Kristen and Luis Chevere are winning in every possible way. Wrestling fans know the couple as Cult of Crowley, with their alter-egos Lilith and Alexander having gained quite an, ahem, cult following. But outside of the ring, they’re also the owners of NOW Salon and known internationally for their expertise as hairstylists. Oh, and if that’s not enough, they also design their own costumes.
How do Luis and Kristen manage not one but two successful careers? And what’s it like to balance their terrifying in-ring characters with being the complete opposite outside of wrestling? I asked them that and a few other queries in our interview.
Brittany Frederick: Wrestling and hairstyling are two careers people wouldn’t normally put in the same sentence. So which one came first?
Kristen Chevere: Wrestling.
Luis: Yeah, as kids we grew up watching wrestling, so definitely the wrestling came first.
BF: Then how do you bring these two things together? Because styling would seem to require being in the salon but wrestling is by nature a traveling job.
KC: I run the business moreso than he does and he does more of the wrestling than I do, so we puzzle piece together to make it more feasible for our brains to handle all of it combined.
LC: Before we started wrestling we also traveled with hair, so our clients are pretty used to us being on the go almost at the drop of a hat. They’re very flexible when it comes to our schedules.
BF: How crazy then did you go over the last year with the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns?
LC: At first, we went really crazy. Eating and trying all kinds of different beers—what you would do when you’re locked at home. We got kind of lucky; we were locked down in Texas for 60 days, so it wasn’t as bad as it has been in other cities and states. But two months is quite a bit of having to be locked in at home. First it kind of drove us crazy, but then Kristen actually taught me how to sew and that became my new obsession, so it made it a little bit more tolerable to be stuck at home.
KC: With the wrestling side we make our own gear, so that’s where the sewing came in. Once he learned how to make his own gear, he wasn’t bored after that.
BF: You’re designing for a profession where outfits have to be practical and could wind up getting damaged or destroyed. So what are the kinds of considerations you have to make?
LC: There’s two different aspects. For Kristen, because she is more on the sideline we can get fairly more creative, so with her we’ve got different kinds of capes.
KC: Mine has a lot of accessories. I have big feathered pieces, big skeleton pieces, and snake pieces. With Luis it has to be more functional, because he is in-ring and if someone were to punch or hit a part of his outfit or gear, it won’t actually hurt them in the process.
LC: I essentially wrestle in a fancy pair of underwear. It’s a PVC-style, shiny spandex. I not only need it to look good, but I also need it to stretch so it doesn’t rip. Then knee pads and kick pads are there so when I do kick somebody or hit somebody with a knee, it’s keeping them safe and myself as well. It’s functionality meets fashion, because you always want to add your own spin to it. I do a lot of vinyl printing and sewing different fabrics together to give it that kind of gothic style that we go for when it comes to our personas in the ring.
BF: How do you decide on those personas in the first place? You’re building a character like any other actor, so is it just what sounds interesting to you or are there things you have to take into account?
LC: That’s always the hardest part. (laughs) I can talk like this with you and ramble on for hours on end if we’re allowed to, but the minute you [get] a microphone and a camera and say we need you to say this, this and this, I go blank. My brain just disappears, so that’s more of when Kristen comes in. When it came to our personas, our look, we knew we wanted to be essentially us but bigger. Personality-wise, I think that kind of came along with the names.
KC: My in-ring name is Lilith and I based it quite literally off Lilith. In the witch lore she was considered the biggest witch, the strongest witch, mother of witches, and if you go religious lore, she was actually the first woman. I put a spin on that proclaiming that I didn’t want Adam; I found Alexander Crowley and he showed the most strength and power, so I went with him instead of going with Adam, which is why I was stricken from the Garden [of Eden].
LC: My character was loosely based on Lucifer himself [and] also based on David Koresh, the cult leader in Waco, so essentially my persona is a cult leader. My job is to gather followers, which we have; my tag team partner Casey Blackrose is one of our followers, and also our followers are the fans, so it’s a mixture of the two. There’s also a man in the 1900’s named Aleister Crowley, who essentially created a religion called sex magic, which is kind of like Satanism.
