Texas Smoke co-founder and pro-wrestler Jade Cargill is a dangerous woman not only because she reigned undefeated for 508 days as the longest running champion in AEW history but because she knows her worth. Standing at 5’10 inches tall – every inch of her 160 pound body mass is muscle and strength. Cargill would step into the wrestling ring as a villainous “heel,” strategically overpowering her opponents with her unique holds, strong throws, and take-downs. 

Cargill was named “Rookie of the Year” by Pro Wrestling Illustrated in 2021. The following year, the organization would also rank her as No. 5 of the top 150 female wrestlers in the PWI Women’s 150 (2022). As the world grew to know and love Cargill as a “baddie,” the bad girl embraced every part of her role, on and off the wrestling ring, as she led the way through fashion, fighting, and being fierce on shows like “Dynamite,” “Collision” and “Rampage.” 

Photo Credits: Jade Cargrill

On TV I’m a bad guy, a “heel.” My job is to talk crazy and get people to hate me. The more they hate me, the more I’m doing my job. So, on screen my job is to get people to really hate me and for me to really get under their skin. This career did nothing but thicken my skin. I learned that I’m a strong human being, I learned that I can do anything that I can put my mind to, and I learned to be easy with myself. I learned to just take my time and that everything started from a seed and just to be gentle with myself,” Cargill tells Sheen. 

Fashion statement after fashion statement – Cargill stood out from amongst her competitors with tailor made, customer designs. Everything about her – from her lustrous blond hair to the diamonds and crystals that embellished her wardrobe, the history-making sports star inspires women of all shapes and sizes to be sexy no matter what ring they find themselves in whether it’s fighting or being fashionable. 

When it comes to fashion, my job and everybody can attend to this – I want to bring fashion to wrestling and I want to bring wrestling to fashion. I’m that person. I didn’t come from wrestling, I came from a basketball bubble, I came from a fashion bubble and I like implementing that on TV because I feel like I’m larger than life and I’m not a t-shirt and Jordan’s type of girl. I like wearing heels, I can be versatile wearing shoes here and there but I’m a size 42 so shoes on me look like something crazy,” Cargill shares with laughter and a contagious sense of humor. 

This past week, Cargill spoke with Sheen about her historic reign as a 2-year, undefeated AEW champion, her love for wrestling, how her career “thickened” her skin and much more! 

You reigned for two years as an undefeated Black female wrestling champion in what was previously considered a white-male dominated genre of sports. Talk to us about your love for wrestling, your love for sports, and why this was important for the culture. 

I mean growing up I didn’t have that many examples. I mean we had Jazz, we had some phenomenal wrestlers but maybe one or two of them were champions and that’s astonishing to me. I grew up watching Chyna and if you know anything about Chyna she was a strong phenomenal woman – we had similar body types and growing up I was very insecure because my body looked different than everybody else. So I looked at her for inspiration. And I didnt have, Jazz was a phenomenal woman and I wish I would have gone deeper into wrestling at that time cause now I’m like geez, I missed out on an incredible woman. But now with the education that I have and the game I’m doing that now. I think it’s a very pivotal point for little Black boys and little Black girls to see us up there to be champions and to be up there not taking anything from anyone so they can grow up and be these strong and empowered beings. 

Um, actually wrestling found me. I played collegiate basketball. I went overseas and I played basketball and Mark Henry who is a WWE Hall of Fame contacted me and asked would I ever be interested. At the time I’m like “wrestling, who watches wrestling.” I haven’t watched wrestling since I was 13 years old. So, I went to a tryout and it went phenomenal and it just lit a fire under my butt that I could not let go. It was something new, it was something astonishing to me. I became a child psychologist by then, and I just didn’t want to sit around. I was like I still can use my body, I don’t want to do desk jobs just yet, let’s see what I can do. Everyday that I go to work it’s a challenge and it’s just something that I don’t want to put down. 

Talk to me about this fuel because with this fuel you’ve been able to change how the sports industry sees Black women in wrestling. Talk to me about what goes on behind the scenes, what kind of changes do you want to make? 

I am the owner of, my spouse and I Brandon Phillps, we are the owners of “Texas Smoke” out of Austin, Texas. So I want to continue to grow women’s sports in general. We only have one match on TV a week on our first show “Dynamite” and our second show “Collision” we only have 1 match a week. I’m hoping to expand that and have two and three and maybe an entire womens show. 

I’m here for women’s sports, I’m here for women’s empowerment. I want us to grow, I want us to capitalize, I want us to make more money, I want just the economy to grow through the system. That I can create or be the stepping stone for the next generation – that they can create and I want them to hopefully say “I saw that girl Jade Cargill on stage and she was out there kicking butt and just looking phenomenal and strong, and fierce and that it grew a fire in me. That I can do this, that I can go out there, that I can own a sports team and be one one of the first Black team softball owners. And that’s what I’m here for, for inspiration for the next generation. I have a little Black girl and I want her to see me and I want her to see her mom out here doing phenomenal things so she knows that what I have is the floor to her ceiling. 

Here at Sheen we’re all about leading as the ultimate source of beauty for the Black culture throughout the diaspora here in the U.S. and globally. As a trendsetter and an athlete regarded as being undefeated in sports and in fashion, talk to us about your sense of fashion and how you were able to find your “look.” 

My look on my gear is shattered glass for example. I’m here to break ceilings – that’s what it means. Me going out here, breaking ceilings, proving people wrong, showing people I am more than what you can ever fathom. Nobody is gonna go out here and tell me what I can do, I’m gonna show you what I can do. 

I like heels, I love fashion. I love implementing fashion into my everyday looks and on TV for my promos. I like people talking about it. Most of the time my stuff is custom, it’s by our seamstress and she’s a phenomenal woman she actually does a couple of people over at WWE as well, her name is Sandra. She’s actually been in the business for over 20 years and we sit there and we take our time and like putting these diamonds, crystals down, and dollar bills down and it takes us a long time to formulate these ideas but we get it done every single time. 

I want to talk to you about mental health because oftentimes we see the glamor and the success but we don’t see what goes on behind the scenes. How do you protect your peace in such a volatile industry?

Thankfully I had a profession in children’s psychology that has helped me go and tackle with a lot of toxic and negativity that we do have in the wrestling fan base. Um, but then we have a great side of the wrestling fan base – the people that cheer you on and want to see you do great things in this sport. Thankfully I can just sit down and just breathe and I have a spouse that comes from a different world of sports and um what I think is extreme and what I can that that is just a blow to myself – he can sit me down and say “Hey listen, put your phone down that’s all you have to do. I’m not a wrestler so we don’t have to talk about wrestling all the time. And just breathe and let’s go out and get some fresh air and let’s have a picnic and let’s go to Rome if you want to go to Rome and let’s just get your mind off of this right now – it’s not helping you, it’s regressing you. Let’s just focus on something else.” So I definitely have a support team that puts things in perspective and literally all I have to do is get off of social media because my friends that know me and that people that are very close to me know that I am a phenomenal woman. But again, I lived about three lives before I got into wrestling so I know who I am. These people have just walked into my world so I refuse to let people who have just entered my world tell me who I am when I’ve been Jade for 31 years. You know and I pray to God, I put God first, and um I work out a lot and that’s therapy as well. 

Cargill didn’t leave the interview without telling fans “Keep watching. I’m gonna go out here and I’m gonna be the best version that I can be. We have a lot of things coming so you guys should check me out. At the end of the day you can hate me or love me but you’re still going to talk about me.”

For more information, Follow Jade Cargill on IG @jadecargill. 

Photo Credits: Eclipse Photos