As longtime fans of WWE know, there’s one simple trick to telling identical twins Nikki and Brie Bella apart: Nikki wears a hat. Ever since the Bella Twins stopped dressing identically (and stopped relying less on their original finishing move, “Twin Magic”), Brie has always rocked a headband, while Nikki has generally come to the ring and made numerous public appearances while wearing a snapback cap.
Beyond the wonderful secondary effect of being able to market and sell parallel headwear under the Bella brand, there are real-life motivations behind why the twins selected their cranial accoutrements. I’ve long suspected this to be the case, of course, but it wasn’t until SummerSlam weekend that I actually got to ask Nikki about her accessory choice firsthand.
Nikki was at the One World Trade Center Observatory with a trio of other WWE Superstars to surprise some very lucky children in conjunction with the Make-A-Wish program. So at the top of the world, I told her I’d been waiting years to ask this question: how did the Bellas make the decision that Nikki would wear a hat, while Brie would wear a headband?
Nikki laughed and got faux-serious for a moment. “I was like, ‘Listen up to me, I’m the boss,'” she said. “No, I’m just kidding. I’ve always been a girly tomboy, since I’ve young, and the minute I didn’t have to dress like a twin anymore — thank god — I was like, ‘I’m putting on my jersey and my kicks, and I’m wearing my hat.'”
The individualism of the Bellas went hand in hand with their diverging personal brands. Nikki became “Fearless,” while Brie went into “Brie Mode” — a pair of personae that have worked out quite well for them. Still, this “hat” news was strange to Brie at the outset.
“And Brie — I told her, if you want to match me, wear one,” remembered Nikki. “And she was like, ‘Ew, no, I’m going to wear a headband.’ I’m like, ‘A headband? Yeah, that’s tough.’ But it’s just so our personalities, but it’s cute. It’s so Brie, and this is so me. And I’ve always just loved hats.”
Still, it took a bit of time to convince the other WWE Superstars — and herself — that the hat was a cool look.
“It was funny … I remember when I started wearing them, and people backstage were like, ‘Why are you — ? You’re wearing a snapback to the ring?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, seriously? It’s hot.’ And they were like, ‘It is?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah.’ And then I look in the mirror, and I’m like, ‘It’s hot, right?'”
But the look stuck, and it’s here to stay. Forget the haters in the back, be like Nikki and be Fearless about whatever you want to wear on your head.