America’s Next Top Model Competitor Victoria Henley
South magazine had a chance to pick the brain of America’s Next Top Model Cycle 19 competitor Victoria Henley about her experiences.
Hometown: Colquitt, GA
College: Liberty University Online
South magazine: Did you model or perform as a child?
Victoria: Even as an infant, I always showed an interest in being in front of the camera, which led be to becoming a baby model for Walmart. As I grew older my passion for modeling grew more intense, and at 8 years old I enrolled in modeling lessons with my cousin, who was a model with Ford Agency. My interests also developed for acting after I starred in the church play at 9 years old and I later went on to do commercial work, short films, student films, and I even wrote my own stage show at 15. I eventually began to build my resume by modeling in regional fashion shows and events, and I was even approached in the unlikely venue of a Chinese restaurant by someone who asked if I wanted to model for an L.A.-based gown company, for whom I became the youngest model.
South magazine: How did you become interested in modeling?
Victoria: I remember falling in love with the adrenaline rush and instant gratification I got while strutting down my first runway at a local Dillard's fashion show as a child and thinking, "I really want to make a career of this." Around that same time, I got a subscription to Vogue magazine, and I religiously studied the poses of all the models in the fashion spreads and practiced them in front of my mirror. I always seemed to know deep down I had to better develop my skills, because one day, I would utilize them in a big way.
South magazine: What is the most important thing you learned during your time at ANTM? What did you learn about yourself while you were there?
Victoria: I told myself before I left to compete for the show that I would stay true to my core values, ethics and beliefs and would not lose myself throughout the whole rollercoaster-ride process. I can't say that I specifically learned anything about myself that I don't already know, but the experience further re-enforced how much I love and depend upon my mom. It was excruciatingly difficult being away from her for nearly two months with extremely limited phone time, and I definitely learned I do not want to be away from her that long again. I also learned that living in a house with 11 other girls—many with whom I had nothing in common—is very frustrating. However, some of the incredible, surreal experiences I had while modeling on the show re-affirmed my belief that this is the career in which I am meant to be.
South magazine: Can you describe one of your most memorable moments on the show?
Victoria: One of the most memorable moments for me was when Tyra Banks gathered the 30 semi-finalists together and began to announce the top finalists. It seemed as though she announced an infinite amount of names before she uttered, "Victoria," in a hushed tone, and I literally couldn't move for what seemed like an eternity. The rest of the experience, honestly, seems like a blur when I attempt to replay it in my mind, so I will probably be just as surprised by some of the episodes as the fans.
South magazine: Who is your role model?
Victoria: My role model is, beyond a shadow of a doubt my mom, Lynn. She has always supported and encouraged me my entire life, and has never underestimated the things I am capable of. Coming from a family of doctors and lawyers, she easily could have expressed displeasure at my (sometimes less than stable) career choice; however, she has been the most ardent and dedicated "mom-ager" that I could ever ask for. Her intrepid determination, individualistically unapologetic viewpoints, and willingness to fight for what she believes in never cease to amaze and inspire me. Being the ridiculously Type-A perfectionist and career obsessed person that I am, she is the only person who can really remind me to calm down and smell the roses.
South magazine: Who is a favorite designer of yours and why?
Victoria: I have admired the clean, tailored and classic designs of Oscar de la Renta since I was a little girl, and I truly believe that his signature look will never go out of style. I really admire the risks that Alexander McQueen took with fashion, and I think that he pushed the envelope with high fashion couture and set a precedent for a new era of avant garde designers. Many of the labels that you will find in my closet are Gianni Bini, Steve Madden, Antonio Melani, Donna Karen and Kenneth Cole, just to name a few. My viewpoint of clothes is that they are more than just garments. Attire can be an art form and an existential exemplification of different aspects of one's personality, and I think my taste in designers reflects upon that viewpoint. I also love raiding the vintage clothes in my mom's closet from the 70s and 80s that she has saved, and I sometimes top them off with a vintage Dooney and Bourke satchel I bought at a thrift store a couple years back…for two dollars! I may love high fashion, but I also love a great bargain.
South magazine: What inspires you?
Victoria: I treat everyday occurrences as potential learning experiences, and I often find myself inspired even by mundane things. For example, I was once dining in a restaurant, and started spying on a particularly eccentric conversation the servers were having. I stored their dialogue in my memory bank, and it later became the inspiration for the first scene of a play I wrote and directed. I am also inspired by the works of some of the early great artists such as Carravagio, Gentilesche and Frieda Kahlo, as well as films with a strong message. Most of all, I am inspired by my mom's resilience, optimism, candor and her ability to always phrase things in just the right way.