Zen Rebel Tori Deal
By Aida Toro
You may know Tori Deal from MTV reality shows like The Challenge and Are You The One and as an Instagram influencer, but do you know she is one of the masterminds behind the SuiHeart Club? No? Then you are in for a treat.
“I always did everything,” said Deal. “In high school I was on the soccer team, Vice President of my class, performed in musicals, and was also on the school’s morning news team.”
Deal, who is from Sicklerville, New Jersey, went to the State University of New York (SUNY) College at Old Westbury to pursue her Bachelors in Media Communications. While she attended college, she was a reporter on campus, worked for the university’s radio station, interned at Long Island News 12, and eventually became a freelance reporter prior to graduating with her degree. “Reporting was a lot of fun, but when you report for a news team, you basically only get to state the facts,” said Deal. “I wanted to work in a field in which I could express myself.” And so, Deal went in search for the next big thing. One of her closest friends and roommate at the time, enjoyed watching MTV’s The Challenge, and gave Deal the extra push to get into reality television.
“She said to me ‘Tori, first you get on Are You The One, and then if they like you, they pick you up for The Challenge,” said Deal. “At first, I was a little hesitant because I hadn’t seen any of the shows.”
After Deal watched one episode of Are You The One, she took the leap, and applied. Four months later, she was filming with MTV for the show and, due to her popularity, continued filming for three years and seven shows.
“Once I applied for this reality TV show and got on, I knew this would catapult my platform to the next level,” she said. “I knew this was my chance to make a name for myself.”
Even with three years of MTV shows under her belt, Deal stated reality television is tough. Participants put their lives out there for the public to dissect - total transparency. Deal said electronic devices and personal items such as books, get taken away. She felt she was entering into a new world.
“For this first show, I cried in the bathroom like every other night, because I was so stressed out,” said Deal.
After she wrapped up filming for Are You The One, she was cast on Second Chances and The Challenge, twice. Then, Champs vs Stars - twice, and Fear Factor. “I came in second on Second Chances, and 3rd place on The Challenge Dirty Thirty. On Fear Factor I won with Jordan as my partner,” said Deal.
While she competed on Champs vs Star, Deal competed for a charity. The charity she played for was the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) in memory of her uncle Rich, a family member near and dear to her heart. Deal and Jordan Wisely also won $50,000 after competing in Fear Factor. It was donated to St. Judes Hospital.
Deal will be the first to state she learned a load after being on seven reality television shows. “I have been through A LOT on TV,” said Deal. “Breakups, been cheated on, ‘cheated’ on someone else, called names, all of the above. I realized the WORST thing was when I labeled myself a victim of it all.”
Deal blamed others for the negative things that happened to her, but she recently realized that no matter what she’s been through in her life, she had to accept responsibility for it. “I’m not saying that being a victim isn’t real. Everyone is a victim at some point in their life, but maintaining that victim mentality can be detrimental to your own growth,” she said. “I had to accept that I made major mistakes, and so did other people. None of it mattered anymore, because all we can do is move forward in a positive and constructive way. Learning that I am not a victim but a victor, was the most important lesson I ever took from reality TV.”
Deal is also thankful for MTV because the network provided her with opportunities to showcase her personality on so many different platforms. All the way from growing her own platform, finding love with Wisely, and most importantly, becoming a strong and independent woman.”
One of her projects, which she created with her friend Vira, is the SuiHeart Club. Originally, Deal and Vira created SuiHeart Club as a place for people to find a tiny glimmer of hope when they’re scrolling aimlessly through Instagram.
“So often, I would catch myself in a ‘scroll hole’ on Instagram and feeling bad,” said Deal. “I would see so many beautiful pictures of perfect lives, beautiful destinations, perfect bodies, and feel bad because I didn’t have those things.” As a result, she and Vira decided to make a place to inspire people to get up, get out, and feel their inner power. SuiHeart Club promotes body positivity, mental health awareness, and daily inspiration to empower everyone.
“We are two women and definitely want to support the female community, but we also see the men out there who desperately need self-love and self-care,” she said. “So, SuiHeart Club is for girls and guys equally.”
Proof that life and love inspire her, Deal is working on music with Wisely, and a children’s book with Vira. She likes to think of her upcoming children’s book as a modern Winnie the Pooh story mixed with bits of Dr. Seuss. “All I can say about this, is it’s the BEST thing I’ve ever written,” she expressed. “The theme of the book is about appreciating people instead of things.”
“Kids learn these fundamental core beliefs at a very young age. Vira and I want all kids to realize that objects aren’t nearly as important as humans. We are both aunts, so children are very close to our heart,” Deal stated.
As for music, Deal was always passionate about it. She remixed “Fergalicious” by Fergie, about the constitution for extra credit in a class in 7th grade. Throughout this period of time, she realized she loved putting poetry to music. “Since then I’ve written poems, songs, originals, and remix covers,” she said. “Jordan and I now release covers on my Spotify.”
She enjoys working with Wisely in every aspect. Deal described him as a dreamer with an incredible work ethic: a go-getter who constantly moves forward. “He is the boss in so many areas, but when it comes to music, he is the rookie in the studio,” said Deal. “I’ve been working as a recording artist for about four years now and everyone else in the studio has even more experience.”
She mentioned that even the novice version of Wisely is inspiring to her because he is very content to learn and grow as much as he can.
“Music is just one of the fruits from our ever growing relationship,” she beamed. “We are so lucky that we get to play around and do so many different types of creative projects together.”
Deal is looking forward to performing original songs with Wisely in the future, launching her children’s book, and offering Suiheart club meetups.
“It’s easy to get scared about your direction, purpose, or even if you’re doing the right thing. Follow your intuition,” she said. “Listen to your heart and work EVERYDAY towards what it feels.”