We had the good fortune of connecting with Viva Van and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Viva, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Professional Wrestling is all about risk-taking. Everything we do to take our careers to the next level requires some form of risk taking. From our gear to our matches, every aspect of our profession is an investment in ourselves in what we think will help our careers progress. Personally, I’ve taken several risks in my career to cement myself in pro wrestling history. As the very first Vietnamese American female pro wrestler, my main objective is to break down barriers for people like me.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a first-generation pro wrestler. I am also the first female Vietnamese-American pro wrestler. Some of my proudest moments have been wrestling for promotions like All Elite Wrestling (AEW), Lucha Libre AAA, PCW Ultra, and DEFY Wrestling. I also played a big role in helping bring wrestling to the first and only pro wrestling school in Vietnam, Vietnam Pro Wrestling (VPW), by raising funds to construct their very first wrestling ring. I’m also proud of my achievements outside of wrestling like being a first-generation college graduate (shoutout to CSU Fullerton) and starting my very own Makeup & Accessory line, Hellbent Glam.
The road to where I am today has been extremely difficult. Being a Pro Wrestler isn’t easy. Physically, you go through a lot. You have to wrestle regularly, stay in the gym, and maintain a strict diet. Mentally, some may argue it’s even tougher. Maintaining your mental health is just as important as staying in shape physically. People tried to bully me out of this business early in my career, but I stuck it out because my dream is unbreakable. That’s why in wrestling I’m Hellbent to make it to the top, hence the name, “The Hellbent Vixen”.
The lesson in my journey so far is to not let anyone bring you down. Believe in yourself and put in the work and the rest will fall in place. You will go through tough times. Sometimes you might face rejection, but I’ve learned that it’s usually a blessing in disguise; a divine redirection.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Fortunately, the possibilities are endless in Los Angeles. The first place I would take a best friend to is Disneyland. I’m a huge Disney nerd, and there are a million things you can do there like go on rides, watch shows, eat, and shop! (Is this a promo? cut me a check Disney lol).
When it comes to food I have a few favorite places to eat in Los Angeles. Grill Em’ All in Alhambra is a Heavy Metal Burger joint that spins the best tunes alongside old-school pro wrestling matches and PPVs, This is probably the first place I’d recommend. Another is Chris’s Burgers in La Puente. I grew up on their burgers and chili cheese fries. Everyone in La Puente and West Covina knows of this place. Another would probably be any place with delicious Carne Asada Fries. If you’ve never tried carne asada fries then get to it. Live your best life. Lastly would be any place with Boba and Pop Corn Chicken like Boba Ave Express in Arcadia. They are the only place I’ve seen that has a drive-thru. I repeat, a BOBA spot with a drive-thru.
I realize that I name mostly places to eat. As a wrestler, I don’t get to eat like this a lot, so I tend to turn into a walking food guide. Now I’m really hungry.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Several people have played a role in helping me become the wrestler I am today. Some of the people who took a chance on me early in my career include Pro Wrestling Legends and Promotions like Rikishi and Black Pearl of Knokx Pro Wrestling Academy, Konnan, Josef Samael of PCW Ultra, and Defy Wrestling. There are a few I might have left out (I apologize in advance), but I appreciate anyone who’s ever played a role one way or another in my career thus far.
Justin Cotterell, El Pollo Lucha Libre, A2K19, Kat Grays, AEW, Speedy Photos, Macormac Image Works, Vitz Photos