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Chyna's done it her way

Published Sep. 9, 2005

Whether she is WWF star Chyna or just Joanie Laurer, this athletic, 6-foot, 200-pound woman truly is a role model for all those she meets worldwide.

"I've been able to use the WWF as a fantastic platform. I've been able to step out and take a stand. I wake up, and I look for the next project to do. I don't think I would be happy unless I was doing some type of video, TV program (Third Rock From the Sun), book," she said.

On television, radio, newspapers, magazines and Internet, Chyna is promoting her autobiographyChyna: If They Only Knew, which hits bookstores Tuesday. Preorders are available at http://www.wwfshopzone.com.

"Nothing is off limits in my book," she said. "It's very candid. It's the story of Joanie Laurer, the story of my life. This is not a sports memoir. The book has stuff about the character Chyna, but it's more about the behind-the-scenes road of how I became Chyna, how I survive in this man's world, what I do and all the ups and downs of my life. I think people are going to be extremely surprised."

Originally from New Hampshire, Chyna is the third WWF star to release an autobiography. The Rock/Dwayne Johnson and Mankind/Mick Foley watched their respective autobiographies reach No. 1 on the New York Times Best Sellers List.

"I asked my very good friend Mick Foley to read the book while I was writing it," she said. "There were some things in the book which were very disturbing to him, which I liked because he was really feeling some emotion as he was reading it. When you read all those ups and downs, it makes the ending that much better.

"I've led an extremely interesting life, and I'm a unique, visible individual. I'm proud of the book, and I'm already thinking about what I'm going to add to the paperback."

Chyna is more than a well-built physical specimen. A lady, she combines power with beauty. Hey, she not only posed for the cover of Playboy but was featured inside. It was Playboy's best-selling issue in 11 years.

"There have been discussions of doing another Playboy shoot," she said. "I'm not ready to do that at this time. I think it's too soon. How do you outdo what I've just done? I'm sure I'll be working with Playboy in the future, but I have a lot of irons in the fire right now."

Indeed. Chyna's fitness video is also on sale. "I was at the Mall of the Americas doing an autograph signing for the fitness video, and there were so many young women and adult women I met. Some were in tears, and they all had very positive things to say. It's very rewarding, and it makes me feel good. I love when they say I'm an inspiration to them."

As for in-ring action, Chyna has proved her mettle in the ring _ against the guys. She was the first woman to compete in both the Royal Rumble and the King of the Ring tournaments. She is not afraid of anyone (women or men), and she later became the first female Intercontinental Champion at October 1999's No Mercy pay per view.

WWF fans voted her "Diva of the Year."

"There are going to be a lot of women who will achieve success a lot easier than I did," she said. "A lot of that is still based on looks, how we act and their stereotypical roles. We all don't look like the beauty pageant winner. I was the way I was. I was a large girl. I wasn't necessarily a very attractive girl in many people's eyes. I could either accept that and not do anything, or I could go for it."

Chyna had some work done on her chin and breasts. She also toned down her muscle mass a little.

"When I was younger, there wasn't anyone out there who really inspired me," she said. "I feel like there should be so many more women of substance, but through all the things I've experienced, I realized it's really difficult to do that. You get a lot of obstacles thrown in your way."

Chyna is a self-made woman.

"If people think I haven't paid my dues, well, they are entitled to their opinion," she said. "Maybe they can show me another woman who's done what I do. All I can do is try my hardest, and I think I've gone pretty far."

That is an understatement.