Hook & Barrel
A Lifestyle Magazine for Modern Outdoorsmen

Natalie Eva Marie Hook & Barrel Magazine May-June 2024

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Former WWE Star Bringing Raw Power and Passion To Hunting and Life

Natalie Eva Marie is not your ordinary woman—and not just because of her trademark bright-colored hair. The former WWE superstar has a vibrant personality that fills a room the moment she walks in. And her tenacity and zeal for life are traits that are contagious whenever you are around her, a fact we learned quickly during the cover photo shoot for this issue.

natalie eva marie and natalie radzwilla
Besides sharing the same first name, Natalie Eva Marie and Natalie Radzwilla share the passions of strong family bonds, faith in God and promoting all that is good in outdoor sports.

Initially, Natalie was unsure what to expect when venturing into the outdoor industry. The California native turned Texan has found those within this community to be very welcoming. In 2023 she was embraced as a brand ambassador by Christensen Arms, makers of top-quality hunting and long-range target rifles. Her success in the ring has now evolved into success in the field as both a hunter and an outdoors influencer.

In The Beginning

With a Mexican mother and an Italian father, Natalie says she came by her fiery personality naturally. The youngest child with three older brothers, she became a tomboy early in life.

“I’m Mexican-Italian, so I’m always bringing the heat,” she says. “I was bringing the heat straight out of the womb, according to my mom. She signed me up for pageants and dance, and I went, but I was always more concerned with what my brothers were doing because they were out playing ball. I recall telling my mom that I would rather go play with the boys. So early on I became obsessed with sports.”

Through her experiences, Natalie learned that team sports were more than just kids out playing games. She realized the many benefits team sports can provide to youth—benefits that can serve them well the rest of their lives.

“I’m a huge advocate for team sports because they teach you so much in life,” she says. “When you’re amongst a team, not only is it the camaraderie, but you also are having to show up. You must have a schedule. You have to be disciplined. You have a routine. But it also makes you learn how to win and lose. 

“There’s nothing worse than a sore loser, and there’s also nothing worse than someone who’s a boastful winner. In life, you’re losing a lot more than you’re winning. So, I feel like if you can instill that in the youth at a very young age, they’re able to then navigate life a lot easier.”

natalie eva marie interview

Despite her tomboy status and constant involvement in sports, Natalie’s frequent changes in hair color also started at a young age. She had no idea that factor of her life would contribute to her success years later.

“It’s funny because I’ve been messing with my hair color since I was 14 or 15,” she says. “My mom’s a hairdresser, but I wouldn’t let her do my hair. I would take her hair color and do it myself. And to this day, Dad says, ‘Oh God, still messing with that hair?’ It’s really funny because my hair color was one of the best business decisions I ever made going into the WWE—it just set me apart from everybody.”

Growing up the younger sister of older brothers wasn’t always easy for Natalie. But in the long run, she has realized it provided some important benefits in life.

“My God has a massive sense of humor,” she says. “He likes to teach me lots of lessons as well. I always wanted a sister, but now that I’m older I appreciate that my brothers were so rough and tough.”

Natalie’s Parental Guidance

While her brothers were big influences in her life, it was Natalie’s parents who really helped her become the woman she is today. Her mother came to the United States from Mexico, and her father was the product of a broken home. Yet the lessons she learned from watching them live their everyday lives helped ingrain in her the desire to work hard and succeed in reaching her goals.

“My parents truly are my heroes,” she says. “I feel like I live today to honor them because they gave myself and my brothers everything that they didn’t have when they were growing up. 

“My dad was a typical hard-working man who woke up and went to work every day, and would still always show up to our games. It’s one of those things I’m so appreciative of.  My parents, two people that did not have much, but they were able to dream the American dream.”

Still, while she had watched wrestling on television with her brothers as a youngster, becoming a professional wrestler wasn’t something that had ever crossed Natalie’s mind. She actually had another sport in mind that she was dedicated to pursuing.

“My journey is quite odd because originally the game plan was I wanted to be a professional soccer player,” she says. “That was the ultimate—it was my thing. But certain circumstances happened. I ended up tearing ligaments in my ankle. And then I thought that I was done but I wasn’t. A lack of self-belief is really what it boiled down to. I got the itch again.

