The stunning transformation of the Bella Twins

Body slams, catwalks, and wine. These are just a few words that can be associated with Nikki Bella and Brie Bella, who are known widely by wrestling fans as the Bella Twins. The identical twins — born Stephanie Nicole and Brianna Garcia-Colace — have been slowly making names for themselves as entertainers, and now also unstoppable businesswomen with a successful clothing line, wine collection, and more.

While the birth of the twins was a complete surprise to their then 19-year-old mom, Kathy Laurinaitis, their rise to fame was not. Destined to become bonafide stars from an early age, the twins worked their way to the top of WWE for over 12 years, becoming hugely successful wrestlers with an army of fans. But their domination wouldn't end inside the ring. The Bellas are on their way to world domination.

Read on to learn just how exactly the Bella Twins became the faces of WWE's women division and obtained mainstream success. This is the stunning transformation of the Bella Twins.

The Bellas were raised on a farm

While the Bella Twins live luxurious lives in big cities now, things weren't always so glamorous for the twins. Before they were famous, Nikki and Brie lived humble lives on a produce farm in Brawley, California with their family. 

The Bellas returned to their farm roots for a YouTube video, where Brie explained, "You know, growing up on a farm and growing up being surrounded by fields… it's really kind of shaped myself, on just the importance of life. …I feel like because of growing up on a produce family… it's made me very humble, and grateful…" The twins grew up learning how to work hard and remain disciplined, all thanks to their daily farm chores. Surrounded by horses, cows, and chickens, the Bella Twins had to feed the animals every day before and after school. 

In the same YouTube video Nikki explains, "When you come from such a humble environment, that when you do make it, or become successful, I think when you have these farming roots, it's very easy to come back to your roots and stay humble. I just appreciate it so much… I think it also made Brie and I very strong women."      

They wanted to "spice up your life"

It's no surprise to anyone in the Bella Twins' family that the duo would go on to become entertainers — because the twins used to entertain them when they were kids. Brie explained in an October 2018 interview with Cosmopolitan how she and her sister would put on performances for the attendees of her parents' parties, explaining, "…we would ask if we could lip sync and dance to the Spice Girls… and my parents were always like, 'OK?' I look back — my parents had to watch these young girls go, 'Tell me what you want, what you really, really want' to like all of their drunk friends — and I'm like, how were we not embarrassed?"

The twins explained in a April 2018 interview with Lewis Howes how thrilled they were when they learned there were drama classes upon entering high school; however, the twosome sadly realized that rehearsals would interfere with their soccer practice, and so they couldn't pursue acting at that time.

The Bellas could bend it like Beckham

The twins always had a natural athletic ability from an early age, and they leveraged their skills to lead successful high school soccer careers. While Brie enjoyed playing soccer along with her sister, Nikki's strong competitive streak helped her almost score a college scholarship and achieve her dream of playing for a professional league.

Nikki explained to Lewis Howes in an April 2018 interview, "I guess my dream was always [to be] a professional soccer player. And I had that opportunity… my senior year in high school. …I was gonna play at ASU (Arizona State University), and then I snapped my leg in half, literally a week before I was going to sign for a scholarship."

While Nikki's unfortunate injury cut her soccer dreams short, the incident would cause her to take another path — one that would eventually lead to stardom. She commented in the same interview, "It's crazy how certain things you can go through… changed your dreams, or the direction of your life."

Tragedies set them on a new path to stardom

In high school, the twins had their lives planned out. Nikki was on her way to playing professional soccer, while Brie was planning on spending post-graduation with her high school love. Sadly, Nikki would suffer a career-ending leg injury, cutting her soccer career short; and Brie's high school boyfriend would be killed in a car accident. Brie reflected on that time in an October 2018 interview with Cosmopolitan, "We both went through something life-changing… and were like, 'Let's go to San Diego, we have cousins there. We could just start fresh.'"

So, the twins packed up their lives and moved 400 miles away from home, where they would attempt to figure out what to do next. Eventually, the Bellas would get jobs at Hooters, where they were introduced to WWE. The twins realized the sport incorporated all of their passions — entertainment, acting, athletics — all in one place. The discovery would change the trajectory of their lives forever.

