Passion is a powerful trait that has helped many people achieve their dreams in ways that are incomprehensible to this day. As the famous quote goes, ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way.’ Over the years, as social media has gained popularity among the masses, stories of passionate individuals who have carved out successful lives for themselves have become all the more common. However, a few of them stand out – even more so than the rest.
Elie Paivan is an enthusiastic young man from the Democratic Republic of Congo who – after coming to the United States – found solace in wrestling and content creation while attending Eastern Michigan University as a full-time student. Elie has a history with fitness, as wrestling and football were the only sports that helped him fit in during his high school years.
Elie’s story of finding his true self is an emotional roller coaster that inspires others to conquer their fears in the same way he did. So, we sat down with Elie Paivan and quizzed him about his life from the beginning.
Tell us a bit about yourself, your background, where you’re from, and your childhood.
Elie Paivan: I was born and raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo until I moved to the US at the age of 16 because of some bad blood between my father and a few other people. The sudden change was obviously very overbearing. At the time, I couldn’t even speak English properly, so fitting in was a huge problem for me. My self-esteem was at its lowest, and that’s when I turned to wrestling as a pastime. I wrestled in high school, and – as it turned out – I was very good at it. I really believe that wrestling helped me get through that rough patch, and it helped me set my own personal goals and improve my mental and physical health.
As of now, I am a full-time student at Eastern Michigan University, majoring in Aviation Management Technology. I am also a content creator – I make workout videos on YouTube and TikTok. I am also working on getting my personal trainer certification in the next few weeks.
You said wrestling was your way to cope with your insecurities, and now that you’ve moved past that stage, are you looking to pursue a career in wrestling?
Elie Paivan: Not at the moment, because as a kid – like everyone else back then – my inspiration was John Cena. Something about the way he dominated the arena made me want to be like him. But as I got older, I realized that professional wrestling, especially the one on TV, is all scripted and fake. But still, I loved wrestling a lot – basically, what I practice is amateur wrestling, where we don’t have scripts, and I truly believe that it’s the rawest and most basic form of wrestling out there. Mainly because we have no viewers, we don’t need people to cheer for us, most of my friends are also wrestling fanatics, so it’s just us guys having the time of our lives.
From wrestling to content creation, that’s a wide leap. What made you want to be a content creator?
Elie Paivan: It started out as a fun little venture; I was making videos on TikTok even before I started my bodybuilding journey, so it was just my own way of spending my free time. And then, when I got into wrestling, I figured it would be fun to share my real-life experiences. Then I started sharing my workout videos, and it just spiralled into a whole thing, people loved it, and they were reacting to it, so I took it a step further and created a YouTube channel which started getting thousands of views – so yeah, that was how it began.
Tell us about your hobbies. What do you do when not working?
Elie Paivan: Besides wrestling in high school, I also played soccer before coming to the States with a club for a season. In my free time, I spend time with my friends, go to a club every once in a while, play soccer, organize events on campus, and sometimes create content for my channels.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Elie Paivan: I want to help people transform their bodies as a personal trainer. I have a lot of experience in the gym and the fitness industry in general, which makes me feel capable of helping others. But before that, I have to get certified, so I’m working on getting my certification – I am more than halfway through the course, so it’s only a matter of time.