Tori Bowie is early for her interview, but that’s no surprise - as the fastest woman in the world, she’s used to being first. As a 3-time Olympic medalist and the winner of the recent IAFF World Championships in London, Bowie is one of the few Instagram stars who can post #winning and actually mean it. But her victories aren’t just on the track, as this New York Fashion Week will prove. After starring in the last Valentino campaign (!) with runway veterans like Selena Forrest, the 27-year-old will walk Taoray Wang’s catwalk on Saturday in New York City.
We met the Mississippi native before her latest fashion gig to find out about gym makeup, mind games, and how to work out when you’re feeling sick.
You’re ranked as the fastest woman in the world. Did you always know you’d be a champion?
Not at all. I think I first realized that I had the potential to be good in college. It wasn’t until then. Before that, I was really lazy. I hadn’t matured yet; you know what I’m saying? I didn’t really want to put the work in.
I think what sparked me to put in the work is when I went to the World Championships in 2014.
But if you’re at the World Championships, aren’t you already the best?
No. I mean, I made the team. I was there to do a long jump. I was ranked number one in the world, and I got there and got last place. I think that’s when I really changed... I was so down. I was hurt. I wasn’t expecting to lose… I mean, I didn’t even make finals. It was a surprise to everyone: to myself, to my coach - nobody knows what happened, to this day. I was confused, and at that point, I was willing to do anything, to change anything, to start winning again. My entire life changed at that moment.
Now that you're a gold medalist, when you race, do you know you’ll win?
I never know if I’ll win. I just know to do my best. It’s a mind thing, you know? When I’m on the starting line, I know everyone else on that line. We’re all nervous, right? We all want to win. But you want to be the person who can bury those nerves and act like they don’t exist. That’s what I do, even though I’m nervous, I try to pretend. You have to bury nerves, because they can either destroy you or give you that extra boost. You have to use your nerves in a good way. Don’t let them destroy you.