They auditioned for the WWE Divas Search

After learning about WWE, Brie thought it would be the perfect outlet for she and her sister to show off their acting and athletic abilities. She eventually introduced Nikki to WWE and convinced her it was a right fit for them. Nikki explained in a September 2017 Forbes interview, "When Brie started showing me what the women were doing at WWE… [I thought] that's my calling! I get to be athletic, and I get to entertain, and be larger than life and be this character. And I get paid for it? It was like God came down and said, 'This is it!'"

Soon, the twins would audition for the 2006 WWE Diva Search when they were just 22-years-old — and lose. The twins showed up to the audition dressed in matching booty shorts with the words "Garcia Twins" plastered across the back, and black tank tops that read "Nicole Fo' Sho'" and "Brizee Fo' Sheezy."  Thankfully, Kristin Prouty, senior vice president of entertainment relations at WWE, saw something special in the twins and the Bellas were signed to a developmental deal with the company.  

They showed WWE fans some "twin magic"

On November 21, 2008, the Bella Twins officially made their WWE main roster debut as a tag team on an episode of Smackdown, which took place in Manchester, United Kingdom. Dressed in sexy hot pink spandex pants and bra tops, the twins put their wrestling skills to the test against fellow superstars Natalya "Nattie" Neidhart and Victoria (Lisa Marie Varon) — and won the match.

Nikki and Brie rewatched and reminisced about their first official match together in an October 2018 YouTube video, with Nikki commenting, "It wasn't a bad match." Brie added, "It was really fun to watch, but man, have we grown so much."  

Prior to being introduced to wrestling fans as a tag team, the twins performed a move they called "Twin Magic," which involved one of them hiding under the ring while the other wrestled, eventually switching places without their opponent noticing, and finishing off the match — which was revealed to WWE viewers in this November 7, 2008 episode of Smackdown.

They got burnt out and left the WWE in 2012

Nikki and Brie Bella soon learned that being a WWE superstar wasn't easy. The travel schedule in the WWE is extensive — with wrestlers traveling over 300 days out of the year, performing about 3-4 shows per week, including their flagship programs Raw (on Mondays) and Smackdown (on Tuesdays), in a new city each night.

While traveling across the country every night is exhausting in and of itself, having to perform with your body — putting it through spine busters, body slams, suplexes and more — can really take its toll on a physical and mental level. So, in 2012, the twins decided they needed to take a break from WWE.

In a May 2012 interview with Diva-Dirt, Nikki explained their departure: "Brie and I just decided that we needed a little bit of a break. …When you've been on the road for five years… and haven't seen your bed for five days straight… we kind of came to a point like, 'Ok. You know what? Maybe we can, you know, rest our bodies for a little bit.' …We just knew that we definitely needed to take a break."

They became Total Divas

The Bella Twins made their triumphant return to WWE on March 11, 2013 — and they brought along a few cameras. The Bellas signed on to be one of the female wrestlers featured on the E! reality series, Total Divas. The show gave viewers a peek into their personal lives outside of the wrestling ring, while showcasing their struggles to be taken seriously as in-ring performers.

In a July 2013 interview with Fox News Latino, Brie explained, "Our characters on TV… are mean. …I think when you tune into Total Divas you're actually going to see that like, 'Wow. The Bella Twins are really sweet girls… and they're actually cool and funny.'" Nikki added, "That's what's neat about Total Divas. Not only do you get a peek inside the ring, but this is the first time you're going to see diva's lives outside of the ring."

The show became a hit for E! and is heading into its ninth season in 2019 — without the Bellas. Brie told ESPN in February 2019 that she and Nikki are stepping away to let other female wrestlers grow their careers.

They found love -- and heartache -- inside the squared circle

When you're performing and traveling with a select group of people over 300 days out of the year, you're bound to catch some romantic feelings around the wrestling ring. When Brie and Nikki were assigned to accompany WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan (real name Bryan Danielson) to the ring, they never imagined a real-life romance would blossom from the storyline. Bryan told PW Mania in 2013 that he and Brie began dating as the storyline came to a close. The couple exchanged wedding vows in April 2014, and their wedding was featured on the Season 2 finale of Total Divas.

Nikki Bella also found love outside the ring, dating WWE Superstar, John Cena, for six years. The couple eventually got engaged in April 2017 in front of thousands of fans at Wrestlemania 33. Sadly, the couple had quite the turbulent courtship, breaking off the engagement, getting back together, then calling it quits for good. In a statement to People, Nikki explained, "I had a beautiful and loving 6-year relationship with a wonderful man. I have the utmost respect for John, but I know this is what's best for me."

