Indigenous Style Icon: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (Samoan)
Dwayne Douglas Johnson (born May 2, 1972), also known by his ring name The Rock, is an American actor and semi-retired professional wrestler who works for WWE. Dwayne Johnson was born in Hayward, California, to Ata Maivia and professional wrestler Rocky Johnson. His maternal grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia, was also a wrestler. His maternal grandmother, Lia Maivia, was one of wrestling’s few female professional promoters, taking over Polynesian Pacific Pro Wrestling after her husband’s death in 1982, until 1988. His father is Black Nova Scotian, and his mother is Samoan.
Johnson was a college football player. In 1991, he was on the University of Miami’s national championship team. He later played for the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League, and was cut two months into the 1995 season. This led him to become a professional wrestler like his grandfather, Peter Maivia, and his father, Rocky Johnson. He gained mainstream fame as a wrestler in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) from 1996 to 2004, and was the first third-generation wrestler in the company’s history. He was quickly pushed as a face in the WWF, originally billed as “Rocky Maivia”, then as “The Rock”. He turned heel as a member of the Nation of Domination in 1997. Two years after he joined the WWF, he won the WWF Championship. Johnson is widely considered one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. He has had 17 championship reigns in WWE, including 10 as a world heavyweight champion (the WWF/E Championship eight times and the WCW/World Championship twice), the WWF Intercontinental Championship twice and the WWF Tag Team Championship five times. He is the sixth WWF/E Triple Crown Champion, and the winner of the 2000 Royal Rumble.
Johnson’s first leading film role was in The Scorpion King in 2002. For this role, he was paid US$5.5 million, a world record for an actor in his first starring role. He has since appeared in several successful films, including The Rundown, Be Cool, Walking Tall, Gridiron Gang, The Game Plan, Get Smart, Race to Witch Mountain, Planet 51, Tooth Fairy, Doom, The Other Guys, Faster, Fast Five, and Fast & Furious 6.
Johnson’s autobiography The Rock Says… was published in 2000. It debuted at #1 on The New York Times Best Seller list and remained on the list for several weeks. In 2004, Johnson was crowned High Chief by His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II—in an interview with People Magazine, he said of the event: “I was moved…It’s way deeper than an honorary title. It’s blood…It clarified my ties to the royal family when the title was bestowed. It was an incredible life-changing moment that I will never forget…I told him I was going to carry this title with honor, dignity and, above all else, with pride…This trip just made me extremely proud of my heritage and culture. I’ve never been ashamed to say what I am. I am half black and half Samoan.”