CJ Perry is Best Known For Her stint in the WWE Smackdown for which she had assumed Lana as her screen name. She was Rusev manager when he won the United States Championship and having appeared in a host of reality TV series including The Real Housewives of Atlanta and Total Divas. She is a member of the main cast in Total Divas.
Born Name Catherine Joy Perry
Nick Name Lana, CJ, CJ Perry, The Ravishing Russian, Lana CJ Perry
Occupation Professional wrestler, professional wrestling manager, model, actress, dancer, singer
Years active 1999–2005 (dancer)
2013–present (professional wrestling manager)
Born: March 24, 1985, 34 years and 3 months, Gainesville, Florida, United States
Sun Sign Aries
Height 5 ft 7 in or 170 cm
Hair Color Blonde
Eye Color Hazel
Measurements 36-24-34 in or 91.5-61-86 cm
Bra Size 34B
Labels Compound Entertainment
Defined jawline and strong chin
Toned and athletic figure
Father – He was employed as a Christian Missionary in the Latvian SSR.
Mother – She was a ballet dancer.
Siblings – Lana has 3 younger siblings.
She has Portuguese and Venezuelan ancestry.
CJ Perry studied at the Riga Choreography School (the ballet school of the Latvian National Opera).
She later got enrolled at the Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee and graduated with a major in acting and dancing.
Lana took acting classes at the Edgemar Center for the Arts.
She also studied at The Groundlings School to improve her stage skills. There, she was tutored by Lesly Kahn and Larry Moss.
Catherine Joy Perry is an American professional wrestler, professional wrestling manager, actress, dancer, model and singer. She is currently signed to the professional wrestling promotion WWE, where she performs on the SmackDown brand under the ring name Lana.
The eldest of four siblings, Perry was born in Gainesville, Florida to parents of Portuguese and Venezuelan descent. She spent several years of her childhood in the Latvian SSR, where her father worked as a Christian missionary. Perry and her family remained in Latvia after it restored its independence from the Soviet Union on August 21, 1991. 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) in Tallahassee, Florida, majoring in dance and acting.
While attending FSU, Perry began attending Florida State Seminoles football games with Jenn Sterger 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, with Musburger quipping 1,500 red-blooded Americans just decided to apply to Florida State.
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, she 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 record label comprising Perry (billed as C.J.), Kat, Shea, and Tanu. The group released one single, Would You Like That, and recorded two others (7 Years Bad Luck and Burn Rubber) before disbanding in 2010. Perry later stated:
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, Usher, Akon, and Rich Boy. In 2013, she starred alongside Kelley Jakle in the music video for Jakle cover of the Paramore song Ain’t it Fun. She 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 Game in 2011, the lead role in I.C.I.R.U.S. in 2011, the musical comedy film Pitch Perfect in 2012 and the 2015 sequel Pitch Perfect 2, and an episode of Banshee in 2013. In 2016, she starred in the WWE Studios production Interrogation alongside WWE Hall of Famer Adam Edge Copeland.
Professional wrestling career
Managerial role (2013–2016)
In June 2013, Perry revealed that she had been signed to WWE and was sent to their developmental branch NXT. She debuted on the October 23, 2013 episode of NXT, under the ring name Lana, scouting Alexander Rusev. On the November 6 episode of NXT, Lana became Rusev social ambassador, using a Russian accent and developing a character who majored in Foreign Affairs and Business and Social Media Marketing in college. 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. In early May, Lana began dedicating Rusev 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 match at Battleground, 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 Jack 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 segment and was offended.
Following the November 3 episode of Raw, Rusev defeated Sheamus on WWE Network to capture the United States Championship. At WrestleMania 31, Rusev lost the title to Cena after Rusev accidentally crashed into Lana, knocking her off the ring apron. On May 17, at Payback, Cena defeated Rusev in an I Quit match after Lana quit on Rusev behalf. The following night on Raw, Lana justified her actions by explaining that Rusev said he quit in Bulgarian, only for him to harshly dismiss her; later that night, Lana kissed Dolph Ziggler, turning her face and officially ending their association. After Ziggler being injured by Rusev, he went to return on the August 17 episode of Raw, aiding Lana during a confrontation with Rusev and Summer 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. On October 11, TMZ reported that Lana had gotten engaged to Rusev, which Lana confirmed. Lana made her return, once again as a villainess, on the November 30 episode of Raw, where she and Rusev referenced their engagement.
On the April 25, 2016 episode of Raw, Lana returned to managing Rusev, After being drafted to Raw as part of the 2016 WWE draft which took place on July 19, Lana made her first appearance for the brand on August 1, where she accompanied Rusev. On August 8, Rusev and Lana wedding celebration was usurped by Roman Reigns, and one week later on the August 17 episode of Raw, Rusev competed in a match for Lana honor against Reigns, but lost. In early 2017, Rusev suffered a legitimate shoulder injury, taking them off television.
