MV Young, Leader of the Poly Cult, recently spoke exclusively to Daily DDT about body positivity, his involvement in protests, and much more.
If you’re a member of the Poly Cult, you already know about the group’s beloved leader MV Young. Openly pansexual and polyamorous, “The Poly King” MV Young may be best known to some for cutting promos on Twitter with a ring light and hosting unique crossover events like MV Young’s NY Fashion Week No-Ring Deathmatch Extravaganza, which combined deathmatch wrestling with a fashion show.
However, don’t mistake his unorthodox character for a lack wrestling ability. MV Young is on the seventh year of his in-ring career and was initially trained by WWE Hall of Famers Larry Zbyszko and Scott Hall, as well as current WWE superstar Lince Dorado.
MV Young’s presence on the independent wrestling scene has continued to grow, especially since the formation of the Poly Cult. Back in May, I had the opportunity to speak to Young about body positivity, his struggle with eating disorders, dealing with negativity online, the importance of crossover wrestling events, and more.
We also got the chance to speak again in mid-June, at which time he’d just finished attending protests in New York City for an astonishing 15 straight days. We discussed what he did to support and participate in protests, the power of protests during Pride Month, what others can do to support Black and queer talent, and the importance of equality moving forward.
Poly Cult Rule #73: Be proud of yourself!
While aspects of himself as a person have become part of the MV Young character, that wasn’t always the case. When I asked him about embracing the role of Leader of the Poly Cult, Young talked about his experience as the character continued to evolve.
“Honestly, when it first started happening it was really very difficult to know if this is what I wanted to do going forward. I am legitimately polyamorous, but no one has done this, and it’s really out there and I was just like ‘man, can I make this work?’ But it felt like the more I was doing it the more the real me was coming out,” Young said. “I was having a lot of fun with it and I was being able to do a lot of creative things that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do before. Then the ring light thing happened, and that’s gone really over.”
“Now, the MV character is just so fun to add on to with me. Every time I add a different thing to the lure of MV, I’m having fun. And anytime I record a video, it feels much more possible to build onto this character than it was for me before when I was just MV,” he said. “I really have a direction now, and where it’s going and watching it grow sometimes is like literally insane to me. I think July last year I didn’t even have a thousand followers, and now I’m closing in on 2500 and most of my followers do know my brand and like my brand.”
MV Young also discussed the power of being open about who he is, and the message that can send to others in the LGBTQ+ community.
“I want you guys to see that I used to be an athlete and that I’m getting into these bloody masculine brawls, but I’m also openly pansexual and that you don’t have to conform to one thing or another because of what your sexuality is,” he said. “And some people have privately came out to me and told me that I help a lot, and I definitely think that’s what I want part of my influence to be is like ‘hey, if this is who you are, there’s no blueprint for how you have to act and who you have to be other than proud of yourself.’”
Poly Cult Rule #6: No body shaming. Everyone is beautiful.
That count of 2500 followers he mentioned was correct when we spoke in May, but MV Young is over 3100 at this point. Unfortunately, that kind of following doesn’t come with pure positivity. We also took a moment to discuss negativity on the internet, and how to react to it.
“I think that my reaction to that kind of stuff varies from me aggressively telling them off to me being very passively positive about it,” Young began. “It all depends where I’m at on that day. Sometimes I feel like something that someone says to me calls for a more aggressive—very recently I had a very legitimate Nazi twitter account trolling me, and in that sense I’m not gonna be passive at all. I’m gonna say, ‘dude, f**k you, you need to get f**kin’ wrecked.’”
“In another vein, there was someone who called me out and said something sh**ty about my body on the match I had with Allie Kat. And I was like ‘dude, f**k you.’ Like this dude didn’t have a picture, didn’t have anything. Just saying some s**t about my body, and it’s just like, I don’t know man,” Young continued. “I put pictures of my body out every day, and people tell me I look great. So, if I keep getting a following from how I look, I think I’m doing fine, but I am going to have enough attitude to let you know that it’s f**ked up but not enough to let you know that I’m unfazed. That’s just how I feel about it. Deal with it how you want, but don’t let it actually get to you. Just use it to your advantage like I do.”
