The Arlene Victoria Profile
The So-and-So Profiles shines a spotlight on the delightful model/actress Arlene Victoria, who plans to do it all -- and sees no reason why she can’t.
1. When, where and how did you decide to become an actress?
As soon as I really could understand what acting was, that’s when I knew I wanted to be an actor.
2. Did your parents encourage all of this?
They did, but they were the type of parents who felt education was first. As long as I did what I was supposed to do in school, they didn’t care about doing the rest of the other things. I wasn’t that interested in school. I was always good in school, but I knew in order to do what I wanted to do, I had to do that. It was motivation for me.
I remember saying, “On Monday, I’m going to be a doctor. On Wednesday, I’m going to be a lawyer. And on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, I’m going to be a dancer and I’m going to a singer and I’m going to be a model.”
My mom was like, “I don’t know if you can do all that at once.”
“Why? I can do all of it once.”
I still think that. I still think I can do everything.
My parents were always very realistic. “You need to make sure that you have your stuff together. You need to make sure that whatever it is you want to do, you learn it.” That was their thing. If you want to be a doctor, you can’t just say you want to be a doctor and be a doctor. If you want to be a doctor, you need to study. If you want to be a model, you need to study that too. If you want to be an actress, you need to study. If you want to be a dancer, take your lessons and take it seriously. Same thing with instruments.
They always encouraged me to just do whatever I wanted. They were just like, “That’s her. Let her do what she has to do. If that makes her happy, let her do it.”
3. How do your parents feel now about your acting career?
They’re very supportive. My mom is very excited. She can’t wait for her first red carpet appearance.
My dad is really chill about it.
My grandpa is like, “When you go on the red carpet, it might not be a good thing for me.”
“You’re going to get upset because everyone’s going to be looking at me. I’m handsome and sexy. They’re going to be like, ‘who’s this guy?’ and they’re not going to talk to you anymore.”
My grandpa should have been an actor.
They made it a point to tell us there are all kinds of ways to do things, but do things in the way you feel like you can live with that will make you feel like you’re doing things the way you want to do them.
They’re very much about independence, about working hard, about learning things, about going for it. They had a very big impact on what I do. The things that they tell me, they really stick to me when it’s hard out here.
My mom always tells me, “What’s meant for you is for you.” You can’t look at what someone else is doing and think about where am I compared to them because what’s for you is for you and it’s better because it’s yours. You don’t know anyone else’s struggle. You can’t say they don’t deserve what they got because you don’t know how they got it. You don’t know what work they had to put into it. You just see the result. That keeps me focused.
That’s really shaped my career. I’ve been offered so many different things that I don’t want to do. Even though you don’t always want to say that you are, you’re a role model. You have little girls looking up to you. I’m just beginning and I get messages on Facebook from girls asking me for advice or just telling me they think I’m great. I’m like, “What have I done to make you think that?”
It gives me a responsibility because they’re watching me and I don’t want to be somebody they can’t look up to, somebody that’s going to lead them on the path and make them think, “I can just do anything and do this and do that.” You can do whatever you want but there’s also so many different ways to do it. There’s ways you can be proud of.
4. Where does your focus lie -- stage, film, TV, internet or either?
I do eventually want to have my own television station. I’ve already named it – it’s called AVC, which is actually my initials, so it works.
5. What kind of programming will be on AVC?
Comedy shows, things that kids can watch, things that families can watch. Movies that are not so dumbed down. Don’t get me wrong -- I love a good silly movie sometimes. There is nothing better than Bridesmaids or Hangover, but you have to have a balance.
I want to be able to do things that show creativity.
6. What is your dream role or type of role?
I love films that make you feel something. They suck you in and bring you to another place in time. That’s really the type of movies I want to do.
I love action movies. I would love to jump off a building and shoot a gun and blow up a car – all while wearing a bomb ass outfit and my makeup flawless. Then I throw the bomb behind me and then there’s this big explosion scene and then there’s the wind and the fire behind and I’m like, “I’m gonna go find my man.” And then “I’m gonna go capture that spy.” And “I’m gonna go drive that car.”
I’ve actually taken stunt-fighting classes and I’m looking into taking stunt-driving classes. I’m little but for some reason in my mind I’m like a big bad ass. I need to be beating people up all day. I need to be on a harness and jump up and kick people.
The perfect role I can see myself playing is a Law & Order-type character. It’s a show about being in these crazy and horrible situations but still being able to find the humanity in it and being able to help the people and do something positive. I love that kind of stuff.
