Danielle Moinet, the former football player turned wrestler, has always had an affinity for sports from living in Chicago, famously known as a sports city. From becoming the captain of the city’s LFL (Legends Football League, formerly Lingerie) team to throwing out the first pitch in a game during this past World Series, Moinet has submerged herself in the culture of this sports city. But sports isn’t the only thing she is passionate about. She is also a part of a number of nonprofits, which range from support for families with children in intensive care to cyberbullying. We discuss her love of sports, what are her favorite and least favorite parts of social media, and social issues close to her heart.
Cliché: How’d you first get involved with the LFL?
Danielle Moinet: When I first moved to Chicago, I attended the Super Bowl, and the LFL was part of the half time show. After watching, I did some research and found information for the league’s tryouts. I went to the open tryouts, made the team, and became the team captain. I played in the first ever LFL game, which was held in Chicago. Up until the season I played, the LFL was seen as a halftime gimmick with a lot of models as opposed to the athletes that compete today.
What made you transition from football to WWE?
I played football for a couple of years. I had been injured a couple of times and I remember thinking my real passion is wrestling. It was always my dream to be a WWE superstar. If I’m spending all of this time in football, I might as well put my everything into what I actually want to do. I played my last year of football, which was the year they were on MTV2. That’s when I decided to chase after my dream and join WWE.
Who were some of your favorite wrestlers growing up?
“Macho Man” Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan, and Goldberg.
Besides WWE and football, what are some other sports or activities that you like?
I love all sports. Living in Chicago, I worked at the Cubs games. This past year, I was able to throw out the first pitch for the Cubs, which ended up being the first World Series they have won since 1908, so that was really exciting for me. In Chicago, I went to hockey and basketball games. Chicago is such a sports town, so it enabled me to love all sports.
On your Instagram, you describe fitness as a “mental and physical release.” Is that a product of playing so many sports or was that the reason why you became so involved in sports/fitness?
It first started as an after school activity. I ran track and played tennis. I got into fitness in college. I was learning new workouts and applying them, and I was seeing results. It’s always a great feeling when you apply yourself and see results. That was the reason I got into fitness. Sports are also a great way to meet new people and make new friends. After college, it’s hard to make good friends. When you go to a sports game with someone, you become a unit, which is also something I found being in the LFL.
It’s always a great feeling when you apply yourself and see results.
What’s your average workout routine like?
I like to go to the gym three times a week to lift weights. I do lower body one day, upper body the next day, and a full body workout on the third day. Recently, I have gotten into Pilates and boxing. Pilates is such a great way to have a long lean shape and body, and boxing is great cardio. I try to have one day of cardio aside from lifting weights. I like to mix it up because I don’t want to get bored.
You have over a million followers on Instagram and half a million on Twitter. What are some of your favorite and least favorite things about having such a big audience?
One of my favorite things about having a big social media platform is getting my message out there. I’m able to spread the word about my sister’s charity, Dean Thomas Moinet Foundation, and help her get her message out. It gives me a great platform to speak my mind. With that, I have to be very conscious and hold myself accountable if I put out anything negative. A downside of social media is that it gives people in the comments section [a chance] to bully each other. It feels a lot like I enable them to do this. I thought a lot about disabling my comments, but I do get a lot of positive encouragement. I definitely block those who bully each other because I don’t have the tolerance for that.
Could you tell us more about the Dean Thomas Moinet Foundation?
The DTM is a nonprofit organization that my sister started in 2014. She saw a need for spiritual, physical, and emotional support for families traveling to hospitals to receive treatment for their children. I have seen firsthand the impact they have by volunteering in their comfort program and speaking with families that have sick children in the hospital. They are incredibly grateful for what DTM offers and I’m excited to continue to volunteer for this very important mission.
Are there any other non-profits that you are a part of or would like to be in the future?
There are so many great nonprofits nationwide and I would love to get involved in some of them. With my sister working with special needs kids for the majority of her career, I’ve always loved getting involved with the Special Olympics. WWE has an anti-bullying campaign called Be a STAR; we go to different schools and talk about the importance of tolerance and respect in the school system. It’s an initiative that I really do believe in.
You can check out more information about the DTM at DTMfoundation.org.
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From the Field to the Ring with Danielle Moinet: Photographed by Marc Cartwright