Breaking Through The Ropes with Still Life with Apricots and Pears

KIEV, UKRAINE - JUNE 23: Transgender activists participate in the Kyiv Pride march, estimated to be the city's largest ever, on June 23, 2019 in Kiev, Ukraine. The parade has been marked by anti-LGBT violence in past years, but a heavy police presence has been generally effective at discouraging direct attacks on parade participants. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
KIEV, UKRAINE - JUNE 23: Transgender activists participate in the Kyiv Pride march, estimated to be the city's largest ever, on June 23, 2019 in Kiev, Ukraine. The parade has been marked by anti-LGBT violence in past years, but a heavy police presence has been generally effective at discouraging direct attacks on parade participants. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images) /

An interview with independent wrestling star Still Life With Apricots & Pears.

Breaking Through The Ropes is a series of interviews near and dear to my heart. As a trans woman, I’m used to being marginalized and overlooked in the media I love. And while amazing progress has been made in that direction, such as Nyla Rose’s win of the AEW women’s title a few months back, there are still many miles before Bethlehem.

In particular, wrestlers of non-binary identities. As a binary trans woman, I am aware of the privilege I have that those who do not identify within the gender binary do not have. And throughout my recent watchings of pro wrestling, I have seen phenomenal non-binary talent absolutely tearing up the scene. And I believe it’s time we really started paying attention to them. Best to get in early before they pass us out on the road to success. Because they are all heading there and truly deserve it.

Today, I am sitting down with Still Life With Apricots & Pears. Whether in the always lovable Camp Leapfrog, the unique Polyam Parties or absolutely stealing the show during the Collective’s Effy’s Big Gay Brunch, Still Life With Apricots & Pears is a talent who needs to be on everyone’s card. Join us as Still Life discusses their dream opponents, what led to her sensational match with Dark Sheik, and what being non-binary means to her.

Still Life has had a meteoric rise to indie stardom, with the events I listed above only being a slice of where she has been all over the country. Everyone seems to want a slice of Still Life and it is well deserved.

“I had no real expectations of what my career would be as a professional wrestler. I’m just kind of on it for the ride. And to be in this position is really incredible, because I wasn’t really expecting it. And especially getting a lot of attention from outside of wrestling, or just getting general press and stuff like that is really, really cool. And I’m really flattered. There were plans for me to work with Jim Sterling in CHIKARA actually. Hopefully we get the chance to do something together in the future.”

Still Life With Apricots & Pears came out as non-binary themselves after winning the Young Lions Cup of CHIKARA in 2018. For many fans, she is a trailblazer and the first non-binary wrestler they have seen perform.

“It definitely means something different to everyone. And I think everyone has their own story, and their own reason for why you’re gonna identify with this-you want these particular pronouns, or this particular label this time. So, for me,  I mainly identify as trans. I am transitioning. I consider myself a trans woman. But, I use non-binary pronouns at this point in my life. Just because I’m in transition, and it feels like a really huge jump to go from, a male at birth to a woman. There’s a lot of things that go into that. So, I use a non-binary pronoun.”

“It’s like people can just snap their fingers and come back from a weekend, and they’re totally different.  But I want to go slowly, and I want to go at my own pace. And however, I feel comfortable. So I’m thankful that a non-binary identity is something that I’m able to do, and it feels much more comfortable, especially just to just shed, at least, he/him pronouns right away, even before my gender presentation had really changed that much. So yeah, it’s just kind of the space between while I transition and, and I’m always been open to, maybe there’s a point where I’m comfortable with where I’m at, and maybe I will always use non-binary pronouns. I’m open to that, too.”

“So that’s kind of what it means to me. It’s just kind of like a space between.”

Very recently, at Effy’s Big Gay Brunch during the Collective Showcase, Still Life wrestled Dark Sheik in what many saw as the match of Effy’s whole show. The two performers put on an absolute technical clinic within the ropes.

