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|Behind The Microphone w/ WWE’s Renee Young|
March 11th 2013 - |
Look beyond your favorite gladiators in any wrestling ring or MMA Cage, and you are likely to see a host of familiar faces and voices, all doing their part to make your experience as a fan unforgettable. From calling the action to ringing the bell, these staples of your favorite sports & entertainment events hold special places in the hearts of their peers and their audience, and now their stories will be told. What is it like to be a professional announcer, referee or timekeeper? Each week, I'll have a conversation with a face you've undoubtedly seen or a voice you've probably heard, and we'll all find out together.
This time out, I had a conversation with Renee Paquette (now known to WWE audiences as “Renee Young”), one of the most recent additions to the WWE broadcast team. After plying her trade covering pro wrestling and other sports as an on-air host at “The Score”, Young caught the eyes of the WWE last year and was soon US-bound. Now splitting her time between hosting pre-produced segments from the WWE TV facility in Connecticut and NXT programming inTampa, Young is winning over fans with her enthusiasm, sense of humor and passion for her job. She took some time out of her busy schedule to give us a peek into her world
GS: So, it’s been a long time since the WWE broadcast team featured a women's voice. Why do you think it's been such a rarity?
Young: I think that having women on the broadcasting side of things in WWE, and also just in sportscasting, is something that's really expanded in the last few years. We have seen many women in the world of sports as main anchors, and that has only helped to create job opportunities and career paths for women like myself. We haven't seen much of it in WWE, and I am so thrilled and excited to get to lay the groundwork for other women that love and know WWE like I do. The time is here to have a female voice to add another perspective, but really at the end of the day, I am just a girl that loves WWE as much as the male broadcasters do...my voice will just be slightly higher! It's so exciting for me! As far as being a rarity, maybe women just didn't really know it was an option. Just because you might not be a Diva doesn't mean you can't still be seen and heard.
GS: Have you found any particular challenges in gaining credibility with your fellow broadcasters and the company in general based on your gender?
Young: I don't really find many challenges establishing credibility being a woman in a man's world. I mean, there will always be some challenges that women face over men in ANY career, but I feel like that's such an archaic way to think. I also don't think there should be any excuses for someone to not take you seriously. You are largely in control of how others perceive you. In the way you walk, talk, look and behave in a business sense is very important. I think people can quickly tell that I am a genuine fan of WWE, and even all sports when I was broadcasting in Canada. I didn't just happen to show up and get offered jobs. I have worked really hard to establish myself and make a name for myself, so usually people are pretty cool about it.
GS: Let’s step into your shoes for a moment. Describe a WWE "work" day for you, including travel.
Young: I’m not currently on the road with RAW and Smackdown, but on certain days I shoot “WWE Experience” [at the WWE TV studios] along with Matt Striker. I sometimes will be flying to Orlando for NXT. So I would show up at the studios in Stamford CT about an hour before our shoot time, head into hair and make-up, and get my face fixed up and looking presentable. Then I’ll head into the studio where we shoot the show. Matt and I will go over the show with the producers and then it's time to actually tape the show. Once we are done with that, I'll head back to my apartment in NY, grab my bag that I probably should have already packed and then head to La Guardia airport to head down to Orlando for a taping of NXT. Get to my hotel, sleep… then go to NXT.
GS: What are your short term and long term goals on the WWE broadcast team?
Young: My short-term goals with WWE's broadcast team would be to get my butt over on Raw and or Smackdown and help out with backstage interviews, “WWE Active”, or really anywhere they'll let me show my mug and say a few words! My long-term goals are, of course, to get on commentary next to Michael Cole, Jerry 'The King' Lawler, JBL, Matt Striker, Josh Mathews, Tony Dawson... I'd love to be able to work with any of those guys!
GS: Who in the WWE has been most helpful; so far in giving you direction and advice, and what were some of the most helpful things that you've learned?
Young: Someone that has been really helpful to me would definitely be Michael Cole. He is very honest and great to bounce ideas off of. He is really a great guy that’s been such a backbone for WWE's broadcast team for a long time, so he is usually the man with the answers and ideas for me. Also, Tony Dawson and I were hired roughly around the same time and he's been a great support system too. And, of course, Matt Striker and Scott Stamford… those guys are both so good at what they do and I always grow a little bit each time I work with them. Very quick and witty, those two gems are. But so many of the producers and management at WWE have been amazing… a lot of really great people there.
The most helpful thing I've learned, and this is dating back to before I even started at WWE, but it's being able to trust myself and have fun. I work in the business of entertainment. If I'm having fun, it's easier for people watching to have fun too.