With the right plan and the right discipline, you can get seriously shredded in just 28 days.Read article
At age 30, Victoria Vesce has worked hard to make the most out of every opportunity that comes her way, but having once played a superhero on-screen, this academic and physical powerhouse needed to rely on faith and fitness after being diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2017. Now raising awareness for the National Brain Tumor Society,
Vesce is back to doing what she does best, stealing the spotlight and smashing stereotypes. Born in Wilson, NC, and now living in West Palm Beach, Vesce sat down with M&F Hers to catch us up on her inspirational story, which now includes working toward her law degree.
“I’m studying for the bar currently,” says Vesce, who hopes to soon practice law, and further break narrow-minded views of what a beautiful woman can accomplish. As an undergrad, Vesce wrote for the North Carolina State University newspaper and was a sportswriter for Baseball Life. She began modeling at the age of 18 and even starred in a movie, playing the lead character in “Athena, Goddess of War” in the 2015 Maiden Comics’ release of the same name.
During the shoot, Vesce performed all of her own stunts. At the same time she also started participating as a dance-team member for the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets. During that time, Vesce seemed to have life and success in the palm of her hands. In 2017, however, life took a devastating turn when she was diagnosed with a rare form of brain tumor known as paragangliomas, or glomus tumors.
“The first symptoms started while I was dancing for the Hornets,” recalls Vesce. “I started going deaf in my right ear and that was the first major symptom. Then, subsequently, I dealt with low blood pressure, migraines, extreme nausea and a lack of energy. It took a while for doctors to figure out what was wrong with me, because I looked healthy. But after four months of misdiagnoses, I got a CAT scan and they found the tumor, and I was referred to Duke Medical Hospital. They found a second tumor, it was a carotid body tumor, and I was immediately taken in as a patient for surgery and radiation.”
Proactive as ever, Vesce volunteered to participate in a study for Duke University Hospital, no doubt helping the chances for others to receive better care as more is learned about these types of conditions. “I had intense surgery, it took months to recover from,” she shares. “I was mentally tough though, and really focused on getting healthy. After I recovered some strength and could walk again, I went straight into radiation treatments for two months. It was a lot.”
Following radiation, it took a further six weeks before Vesce could even bathe on her own, but despite lingering issues such as being deaf in her right ear, and suffering with migraines, this warrior says that overall, she feels super healthy and happy. So, what does she put her unstoppable positivity down to? Faith and fitness seem to be the key.
“Faith was the most important,” says Vesce. “I went into a situation completely blindsided. There was no tangible proof that I would be fine. I just had to believe that it would all workout. That part of my life was really threatening to steer me away from God, and I had to learn to lean on him to get me through. I was really lucky and blessed to have my amazing family, especially my mom (who has since passed away). She was by my side through each step.”
For those who may be recovering from brain tumors, or any other type of illness or injury, Vesce has an important message. “I’d say the best thing is to push yourself,” she says. “A lot of people will preach to push yourself too hard. That’s not the advice I’ll give. Give yourself a little goal everyday to achieve. For me, initially, it was to walk again without feeling dizzy. I gave myself a stair step to climb each day until I could walk up and down the whole stairs without having ‘deer’ legs anymore. Little goals will add up to big results!”
Vesce says that being active is part of her identity, it is something she has enjoyed her whole life, and had no intention of allowing her tumor to take that away from her. Case in point? In 2022, Vesce had all eyes on her once again as she became a Sports Illustrated swimsuit finalist. But the work doesn’t end there. Vesce has her own YouTube channel, where you can keep up to date with her adventurous exploits such as bowfishing, or shooting with some seriously heavy machinery. Vesce has her own podcast, and even a new swimwear line DEHART Swim.
Seriously, one may wonder where she finds the time to fit all this in with her law studies. “I’m pretty ‘Type A,’ so I keep a tight schedule and have all my days scheduled to a ‘T’,” Vesce says. “My motto is making the most out of life.” Fortunately, her love of life also extends to food. “I love food,” she beams. “I’m Italian, so I love my carbs. I do everything in moderation though. Currently I am doing a pretty high protein, lean diet.”
“Recently, I’ve been hitting the gym more,” says Vesce. “My body fluctuates, due to hormones and my brain tumor still. But I’ve been really testing my personal limits lately by dialing in my nutrition and health. I’ve been doing body allergy tests to make the most of my health.”
Vesce tells M&F Hers that her favorite ways to workout are Rumble Boxing, Hot Yoga, and weighted circuits because she likes get her heart pumping just as much as the rest of her body. “I’m training to get strong and potentially compete in some bikini shows,” says Vesce, who shared her current glute workout to round out the interview.
We look forward to the possibility of Vesce appearing in a court of law, and on the bodybuilding stage. Who’s going to bet against this real-life superhero!
Standing Cable Glute Kickback: 4 sets, 12 reps
Smith Machine Glute Kickback: 4 sets, 12 reps
Smith Machine Frog Pump: 4 sets, 12 reps
Barbell Hip Thrust (hold for 3 seconds at the top of the lift): 4 sets, 12 reps