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Great American Mud Wrestle LA Lotta Volkova Lily Rose Depp
Walter Pearce and Lily-Rose DeppPhotography Chuck Grant

Mud-wrestling with Lily-Rose Depp and Lotta Volkova

The Great American Mud Wrestle saw Depp, Volkova, and models Alana Champion and Jane Moseley get down and dirty in LA last week

Shit in America has never been crazier, so it’s no surprise that wherever you look, someone’s attempting to grapple with our current state of affairs. Recently, Childish Gambino made waves after dropping the video for “This is America”, a sharp critique of a gun-crazed, racist America. Meanwhile, on the TV front, Sasha Baron Cohen is at it again with What is America?, a satire that makes few political distinctions in its pranking of everyone from Kellyanne Conway to Bernie Sanders, and even recruited a conservative congressman to get behind arming toddlers.

Then there’s The Great American Mud Wrestle, founded by self-proclaimed stuntman renegade Hunter Ray Barker and casting wizard, Walter Pearce, who works with the likes of Hood By Air and Helmut Lang. This past Friday, the duo put on a wildly entertaining event that functioned as part ode to and part critique of the USA. The outlaw sport of mud wrestling was the centerpiece of the night, for Barker and Pearce – both operating as MCs – to indulge the audience with a clash of violence, sex, ego, spectacle and, of course, celebrities. Why turn on the news when you can just watch it live? Here’s what went down that night.  


The decor transported attendees to another place – no longer in cosmopolitan Los Angeles, instead we were getting down and dirty in middle America. Scattered around the gorgeous property in Sun Valley (i.e. the suburbs of Los Angeles) was everything from a tractor and a pen of baby pigs, to what appeared to be an installation of a minivan filled with stranger’s belongings, seemingly about to take off into the distance at any given moment.


Kicking things off was a match to settle one of the longest, deepest feuds in human history, as 'Cain & Abel' launched into a wet and slippery fight – rolling around until the judges sided with the Bible and named Cain the winner. Then came model and face of Chanel, Lily-Rose Depp. Her match against a boy who looked no older than 20 escalated after two actors dressed as cops pranked the audience, pretending to shut down the party. In the end they joined the match, and treated everyone to a truly dirty four-way. The best match of all, however, was the one between stylist Lotta Volkova and an unsuspecting audience member who took on her challenge to fight her MMA style. The two battled it out in a heated, badass match that that was all about girl power and proved why, amongst many reasons, Volkova is a force to be reckoned with.


Barker recruited diverse Hollywood characters to add a dimension of freakiness and decadence to his portrait of contemporary America. Dog the Bounty Hunter was there, apparently hired to keep wrestling contestants in line. Stationed at a kissing booth was the Joker of Hollywood Boulevard, and street performer Golden Robot Guy riled the audience up with his trademark whistle. Local superstars also made an appearance, including the amazingly buff actress and bodybuilder Lauren Powers and pornstar Shelly the 'Burbank Bomber'. Last but not least, legendary actress The Goddess Bunny graced us with her presence, ultimately ordaining an impromptu marriage ceremony between two strangers.


The whose who of young Hollywood came out in their most clever interpretations of trashy American chic, among them model Alana Champion, and House of 1000 Corpses director Bill Moseley and his daughter, model and artist Jane Moseley. Other guests went all-out with costumes that channelled art-school cowgirls, ironic patriotic references, and general vibes of vulgarity and extravagance – all finished with layers and layers of mud by the end of the evening. But then, as the invitation itself said, “if you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.”