If not now, when? When is it a good time to move to a big city, open our hearts to love, build a business or start a family? Life doesn’t give us the handbook on what’s coming next, so we have to make these brave decisions ourselves and build the lives we want. Model and swimsuit designer, Tori Praver, has done just that and takes this motto to heart by living in the moment and taking chances. The motto travels with her at all times, as the message is tattooed in sanskrit across her ribcage. Through her own hard work and determination Tori has branded herself to be an internationally known swimsuit line and female powerhouse, but through all of her professional success she is even more proud to be a supportive wife to professional surfer Danny Fuller, loving mother to Ryan Mahina and loyal friend to many.
Growing up in Maui, Tori lived the natural island lifestyle of slippers, bikinis and catching waves. Although island life through a looking glass may seem picture perfect, hardships came early in life which made her grow up fast. She said, “As a girl I would have described myself as independent. I thought I needed to be strong for my mom because my brother passed away when I was 13. I grew up a lot when that happened.“ Through the heartache, Tori matured quickly and nurtured many children in her community. To this day she has compassion and a strong maternal instinct towards children. Her mother, Lori, is a hero in her eyes. Tori looks up to Lori, calling her strong, smart, an amazing business woman and mentor. She laid the foundation of work ethic for Tori to go after her dreams.
Standing at 5’11” Tori is beautiful and statuesque. Growing up on the island, she was much taller than a lot of her friends and that led to teenage insecurities. “I was always the tall girl growing up in Maui where everyone else was shorter. A lot of the island has an Asian blend. That made me feel like I stood out. I was taller than all of the boys and I was not comfortable.”
Every girl goes through adolescence wonders, “Why me?” “Why am I different?” “Can’t I just be smarter, prettier, fitter, happier?” The list can go on and on if you let it. Through interviewing Tori, she inspired the idea that if you want to change yourself, the best time to take the first step is NOW. Even famous models deal with insecurities and have daily reminders that they aren’t perfect. Everyone is able to make decisions for themselves to be in positive environments and do things that make them happy and comfortable.
Tori decided to take things into her own hands and start a modeling career in New York at the age of 18. She said, “Things changed in my confidence when I moved to New York to model. I was surrounded by peers that were similar. Modeling can get to you and make you obsess with things that you shouldn’t, so I tried to keep a good head on my shoulders. At the end of the day I would go home and knew I had good friends and family. They kept me grounded.” To this day, Tori’s aloha spirit has stayed with her.
Tori says, “What you put out there is what you get back. It’s Kharma. What goes around comes around. Being nice to other women is only possible if you are confident and happy with yourself. You have to support each other. Don’t compete. Don’t be jealous. Bring each other up and be a community. This all comes with confidence.”
Her Malibu tribe of family and friends is what she lives for. They have built a community full of love, warmth, empowerment and support. Her best friends are a group of women who also have retail brands of their own. They are constantly promoting one another and bringing awareness to each others’ brands.
“We all have a cool relationship. We don’t have competition in our group because I see the differences in our brands…I am also still friends with my childhood friends. We have a feminine group of friends and I want that to be instilled in my daughter.”
Through Instagram Tori lets followers in on not only her professional life and growth of Tori Praver Swimwear, but also her private life. Tori’s account shows her transparent love for her daughter. Posts of adorable kisses, daredevil toddler moves, surfing with daddy and Ryan sporting the Keiki line all show how much Ryan lights up her life. Tori says, “Instagram shows everyone who you are. I am a mother and with that you get a lot of feedback from other mothers.” She said that some people will share their opinions and tell her to post more of her and not the baby. But Tori says, “Take it or leave it. This is my life.”
Tori’s company has had continuous growth, and is adorned by celebrities and featured in Vogue, InStyle, Sports Illustrated and many more publications to date. Tori is a wonderful example of how to bring to fruition the life you desire. Tori says the secret to accomplishing goals is to show up on time and come to work present. Leave your phone in your bag, your personal life at home and work, work, work. So go chase your dreams of career, family and fun. And remember if not now, when?