UFC ring girl Arianny Celeste has told for the first time how her dad died in custody before she was born – and has defended herself after being attacked for staying silent on police brutality.
In an exclusive interview, Arianny, 34, who is currently pregnant, revealed her tragic past – in which her dad Marco died aged 24 in "mysterious circumstances" after being arrested in Las Vegas.
“I lost my father to some very mysterious reasons,” she told The Sun.
“He was in jail for a very short period of time. He was being questioned by the police and he died, mysteriously, very quickly and had bruising all over his body and head and bleeding internally in his brain.
“So I could put myself in that victim category, I could be angry. I could say, ‘F the police’ and the police are this and that, but at the end of the day, if I have a problem, if I have an issue, I'm going to call the police and the police are going to be there helping me.
“So this ignorance about police being this and that, it's just very, very sad that the world is going through this.
“I think we need to come together as humanity and support each other and love each other.
“The more love we give, the more we're going to get in return, you can't fight hate with hate.”
Official records show that Marco "died of a massive brain hemorrhage while in custody at the Clark County Detention Center awaiting trial."
Arianny revealed she was too upset to comment on the death of George Floyd, who was killed by cops in Minneapolis after they restrained him and knelt on his neck, because it brought up so many bad memories for her.
She decided to take a break from social media – but was left devastated after being called out by another influencer for not speaking out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“People [at the time] were posting these videos, throwing hatred towards police officers and all this other stuff that I'm very sensitive to,” she said.
“And I don't like to see that stuff. I don't want to be ignorant to it, but I definitely don't like to see that stuff.
“I found that I needed to digest it myself and also get off the internet for a little bit.
“I think I took about a week and a half off, just to take time to myself.
“And within that week, I got a direct message from a big social media influencer … and she said ‘By doing nothing, you are a part of the problem’ … She was bullying me to post something about it.”
She told how the comment put her in a very “dark place” and even left her worrying about her pregnancy and unborn child.
“It kind of like broke me and put me in a really dark place and, and made me feel like I should just take a break from, from social media. I kind of had a mini meltdown,” Arianny said.
“I'm very sensitive to everything. And I feel so much for the people who are suffering right now. And then to have that on top of it, it was just a lot for me to deal with.
“I am six months pregnant too… I was also concerned about my baby. I can't be depressed while I have a baby.
“I know firsthand what that's like being born to my mother who was sad at the time. So I just needed to take care of myself and get off social media. And that felt really good, actually.”
Arianny told how she is from an immigrant Mexican family “who worked their a** off to get a green card” and her boyfriend is half black – and she vehemently supports equality for all.
She admitted she still lives with the heartache of losing her dad – but refuses to be consumed by anger or hatred.
“I was very confused [when the BLM movement started]. Of course I was heartbroken for George Floyd, his family and his daughter losing her dad. I know what that feels like," she said.
“My mom was two months pregnant with me when my father was in jail for something really stupid. I believe he got beat to death.
“I definitely spent a lot of my childhood angry, angry that I didn't have a dad, angry that I was never going to be able to do this and that with my dad.
"I had to work really hard to get that kind of anger out of me, and to just be able to just love completely, no matter who or what they were.
“And also like I have family friends who are police officers… and if something happened to them I would be super sad too.
“I just needed time to digest it all and getting a message like that from someone who’s supposed to be a public influencer, it just really upset me… I don’t agree with bullying… I don’t agree with putting people down because they’re not speaking out.”
She revealed how she misses her father every day, even though tragically, she never got to meet him.
“Oh, man, I missed everything. He died when my mom was pregnant with me two months so he never got to hold me when I was born,” she said.
“He wasn't there to support my mother through pregnancy. She was super depressed. She was hardly eating. So I had issues when I came out.
“I'll never get to hold his hand. I'll never get to tell him about my first heartbreak. I'll never get to have him protect me from all my bad ex-boyfriends and he'll never walk me down the aisle.
“I have a baby on the way. He'll never be able to hold my baby. There's so much that he's missing.
“I miss him every day. I've never met him so I definitely miss him and wish he was here, but you know things happen and you’ve just got to be strong.
“His death wasn't investigated…obviously if I was born at the time. I would be fighting with my mom and helping her, but she was a first-time mom, she was heartbroken, she was depressed.
“She didn't really know what was going on. She was young. And yeah there's a lot of missing pieces of the puzzle.”
But despite her heartbreaking past, Arianny says she refuses to be consumed by anger – and she refuses to judge anyone by the color of their skin.
“I am promoting peace for humanity, no matter who or what color your skin is.
“I believe that we all are given the opportunity of life, the opportunity to create whatever we want to create.
“I'm big believer in manifestation. So to victimize yourself or to say, ‘This person is better than me because of the color of their skin’. I will never support that. So if that makes me unpopular, I don't really care…
“There's so much good in the world. There's so many good people. Yes there are bad people, but you can't categorize every human to be a bad person just because they wear a badge or because of the color of their skin.
“I have so many people in my life that are black. My boyfriend's half black. I have friends that are black. I would never treat them differently.”
Right now Arianny is looking forward to the birth of her baby boy and taking a break from the ring while she launches her new jewelry subscription service, Girlfriend Box.
She says she and her boyfriend have supported causes promoting equality behind the scenes and he is working on a non-profit which supports “love, unity and equality” among children.
“I know that I'm a good person, and I know that I'm promoting peace, love, equality, humanity,” Arianny said.
“I will teach my future kids, my baby on the way, to love with no restrictions, no division, to be colorblind if you will.
“I wish that more people would just take a moment to breathe and just say, ‘I don't want to be part of this problem. I don't want to be spreading more hate’."
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