I met Toria during my stint in the pageant world as a Miss Universe Bahamas Contestant in 2016. From that moment forward our friendship blossomed into something beautiful and her confidence and energy is something that can't be ignored.
She is not only a former Miss Bahamas but an entrepreneur who's determined to make her mark on the world.
With her most recent feat being her blue tick on Instagram, she is well connected and a lover of all things positive. Now, she's letting us into her world with insight on how to keep your life moving no matter what's thrown against you.
Toria Nichole Penn, Former Beauty Queen, Entrepreneur, and Influencer.
1) Who is Toria Nichole?
Whew, that’s a huge question! Toria Nichole is a woman that's on her journey to full self-discovery. I live every day like it’s my last and truly believe there is no boundary to what we can do as humans. On the flip side of my personal definition, Toria Nichole is also my brand built on women empowerment, unforgettable fashion, mental wellness, and the art of giving back to the world because I have been given so much. I’ve always dreamt of my name being affiliated with something major, (I think my parents did a pretty good job of giving me this special gift as “Toria” alone always draws a pause) and making a change. Even if it's as small as making a complete stranger smile, that’s what I strive to do daily. Toria Nichole is an unstoppable force that will create life-changing experiences for everyone she comes in contact with through my art and voice because that’s what God and the universe planted within me. It’s my life purpose.
2) Speaking of life-changing experiences, we know that you are a former Miss Universe contestant (2015)- Tell us about your experience being around such inspiring women and how the pageant journey has shaped you today.
You know, a lot of people talk about the pressure of pageants, how hard it is and that it must be so competitive. And while all of that is true, the person you blossom into once your metamorphous is complete is really unexplainable. Like a sport, you learn just what kind of grit you have within you. Because it takes a lot not to quit. The women that are now in my life are unexplainable. Smart, ambitious, loving and so supportive. I don’t know how I lived without having a huge sisterhood of 80 girls before now! People think after the pageant, it's all over, but that's far from the truth. From weddings to babies, to businesses and school achievements we're all each other's cheerleaders.
Not to mention when traveling I have a host in just about any country I want to visit. It really doesn’t get any better than that.
3) So being in the pageant world, you're of course surrounded by tall beauties but you're 6'1and confident with every inch! What was it like growing up being so tall and what advice would you give to young girls and other women about fully embracing who they are no matter what?
I feel like every tall girl has a similar story. I was awkward, a tomboy, had poor posture (still do sometimes) and was a boy repellant because I was taller than all of them. I wanted to be a model at 16 and got a lot of no’s. I went through eating disorders, dying to be a size totally unhealthy for my height. And then after I exited a very toxic relationship where I was completely lost as to who I was supposed to be, I found myself. I got up every day and said it doesn’t matter what you look like; no one has your mind, or your drive, keep going.
God, a lot of prayer, and a lot of self-praise changed me. And now my confidence has never been higher! I say to myself daily, I’m the best, the flyest, I’m gorgeous, and un-damn-believable.
Sure like everyone, I have my days where I feel fat, or like my skin could be better, want to chop all my hair off, or desire things I wasn’t blessed with body wise, but that’s when I remember how much I used to beat myself up over things I now wish I had. I had abs out of this world and would call myself fat. I mean hello wake-up call! On my not so hot days I say, “Girl it's ok, you don’t have to be all that today, but tomorrow you better shake that off and put your crown back on.” My height is my favorite part about myself. I am an Amazon and live in my own world, and you have to be special enough to be allowed in this world I walk around in.
I would tell every girl out there to embrace what they have because that’s one thing someone else doesn’t have. It makes you perfect because God makes no mistakes, and someone out there is dying for what you were blessed with, trust me. I hear, “Oh my God I wish I was as tall as you! It’s so regal” so many times a week I can't count it, and someone is saying that about you and all the special things within you. Believe me, you’re perfect.
4) As someone looking on and reading what you have to say, you always remain so positive... what's your secret?
Honestly, that’s a tough question. There's no hidden secret besides having the will to want to be positive. Everyone has a story or hardships that they've encountered. I use those experiences to remind myself where I’ve been and where my thoughts need to stay to keep negativity out of my mind. And the proof is really in the pudding. It’s like someone tells you that you can have anything you want if you just say it, believe it, and let it go- then poof! It happens. You would do it all the time, right? So, I just keep that philosophy every day and it seems to be working for me quite well.
5) Speaking of secrets, you have impeccable skin. Is this what inspired you to create a line of makeup brushes?