“Playing soccer got me through college, thank God. I don’t know if I would have graduated if I didn’t have something like that to hold on to during those years.”

Natalie graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in business management. Soon afterward, she moved to Los Angeles to see what life had in store for her.

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Wild World of the WWE

Living in L.A. can be tough for a young woman on her own, chasing auditions here and there while also working as a waitress at night to keep the bills paid. When WWE came to town, Natalie naturally signed up for what she thought would be yet just another audition. In fact, she didn’t even know there was wrestling involved.

“I didn’t know it was actually the WWE at the time because when I got the breakdown of where to go I didn’t care because at that point I had gone on so many auditions and I’d been turned down a ton,” Natalie says. “But everything’s a numbers game. You’ve got to shoot your shot because eventually, something will hit. All the ‘No’s’ lead to a ‘Yes.’”

With that in mind, Natalie marched right into the room hopeful but not overly confident. When she looked around, one of the first people she saw was world-famous professional wrestler Hulk Hogan. 

“I’m like, wait, what?” she says. “‘Holy shit!… This is WWF back when I used to watch with my brothers!’ This was wild.” 

That was the point when many less confident women might have simply made a quick exit. But not Natalie. She quickly recognized a big opportunity had been given to her.

“Then I started to think about it,” she recalls. “If I can get this job, it literally has everything that I want to do infused into one place. Not only was I missing that drive, that competition because you have to handle all the physicality required to wrestle, but then you get to travel the world, you get to build a character, perform on live television in front of a live audience.”

Along with the attraction of the pure physicality of wrestling and the stardom that could follow, Natalie had another reason to be interested in the gig. She knew that WWE does a lot for the community, particularly for those serving our country.

“WWE does do great work within the community, and they do a lot with our military,” she says. “That’s a big thing for me because my Dad is a Vietnam veteran and served in the Marines.

“I just went ahead through that process, and it was audition, audition, audition. And then the callback—the last one—was an in-ring physicality tryout. And girl, I have never wrestled in my life. I’m a field athlete. I like to keep my feet on the ground. So as soon as we started doing forward rolls and running the ropes, I said, ‘Holy shit, this is crazy! Not only does this really hurt, but this is wild!’ But it was a good feeling to me because I love to compete.”

Natalie Eva Marie’s Toughest Times

At that same time, Natalie had just met Jonathan Coyle, who she was engaged to after just five weeks and later married. She was also freshly out of rehab for alcohol addiction, which had led to her wrecking cars, getting DUIs and going to jail.

“So, things on paper were not looking the best,” she says. “But, you know, God, I had put a lot of trust and was ready to commit to doing what I had to do with my sobriety.”

Natalie’s Commitment to Sobriety

Natalie’s experience with alcohol addiction (she’s now been sober for over a decade) is anything but a high point in her life. But it’s also not something she hides because she knows her story can help others undergoing similar struggles.

“Addiction and alcoholism run deep in my family—I have it on both sides. I never got to meet my grandfather because he died of cirrhosis of the liver. I also think that generation is a little bit different in terms of knowledge of it and talking about addiction or alcoholism,” she says.

Natalie said the unwavering support of her family was instrumental in her surviving this period of her life. They didn’t try to bail her out of her troubles but were always in her corner.

“They were always there for me, but they allowed me to continue to fall on my face until I was ready to figure it out,” she says. “Because, like they always say, the cliché, ‘You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.’ So, if you’re active in your addiction or your alcoholism, it’s really tough. 

natalie radzwilla interviewing natalie eva marie

“The individual really has to want it themselves. And that’s why a lot of people sometimes are in and out of treatments because they’re not willing to actually put forth all the effort required to get well. And that’s what’s sad. The thing that I see most now is the heartache for the loved ones of the one that’s suffering.”

One of Natalie’s personality traits is she’s not always a quick learner when it comes to life lessons. And that made her struggle with addictions even more difficult.

“I’m the type of person who hears, ‘Don’t put your hand on the stove, you’ll get burned.’ And I’m putting my hand on the stove seven times before I’m getting it together. I don’t know why I’m like that—it’s just something about me. I hope that I’ve gotten better with that. I think so.

