What do you get when you combine volleyball, band, bodybuilding, comic books, Star Wars and 4-H? It’s 17-year-old Tori Steele.
The Central Hardin High School senior has a variety of interests and talents.
She plays on the varsity volleyball team and said she enjoys the competition of the sport.
“I love how all us girls can get together and make something happen,” she said.
She’s also been in band since the sixth grade and plays the bassoon.
“I love making music and love expressing my passion and love of music to the audience,” she said.
As far as she knows, there aren’t many athletes also involved in band locally.
Her interest in bodybuilding started about two years ago when she started lifting weights more with a goal to grow stronger. Her inspiration was her trainer Barbara Jozwiak.
She described Jozwiak as a headstrong woman and the way she works in the gym and her passion inspired Steele to do the same.
Her first competition was Aug. 18. For the judging, she had to be on stage in a bikini and high heals doing bodybuilding poses.
In the competition, she placed second in the Teen Bikini division and third in the Kentucky Open Class C.
“I had a lot of fun being on stage and interacting with the other competitors,” she said. “We all have a respect for each other because we know how hard it is to be on stage and get to that point of being stage ready.”
Steele said it’s rare for teens to do bodybuilding because it’s taxing on the body.
She has to balance playing volleyball with bodybuilding prep because she has to keep calories at a decent level for volleyball which is different than if she was participating solely in bodybuilding.
Steele recently started baking. Because in bodybuilding, she said she experience cravings which lead her to baking. But she can’t eat what she bakes because of the high sugar content, so she gives it all away, she said.
The reaction from others gives her confidence when people enjoy her baking.
Along with everything else, Steele is involved in many fandoms including some anime, Marvel and Star Wars.
“Anime has a giant storyline that can be very intense and emotional,” she said.
She’s interested in Marvel comics because there is action and characters such as The Avengers unite together to save the world. Specifically, she likes Ms. Marvel, Gamora and the Jane Foster version of Thor.
“‘Star Wars’ is a great storyline,” she said. “I love the fantasy aspect and what someone’s imagination can come up with.”
She is so interested in these things that she also cosplays or dressing up as characters, many times at comic conventions.
“I like getting down to the detail of the character itself,” she said.
She has dressed as Blake Belladonna from “RWBY,” Saber from the “Fate” series and Astrid from “How to Train Your Dragon 2.” She’s currently working on a Jane Foster Thor and Agent Carter costumes.
She is able to use her sewing skills from the 4-H Bobbins Club in making her costumes. She also used to be in the 4-H Rabbit Club.
With all that on her plate, she still had time to go to Belize on a Sports Reach mission trip with other volleyball players from Central and North Hardin.
“We were there to spread the love of Jesus through sports,” she said.
The group visited children’s homes and conducted sports clinics. Everyone there was very nice and grateful, she said.
“The kids there have the biggest hearts ever,” Steele said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
On one stop, they visited a home she described as a shack. The family living there had taken their daughter to the United States to try to cure her cancer, but the child died.
“It was heartbreaking to hear the story,” she said.
But she heard a few weeks ago that a house was built for them and they no longer are in the shack.
Her mom Katie described the trip to Belize as “one of the best things Tori’s ever done and she learned a lot from it.”
Katie said Steele wants to go back when she becomes a physical therapist to work with athletes there.
When she graduates, Steele wants to become a physical therapist and minor in musical performance.
Katie called her daughter an “extraordinary” young woman and a “high achiever” who manages to juggle many different things.
“She’s unique,” Katie said. “I’m very blessed to have her as my daughter.”
Steele said she has no idea how she balances it all.
“I’ve always beat to my own drum and always done my own thing,” she said. “I’m just grateful to God for giving me all these talents and abilities.”