Dealing with body shaming, and struggling with his own body image, isn’t anything new for MV Young. As we talked, he openly discussed his fight against eating disorders and how that motivates him to uplift others on social media.
“I struggle with body image a lot, and I wanna help people feel good about themselves the way they make me feel good about myself, and also to let them know that anorexia and bulimia is something that I have dealt with since I was 14, and I’m still out there in little tights doing my thing in front of a couple hundred people often,” Young said.
“I feel like, literally if you can be as low as I’ve been low on myself and still do what I’ve done, it’s possible for you to get past your eating disorders too, because it’s definitely very, very difficult to get past eating disorders, and I just wanna help with that thing anyway I can because I know that pain very well,” he continued.
MV Young is lucky enough to have fans that will often shower him with positivity on Twitter, and he knew sending that positivity right back to them was the only right course of action. He’s tried his best to pay that forward by showering his fans with compliments in return.
“To me, it’s a way of giving back, because I’ve never been like a bodybuilder. Sometimes I’m skinny. Sometimes I’m jiggly,” he said. “They’re constantly making me feel good about myself. It feels selfish to not make them feel good about themselves too. I wanna compliment you guys too. Even though the response was so overwhelming I couldn’t get to everyone, and I’m always gonna try, but it’s getting harder as my following gets bigger, but that’s okay. We’ll find a way.”
Poly Cult Rule #777: Wrestling is for everyone!
No stranger to pushing against the norm, MV Young is a co-founder and producer of Uncanny Attractions, a New York-based independent wrestling promotion known for diversity, inclusivity, and blending wrestling with other forms of entertainment like drag. Young has also hosted his own events, including MV Young’s NY Fashion Week No-Ring Deathmatch Extravaganza which blended the world of fashion with no-ring deathmatch wrestling.
As we talked, he discussed the potential future of these kinds of shows and the way his approach to professional wrestling informs the formation of these events.
“I think that the drag and fashion thing will happen continuously no matter what because it’s just a part of who I am,” Young began. “I love making new fans more than I love getting over with current wrestling fans. I’m down to work with any kind of entertainment that’s not problematic that wants to work with that. I think the fashion show broke the glass ceiling, but I think there is so much more to do with that.”
“I don’t think that modeling agencies realized it happened until after it happened, because I got hit up by three modeling agencies after [the show] asking if they could have their talent represented at the show,” he said.
“I think that my general vision of it all differs a lot from a lot of people’s. I think a lot of people see success as going to a TV company, or something like that. If going to a TV company’s involved that’s fine, but I see it more as how can we get new eyes on this,” Young said. “Which is a big part of why I need to be in New York City, because there’s no better city in the country to do that, and that’s why I want to continue doing hybrid shows and I want to continue putting wrestling on the map as a legit live performance art as opposed to what people in passing understand it as.”
“I want it to be felt like in the same way that you would look at any kind of nightlife performance or art, or live event art, or anything like that,” he began. “You know, me being in New York just opens up a whole world of hybrid shows I can do to put otherwise worlds that would never touch in contact with each other and make that much more of a reality than it would be if I wasn’t promoting my own shows.”
When we talked again in June, MV Young also discussed the importance of equality and including Black and queer talent in wrestling moving forward. Whether it be the fans or those in the industry themselves, wrestling is for everyone.
“I think that you’re seeing an uptick of people being very outspoken about companies that are not traditionally inclusive. I’m not gonna name names, but I’ve seen some people be called out for maybe pandering a little bit when they otherwise don’t book certain types of talent, and I think that’s good,” he said. “I think it’s gonna continue going mostly because I think some of the most talented people in wrestling are queer or Black or both, and I think it’s inevitable.”
“If you’re not pushing queer talent or Black talent, you’re gonna get left behind. It’s just as simple as that, because that’s the move. That’s what we’re doing,” Young began. “We are f**king about equality here in 2020, and that’s not gonna stop. I would say that it’s f**king imperative. There’s no excuse. We know that there’s a plethora of queer talent and a plethora of Black talent out there, and if you’re excluding people like that at this point, we just know that it’s not right.”