“I thank God I married a normal and logical man. I still look at him sometimes and say, ‘How does your brain think like that?’ Because mine does not. My initial answer is the wrong one. And I know now I’m super aware of that. When I am doing the right things and staying the course like I’m supposed to, God will take care of me.”

Of course, life has its ups and downs for everyone. And for Natalie, the low points make her appreciate the good things life has to offer.

“It’s one of those things where you can’t experience joy without pain,” she says. “It’s just unfortunately like that. But when you do have those joyful moments, the appreciation is so real. The gratefulness is so real.

 “That’s why I make it a point to never take anything for granted at all.”

A true champion, Natalie now uses her battle with alcoholism to inspire others with addictions to move forward and create a better life. She hosts the HopeAholics podcast with Chad Carlsen and Shane Earn where addiction and recovery are frequent topics.

“God just kind of made it all happen—hosting a podcast with Chad and Shane is truly amazing. I feel there is so much stigma behind sobriety and alcoholism and addiction… I’m really trying to remove that because there’s no shame in asking for help or getting help. There’s shame in staying the same and wanting to kill yourself and wanting to not be in that place. There’s no shame in trying to progress and get better.”

Living The Outdoor Lifestyle Thanks to PETA

Natalie Eva Marie with husband Jonathan Coyle
Natalie with husband Jonathan Coyle

Growing up a California girl and gaining fame through a professional wrestling career doesn’t exactly sound like a gateway into the world of hunting. But that’s exactly where Natalie finds herself now—and she couldn’t be happier about it.

“My godfather was an avid hunter,” she says. “Every time we would go to his house he had all his shoulder mounts everywhere. So, it was very much introduced to us at a young age. I just never did it because I was playing sports and not that interested at that time.” 

That all changed, however, for a number of reasons—not the least of which was the lean, healthy protein wild game meat provides for those who consume it.

“One reason was obviously the food,” she says. “Jonathan is really into nutrition and health and wellness. And anybody that has followed my journey by watching Total Divas, and things of that nature, knows I truly believe health is wealth.

“If you don’t have your health, you have nothing. I don’t care: You can be rich and have all of the things that you think will make you happy. But if you don’t have your health, then you’re done.”

Harvesting Her Own Meat

That’s where wild game meat comes into play. And, according to Natalie,  what better way to get that meat than by hunting for it yourself?

“I feel like the older I get, the worse our food gets,” she said. “Whatever happened to eating food the way God intended it? That’s how I want to eat it. 

“And when you’re hunting your own meat it’s field to table, and I’m doing it with my hands. So, I feel there’s this element of knowing exactly where your food comes from.”

Ironically, it was one of the country’s biggest anti-hunting organizations—so-called People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals—that prompted Natalie to take up hunting. 

“Shout out to PETA because you guys made me a hunter,” she says. “Thank you very much. Because they did all the hard work by showcasing factory farming… so now I’m going to go hunt my own meat. You should know where your meat comes from.”

While her journey into hunting started with the quest for a good, natural food source, it soon grew beyond that, as it does for so many hunters after they experience the true joy of being in the field, mountains or woods.

“This is only my second season hunting—both filled with spiritual experiences. I feel super connected to not only the camps that I have been a part of, but also when you’re able to provide food for your friends and loved ones, that’s special,” she says. “It’s also a conversation starter for when company comes over and it’s your meat that you went out and harvested. 

“So, my inspiration comes from multiple elements. The food being nutritious is super important. It also feels powerful in the sense of I’m a woman and I’m able to go out there and do the damn thing. It makes me feel connected to my God and my love of my godfather, rest in peace. He was a huge hunter, and I feel his presence when I’m out there.”

Natalie Eva Marie’s Love Of The Hunt

To Natalie, there’s also a feeling of hunting being a natural thing.

natalie eva marie
Elk hunting to Natalie is about challenging adventures, stunning landscapes, deep respect for nature and shared experiences in the wild that create lasting bonds and memories.

“It’s one of those things that we’re meant to do,” she says. “Hunting makes you appreciate food a lot more, and we make sure we have zero waste from the wild game we take. When you go out there and you actually see this beautiful, majestic animal it is mind-blowing. I feel like anybody who has never done it should at least experience it once. I get that it’s not for everybody. But to experience it one time I think would do a lot of people a solid from understanding what goes into it, the love, the appreciation, all of the emotions.”