All our things are very based on the dark side, whether it’s religion or fashion. It’s that occult-based imagery when you look at our social media, and you listen to our introduction song, which we had custom-made. The lyrics [are] around being the leader of a cult and taking over the wrestling industry as a cult leader and essentially making that my big cult.
BF: Have your two careers ever intersected with each other? It sounds like that could lead to some pretty entertaining moments.
KC: Just where we do hair at wrestling shows.
LC: We’ve done hair at some wrestling events, and the people we have done hair for at these events have become really close friends of ours now. But I think my favorite ones are when we tell clients, especially new clients, what we do on our spare time. They don’t understand it; they’re like “That’s really cool, but why?” I think that’s one of the coolest moments, is when we tell clients what we’re doing when we’re not in the salon.
Kristen: Or when they come to shows.
Luis: Yeah, I think that’s even better. They’ll come to one of our events and then come in and get their haircut done a couple days [or] a week after, and they’re like, oh my God. You did this and you did that and I thought you got hurt. They see us perform and to them you’re a completely different person. They know that we’re not actually getting hurt but they get sucked into the moment. We get clients or friends that come to events that aren’t wrestling fans, they just come because they love us and support us, and want to be there for us. When they can forget that they’re your friend or family member and get completely immersed in who you are in that ring, I think that’s the best moment.
BF: Is there anything in either line of work that you feel people should know and they don’t? Or any misconception that people think they know, and that’s not quite how it works?
KC: I feel a lot of people don’t understand the role of a manager in the wrestling world. They’re usually always men because they’re considered stronger and good on the mic, so to speak. What a lot of people don’t realize is there are a lot of women who do the manager side; they’re not just considered a valet. A valet [is] a beautiful woman that walks with the wrestler and cheers them on, gets the crowd behind them. A manager is the person who quite literally manages the wrestler and does all the talking for them, and kind of gets them where they need to be in the wrestling world in front of the people. I think that’s an area that people don’t really understand.
In the hair world, they don’t understand that it takes many sessions to go from black to blonde.
LC: The biggest misconception with wrestling is “Oh, it’s fake; it doesn’t hurt.” Yes, most of it can be predetermined, and a lot of the strikes and moves are choreographed or they’re just not as painful as they would be, but it still hurts. Accidents happen. For example, I wrestled one of my closest friends and we hit each other in the face with our forearms and he took one of my molars. It wasn’t supposed to happen but it happened, so that’s something that’s such a big stigma.
For the hair world, I think to me the hardest thing any hairstylist or barber has to deal with is people realizing a haircut isn’t just a haircut. It takes years for us to perfect our craft. There’s a difference between going to a small quick chain, where you’re going to go in there and get that ten-minute haircut and pay this little bit of money, as opposed to us who have put so much time and effort into perfecting what we do. Our prices are going to reflect a higher amount, but you’re going to be with us a longer period of time and we’re going to dissect your hair to make sure everything we do is going to give you not just closest to the look you want but also longevity of the haircut or hair color. Or we’re going to recommend [you] buy this product; it’s really not for us to make more money, it’s for your hair to get the proper care you need.
BF: Of course, the obvious place to end this is pointing out that you’re married, so what does it mean to run these two careers together, especially one where you’re acting as a team anyway?
LC: It adds a little bit more of something. It’s not like my tag team partner. We’re friends and that’s great, but at the end of a show he goes his way and I go my way. As opposed to when [Kristen and I] do a show together—we come home and we discuss what we liked, what we didn’t like, what we could have done better and what I should have done differently. Being a married couple and doing something we love and grew up watching, I think that adds a bit of extra edge.
She can see me in there and see how my body reacts to something, so she’ll know whether I’m actually hurt or tired or if I’m getting ready for something. She knows how to read me when I’m in there and vice versa. I look for her when she’s outside of the ring and give her little cues so she knows what’s going to happen next, especially if she’s going to be involved in the match.
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