In June 2015, Lee was announced as one of the thirteen finalists for the sixth season of the WWE competition Tough Enough. After being at risk of elimination five times throughout the course of the competition, on August 25, Lee was chosen by fan vote as one of the winners, along with Josh Bredl, earning a $250,000 one-year contract with WWE. During the final, Lee adopted the ring name Hope, and lost a singles match to Alicia Fox.
In September, Lee was assigned to WWE's developmental territory NXT, based at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, to begin training. Returning to her real name, Lee made her first appearance for NXT at a live event on January 16, 2016, where she delivered a heel promo. She made her in-ring debut at the January 30 live event during a six-Diva tag team match, which also involved fellow Tough Enough competitor Mandy Rose. Lee turned heel once again at the March 19 live event, when she cut a promo insulting fellow Tough Enough competitor ZZ and the fans. On October 2, 2016, it was reported that Lee had been released from her WWE contract two days prior.