USA Today caught up with Mercedes Varnado – to fans of the GFFA that’s Nite Owl Koska Reeves, to lovers of the squared circle it’s the Legit Boss Sasha Banks – to discuss her arrival in the Star Wars galaxy, her admiration of the late, great Eddie Guerrero and, of course, Baby Yoda.
Better known to WWE faithful as Smackdown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks, Varnado made her debut in the newest episode of “The Mandalorian” (streaming Fridays) as Koska Reeves.
Her “Mandalorian” appearance introduced Varnado, 28, to millions of non-wrestling fans, and unlike former WWE star Dwayne Johnson, who went by his wrestling name “The Rock” in his early movie roles, Varnado is billed by her her birth name. “I’m so thankful for the role of playing Sasha Banks for so long, but it took Mercedes Varnado to put in that work, and it took Mercedes to get through those doors of the WWE and to be able to do ‘Star Wars,’ ” she says. “I’m just so excited to show the world exactly who I am.”
Question: I got a kick out of your social media selfie with the “Mandalorian” credits. Did you stay up late to watch your episode, or was it an early morning treat?
Mercedes Varnado: It was an early morning treat. I woke up with a huge anxiety attack. I was just like, “Oh my God, today is the day!’ I had to do my meditation and I took a walk and I just kind of broke down. I just can’t believe that the universe blessed me with this being the day that my episode would air. On Nov. 13 15 years ago, my hero Eddie Guerrero passed away. So I’ve always thought about the date as something that was really terrible in my life, but I used it to fuel my passion and to really just create a legacy for myself. It’s so crazy how the universe is working kind of full circle for me right now.
Varnado: So adorable. Oh my goodness, it is so beyond words. You get to watch it on Disney+, but to see it in person, it’s like, ‘What?!’ I need one in my life. Everybody needs a Baby Yoda in their life.
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