A conversation with the fashion model Victoria Monette.
by Steve Phipps • August 28, 2015
From the Academy of Art University Graduation Fashion Show: On the runway for designer Lili Pham in 2013; on the runway for designer Yuko Okudaira in 2014; backstage in 2015. Photographs: Steve Phipps / FAMAMOCA.
For readers who might not be familiar with you, let's do a quick model bio.
I have been modeling full-time for three years and I am signed with New York Models, M&P Models London, MP Paris formerly Major Paris, London Mgmt Group in Sydney-Melbourne, Stars Model Mgmt in San Francisco, and Page.713 / Page.214 in Houston and Dallas. I have walked several seasons in Paris, London, and New York for the Fashion Week circuits as well as the Melbourne Fashion Festival and Sydney Fashion Week in Australia.
In New York City some of the designers I have walked for are: Calla Paris, Alice & Olivia, Concept Korea, Roomeur, Yuna Yang, Melan Breton, Ann Yee, and Artistix. In London I have walked for: Tata Naka, Charlotte Simpson, and Turk Jadallah. In Paris I have walked for: Talbot Runhof, Jacquemus, Paule KA, Petite Bateau, and Ground Zero. In Melbourne I walked for: Miss Vogue, River Island, Camilla, and David Jones. In Sydney I walked for: Sara Aljasim and Paul Nathaphol. I also flew to Miami to walk in the BCBG Max Azria Resort 2014 Show.
Some of my favorite shows I have walked in were in San Francisco such as Oscar de la Renta in Lake Tahoe, Zac Posen, and I have also had the opportunity to walk in the Academy of Art Graduate Show for the last three years. One of my favorite Italian ad campaigns I had an opportunity to be a part of was the Bernardo Shoes campaign. Fun Fact: Did you know Bernardo invented the gladiator sandal? I absolutely love the editorial side of modeling. It is definitely my favorite part about modeling! A few of my favorite editorial/commercial clients that I have worked with would have to be Neiman Marcus, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Kendra Scott, Francescas Collections, Hadleighs, JC Penney, and Bloomingdales!
For designer Yuko Okudaira, at the Academy of Art University Graduation Fashion Show 2014. Photograph: Steve Phipps/FAMAMOCA.
How did you get started in modeling? Were you scouted? a casting?
I have always been very tall and lanky. My dad wanted me to use my height to be a volleyball or basketball player but I was involved in competitive cheerleading, competitive gymnastics, and an intense Russian ballet program, all at the same time! My life was very busy growing up but I think being involved on teams and in sports is what has given me my dedication, determination, and ability to want to work hard at whatever I set my mind to. I had been scouted before and had also been told that I should try modeling out multiple times. My parents decided to research local agencies and they brought me to Page.713 when I was fifteen years old.
What was your first paid modeling job? And would you please talk a little about your experience at that gig, if there were any surprises, good or bad.
My first paid modeling job was a local runway show in Houston for a Lebanese Designer. I think this show was truly when I got to experience walking down an actual catwalk for a huge crowd. It was such a rush of excitement, adrenaline, fun, and backstage chaos in a good way! After walking down that runway I could not wait to walk in another show!
For fashion week and on shoots, you will have worked with some of the best makeup artists in the industry. What's one tip you have taken away that you now do yourself?
I think one of my favorite things about this industry as a model is seeing makeup artists, stylists, and photographers in their element. You learn so much from each of them. Ultimately, all of us are on one team to achieve the final product. I have truly learned how to take care of my skin and how important it is to go the extra mile to do so. I have learned a lot of makeup tips from the way you should apply it to the awesome and new colors that are "in" at that moment, to the best brands, etcetera. But one thing I do now is get a facial every few months. It is so important to take care of your skin as that is the first thing clients see. If you think about it, your face is basically your money maker!
You walk a lot of shows. Give me a tip about having a good runway walk. And who is a model you would point out as having a really strong walk?
One tip I think that is so important is to practice, research, and personalize your walk. Make it your own! I can't tell you how many times I would walk up and down the rotunda in my house in Houston practicing my walk and also watching the runway shows from Paris, London, and Milan on YouTube. I still practice my walk to this day! As a model you should always be honing your craft.
In my opinion, Karlie Kloss has one of the most striking, poised, and fierce walks in the industry. She is definitely someone every model can learn from.
What's the strangest question you've been asked at a casting?
Since I am from Texas, anytime I attend a casting overseas I am always asked, "Texas! Ah! Do you ride horses to the grocery store and school?" I am sure it bums them out every time I say "No! Haha I drive a car!"
What's a Fashion Week you haven't done but would like to? I'll guess, Dubai?
As cool as Dubai would be I would truly love to experience Milan Fashion Week! I have heard such great things about it from a lot of my model friends.