WWE Digital & Social Media division wanted to create a mural in NYC around SummerSlam. I’ve worked with many artists downtown on art projects, so I was excited to be able to produce a piece on behalf of WWE with a positive message for the community. I feel very lucky that WWE was behind me about keeping this Ronda Rousey mural about the art, the community and the message.
WWE’s Women’s Evolution and the women’s movement across the world were the sources of inspiration for the concept of this mural. WWE Executive Editorial Director, Ryan Murphy and I decided to feature WWE Superstar and former UFC legend, Ronda Rousey as our subject and Fight Like A Girl as our message. Ronda Rousey was the first woman to ever be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. In her induction speech said: “We have changed what it means to fight like a girl.” Ronda Rousey and the women of WWE are revolutionizing what it means to be a female athlete. The progression of the women’s division over the past few years is inspiring and motivates me in so many ways. I am really proud to work with these incredible women.
I lead this mural project in collaboration with two remarkable women, artist BKFoxx and Erica Rompani from The New Allen. We put a lot of time, energy and girl power into this project. It was a rewarding experience for all of us. Many people stopped by to see our progress each day, especially a lot of women and families. It was resonating with them exactly as we hoped for and that fueled us on all those long, hot days. One mother and her two young daughters and son walked past, and I overheard her say to them, “Do you know what that says? It says Fight Like A Girl. You know what that means? That means doing what you got to do and fighting for what is right.”
I met BKFoxx while assisting at Hanksy’s Market Surplus last June. I was impressed with BK’s passion for creating meaningful and beautiful art, along with her amazing talent and work ethic. She freehand sketches and freehand spray paints large scale, photorealistic murals around the world. She was my first and only choice for this mural, so I was very happy that she wanted to do it. I promised her I’d coordinate this mural so it went smoothly and was fun. All she’d need to focus on was painting. I made sure we had all the proper approvals and paperwork, I procured a scaffold and all of her paint, I kept our days organized, and communicated with anyone who stopped to chat so they knew why we were doing this. It was a valuable and meaningful experience for us. We wrapped each day feeling rewarded. On the final day, when BK was painting the last letter in Fight Like A Girl, I stopped her and told her I didn’t want to her to finish, I just didn’t want this to end. She didn’t either. Working on this mural was one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. I could plan and produce anything, but I cannot predict how anyone will feel about it. It resonated with the public, the art community and with Ronda herself in ways I never would have imagined.
On Friday, August 17th, Ronda Rousey stopped by to see the mural. I coordinated her appearance and managed media on site with WWE’s PR team. The goal was to keep it an intimate experience for Ronda with limited press and attendees. I had great support from the NYPD and Community Affairs. Ronda’s reaction to it was the final touch on this mural. She loved it and understood the passion and meaning behind it from just being there. In her Instagram post, Ronda said, “What an incredible honor, thank you @bkfoxx for making me part of your latest work of art! Coming from Venice #WhereArtMeetsCrime there is no better compliment from a community than to be included in its street art… I’m not a cause of progress, but a mark of progress – and to change the meaning of “Fight like a girl” takes not one person but the changing minds of everyone.”
Art by BKFoxx
Creative Production & Direction by Christine Reilly
Wall provided by Erica Rompani
Video by Michael Topalis
Appearance Photography by Kareem Black
BTS Photography by Christine Reilly