Total Divas returns to E! with its ninth season on Tuesday, October 1. Joining the cast is WWE star Sonya Deville. Deville, whose real name is Daria Berenato, is a notable figure in the professional fighting world, in part because she is the first openly gay female WWE fighter.
Since she is new to the cast, longterm fans of the show may be wondering what to expect from Deville as a person and as a fighter. While the reality show will expose more of her personal life for viewers to absorb, the WWE’s official bio for Deville can clue you into the kind of competitor she is during a fight. It reads:
With a background in MMA, Deville uses her knowledge of striking and submission holds to ground and pound her opposition into defeat.
Whether Deville is competing inside the cage or the squared circle, she looks right at home as she fires off lightning-quick combinations that leave her foes wondering what just hit them.
Deville is good and she knows it. From her flawless footwork to her confident scowl, she is always one thunderous kick or punch away from a knockout.
After debuting on Raw as part of the deadly Absolution trio alongside Paige and Mandy Rose, Deville moved to SmackDown LIVE alongside Rose as a result of the 2018 Superstar Shake-up. Rose and Deville quickly established themselves as one of the blue brand’s top tandems and came within an eyelash of being crowned the first-ever WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions inside the deadly Elimination Chamber, as they competed for 33 minutes and were the last team eliminated from the bout.
E!’s official synopsis for the premiere episode, entitled “The Baddest Women on the Planet,” teases that Deville and her sexuality will be a significant part of season 9 right from the start. It reads “On the explosive season premiere of Total Divas, Ronda Rousey makes her debut in a way you’ve never seen her before. Balancing her badass life in the ring and peaceful life at home at Browsey Acres with her husband, Ronda struggles with the pressures of when she’s going to be a mother and put her career on hold. Determined to make a permanent change in the women’s division of WWE, alongside veterans Nattie, Trinity and Nia as well as the firey Carmella and the first-ever openly gay female superstar, Sonya, Ronda Rousey is an unstoppable force. Meanwhile, a fed-up Nia turns to the Bella Twins, Nicole & Brie for advice, after she lets her true feelings out on Carmella before a huge match at Royal Rumble, leaving Carmella in tears.”
According to Sonya’s Instagram page, which has over 725,000 followers, her girlfriend Arianna Johnson will also be featured on the show. With a photo of Johnson and Deville posing together, she wrote “Meet this beauty tomorrow on the season premier of #TotalDivas !”
Ahead of the premiere, Deville opened up to TV Insider about her hope for viewers watching her on the show this season: “I know when people watch Total Divas there is going be a lot to relate to when it comes to my relationship to my girlfriend and being part of the LGBTQ community. Letting a whole new demographic able tune in and say, ‘Wow, I’m gay. She is gay.’ I want to make them feel comfortable and know they have a voice from the WWE now.”
Tune in to new episodes of Total Diva season 9, Tuesday nights at 10/9c on E!.