The characters have a morality to them that they want to do well for others. The world isn’t always like that but they want to do well, they want to take care of this person. This person has been through horrible things and they want to protect them.
That speaks to me in so many ways. I am the biggest mama bear with no kids. I will be the smart, intelligent mama bear who’s protecting everyone and shooting things and flipping over cars – with an awesome rack. It will be fake because I don’t have a rack. And that’s okay because I’m going to buy it. It will be awesome.
7. How do you approach a role?
I do a psychological profile. All you get is that little blurb about this is what it is and I will flesh out the character off that little paragraph -- what their family relationship is like, do they have siblings. I could be wrong. They might have a totally different background set up but when you go in for that audition, you are creating a human being. That’s what they want to see. They want to see a human being in front of them, not an actor portraying a role. They want to see that person.
It’s really not just about being able to do comedy or being able to do action. It’s about being able to understand the character and being able to become that character. If you can really understand the character and do that, you can do any type of role. You can be that bad ass who shoots stuff up. Then you can be that damaged person who is trying to hold it together. Then you can be the comedy relief. You can do all these different things if you really can understand how to understand a person and you can really understand what will make that character tick.
8. How would you describe your style of acting?
Honest. You have to know who you are. You have to be able to take it inside and take all your insecurities, take all your doubts and put them aside and let it just come out. Everyone’s going to have their own idea how a character’s supposed to be but it’s about how you feel. It’s about what you bring out of it. Be honest with it. Be real, be fleshed out. Not a caricature. Be a person. That’s really all it comes down to. It’s not just superficial. Be that person. Who is that person? What does that person want? Be honest about it.
9. Would you like to win an Emmy, Oscar, Tony, Grammy, all, neither or it doesn’t matter?
Can I just have it all and just have a big bookshelf and fill them up?
The main thing I want would be an Oscar. Or an Emmy. One or the other. To be able to take those roles and move people to that degree, it’s amazing.
10. What would you say in your acceptance speech and who would you thank?
God. My mama. My daddy. My pa-pa. My sister Ariane. My best friend Rachelle.
My friend Allen because he reminds me everyday that life is too short to waste. He was 16, I was 17 when he passed. He really understood me. He really pushed me. If I had a doubt about anything, he was like, “No. You just go do it.”
He pushed me so much and had so many bad things going on in his life that I had no idea about. He never once brought that to me. His whole relationship with me was making sure I understood my work.
I think about how amazing a person he was. He didn’t have the chance to do anything. His short life really gave me so much encouragement. It just really helps me on those down days. I think about that. We were so young and he believed in me even then.
I consider him my guardian angel.
I’m not going to cry. On Oscar night, you cannot mess up your makeup. I have an ugly, ghetto cry and I don’t want to do that in front of people. It’s not cute.
11. What is the balance between your modeling work and your acting work?
It’s finding the opportunity for acting in every modeling job.
You’re portraying a character, but there are no words. It’s just all eyes, expressions and body language. You get so much of that person just from those things. You get their soul through their eyes. No words -- just seeing how they carry themselves, how they hold their hands, how they look at the camera.
You can see everything in a picture – one picture. You can figure out who a person is in one picture.
When I do modeling, I think about that. I think about the opportunity to create another character. It’s hard because you don’t get to explain that character. You just create it and it is what it is. The picture captures it. It’s hard. I like it. It gives you more experience. It gives you more depth. If you think about it, in acting, you’re not always saying anything. Sometimes it’s just what you’re doing.
It’s that all those layers that comes up to that one image. It’s crazy. I like it. It’s all about creating. It’s all art.
12. What is your dream publication, advertiser, model and photographer to work with as a model?
I would love to work with Iman. She’s stunning. And she’s a humanitarian. I love her. She’s beautiful inside and out as a person. I love that about her.
I would love to be in Vogue one day.
I want to have my own fashion magazine -- and be on the cover of that too. Like Oprah.
13. Describe yourself as an entertainment mogul.
I don’t want to think of it as a conglomerate or anything like that. It’s just different ways to express me. My mind is always going a mile a minute. I’m always picturing something. I’m always dreaming about something. I’m always doing something. But it’s all art to me. It’s all expression. It’s all taking that little secret part of yourself and displaying it.
I’m goofy. I’m serious. I am a mile-a-minute. I’m quiet. I’m sad. I’m all these different things at one time. With the art, I’m able to express all those different things and all these different emotions and all these different thoughts.
