AJ Mendez had a relatively brief, but successful career in wrestling. She captured the WWE Divas title three times, while raging against the "diva" term. Post-retirement, AJ has continued to break stereotypes.
AJ's latest effort is GLOW Vs. The Babyface, a four-part comic book series based on the wildly popular GLOW Netflix show. Chicago-born actress Aimee Garcia was AJ's writing partner in this endeavor. Their stated goal is to present strong, diverse female characters.
I had the pleasure of meeting both ladies at a book signing at Challengers Comic and Conversation on Chicago's near north side. My recap for Global Traveler can be found at AJ Mendez, Aimee Garcia and GLOW.
I also brought an 8x10 of AJ and me from a book-signing she did when she was promoting her autobiography Crazy Is my Superpower at an event hosted by (and benefiting) the National Alliance on Mental Illness. AJ seemed genuinely touched that I brought the picture and had supported her cause. Clearly, AJ's work is much more than a business decision. She continues to prove that she is dedicated to breaking barriers of all sorts.
Her autobiography focused on her battles with mental illness and the residual stigmas. The comic book series continues AJ's mission to be a strong woman role model and to create other female role models. AJ is an inspiration to all.
It was my first time meeting Aimee and she was just as passionate. She gavekudos to AJ and referred to her as a "badass." I agreed, but also said she fit that term, too.
The ladies could not have been any cooler, friendlier or funnier. In a sitation with a tight time constraint, the ladies did their best to make everyone feel very special and have their moment. Everyone walked away feeling good with new memories set.
I was a fan of AJ's during her wrestling career, because she was different. I continue to be a fan of hers because she is doing great work in making a differencde in the world.
I appreciate the time and consideration of AJ and Aimee. I also thank the fine folks at Challengers for running a great event.
Aimee Gracia, AJ Lee and me in Chicago, IL-November 2019.