Sunny the California Girl
What makes a superhero? Do they all have to encounter crisis, be shockingly injured, and from that wound arise with a strength that exceeds all other humans’ capabilities? If that is the definition of a superhero, then Patrisha Summerland is definitely a super hero.
I must confess as I was preparing to interview Patrisha (aka Sunny the California Girl) Summerland, one of the original GLOW girls (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) I was filled with old-fashioned intimidation and (ashamedly) a little envy. Here was a woman so articulate, polished, and beautiful in her fifties that she makes the rest of us aging boomers, who avoid the mirror like a bill collector, feel a little gypped. I know, shame on me but hey, if you cut me, do I not bleed? Why does this woman get to not only retain her striking looks and gorgeous physique, but actually get more beautiful with time?
Super Powers aren’t for Sissies
Her story is truly compelling. On the surface, Patrisha (Trisha) had it all: amazing athleticism, stunning looks, a warm and engaging personality, and television success. But underneath, the genesis of her superpowers were forged in the fires of intimate partner violence, stalking, kidnapping, familial dysfunction, and rape. This amazingly gifted woman endured these challenging issues all the while keeping her career afloat and staying in peak athletic shape. Concurrently, she also sustained life-altering injuries on the job, such as broken bones and concussions.
After talking with Trisha Summerland, I think I discovered her superpowers and her fountain of youth. Her superpowers are resiliency and strength of character. Her fountain of youth is a radiant beauty that comes from within. She is not only totally committed to empowering women, but she also fearlessly shares her story of familial suicide and abandonment and intimate partner and sexual violence in the hopes of helping other women encountering similar circumstances. Trisha is almost single-handedly knocking victim stigma right out of the ring. Wrestling is actually the least of her superpowers. Not to minimize her career in wrestling—because that, too is remarkable—but her journey of trauma recovery and women’s empowerment is where her strength of character truly distinguishes her from the rest of us mere mortals.
Powers for the Good
This is not a woman who is easily vanquished. And like any great superhero, she uses her powers for the good. Trisha has taken her dark experiences and shined a light on them to help others. She provides motivating and moving speaking tours for young women and has one of the most (forgive the cliché) sunny dispositions I have encountered. She is generous to a fault; hence, the interview with a startup podcast in order to help the Green Ink Radio team move forward.
Great news: Trisha is working on her memoir (what I have described thus far is only a snapshot of the challenges and extraordinary life events she has encountered and overcome). A movie is already in the pipeline and it’s going to be fascinating. Her astonishing experiences and how elegantly she has handled these challenges are truly remarkable. Trisha is a shining example of what a trailblazer can do for the hidden reality of many woman’s lives. She entered a man’s world—wrestling—and her unique and engaging performances helped catapult the GLOW Girls to seven million viewers weekly. Trisha and the GLOW Girls outshone the male wrestlers by several million spectators each week! These athletic, brave women broke barriers and kicked ass! After meeting Trisha, I can totally understand why their current fan base keeps growing to over the tens of thousands. Trisha and the rest of the team are inspirational on so many fronts. I’m so honored to be able to interview Trisha and other members of this group of fearless barrier breakers.
Trisha is a true superhero of epic proportions. Personally, I have discovered that she is kind and generous beyond measure. She is the type of person you would want beside you in battle—or in the ring. And her story is far from over. Her courage, kindness, strength, and big-bigheartedness continues to inform her journey. As Batman used to say: Kapow!