WWE Diva Maria Kanellis graciously took the time to answer some questions from the SLAM! Wrestling mailbag during her recent visit to Toronto.

But first, a few things you may not have known about Maria:

She is an avid book reader. “I just finished The Golden Compass, which is a kids book, so that was a great one. I used to read a lot of John Grisham books. I’ve read Your Best Life now. Right now I’m reading Dante’s Inferno. I’m also reading a book about the music industry and The Keys to Thinking Positive, which is another book. There’s so many different things that I read. I don’t really have a particular author that’s my favorite. I’ve read The Da Vinci Code and all of the books by Dan Brown, so I’ve read a lot.”

She’s been a wrestling fan since she was a little girl: “Oh yeah, definitely,” she laughed at the question. “I used to marry my Barbie dolls to Rowdy Roddy Piper. I loved wrestling growing up. I always liked the Piper’s Pit. I just thought it was so great and a lot of fun.”

She just started playing the drums a few months ago. Her father played the drums as a child.

She takes vocal and acting classes when she can.

She just bought a place in Los Angeles, so she now has residences in L.A. and Chicago, her hometown.

She is currently not single: “I was single; I was single for a long time and then I had met someone and I had started dating him for about four and a half to five months. I had split up from the guy I was dating nine months ago, and then I found somebody and started dating them.”

What she looks for in a guy: “Someone that I can count on. Someone that would be there, no matter if it’s good days, bad days, and not just there for when times are great, but can stick it out when times are tough. It’s kind of the most important thing in the world to know that the person you care about the most is also going to be there when you need them the most. And not only that, but someone who can make you laugh, and someone who has a great butt (laughs). Definitely someone who could understand me traveling, and that I’m not always going to be around, and can get that. So there is a lot, but just a good person.”

And now, the questions from the SLAM! Wrestling mailbag:

Q: Hey Maria, if you had to make a choice between becoming Women’s Champion or posing for Playboy again then which one would it be? [Chris B., Isle Of Wight, England]

Maria: Women’s Champion because it’s such a prestigious thing. Becoming Women’s Champion is more than just winning a match. It’s representing the women of WWE and even if I were to get it for a minute or a second, it would be an incredible experience.

Q: What do you think about the Diva Search? [Jeff Powell, Winter Haven, Florida]

Maria: I think you kind of make your own. The Diva Search is a great avenue for women to get involved with the WWE for different places in life and different places of the world. Not all of the girls coming into it are wrestlers or even wrestling fans; it just so happened that I had watched wrestling and I loved wrestling when I came into it. Other women that came in weren’t necessarily huge wrestling fans but they also did really well. If you look at the roster, Candice Michelle, Michelle McCool and I all came from the same diva search and it was just a great experience for all three of us.

Q: If you had the opportunity to wrestle any female wrestler, past or present, who would you choose and why? [David Thomas (Maria’s No.1 fan), Sheffield, England]

Maria: Gosh, hmm. I’ve wrestled Trish [Stratus], I’ve wrestled Lita. I’ve been in the ring with Victoria and Torrie [Wilson]. Let’s see, let’s find a girl from the past history. Mae [Young] or Moolah, definitely. I’ve been in the ring with them before doing different things, but I’ve never wrestled either one of them, so I’d love to do that.

Q: What is your favorite finisher from anyone in any federation at any time period? [Tom Blouin, Chicago, Illinois]

Maria: Let’s see. I have always liked Undertaker’s finisher. I mean that’s kind of the finisher of all finishers, especially going into Wrestlemania where he’s undefeated.

Q: Do you still keep in touch with any diva search girls who aren’t with the company anymore? [Jackie G., Chicago, Illinois]

Maria: No. I haven’t talked with any of them. For a while I had kept in touch with Tracy, but I don’t talk to her. I haven’t talked to her in a very long time. Just kind of fell out of touch. Some of the girls I would love to speak with, other ones I probably wouldn’t want to talk to, but no I don’t.

Q: Do you have a MySpace account? [Warren N., Seattle Washington]

Maria: No, I do not. I don’t like MySpace, I don’t like Facebook. Too many people fake me and fake my little sister and so I don’t like any of it.

Q: Who are your influences? [Lisa D., Yonkers, New York]

Maria: Influences. I would say Trish was always a big influence of mine, and Lita was always an influence from a wrestling standpoint. I always liked watching Coach’s (Jonathan Coachman) interviews because he interacted extremely well with The Rock. But when it comes to outside influences other than wrestling, I love Lucille Ball. I think she has a great humour to her. So I love her. A lot of time, I like to take from her a little bit, because she has great timing, great comedic timing. I love Angelina Jolie. Her sex appeal is great, especially in Gone in 60 Seconds. Strong woman, but also extremely sexy, so I love that.

Q: Which did you find more intimidating: walking out in front of a WWE crowd for the first time or posing nude for Playboy? [Joe Bottari, New York, New York]

Maria: Definitely walking in front of the WWE crowd for the first time. Posing for Playboy, it wasn’t intimidating to me at all. I wasn’t nervous, I wasn’t fearful of how it would turn out. When I walked out in front of the WWE crowd for the first time, I was 22 years old. I was pretty much a baby. I hadn’t been really well traveled. I traveled some, but I hadn’t been out there too much. I had done bikini contests, but that’s nothing compared to 20,000 people. So my confidence wasn’t necessarily there. When I posed for Playboy, it was pretty much, ‘Well, here’s me, I have nothing to hide, so here you go.’ Just a bit different attitude.

Q: If you could wrestle any diva from the past or present, who would it be and why? [Annette M., North Judson, Indiana]

Maria: Like I said, Mae or Moolah, because they are definitely the history of wrestling. They made a huge impact on women’s wrestling.

Q: Maria, during the past few years we have seen a number of divas branch out into other areas of entertainment wherein some remain with the WWE, and others move on. What are your long-term goals in relation to the WWE and the entertainment world in general? [Matthew Lynch, New York, New York]

Maria: Well, I have lots of different goals. I get bored very easy. So I like to do lots of different things. My first and foremost goal is to be women’s champion. I really have a desire to do that. Secondly, I want to become a part of WWE Films. I would love to be in one of the films that is up and coming. If not, many of their films and many other films outside of that. Kind of have a little dream of mine of recording something, but we’ll kind of keep that one a little bit quiet. Let’s just say that I’ve got some plans for that. I definitely want my own clothing line, eventually. But to the WWE, I always want to be a part of the family, even if it’s just coming back every once in a while. I hope that WWE can give me at least another five years. Beyond that, I want a family someday; I want to have kids, I want to be a wife someday. So there are lots of different goals that I have.

Q: Maria, during your time as a diva, which of the ring trainers or road agents have had the most positive influence on your career? [Matthew Lynch, New York, New York]

Maria: Oh gosh, there’s been different ones. I worked with Fit [Finlay] for a little bit and that was the very beginning. I’ve worked with Al Snow down in Louisville, Kentucky; I’ve also worked with Lance Storm, who is Canadian. That was also when I was down in Louisville. I’ve worked with Dean Malenko on the road. There hasn’t really been one person that’s made the most influence. It’s just been a bunch of different people that’s told me all different kind of things. I mean, I’ve borrowed a lot from Mickie James, or from Jillian Hall, or from Melina, just from being in the ring with them, so just a different bunch of people.

Maria also had some parting words for former WWE Diva Trish Stratus: “Trish, good luck with your yoga studio. I hear that it’s doing awesome, so good luck with that and we definitely still miss you.”