“I had picked that match, you know, I’d asked for it specifically from Effy. We were at MV Young’s Polyam Cult Party together. And we were just talking about it. And I just kind of made a point to say this match would mean a lot to me. Because about, I guess, early 2019 is when I realized that I was ready to start my transition. And I was already wrestling at that point. I wasn’t really sure what that meant, what that would mean for me as a wrestler. And then shortly after that, is when she came out to everyone at Hoodslam. So you know, after her match, Dark Sheik addressed the Hoodslam crowd and told everyone that she started taking hormones. So I had found that video, I didn’t know who she was really until I saw that. So that came at such an important moment for me when I was really apprehensive about what wrestling was going to offer me at that time. And to see that, you know, there’s someone else who is transitioning while wrestling. It gave me a lot of hope and inspiration.”

“And I felt that it just made me feel not alone. So, luckily, she invited me to perform at Hoodslam, shortly after that. Which I think was in June of that year. And we’ve become really good friends and we can help each other out. It’s just a really personal match for me to kind of like pay tribute to her and to thank her for, you know, being her. It was such an important show in general as just having e an all queer show was such a huge platform, but to be able to share that with her. It’s really, it’s really special to me.”

From Polyam Cult Party’s to Big Gay Brunches, Still Life has become a name to know in the indie scene. And on the subject of names in her mind for the future.

“I mean, I really want to wrestle the majority of my trainers. So, right now, Hallowicked is kind of like the top of my dream match. I’d really love to wrestle Kimber Lee.”

“One of my first Chikara shows I went to as a fan was when she won the grand championship. And, she came out and cashed in her golden opportunity. And it was just this really incredible moment. And I think it was really special, because there was a little girl sitting in the row in front of me wearing this little princess dress, and just losing her mind that seeing  Princess Kimber Lee win the grand championship. So, she’s one of my favorite wrestlers for that. And, I think she’s a really incredible wrestler. So probably those two are the top of my top dream matches right now. But I have a whole list.”

Pride in her identity is something that means a lot to Still Life. She has worked hard to get where she is and has a list of accolades to show that. When I asked of her proudest moments, she had a few very notable moments in mind.

“I think right now, probably performing at the Collective. I think just because that was my biggest match to date. And really was just kind of a showcase of queer talent. Just to be a part of that is, something I’m really proud of. And I’m proud of the match.”

“I think a second to that would probably be winning the Young Lions Cup. That was very early into my career, although I’m still early into my career. But just to be able to share the ring with Boomer Hatfield, who I’ve been training with for most of my time at Chikara. Just to be able to share that moment with him, because we’re close friends, was really special and just to be given that opportunity to show what I can do.”

An aspect of why I pitched these interviews to my editor is, as I mentioned above, due to my belief that queer wrestlers don’t receive the credit for the achievements they have made and accomplished in-ring and wondering where we go from here.

“I think, right now I just keep going back to Effy’s Big Gay Brunch, where we were able to present all these queer characters, specifically as trans characters, or trans people, not just characters. More than just that our sole gimmick being our trans identity. We got to show that we can be everything else that wrestling is supposed to be. Sheik, she was able to be the veteran heel.I was able to be the plucky underdog, and we got to put on a technical wrestling match. We’re both very vibrant characters. But we were able to put on a technical wrestling match that did not have a lot of comedy moments in it, it was very serious. And I think that’s really exciting that we’re able to do that now. Because that wasn’t always the case. You’re queer identity, whether you’re trans or, or anything like that, that was just the primary gimmick for a long time. That was kind of what was expected of you.”

“So just to be able to have a platform where that’s not our primary identity. I think that’s really exciting. And I hope there’s more of that. And I hope there’s just more, trans representation in mainstream wrestling and independent wrestling. I just hope it continues to grow and grow and grow, and we continue to get more opportunities.”

Still Life With Apricots & Pears was easily one of the most fun and most fulfilling talks I have had for discovering more of how the pro wrestling scene is doing, both with queer wrestlers and the independents at large. But, Still Life is more than a wrestler between the ropes. They also have some very good taste in TV.

Next. Paris is Bumping aims to honor ballroom culture in merger with wrestling. dark

“Oh, yes! I love Pose. I finished the season when it came on Netflix earlier this year. That’s been my favorite show this year. I just finished Emily in Paris, which was super fun. And now all of a sudden, I’m rewatching Powerpuff Girls when I sleep. So that’s like my bedtime show. Those are my three favorite shows right now.”

Come back next time in Breaking Through The Ropes as we spotlight another non-binary wrestler in today’s scene!