Mariah May - Portsmouth bookkeeper and professional wrestler to appear on new ITV2 sitcom Deep Heat and she aims to be the next worldwide combat sports superstar

BECOMING a combat sports superstar has been the dream for one Portsmouth wrestler since childhood.

Part-time bookkeeper and professional wrestler Mariah May wants to be the next best thing in wrestling.

However, it was not always easy for the 23-year-old.

She was very small growing up as she struggled with body dysmorphia, so was underweight in her teens.

Mariah May overcame body dysmorphia to become a professional wrestler. Picture: Paul Jacobs/pictureexclusive.com.

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May took up the profession helped to overcome her mental and physical issues and develop a healthy relationship with food.

She has gained around two stone since leaving school.

Discussing how she overcame body dysmorphia, May said: ‘Before wrestling, I was very underweight.

Mariah May has an army of fans who travel across the country to watch her wrestle, with one even getting her autograph tattooed on his wrist. Picture: James Scott-Long/pictureexclusive.com.

‘I had always been very small growing up, and in my teens I struggled with body dysmorphia which made things a lot more difficult.

‘But wrestling really helped push me overcome the mental and physical issues I was facing and develop a healthy relationship with food.

‘As a teenager, it was very difficult as it was trendy to be paper-thin.

‘It was hard because I was already small and then I and my friends would do the stupid diets, I was tiny.

May travels across the UK to wrestle, and has even been in matches in the USA. Picture: Paul Jacobs/pictureexclusive.com.

‘Then I left school and I was a little bit healthier but I was still very small and I wanted to wrestle.

‘I began putting on size to prepare for the future when I would start wrestling training.

‘I grew very passionate about nutrition and the gym.

‘I love learning new things and seeing progress so the journey was rewarding, despite being tough to start out.’

Mariah May trains relentlessly to have the fitness necessary to succeed in the ring. Picture: Paul Jacobs/pictureexclusive.com.

May’s wrestling career has gone from strength to strength.

The Portsmouth wrestler has an army of fans which she calls ‘House May’, with over 100,000 social media followers – many of which travel to see her across the country at weekends.

One super-fan even has her autograph tattooed on his wrist.

May fights at shows every shows every weekend and recently travelled to the USA – soon heading off to Germany as her popularity grows.

Alongside wrestling, May supplements her income by bookkeeping once a week, and live-streaming video games on Twitch and YouTube.

Discussing her career trajectory, and her wrestling routine, May said: ‘I grew up watching WWE, I have two older brothers. So we always used to wrestle each other, and we’d take all the cushions off the couch and make a ring, much to my mum's dismay.

‘I wanted to become a wrestler when I was a kid and I feel like it was one of those sorts of craziest dreams, and throughout school I did lots of theatre so I did kind of get that performance kick.

‘When I finished school, I got a job to kind of fund training and everything that's wrestling, it's a business essentially and you've got to really put a lot of time and money into it, so made sure I did that.

‘Then you've also got a fall back as well because you can get injured.

‘I just looked up a local wrestling school and started training and taking part in shows.

‘In the gym I train probably almost every day.

‘Obviously, you have a rest day every three days, but on that day, I'll still do yoga, walk, and stay active.

‘Then wrestling training normally once a week, it just depends on work and stuff like that.

‘On a good weekend I wrestle twice a weekend, it depends on how much you are booked, but normally at least once a weekend.'

Describing what it is like to be in the squared circle, May said: ‘It is quite physical.

There are a few different sides of it and you need to have really good conditioning because it's a lot of hard work when you're in there.

‘You need to be very strong, that’s not necessarily like trophy muscles where you're like shoulders up to your ears.

‘It's just a core strength to look after your opponent because you're working together and you need to be safe and then in terms of does it hurt.

‘It doesn't once you're a wrestler like some things do but when you first start training and you take the first bump, so you really fall back onto the mat or forwards or you flip onto your back.

‘So that's what you'll do when you take a move, but you just have to do it.

‘So no one's gonna run at you and hit you.

‘You just have to throw yourself onto the mat which is against your instincts.

‘That at first did hurt.

‘I’m throwing myself into basically a wall, but yes, it's very physical, and it takes a lot of work.'

She also features in an ITV2 sitcom, based around British wrestling, called ‘Deep Heat’, a brand new six-part comedy which airs on March 28, at 10pm.

Discussing the show and her character, Roxy – a very feisty wrestler – May added: ‘Shooting the show was incredible, the crew was so warm and welcoming.

‘I have always had an interest in acting so to receive an opportunity to be on set and around so many incredible actors, producers, crew, makeup artists and so many more was truly amazing.

‘I will definitely be pursuing more TV work. I grew up performing in theatre, and wrestling is playing a character so it's very much ingrained in me.

‘I love telling stories.

‘The show gives a great insight into old school British wrestling and what the business is like.

‘It's portrayed in a very light and digestible way so I feel it will be easy for people to get into.

‘We see a lot of football and rugby in this country but wrestling is very much an unscratched surface so it's got a unique edge to it.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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