They became 'total' winos

If you've ever watched an episode of Total Divas or their spinoff series Total Bellas, chances are you've seen Nikki and Brie drinking a glass of wine, or visiting a gorgeous winery in Napa Valley. So, it's no surprise the Bella Twins would use their love of wine to create their own product called Belle Radici.

The Bellas announced the release of Belle Radici in an August 2017 YouTube video. In the video, Nikki explains, "Brie and I's love of wine came just because we were connoisseurs. We loved the taste of it, we loved how it made us feel." She finished by saying that creating their own wine line was "beyond a dream come true."

The Bellas had been thinking about the project for a long time. Brie explained in a February 2019 interview with ESPN,  "Nicole and I have always wanted to be winemakers, but we didn't think we would be able to do that until our 50s. But when our friends in Napa came to us and said, 'We really want to do a wine line with you,' how do you say no to that?"

Empowering women to 'bee' confident

The Bellas wanted to create projects outside of wrestling that they were passionate about. One of their passions was fashion, and the twins decided to create their own apparel line called Birdiebee. Launched in November 2017, Birdiebee is an activewear line that features intimates, loungewear, athletic wear, and more.

In a 2017 statement to WWE, the Bellas explained, "We have set out through Birdiebee, to build a strong community of women who empower and inspire one another. …Our goal is to provide a forum through Birdiebee and through the clothing line for women to connect, inspire, encourage and celebrate each other."

With the clothing line, Brie and Nikki hope they can inspire women everywhere to be strong, confident, and fearless. Brie explained to Forbes in 2017, "We want to be more than just the Bella Twins and the stars of these reality TV shows. I want to have a bigger purpose in life. So that's why, with Birdiebee, we really want to give back."

Leading the women's evolution

The twins made a major comeback to WWE in 2018 after a three-year hiatus, with Nikki headlining the first-ever all women's PPV, Evolution, against former Ultimate Fighting Championship star, Ronda Rousey.

In an October 2018 interview with Refinery29, Nikki explained her comeback: "I've been with the company for almost 12 years and, since day one, I've wanted a change for the women here. …[Evolution] represents the barriers that we've broken together as women. …It's the perfect time to have a comeback."

Although the road to Evolution was exciting, it wasn't easy. After Brie accidentally injured a fellow wrestler in the ring and received online hate, she went into a deep depression. In a January 2019 interview with Digital Spy, Brie explained "…I didn't know if I was going to be able to go back to work. All the horrible things people were saying about me, I felt a thousand times worse than the things they thought of me." Thankfully, Brie overcame the hate and was there to support sister Nikki in her historical main event match.

Hanging up their wrestling boots

After a momentous 12-year wrestling career filled with love, championships, injuries, and historical matches, the Bella Twins decided to hang up their boots and officially retire as in-ring performers. The twins individually announced their retirement from WWE, with Nikki announcing her decision in the season finale of their reality series Total Bellas.

As reported by Sports Illustrated, Nikki explained, "I just feel like I'm too old for that travel. …The travel was really, really rough. So I realized, why am I doing this — I don't feel good." In the March 10, 2019 episode of the series, Brie Bella announced she was moving and retiring so she and her husband can begin trying to conceive their second child.

An outpouring of support came from fellow WWE Superstars who praised the twins for their incredibly hard work and growth over the years, and their unwavering friendship and support offered throughout the course of their memorable WWE career.

From the wrestling ring to the airwaves

While the Bella Twins may have hung up their wrestling boots, they aren't done telling their story. Along with a reality series, a clothing line, and a wine collection, the twins are adding another project to their belts: a podcast. Soon after announcing their retirement from the wrestling ring, Nikki and Brie announced they were creating a podcast aptly titled, The Bellas Podcast.

In a March 2019 tweet, the Bellas wrote, "We're turning off the cameras and turning on the mics! Join us this Wednesday! On Apple Podcast or wherever you hear your podcasts!"

Described as a variety show where the Bellas have trivia battles, discuss rumors and trending topics, and answer questions from their fans, The Bellas Podcast will surely satiate fans who can't get enough of the successful businesswomen. The show — which only has a handful of episodes at the time of writing — quickly rose to the top of the charts on iTunes.