That’s really the biggest thing – to create and express that to someone in all aspects of my life and for them to care.
14. What would this AVC empire comprise of?
It’s everything. It’s me. It’s this seven-year-old girl in New Orleans making up plays in the corner of my parents living room. It’s everything that, when I was little, made me feel I was invincible and powerful and smart and talented and beautiful.
It is the art. It is the music. It is the fashion. It’s showing aspects of life. Television and film is like showing people that they’re not alone. It’s giving them something to connect to – especially in this world. We don’t talk to each other anymore. We don’t talk to our neighbors anymore. We don’t know the teachers who teach our kids. We don’t know any of these things.
We are so closed off. We don’t trust. We don’t allow ourselves to open and in the process, we’re stripping the world of the ability to see all these wonderful things about us because we’re keeping it so locked in.
With AVC, I really want to give people the opportunity to feel comfortable letting that go and letting that fear go and just be who they are. And letting people know that it’s okay to be different. Why do you want to stand in a crowd and not be seen? We weren’t made to be standing in a crowd. We weren’t born to fit in.
With my films and music and fashion, I want people to feel comfortable being who they are and not feeling they have to be in a box. That’s what it’s all about – using art to connect and letting people know it’s okay to connect back over that art. You seeing something in them and them seeing something in you.
Reaching people -- that’s what it’s all about to me. That’s what I want to accomplish with that company. I want to take kids who tag, bring them onto a set and let them use that for something productive.
15. What is your greatest fear in pursuing this line of work?
Being naked – not physically naked, but allowing yourself to be completely open. No filter. That’s a scary thing to do. To be able to be that comfortable with who you are to just lay it on the line and be okay with it, that’s scary.
16. What’s going to keep you from giving up?
There’s always another day. There’s just always tomorrow. As long as you’re blessed to wake up another day, there’s always another opportunity. As long as I have tomorrow, I’m not going to give up.
I have so many people who believe in me.
17. Who are your professional inspirations?
I love Jada. I love Meryl Streep – how can you not? I love Glenn Close. She is intense.
I’m in awe of Katey Sagal. She’s amazing. I remember growing up watching her on Married..with Children and loving her. She’s funny. Then I saw her on [Sons of Anarchy] and I’m just blown away.
I love Mariska Hargitay. She went to my acting school. She’s amazing.
I saw Vincent D’Onofrio in an elevator once. I love that man. He creates these amazing characters and just brings them to life in these ways. And his characters are so smart.
I always loved Denzel Washington. He really reminds me of my dad.
I love Sean Penn. I want to be a girl version of Sean Penn, because he’s awesome. He’s my favorite thing ever. I will watch his movies and no matter what you watch you know he’s going to bring you somewhere. He literally can just go inside himself and pull out things that are hard to do in acting. It’s so hard to be so selfless and not aware of yourself to where it all flows out. That’s what he does. He just flows. It’s amazing. And you just watch the emotions simmer and you watch it come to a head. It’s there.
They’ve done amazing roles – tons of roles but when they are in that moment, you believe that they are that person. You forget you’re watching Meryl Streep. You forget you’re watching Sean Penn. Suddenly he is this character, suddenly he is that character. Suddenly she is this.
Viola Davis. She’s amazing. We’re going to be in a movie together -- me, Viola and Meryl and Denzel. Morgan Freeman and Sean Connery are going to be narrating it because I like them too. I’m putting it into the Universe.
18. Tell me about this star-studded movie.
I blew up Meryl Streep’s son, but Meryl Streep and Viola are best friends. Viola is my mom and she’s says, “My daughter may be a spy but she didn’t blow up your son.”
Meryl says, “Yes she did.”
Then Denzel comes in there and says, “I am the owner of the agency she works with. She blew up your son but it’s because you’re son is bad.”
Sean Connery will provide the voiceover.
It’ll be dramatic -- shooting-up, explosions and then we’re all going to cry into our tea when it’s over.
Morgan’s going to be the inner thought. Whenever I have a voice in my head, it’s going to be Morgan Freeman talking. I’ll have moments of thought where I’ll just stand there in the wind. “I will throw this bomb and then I will go home with my boyfriend, Idris [Elba].”
19. If a production was casting for an "Arlene Victoria" type, what would they be looking for?
Smart and hot and funny. And she’d have a bangin’ rack. It’s be fake, but it’d be bangin’!
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