I had the great pleasure of meeting America’s Next Top Model finalist, Victoria Henley during her modeling workshop held on Saturday, February 23, 2013 at the Eiffel Society. She was a wonderful instructor with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the modeling world. Even better, she was sweet as can be. No model diva here! She was both gracious and welcoming and you can tell she has a real passion for helping other reach for their modeling aspirations. Indeed, there is more to this southern belle than meets the eye.
Miss A New Orleans: I hear you are going to be involved in Fashion Week New Orleans. Care to give us any details?
Henley: I will. Yes, I was actually involved in Fashion Week New Orleans a couple of years ago in 2011, that was their debut. I walked for a bunch of amazing, wonderful designers that were all local…[including] Alicia Zenobia who is actually present at my workshop today. And what I loved about modeling in New Orleans as oppose to some of the other shows that I have model in is that there is such an eccentric, unique, out there vibe. The designers don’t mind if you do a cartwheel on the runway…So this year, I am actually going to be involved in a little bit of a different way. I am going to be an emcee on the show for March 21, and I am have actually given some of my previous workshop students, particularly a lot of the kids and toddlers, direct bookings for Fashion Week New Orleans, which is great for them at such a young age to be involved…Its a wonderful show and I am looking forward to being a part of it.
Miss A New Orleans: So you obviously had a great crash course with modeling on America’s Next Top Model, what inspired you to start doing the workshops on your own?
Henley: Really what inspired me to start doing the workshops on my own, especially after the “Top Model” experience was [that] I know what its like to kind of be in that beginning stage of modeling and asking… Where do I need to go? What do I need to do? What agencies do I need to pursue? What are the basics when I book a job, or an editorial spread or walking down the runway? I really started out as my way to give back to the community with a workshop that I did in partnership with a charity that was for a young boy that had nasopharyngeal carcinoma. And I still give some of my workshop proceeds and some of my autograph proceeds to this boy, to his charity [and also] the Humane Society. My family owns a vet clinic so its near and dear to my heart. So all of those things came together to really inspire me to these workshops…
Miss A Orleans: Wow that is amazing. Miss A is all about the connection of charity and style. The fact that you are able to bring those together [with your workshops] is fabulous!….
Miss A New Orleans: In the age of Facebook and Instagram, pictures don’t just go in a scrapbook or on your wall at home. They go global. So can you give us some tips on how take a great photo?
Henley: Of course. Even if you are not at a high fashion shoot for an editorial, you still want to look good in your photographs because they are going to be going out there, all over the place. I would say the basic tips for taking a good photo if you are going to put in on social media…don’t take yourself too seriously have fun with it . Smile, show your personality, make sure you are in good clear lighting…You can do the kissy faces and things like that but too much of the duck faces and the things you see all over. [laughs] Be unique. Be an individual…
Miss A New Orleans: So you are from Georgia right? A Georgia Peach. How has your southern upbringing impacted your career, if it has in any way?
Henley: I think that my southern upbringing really has impacted my career in a few ways. You see a lot of girls coming from New York and California and end up breaking into the modeling industry. But I think coming from a town of 2,000 people, nobody really expected that anyone from that town would really go forth and do some of the things that I have done…to gain international exposure. And I think going back in to that community, especially while I was gone with the voting portion of “Top Model” has been so helpful. This year they [America's Next Top Model] had everyone voting, the social media was a big aspect of it and I was overwhelmed by the support of the people from my town. I think its made me a little more appreciative of the exposure that I have gotten. When I go out to LA, when I go to Vegas and other big cities for a booking, its such a big contrast to what I grew up in. I am just amazed that I have been able to experience both and see two sides of life.
Miss A New Orleans: I saw that your recently wrote an article on “unconventional fashions.” Who would you say was your favorite designer in terms of that kind of styling?
Henley: Wow. I love so many different designers in terms of unconventional styling. Its so hard to pick just one. I always list Alexander McQueen because I feel like he was such a trailblazer and he had so many fashions that we so unconventional, so wild, so out there…so that everyone from top models to Lady Gaga have been able to effortlessly pull off his styles.And I think too, [I admire] him as a person and they way he looked at fashion. It wasn’t just a garment. It wasn’t just something for you to wear out and about. It is an art form. It is an exemplification of something…it can convey messages…I love Rodarte as well. I think them bringing vintage back to modern, everyday looks is very interesting. It would be a dream to model for them.
Miss A New Orleans: Ok so you have 10 minutes, you are running out of the door. What do you do to pull your look together? What’s the makeup you’ve got to have? We live in such a busy world. I have three kids, including a set of twins. Sometimes, there seems to be not enough time to brush my teeth, let alone put on makeup!
Henley: Wow! What a handful! [laughs] Really my basic tips for skin care and looking fresh and bright and ready to go when you leave in the morning is the night before. You want to make sure that your cleanse your skin removing all the makeup from the day…I really take about 10 minutes to apply my makeup. I have my standard go-tos. Its a swipe of concealer under the eyes by Essential Brand Cosmetics…I put on a little bit of eyeliner, a swipe of lipstick from Mirabella. You know, a lot of times I pick out my outfit the night before. I think a lot of its preparation the night before…Wear what you have with confidence and you are going to look great and you are going to exude that…people will buy that you just feel great about yourself.
Miss A New Orleans: So what’s next for you. I know you have more workshops coming up. What else can fans expect from you soon?
Henley: Fans can actually expect me to be collaborating with a well-known photographer…on a book with her as guide to photography and posing. I really excited about that. I have been doing a lot of writing. I am actually collaborating with a filmmaker on some films for the Sundance and Cannes film festivals.
Miss A New Orleans: Wow! Congratulations!
Henley: Thank you so much. I have been in a film that won at the California Film Festival, and now I am on the side of writing the script which I am really excited about. Doing a lot more workshops, which I absolutely love. I actually give private lessons to a bunch of little toddlers. So it’s always fun wrangling them and chasing them around. And more magazine spreads…I will be modeling for an Hawaiian fashion magazine who has featured Kesha, Bruno Mars and Kendra [Wilkinson]…a lot of celebrities…traveling for Miami Fashion Week as well….of course, local New Orleans fans can catch me at New Orleans Fashion Week which is going to be March 21. Always make sure to look me up line on Facebook . There are a of Twitter impersonators so don’t look me up there, cause its not me. [laughs] But you can keep up will all the things I am doing there.