The “calling” often comes at an early age, but it’s not too often that a performer becomes successful until years of persistence and hard work. That’s not to say Victoria Justice didn’t put in her dues, but she didn’t have to wait long for her first break into the business. The teen actress and pop singer is best known for her work on Nickelodeon’s Zoe 101, and her pop album, Victorious. Recently, Victoria made the jump to motion pictures. Her newest film, Fun Size, stars Jackass star, Johnny Knoxville, and Chelsea Lately’s, Chelsea Handler. The film is The O.C. and Gossip Girl creator, Josh Schwartz’s directorial debut, and Victoria’s first real opportunity to make a name for herself on the big screen.
Victoria’s life wasn’t always jumping from show to show, movie to movie, and album to album. She, like every aspiring young actress, began by auditioning for a television commercial. Though, she may have been luckier than most actresses. “My first job ever was an Ovaltine commercial and I was eight years old. I was so excited,” recalled Victoria. “It’s my first audition and I ended up booking it. To me, that was the biggest break anyone could ever have.”
While this certainly put Victoria on the map, it didn’t necessarily start her career as a buzzing teen star. “I remember auditioning for Zoey 101 as their new series regular. They needed a new roommate for Jamie Lynn Spears, who played Zoey. They were auditioning a bunch of girls for that role and I ended up getting it. I remember I was actually on set filming a Hallmark short film for Christmas time called Silver Bells, and my agent called me and let me know I had just booked a new role in Zoey 101. The creator, Dan Schneider called me personally to congratulate me and I was freaking out. It was such a surreal feeling. I was on such a high. I think that’s kind of what started my career.”
From there, Victoria spent her teen years as a child of Nickelodeon. Life was pretty good for the young actress. However, Victoria wasn’t a shoe in for Fun Size, despite its ties to Nickelodeon. “I definitely did have to audition. It was not just handed to me. I had to work for that role. “
It seems Victoria has a knack for performing. After all, she landed her first audition at the age of eight in a national commercial! So, where did this confidence come from? “Definitely my mom. We spend a lot of time together and she’s an incredible mentor. I don’t think I would be at the place I am in my career right now if it wasn’t for her. She’s guided me to make the right choices, she’s helped pick the right team of people surrounding me. She’s just a really smart, genuine, and a great person that I’m very lucky to have in my life.” Based on her personal relationship with her mother, Victoria will have to pull out some of her acting chops for her newest film. She plays the role of Wren, who takes on the responsibility of her brother due to a broken relationship with her mother, played by Chelsea Handler. Wren is your typical teenage girl who happens to have one of her Halloween’s turned completely upside down. “It’s a coming of age story in a lot of ways. I think we can all relate to growing up, learning about ourselves and finding ourselves. I related to her in that way as well.”
See Victoria Justice in the new movie, Fun Size, when it’s released in theaters on October 26.
-Frank Pasquine, Director of Social Media at New York Film Academy