In-ring competitor (2016–present)
On the February 29, 2016 episode of Raw, Lana confronted Brie Bella during a backstage segment, arguing that Bella fans only supported her out of pity for having a bad husband, On the March 14 episode of Raw, she distracted Brie during a tag team match against Team B.A.D. (Naomi and Tamina), causing her to lose, and aligned herself with Team BAD. On the March 22 episode of Main Event, she brought the returning Emma and Summer Rae to her guild. As a result, Lana faced off Bella in a tag team match at the WrestleMania 32 pre-show, in what would be Lana in-ring debut, which her team (dubbed Team B.A.D. and Blonde) lost.
On the April 11, 2017, Lana was drafted to the SmackDown brand as part of the Superstar Shake-up. As vignettes hyping her televised return aired, Lana resumed in-ring competition under her new gimmick at NXT live events that same month. Lana made her return on the June 6 episode of SmackDown Live, unsuccessfully vying to compete in the impending women Money in the Bank ladder match, while also igniting a feud with SmackDown Women Champion Naomi. On June 18, Lana was defeated by Naomi in her first televised singles match at Money in the Bank. She went on to compete against Naomi two more times on the June 27 and July 4 episodes of SmackDown Live, where she was defeated both times. On July 23 at Battleground, Lana competed in a five-way elimination match to determine the number one contender for the SmackDown Women Championship, where she was eliminated by Becky Lynch. At the Royal Rumble on January 28, 2018, Lana participated in the first ever women Royal Rumble match as the 13th entrant, but was eliminated by Michelle McCool. Lana would compete in the WWE Mixed Match Challenge, teaming with Rusev, where they defeated Elias and Bayley in the first round, marking Lana first official win in WWE. On the May 22 episode of SmackDown Live, Lana defeated Billie Kay to qualify for the women Money in the Bank ladder match marking her first singles win in the company. At the event, Lana failed to win the ladder match.
Throughout late July, she was booked with Rusev and Aiden English against Andrade Cien Almas and Zelina Vega. In the process, this turned Lana face, for the first time since 2015. At SummerSlam, Lana and Rusev faced Vega and Almas which they lost, however they won the rematch on the following night on SmackDown Live. She competed at WrestleMania 35 in the annual Women WrestleMania battle royal match, but did not win.
Lana has appeared in four WWE video games. She made her in-game debut at WWE 2K15 as an NPC, appearing during Rusev entrance and winning celebration. She later made her managing debut in WWE 2K16 and later appearing in its follow-ups, WWE 2K17 and WWE 2K18. She was confirmed to be a playable character for the first time in WWE 2K19.
In 2016, it was announced that Lana would be featured as a main cast member for the sixth season of Total Divas.
Perry previously dated actor and former American football player Isaiah Mustafa. Perry married fellow WWE wrestler Miroslav Barnyashev, better known by his ring name Rusev, on July 29, 2016.
CJ Perry is represented by Stagecoach Entertainment, which is a Santa Monica based Talent Management Company.
Lana has done modeling work for the energy drinks Matrix and Red Bull in her modeling days.
As a Singer
She was a member of the all-girl group “No Means Yes”, which was signed up with Ne-Yo record label Compound Entertainment in 2009. They released their only single, Would You Like That in 2009.
In 2011, Lana made her theatrical film debut in the American comedy film, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son. However, her role in the movie wasn’t credited.
Her first credited role was in the comedy romantic movie, Pitch Perfect, which was released in October 2012.
First TV Show
In 2008, Lana made her first TV show appearance in the Tai/German episode of the reality TV series, The Millionaire Matchmaker.
Lana works out with her personal trainer Rob MacIntyre, who is well known for having worked with John Cena and Nikki Bella. When it comes to the gym workout, she likes to lift heavy. Her workouts are focused on big lifts such as snatches, squats, and deadlifts. She even claims that the barbell squat has changed her life.
She usually schedules her heavy lifting sessions for 4 days a week. She also adds cross training and cardio to her workout regime, and such workouts are scheduled two or three days a week. To make her workout regime well-rounded, she also goes for hot yoga which she performs at least two times a week.
Regarding diet, Lana believes in keeping it balanced. She believes that as long as everything is in moderation, there shouldn’t be any qualms about eating anything. You can always have a cookie or an ice-cream as long as portions are small.
To make sure that Lana eats healthy and clean while traveling, she takes along pre-packaged meals which she keeps in a cooler. By doing so, she ensures that when a hunger pang hits, she has something healthy to munch on.
Lana Favorite Things
Basketball Team – Los Angeles Clippers
In April 2017, she alleged that she was “violated” during an inappropriate behavior in Boston. She took to her Twitter to blast Boston Logan International Airport for the incident.
At the age of 14, she started performing with the Latvian National Ballet.
While studying at the Florida State University, she was a part of the cheerleading group known as Florida State Cowgirls, who were famous for dressing up as cowgirls during matches.
Early in her career, she worked as a backup dancer for popular music artists such as Akon, Keri Hilson, Pink, Nelly, and Usher.
She spent most of her childhood and her early teens in Latvia. Her family chose to remain there even during the turbulent times of its independence from the Soviet Union.
In her late teens, she performed ballet at the iconic Ballet Hispanico, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, and Broadway Dance Center.