March 2 (UPI) -- Professional wrestler and reality TV star Nikki Bella said it is essential to protect her time, needs and privacy, even though so much of her personal life is played out in public.
"Boundaries are always so important, and that is something I've definitely learned over the years," the Total Bellas star told UPI before the recent American Heart Association's Go Red for Women fashion show in New York.
"My breakup was a really good lesson of setting those boundaries because I just am used to giving it all," said Nikki, who split with WWE icon John Cena in July after six years. "I tell myself, 'You're still a human being. You give enough.' So, (set) that boundary that keeps you being a happy human."
It's also important to be firm when dealing with fans who feel a sense of ownership toward their favorite stars, Nikki said.
"One thing that I love about reality TV is that there is someone on the couch who can relate to me and I can help someone get through a problem or so they don't feel alone," she said.
Sometimes, however, viewers object to the decisions she makes and don't hold back letting her know about those.
"At the end of the day, this is just me being me. This is what you're going to get," Nikki said.
Her twin sister Brie -- who co-stars on the show -- said they try to keep their interactions with fans and the media positive, using their platforms to empower women and girls and ignoring haters as much as possible.
"We tell ourselves all the time, 'You're going to be judged no matter what, whether it's positive or negative.' Sometimes people just have bad days, and they've got to take it out somewhere," Brie said. "I'm strong enough to take it."
Nikki agreed, adding she understands it's not just celebrities who are the targets of online hellfire.
"Everyone, unfortunately, experiences the hate," she said. "Just stay true to your voice and what your truth is."
When they started working in reality TV six years ago, Brie said she found herself saying "yes" to everything people asked of her.
"You quickly realize that you can't run like that anymore."
Pacing themselves and being selective about how they spend their time "creates longevity," Brie said.
The sisters said they walked in the Go Red fashion show to honor loved ones who had died of heart disease and also to educate all women about eating healthful foods and exercising, even if it means getting up extra early to do so.
Brie recommended considering fitness sessions as business meetings so they aren't easily dismissed.
The 36-year-old California natives first appeared on the E! female WWE stars reality show, Total Divas, for two seasons before they landed Total Bellas, a spin-off, which airs Sunday nights.
Now in its fourth season, the docu-series offers a view into the sisters' relationships with each other, their family and their respective romantic partners.
Brie has been married to WWE star Daniel Bryan since 2014, and they are the parents of a nearly 2-year-old daughter, Birdie.
Nikki is venturing back into the dating world, describing as "awkward" a recent night out with The Bachelorette alum Peter Kraus. She also recently went to lunch with her former Dancing with the Stars partner Artem Chigvinstev.
While she appears to be keeping an open mind and heart, she also has said she still loves Cena. Nikki called off their engagement because she wants to have children and he doesn't.
A clip from Total Bellas posted on YouTube Wednesday shows Nikki arriving at Brie's home at almost 1 a.m. and waking up her sister to talk about her date with Kraus.
"How was your date? You woke me up. You're in my house, so..." a groggy Brie said.
"It was great," Nikki said, giving her sister an uncertain look. "OK, I'm going to head out."
"You honesty just woke me up," the makeup-free Brie told Nikki, who was still glamorously dressed for her date.
"OK, you go back to sleep and I'm going to head out," Nikki said, moving towards the door.
Speaking directly to the camera later, Nikki said she was disappointed because she wanted to share a moment with her sleepy sister.
"It's a little bit of a buzzkill. I'm not going to lie," Nikki said.