championship. At Fastlane on February 22, 2015, Lana set up a distraction which led to Rusev defeating John Cena. However, at WrestleMania 31, Rusev lost the championship to Cena after Rusev accidentally crashed into Lana, knocking her off the ring apron.
Managing Dolph Ziggler (2015)
On April 26, 2015, at the Extreme Rules pay–per–view, during Rusev's rematch for the WWE United States Championship against John Cena in a Russian Chain match, Lana garnered a positive reaction from the crowd, which led to Rusev banishing her from ringside. It happened again, on May 17, at Payback, when Cena defeated Rusev in an "I Quit" match after Lana quit on Rusev's behalf. The following night on Raw, Lana justified her actions by explaining that Rusev said he quits in Bulgarian, only for him to harshly dismiss her; later that night, Lana kissed Dolph Ziggler and turned her face, officially ending their association. On the June 29 episode of Raw, Lana and Ziggler confirmed their storyline relationship, and Rusev allied with Summer Rae. Week later, Ziggler was injured by Rusev, who attacked Ziggler by hitting his throat, and WWE subsequently announced that Ziggler had suffered a bruised trachea in storyline. Ziggler returned on the August 17 episode of Raw, aiding Lana during a confrontation with Rusev and Rae. This altercation prompted a match between Ziggler and Rusev at SummerSlam, on August 23, which ended in a double count–out due to interference from Lana and Rae. Rae went on to "seduce" Ziggler in order to end his relationship with Lana, but the storyline ended quietly, after WWE announced that Lana had injured her wrist while training.
The League of Nations (2015–present)
On October 11, TMZ reported that Lana had gotten engaged to Rusev in real life, which Lana confirmed.
Lana made her return, once again as a villainess, on the November 30 episode of Raw, during a Miz TV segment, where she and Rusev referenced their engagement and later, the two joined The League of Nations stable, lead by Sheamus.
|2008||Benny Future and the Madman from Manchester||Arabella|
|2011||Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son||Dancer||Uncredited|
|2011||Big Time Beach Party||Dancer||Television film|
|2012||Pitch Perfect||Footnote #5/Opening Bella|
|2015||Pitch Perfect 2||Legacy Bella|
|2015||Interrogation||Currently unnamed||Starring role|
|2008||The Millionaire Matchmaker||Herself||Episode: "Tai/German"|
|2009||The Real Housewives of Atlanta||Herself||Episode "Better Tardy Than Never"|
|2011||The Game||Ashley||Episode: "A Very Special Episode"|
|2011||The Fresh Beat Band||Steguitarus||Episode: "Veloci-Rap-Star"|
|2009||"Would You Like That"||Non album single|
Perry is in a relationship with Miroslav Barnyashev, who also performs for WWE under the ring name Rusev. The couple bought a house together in Nashville, Tennessee.
- "The Mistress of Destruction"
- "The Ravishing Russian"
- Wrestlers managed