Not at all. Still, they do connect with one another. I've been in the makeup industry for over 10 years. A lot of people don’t know that about me. I worked for MAC for years, and still freelance from time to time for photo shoots. I’ve always loved the way brushes had the ability to be another artistic tool to create masterpieces on people’s faces. Also, brushes (when cared for properly) allow for bacteria not to live as it does in sponges, thus being better for the skin. One of my makeup mentors once asked me, “What do artist's use to create works of art that last a lifetime?” I replied brushes, and she said, “Exactly”. That logic has stuck with me ever since. A makeup artist needs the proper tools to create great works of art. I wanted to tap into that industry and provide artist's and the regular person with high-quality tools for themselves and clients to create with while also not having to worry about a brush not performing for them and lasting a long time with the proper care.
"A makeup artist needs the proper tools to create great works of art. I wanted to tap into that industry and provide artist's and the regular person with high-quality tools for themselves and clients to create with"
6) How would you describe your products and what are your thoughts about how makeup should be applied?
My products are made from the highest quality materials and structures with the intention to last the owner for years. We have currently 15 styles suitable for all parts of the face and body. This is due to expand in the year 2020 with the introduction to new styles as well as cleaners and a few tools I've designed myself.
Makeup has no set way to be applied as every person has their own style. For me personally, prepping the skin is really important before you do anything else. Hydrate, prime, then apply your makeup. As you can see, I’m all about flawless easy skin.
7) Okay, so for someone wanting to start a business, what would you tell them and do you think having a mentor is needed to help out with developing a career/name in the industry?
If you want to start a business, do it. There are a lot of people out there with brilliant ideas and out of fear they never just go for it. If you believe in it, so will others and you will be successful in the long run. Just trust it! Read a lot about your industry, find your white space (what makes your idea different), and go for it. For me, looking at those who have made it where I want to be and watching how they got there is what mentored me. Reading books written by them, and reading as much as I can about the things I'm striving for as an individual is what motivates me. With that viewpoint, yes I do believe everyone needs a mentor. On the flip side of that, you are going to be the only driving force that will create the world in which you want to be in with your hard work and dedication. A mentor can guide you, but you are the one that has to do the work.
"There are a lot of people out there with brilliant ideas and out of fear they never just go for it. If you believe in it, so will others and you will be successful in the long run. Just trust it"
8) Well now that we got to know you better...you're in school, you work, you own a business...Take us through a day in the life of Toria, how do you do it all without going crazy!?
Coffee. That’s the key to life. No, I’m joking! I get asked this all the time. How do you do it all without crashing? Which I have, I just don’t showcase all of my wins and losses, or ups and downs for the world to see. But, really a lot of faith in myself, and in God, and the universe is how I have this unlimited source of energy to get things done. My mom always says,“You must be crazy” because I have about 100 new ideas a day of things I want to do. I live in the world of “I can do it all”. And I do. There are 24 hours in a day, and I pray to God at least once a week to add a 26th hour lol. Seriously though, If I want to do something, I always say that the universe didn’t give me this idea, or tell me this story to write, or pursue this talent for no reason and I move on impulse. It always seems to work out, and I work really well under pressure. So, this is something you can say is my natural born super power... I don’t stop until what I want is made into reality!
Toria Nichole In A Nutshell!
What do you love about living in Miami?
The fact that home [The Bahamas] is not so far away and that my family is right here. Also, I live in an area filled with life and the beach is always right next to me when I need to feel its' healing properties. That’s the best!
What would you tell your 23-year-old self?
My 23-year-old self! I’d tell her ...have more confidence, what you are doing is right, trust your gut more and walk away from anyone that doesn’t feel right, right away. You were blessed with the ability to read deeply into others, trust that process. And never change. People don’t understand how nice you are and that’s ok, it’s not a crutch- it’s a beautiful thing.
Fav shoe to wear?
Sam Edelman, and no it isn’t because I work for him. It’s because they always have my size and are the most comfortable shoes in my closet. Still, if I had to choose just one pair out of my (I’m ashamed to say the quantity) ample selection, it would have to be my Nike dunk multi-colored high tops.
What was the last sweet treat you ate?
Ben and Jerry's cookie core ice cream.
What can't you live without?
The 7-book series of Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling is a genius.
Top 3 songs on your iTunes right now
Eyes Off You by Prettymuch
Legend by Rotimi
Fake Smile by Ariana Grande
If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be?
I have such a huge list of places I want to go, but if I could just up and go, it would definitely be Egypt. I’ve always been drawn to their history and culture. I also had the most beautiful encounter with a group of women from Egypt who once that told me I must go because I resembled one of the queens that stood by the side of a Pharaoh. By far one of the biggest and humbling compliments I have ever received -so I must visit and would fly there without second thought!