For our Influential Woman Spotlight this week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tori Skillings. A 23 year old Dallas, Texas native, Tori went to undergrad at Texas Tech University. She hopes to apply to Occupational Therapy school to complete her Master’s Degree and eventually find a career working with special needs children.
In the mean time, Tori is keeping herself plenty busy with an array of exciting jobs and opportunities. She is a Dallas Mavericks dancer, a VPX Bang Energy Model, a Brand Ambassador for Lyft in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and an Administrative Assistant for a family friend’s business. In her free time, she enjoys working out, spending time with friends, reading, and playing video games.
I was privileged to be able to have a conversation with Tori about not only the exciting life she currently leads, but her thoughts on helping others with the opportunities she has. Whether it is through dance or through her future in occupational therapy, Tori has a heart for using whatever platform she can in order to inspire those around her.
When did you start dancing? What types of dance have you studied?
I started dancing at the age of 3 and started competition dance at the age of 5 until the age of 18. I trained in ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, hip-hop and pointe. I was also a cheerleader in high school for 3 years. At Texas Tech I was a part of the Pom squad for 4 years where we dance at all of the athletic events and competed in jazz and hip-hop at the end of the year.
Were you a Mavericks fan before trying out for their dance team? And what made you want to be a part of that team?
I’ve always been a Mavericks fan because I grew up in Dallas my whole life! My dad took me to games when I was little and I took prep classes when I was younger for the dance team. I wanted to be a part of the team because I knew it was an awesome fit for me and I wanted to dance for one of my favorite teams.
What’s it like being up close to NBA action each game?
It’s the most amazing feeling being a part of the entire experience. Every time I go out on the court I get butterflies and have the biggest smile on my face. Nothing brings me more joy than dancing in front of a big crowd. It’s also really cool to be up close to all of the players that come into the American Airlines Center
How did you get involved with VPX Bang Energy? What kind of events and other marketing efforts are you involved in with the company?
I got into VPX Bang Energy thanks to my best friend Cici Stamper, who is also a model and dancer for them. I got super into fitness towards the end of college and really wanted to take it to the next level. I saw how much fun she was having and all of the opportunities she’s gotten through VPX so I got on board with it. I’m really hoping to expand myself in the company and go to fit expos to dance for them. I’m really wanting to help the company grow and show people how much I love their products! I’m working on building my social media to make sure I’m the best ambassador I can be for them.
As a reader and video gamer myself, what types of each are you into?
I’m really into self empowering books like “The Power of Now”. I believe in order to inspire others you have to find the inspiration within yourself. And I’m also an oldie when it comes to video games. I love all of those Nintendo 64 games like Mario Kart, Pokemon and Spider-Man. I also miss those game boy color and Nintendo DS games. When I’m just hanging out I’ll sometimes grab those and play them. I was a huge gamer when I was younger.
What inspired taking a hiatus from schooling to dance and model?
So I took a break for a semester because I was really trying to figure out what I wanted to do as a career. I didn’t want to just settle for something I wasn’t going to be happy with. I really tried to focus on what works for me and what makes me the happiest. I’m so thankful for that time because I could really take my time and not rush into anything. And now I’m able to say I’m truly happy with deciding to go back to school and eventually start helping people with Occupational Therapy.
What influenced your pursuit of Occupational Therapy?
So at first I wanted to be a Physical Therapist but then realized how much more schooling it is in order to be one. I had some friends that were involved with Occupational Therapy so I started talking with them and realized that it is exactly what I wanted to do. I had studied Psychology and Kinesiology at TTU, and Occupational Therapy really does involve both of those things. I also shadowed an Occupational Therapy office with Special Needs kids and fell in love. I saw how much the kids loved their therapists and the improvement they had had from even just months before. My main goal in life is to inspire and help others and it’s the perfect fit for me.
The Total Package
Tori is another perfect example of an Influential Woman. Tori found different avenues and opportunities that she truly enjoyed, and uses them in order to help and inspire those she comes into contact with. This is an idea that cannot be overlooked: being happy with what you do and using it for good.
I love the quote from our interview where Tori says she “didn’t want to settle for something I wasn’t going to be happy with.” Too many times in life we find ourselves going through the motions with occupations or circumstances that we fall into despite the fact that it isn’t something we truly enjoy. Tori, in only her 20s, had the wisdom to take a step back and realize that by being patient and taking some time off from schooling, she could find an opportunity that she would be happy with pursuing. I sincerely admire her for that.
It was enlightening for me to get to know Tori. There is always wisdom to be gained through meeting new people, and I definitely have learned from Tori about patience, pursuing what you love, and using your gifts to help others. I look forward to continuing to follow her progress as a dancer, model, academic, occupational therapist, and as an amazing young woman.
Check Tori Out
Head over to @toriskillings on Instagram and give her a follow, especially if you’re into dance and fitness. You can even use her discount code on some awesome VPX Bang Energy products. Also check out our Woman Crush Wednesday post on our Instagram @influentialgentleman.