“Even if you are a f**king lowkey bigot about it, you gotta realize we are the new wave. That’s what it is. You can’t f**king ignore it. I mean people in entertainment have been leeching off of queer culture and Black culture for as long as there’s been entertainment, but now people are getting f**king called out for it,” Young said. “You have so much f**king talent in a specific group of people that if you ignore it, you just look like you’re a f**king bigot. So yeah, I think that even if you are a piece of s**t, I think that we push their hand so that they have to book us either way.”
That fight for equality shows itself in many different ways. When we spoke in May, MV and I did briefly discuss what Pride Month could look like during an ongoing global pandemic. Neither of us could’ve predicted at that time what Pride Month would come to look like. “I did not have riots on my 2020 bingo card,” Young said.
Poly Cult Rule #1: Poly Cult is ANTIFA
As MV Young stated in the video, the Poly Cult “doesn’t f**k with fascists, bigots, racists, homophobes, transphobes, or pieces of s**t in any way.” It’s more than just talk, as MV Young took part in multiple protests throughout Pride Month. As we discussed, there was something powerful about seeing these protests at this important time.
June 28, 2020 marked exactly 50 years since Christopher Street Liberation Day back in 1970. This historic day was the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a series of spontaneous demonstrations that formed the foundation of the Gay Pride Parades and Pride Month we experience today.
“It’s very powerful watching the two worlds come together. I went to a Black Trans Lives Matter march at Stonewall actually, and it was f**king gorgeous,” he said. “So, so many people. Beautiful speeches were given. Just a very, very wonderful peaceful protest walking through Manhattan. A lot of Black Lives Matter memorabilia. A lot of Pride memorabilia. It was really unique, and very cool, and very inspiring to see it all come together.”
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the Black Lives Matter movement and protests against police violence and the flawed foundations of our criminal justice system, as Black voices and activists have been laying the foundation for this and fighting against oppression for years. However, this moment feels different, which MV Young talked about.
“It hasn’t stopped. There hasn’t been a day without a protest this month,” Young said when we spoke in the middle of June. “I think it’s the f**king perfect mix. Everyone’s been stuck in their house for three months, and then that f**king snuff film murder out of Minnesota, and then it’s f**king Pride Month. Like, you f**king pissed everyone off, and I think that’s what’s different. I think it’s the perfect storm of frustration. There’s videos every day of cops being the f**king worst. People are telling you, ‘hey, look how f**king ridiculous this is.’”
“You have the cops in New York lying about getting their milkshakes poisoned. They wanna be f**king victims so bad, but we know you’re not victims. It’s f**king weird dude. Why are you blaming everyone on your f**king s**ts?” Young said. “I don’t know anyone over 20 that can drink an entire milkshake and not feel sick. If I drink a whole milkshake, I feel like I’m poisoned, but I’m not trying to pass it as a hate crime when I drink too much milkshake.”
MV Young wasn’t just attending protests, he took on an active support role by collecting donations to buy Gatorade and bottled water in bulk that he could pass out at the protests. Young discussed the response he’s gotten, both online and at the protests themselves.
“The response online has been very overwhelming. Literally, there’s been some days where I hand someone a Gatorade and you can tell people are f**kin’ dehydrated, and for good reason. It’s hot out here. I’m on my roof right now. It’s only 75, but it’s humid. You march all day, you’re gonna get it out of you,” Young said. “People say, ‘oh, it’s just sugar water.’ Dude, it’s not just sugar water. If you’ve been sweating all day, Gatorade is a f**king life saver. I mean it is sugary water in a sense, but it has what you need.”
“I give out waters too, by the way. If you don’t want a Gatorade that’s fine, but I give out Gatorade specifically because the first Saturday I was there people were passing out from heat exhaustion and probably dehydration that comes with it,” he said.
“The first night that I went to protest, I was just there being a part of it, and it was kinda like ‘what can I do as a white person to be more helpful in a way?’ So I was basically, like it turned into this overlying theme of I would pass out Gatorades all day in the heat, and then be actively part of the protests at night. Which at the time meant standing in front of Black protestors to protect them from the cops,” Young continued.
