Victoria Garrick is a former Division I and semi-pro volleyball player, TED Talk speaker, mental health and body-image advocate, podcast host, and self-love enthusiast. She is deeply passionate about inspiring, supporting, and motivating people from all walks of life. Victoria walked on to the number one ranked University of Southern California (USC) volleyball team in 2015 and then became a four-year starter. She won a Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC)-12 championship, made two National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Elite Eight appearances, finished first in the PAC-12 conference with the most total digs in 2018, and ended her career with the top five most digs in USC program history.
Despite a successful athletic career, the high-pressure environment and intense demands of her student-athlete schedule took a toll on Victoria’s mental health. She shared her story of battling and overcoming depression, anxiety, and body image issues as a student-athlete, in her 2017 TED Talk, “Athletes and Mental Health: The Hidden Opponent.” In 2019, Victoria founded a non-profit organization and advocacy group with the same name, The Hidden Opponent, that raises awareness for student-athlete mental health and addresses the stigma within sports culture.
As a retired athlete, Victoria has come full circle with her challenges with mental health and body image. She is an advocate for body positivity and body neutrality. Victoria is an inspiration to young girls and athletes everywhere encouraging them to love their bodies and to be vocal about their mental health. She continues to travel the country speaking on college campuses about mental health and creates daily content for her army of over one million people, who follow her message of authenticity and self-care on social media.
Interviewed by our founder and president, Alexandra Nicholas, Victoria shares her story of overcoming the burden of mental health, the important lessons that she has learned about herself on and off the volleyball court, and how the stigma of athletes with mental health has evolved. It is evident that Victoria, through her dedication and support, has created a community of athletes that share their struggles, which helps others know they are not alone. Victoria says, “I hope to influence people to be the best version of themselves, and I hope to do this every day.”