In fact, Natalie believes that if everyone experienced conservation in one way or another, it would go a long way toward alleviating the negative stigma that many associate with hunting.

“Hunting often gets labeled so bad,” she says. “But then again, what do you think is happening when you just go to your local market? How do you think that meat got there? You know what I mean? So, I think changing that narrative is really important. 

“God gave me a really big platform. I want to show people that they can do whatever they want to. Obviously, you have to put in the work and be willing to do what is required, but if it is in you to do something, then you get what you put into it. So put all of you into it. That’s what I want to showcase to all my platforms is that I enjoy doing this.”

Natalie’s position as a brand ambassador for Christensen Arms is one way she is able to showcase hunting in a very positive light. And she has embraced the role wholeheartedly.

natalie eva marie
It makes sense that a woman of Natalie Eva Marie’s character is drawn to the highly functional and beautiful works of art built by Christensen Arms

“This partnership is a match made in heaven!” Natalie says. “I fell in love with Christensen Arms’ firearms the moment I laid my hands on them. The craftsmanship, precision and innovation are truly exceptional.

“But it wasn’t just about the products; it was about the people behind the brand. After meeting the amazing Christensen Arms team, I knew that we were a perfect fit. You see, for me, partnerships are about more than just business. They are about aligning with a company that shares your values and vision. And Christensen has that vision—to take firearms and hunting to a whole new level.”

Since moving to Texas in 2021, Natalie has also thought more about the right to keep and bear arms as protected by the Second Amendment.

“It’s so important for us to have that right,” she says. “And Texas, thank God, is one of those big states for us to actually have that right. I don’t think I ever want to live in a place that takes that away.”

Embracing The Future

Natalie’s six years of success in professional wrestling put her in the public eye and resulted in her star status. So, what’s next for the soccer player turned wrestler turned hunter? Natalie knows she still has a lot of life to live, and she plans to live it with the exuberant gusto with which she has lived her first 39 years.

“I’m just stepping into this industry in the sense that there’s so many elements that I could explore,” she says. “I know there are more hunts that I want to go on. We’ve talked about me possibly competitively shooting. I’m not quite sure, because right now I have my hands in a lot of things.

“My superpower is my sobriety. There is no question that without it, I wouldn’t be sitting here today. I wouldn’t even have a house. The life that I have today is because of choosing to go ahead and work on myself and maintain my sobriety.”

Helping others choose sobriety is also among her passions and another thing that keeps her schedule full every day.

“I love the fact that now I get to have a voice on a podcast and have guests come and share their experience, strength, and hope because we all have pain, we all have struggles,” she says. “We have all been through something. You know we might not have gone through the same thing. But life is hard. So, it’s really fulfilling to listen to other people’s stories of how they’ve gotten out of that, because we all have our days and we all have our funk and there’s going to be seasons of life that are harder than others. But to give that glimmer of hope, because that’s really what it starts with—you need a little bit of glimmer of hope for you to make a change, and then face all the hard work that comes along with it.”

Living the Good Life

Her newfound passion for big-game hunting and enjoying God’s wonderful outdoor creation has given Natalie an understanding of life that she wouldn’t have had if she hadn’t decided to try. And she believes others would benefit from those same experiences.

“You know, people are too worried about scrolling on Instagram, not getting in tune with God,” she says. “I feel God is always talking to us, but we’re occupied with noise. So, by being able to step outside that, you’re going to hear some things that are going to either inspire or motivate or answer some of the questions that you’ve been toying with. I think that’s what’s really important.”

From humble beginnings to WWE stardom—with roadblocks and slip-ups, highs and lows along the way—Natalie remains faithful to God, her husband, and the loving family that worked so hard to raise her and give her every opportunity in life.

natalie eva marie hunting with husband

“I feel like today in our society we put so much status on and idolize celebrities, but why them?” she asks. “You don’t know how they’re acting behind closed doors. Mine is God and my parents. God is number one, and that’s who I’m trying to live my life as best as I possibly can for. I know he looks down at me and says, ‘Girl, get your life together.’” 

Editor’s Note

Catch the full interview with Natalie Eva Marie and a collection of Hot Takes with Natalie Eva Marie at Hook & Barrel Magazine’s YouTube channel >>> 

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