Alicia Atout is one of, if not the premier interviewers in the professional wrestling scene today. Since founding AMBY in 2013, Atout has become a household name in both pro wrestling and music for her in-depth interviews and conversational approach to interviewing. It’s not only earned her the opportunity to interview some of wrestling’s top stars but work in a backstage capacity with Impact! Wrestling, AEW, and, currently, Major League Wrestling.
Recently, Atout joined me to discuss her interview prep, as well as her personal favourite interviewers. She also chatted with us about developing her acting skills as a backstage interviewer.
Researching her interviewees:
“Before interviews, I always try to research just to know what’s going on with people. Like, I’m sure you know this, (but) just so you’re on top of what they’ve been up to, if there’s anything you really should cover, anything they want to promote, too. So, I do a decent amount of research, probably about like an hour, hour and a half per guest, so I always try to sneak that in the day before so it’s fresh in my mind as well.”
“You can know someone inside and out, but at the same time when you’re doing five interviews in one day, it’s so easy to mix up who’s been where, you know what I mean, like the little things like who likes Doritos over Cheetos or whatever it might be. There’s a decent amount of prep that goes into it, and at the same time, if it’s a guest that I’ve had on for like three times, like Chelsea Green, we follow each other, we keep up with what each other has been up to, so with her, it’s like ‘okay, I want to talk about blank, blank and blank, here are bullet points, let’s just go into it and have a conversation.’ So, it differs on the guest, it differs on how many times I’ve spoken to them and my relationship with them, but I try to go in with some kind of baseline to guide everything through.”
Developing her acting skills as a backstage interviewer:
“Now that I get to actually act off of stuff and have more fun with it and really play off of all the guys I’m in the locker room with, it’s a blast. As far as kind of training for it, I think it’s just one of those things I’ve adapted really naturally and luckily I just didn’t suck at, (because) when I was first told ‘yeah, there’s going to be more acting,’ or ‘you have to react to this a certain way, you have to get angry, or sad,’ I’m like ‘oh, gosh, I don’t know how to do this.’ Literally, the word that ran through my mind was ‘ahh, shit.’ Luckily, it just kind of came naturally and when it comes to that locker room, I feel very comfortable with everybody, so I also don’t feel like if you do mess up, or if they mess up, no one’s judging each other in that sense, which is really nice to have.”
“It was very organic as far as the acting goes. Luckily I was able to pick it up pretty easily, and I don’t really get anyone really saying anything negative about that aspect of my job, which makes me so happy because probably in the three years I’ve been doing wrestling stuff, what I was definitely most nervous for.”
Which interviewers she enjoys watching:
“It’s interesting, because when I first started there weren’t a lot of people I watched, simply because I wanted to craft my own style. Because I end up doing all the research, I find when I watch other people interview, I don’t really discover too many things that are new about a person. So, I don’t know.”
“The only real people that I’ll tune in to – and I’ve seen (Chris) Van Vliet’s stuff for research, and we interviewed each other and it was so much fun to do, but I’ll watch Renee Young’s stuff once in a while; having reruns on TV and that kind of stuff, because I think her approach is very similar to (mine) where it’s just you sit down, you shoot the breeze with someone and that’s that. Otherwise, it’d just be old Mean Gene promos whenever those come on, because they’re just so fun and so full of attitude and frustration, and I just think that he’s the best.”
“Those are a couple, but it’s weird – as an interviewer, I don’t go down that interview rabbit hole. I think it’s maybe because I’m so consumed with it myself, I just don’t care as much to listen to other people do it. I don’t mean that as a dig whatsoever, there’s so many people who are good at it, (but) for me it’s like, ‘okay, I’ve heard so many people answer these questions, I’ve already heard them answer these questions, I’m just going to step away,’ and that’s when I’ll try to get in my TV time or something like that.”
Please credit Spencer Love/Love Wrestling with any transcriptions used.