By Drew Olson Special to Published Jun 23, 2009 at 7:17 AM

World Wrestling Entertainment "diva' Maria Kanellis is town for the "WWE SmackDown and ECW" event tonight at the Bradley Center. We caught up with Kanellis, a native of Ottawa, Ill., who posed for Playboy last year, in advance of the show. You're a Midwestern girl. Do you like doing shows in these parts?

Maria Kanellis: Definitely. I always love going back. It's always nice to see my family. It's exciting for me.

OMC: You've been in California for awhile now. Could you handle a Midwestern winter?

MK: I definitely can handle it. I still like the snow. But, I don't really like the cold. My sister gives me a hard time about that.

OMC: It seems funny that the phrase "diva" used to come with a negative connotation -- meaning high-maintenance-- but you guys use it in kind of a different way. Are you aware of that? Who is the biggest true diva on the circuit?

MK: That's funny. Certain individuals get called divas, but for the most part we all get along really well. The WWE Diva is defined as smart, sexy and powerful women. There is nothing wrong with that.

OMC: What's the best part about being a Diva?

MK: Definitely going out and feeling the crowd and their energy and their excitement. It doesn't matter if there are 2,000 people, 15,000 or 90,000, it's an amazing feeling you experience that energy.

OMC: What's the toughest part of being a Diva?

MK: The worst is being away from the family so much.

OMC: Milwaukee area native Candice Michelle was bothered by injuries a lot (toward the end of her affiliation with WWE). Do people realize how demanding this activity is?

MK: It can be tough. You do get a lot of injuries. Sometimes, the worst part is getting on the plane when you are sore after a show. You don't get much sleep on the plane. We have to work out a lot. It's not just something you can start doing. Like they say "Don't try this at home."

OMC: Yes, but a lot of people do. I've seen the backyard videos...

MK: We have people come up all the time and ask "How do I do it. How can I get started?"

OMC: What's your advice?

MK: What I say to them is that you have to work hard and never, ever give up.



Drew Olson Special to

Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.