The term "unmotivated" isn't in Victoria's vernacular. She wasn't "unmotivated" when she hoisted the Women's Championship into the air on two occasions, and she wasn't "unmotivated" when she opened her latest business venture, Black Widow Customs, in Louisville, Ky.
But her journey into becoming one of the most respected — and feared — Divas in WWE has a little bit of a different ring to it. If her path had been etched out at a slightly different angle, her life, now consisting of dominating her foes with the Widow's Peak, may have been about helping children as a pediatrician.
"The first college I went to was Riverside Community College. Then I transferred to a private college, Loma Linda University," Victoria explained of her bio-med college education. "I never came from that type of private school setting … I wasn't really sure what I was getting myself into."
Loma Linda was tailored to pre-med, and after only her second year, she was working on cadavers. But still, the fit wasn't quite right, and after discussing it with her dad, Victoria headed to UCLA. It was also around this time she started working at the Inland Eye and Tissue Bank, in Redlands, Calif., where she removed corneas, heart valves, bones and tissue, everything needed for transplantation.
But working there also gave Victoria a different outlook on life. She was dealing with two things: Life and Death. On the one hand, the job itself was rewarding. On the other hand, she was dealing with some of the major causes of death; heart disease and weight, among others, on a daily basis. And now, she was going to take her health more seriously.
"I guess I just handle death differently than most people. I got addicted to working out and became a fanatic with myself. That's when I started to become a professional fitness competitor."
In 1997 she won ESPN's Fitness America series, and continued competing. Soon after, while at the gym, she met a former WWE Superstar, who put the idea of sports-entertainment in the back of her mind. Victoria knew with her gymnastics and cheerleading background, she would be a natural. She sent in a video package to WWE, and received a call requesting a meeting.
"I really thought I could do some of the same moves as the men in the ring. I thought I was invincible, that nothing could damage me," Victoria said with a grin. "I searched for a wrestling school on the Internet and drove an hour and a half. I had 20 days to learn how to wrestle," she continued. "There were people that didn't have faith in me … a lot of people didn't. That just made me push harder."
Now, after two stints as Women's Champion, her training is still paying off. Known for her athletic and powerful style, Divas across WWE have fallen victim to the Widow's Peak — some believe it's one of the most devastating finishing moves of any Diva ... ever.
But Victoria's family always believed in her. Her father is Puerto Rican and her mom was born in Korea but raised in Japan. However, Victoria is not Korean. The self-proclaimed "big time tomboy," also had three older brothers watching out for her.
"My mom is Tatar. The people of that area were gypsies from northern Mongolia and moved from place to place. I describe myself as Turkish, because it's easily understood," Victoria said about her heritage.
And life in the ring has afforded Victoria the opportunity to bring her mom back to Japan, a dream of hers.
"My mom was in Japan until she met my dad in the service, and he brought her to New Jersey. When I took her back to Japan, my mom was able to visit an area she grew up in, which isn't really there anymore. It was cool because she became my translator."
Now on her plate is the Diva's newest venture: Black Widow Customs in Louisville. But the car shop is not just another business opportunity, it's a real passion for Victoria. At the end of May, she entered her Black Widow Customs 2006 Chrysler 300C Hemi into the YouTube Chrysler 300 Spin It Your Way online contest. The perfectly-modded machine took home the big win — and a trip to the L.A. Auto Show in November.
"I did a really awesome job designing that sucker," Victoria said with a laugh. "Business is really booming, and we are making a name for ourselves. People can bring anything in and we can make their car a dream come true."
Victoria isn't lying, either. The Diva's first car, a Dodge Colt from her oldest brother, ignited her interest in customizing cars. Victoria took it down to Tijuana and had it all pimped out, with the interior painted white. Her hometown, San Bernardino, Calif., a primarily latino community referred to it as the "gringo-mobile."
"Everything I do is in a man's world, and has prepared me to be in WWE. I get paid to beat up people for a living … and I do such a great job."