NEW ORLEANS — Before WrestleMania 30 takes over the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday, WWE Superstars stopped by Einstein Charter School in New Orleans and the Boys & Girls Club Westbank Unit in nearby Gretna, La., to help spread the Be a STAR Alliance’s message of tolerance and respect.
On Thursday, Mark Henry, Natalya and David Otunga joined 300 students from grades five through eight to share their personal experiences with bullying and to explain to the children how they can put an end to bullying. The next day, Cameron, Naomi, Alberto Del Rio and Damien Sandow joined Bronk and WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon to talk to an excited group of kids at the Boys and Girls Clubs to spread the word.
Natalya, Cameron and Naomi, stars of the hit E! show “Total Divas,” talked to the students about cyberbullying, how they deal with it and how the kids can help put an end to it by using social media and the Internet to spread positive messages.
"People can go online and say Natalya’s fat or Natalya’s ugly. They can say whatever they want about me, but guess what, I don’t have to take it,” “The Queen of Harts” said. “I can push back, I can choose not to follow them, or not to read it, to just ignore it. I don’t have to accept anything but the best for myself. You guys can do the same exact thing."
Otunga explained how kids can combat bullying by becoming actively involved, not just standing by and letting it happen.
"Be kind to the person being bullied. Talk to them. It’s a very lonely place to be, feeling like everyone’s picking on them. Let them know they’re not alone," the Harvard Law graduate advised.
Sandow, taking part in his first-ever Be a STAR rally on Friday, sat down to tell the kids about his own personal experience with bullies as a child. The Intellectual Savior of the Masses talked about how he was picked on for dreaming to be a WWE Superstar and how a fellow student did not remain a bystander and put an end to the bullying.
“I got laughed at a lot,” he said. “I’ll never forget one time, someone was saying ‘You’ll never be a WWE Superstar,’ and this kid that I know stuck up for me and said ‘How do you know? Maybe someday, he will be.’ I never forgot that and we became great friends. Because he stuck up for me, I made a friend for the rest of my life. You guys can really affect people in a good way.”
While he portrays one of the most intense Superstars to ever step in the ring on television, Henry told the Einstein students about the differences between what they see in the media and reality.
"It’s my job to be entertaining," The World's Strongest Man explained. "I can’t walk out of this building and punch somebody and expect to stay free. That’s not the way it works. I can act on television and beat people up. That’s TV."
The Be a STAR rallies are just one of many ways WWE is making a positive impact on New Orleans during WrestleMania Week.
“What’s incredibly important to WWE is using our powerful voice to give back to the community,” McMahon said.
At the end of the rallies, the Superstars and Divas left the children with a simple, but effective message: Don’t be a bully, Be a STAR!
Be a STAR is made up of more than 50 alliance partners including Scholastic Inc., YMCA of America, Girl Scouts of America, GLAAD, RAINN and STOMP Out Bullying. For more information, visit beastaralliance.org, the Be a STAR Facebook page and the Twitter account @beastaralliance. Also, log on to beastaralliance.org to take the official Be a STAR pledge and to download a free Be a STAR teacher’s aide and Be a STAR toolkit to start your own local chapter.