You could say Kira Forster has led a bit of a double life.
Growing up in her hometown of Victoria, she was Kira, a dancer who struggled with low self-esteem.
But today, her millions of fans in Mexico know her only as Taya Valkyrie, one of the most popular lucha libre wrestlers in the country.
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"I kind of just went for it and things just started happening," Forster told On The Coast guest host Gloria Macarenko.
"I got invited to Mexico and the rest is kind of history, because in the first three days I got asked to stay, and now I'm the first-ever foreign women's champion, also longest-reigning women's champion."
Forster's career in Asistencia, Asesoría y Administración (AAA) — Mexico's answer to WWE — has taken off of late. She even had her first action figure launched earlier this year.
'The bad blondie that came in and terrorized everybody'
Lucha libre is similar to professional wrestling in Canada and the U.S., combining theatrics with athleticism.
In Mexico, it is watched by millions of people every week on television — Forster says it's second only to soccer in popularity.
Wrestlers like Forster, AAA's top female, can become major celebrities.
"It's a little bit strange: you're walking down the street and people's faces recognize you, stuff like that," she said. "I'm just happy to share what I love with everybody else and be a representation of an 'other,' the 'foreigner,' someone who's from another country who has embraced what is this sport and this art of Mexican lucha libre."
Being "the foreigner" is central to Forster when she's in the ring.
Just as WWE and other pro wrestling promotions have had politically incorrect bad guys from other countries such as Iron Sheik and Yokozuna, Forster fills the same role in Mexico.
"She used to be a good girl, now she's a bad girl," she said "Wrestling's based a lot on stereotypes, so I obviously was the bad blondie that came in and terrorized everybody … I'm viewed as the tall, strong, crazy blonde and I come in and do what I do best."
And in a nod to her Canadian roots, her signature move is the "Northern Lights Suplex."
'I never thought I could be like them'
"Life likes to come and happen in weird ways," is how Forster explained her journey to the top of the lucha libre world.
She moved to Calgary several years ago to pursue dance and did fitness competitions on top of that, but there was something about wrestling that drew her in.
"I was always fascinated by it, the strong woman figure, and I struggled with self-esteem as a child, so I never thought I could be like them," she said. "For me it was always kind of a motivation and maybe an inspiration."
She gave independent pro wrestling a try in Canada in 2010 and appeared on a reality show, world of Hurt. From there, she followed promoter and wrestler Perro Aguayo to Mexico in 2012 and wrestled in his group, Los Perros del Mal — "The Dogs of Evil."
Sadly, Aguayo, whom she described as a mentor and "a brother figure," died in the ring in Mexico last year.
"That was really sad, but we've continued to really represent the group that he started," she said.
Now, whenever Forster comes back to Canada, she says she gets mixed reactions. Some people get it, some people don't, she says, but she likes educating people about lucha libre.
"Canada and the U.S.A. are international countries, so I think we should learn as much about other people's cultures as our own," she said. "I'm just really happy to be able to share that with everybody."
To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Victoria-born lucha libre wrestler says 'hola' to success in Mexico