“The first week I would say was that. It was pass out Gatorades all day in the heat, protest at night and protect your fellow protestors, and then it was just on repeat, and I have worn myself out a little bit,” he said. “I’m really, really sore. I’m really, really tired. I’ve actually taken the last three days off after going every single day for the first 15 days.”
“I’m just gonna do one drop tonight, because now people have started picking up on passing things out. I’m gonna go drop off a load of Gatorade at a table at the Grand Army Plaza in Crown Heights, and then I’m going to dip,” Young said. “I probably won’t go back out all day again until Saturday, because I’ve really learned I have to pace myself. I mean I literally was going every day for two weeks.”
At this point, late into July with August looming, you might have the impression protests have died down or even come to a stop. While mainstream media coverage of protests has certainly slowed, and MV Young has had to pace himself with his own personal involvement, the protests themselves continue. If you’re wanting to go and get involved, MV Young provided tips to help you along the way.
“I mean, my unique advice is I really wish I would’ve had goggles and a tennis racket the first week, because they were f**king tear gassing us and I didn’t know how to handle it, and now I do,” Young explained. “Gloves, goggles, tennis racket if it’s manageable, extra waters. Google pepper spray solutions because they like doing that too. Good shoes to run if you have to, because they start shooting rubber bullets and they don’t give a f**k.”
“Go with someone, or more. Don’t lose them. Write the number that you wanna call if you get arrested on your leg or your arm so you have access to it if you get arrested,” he continued. “Turn your data off while at the protest. Give someone that’s back home a ‘hey, if I’m not back by this time, check on me’ type thing.”
As the fight against police violence continues with protests, there is another fight for equality going on within the wrestling industry. I asked MV Young what actions people can take to be an ally to Black people in the wrestling industry.
“If you’re white, you need to be very vocal because our voices matter in that regard because it is our Black peers that are oppressed,” he began. “I think we need to push for our Black peers to be booked and pushed within respective companies, and I think that we need to continue to show progression on that side of things to make sure when wrestling comes back full time that it is inclusive in that right.”
“I see a lot of people doing merch going to bail fund donations. I know that all my What A Maneuver clothes from this month are going to go to bail fund donations. That’s something you can do. You can do your due diligence on Black or Black trans charities and donate. You can donate to that,” Young said. “Anything that involves sending money to good charities, anything that involves pushing a message, just use your platform overall for the cause.”
Poly Cult Rule #666: Don’t f**k with the Poly King!
The final rule I’ll be mentioning was brought up during the Ring Light Championship Open Challenge, but you can find the rest of the Poly Cult rules here. As the ongoing global pandemic has continued to affect our lives, wrestling has had to evolve to provide entertainment in different ways.
That evolution continues this Friday with MV Young’s “Outdoor Poly Cult Party,” a mini show taking place at “a secret location in Brooklyn” with extremely limited attendance and talent involved. I touched base with MV Young about this event, and he emphasized that masks are mandatory, hand sanitizer is provided, it’s an open air venue, and temperatures will be taken at the door.
When we spoke in May, I asked MV Young where he was most excited to perform when professional wrestling started to come back to something resembling normalcy.
“New York City. Anywhere in New York City. The energy I get in New York just doesn’t match other places, but I will say that DC came pretty damn close. Not to do shameless self-promotion, but Uncanny or no-rings, those are my favorite places to perform because New York fans just bring it so much more,” he said.
This will be MV Young’s second appearance since wrestling began to return in various forms, his first being with Synergy Pro Wrestling at Synergy For the First Responders back on July 11. While this won’t have a traditionally sized crowd by any means, it will be MV Young’s first event back in New York.
“I just love the vibe of New York live events in general, let alone wrestling events,” he said. “Honestly, I can’t even fathom the adrenaline I’m gonna be feeling come the first no-ring or the first Uncanny [Attractions show]. It might be overwhelming honestly, but yeah I’m very, very excited for the first New York show for sure.”
The event will see MV Young defending the Ring Light Championship against EFFY, Billy Dixon taking on Erica Leigh with the F1ght Club Chocolate City Championship on the line, Lee Moriarty vs. Ziggy Haim, and Bobby Orlando vs. Nick Stapp. It will live on Twitch this Friday, July 31, at 7pm ET.