VikTory is a 26-year old model residing in Las Vegas, Nevada and New York City, New York.
How would you introduce yourself to our readers?
I was born and raised in a small town in Austria and I have 5 siblings and amazing parents that are still happily married! After graduating college and earning my degree in professional classical ballet and modern stage dance I worked full time as a dancer in focus ballet and lyrical dance at European Ballett St. Poelten, the same company I have performed and danced already part time while attending school. I started at the Corp de ballet and later on I performed as a soloist with the company. We danced all over Europe, went on a 5 weeks tour to China, and I danced the opening for an opera ball in Dubai, danced in Brazil, Sydney, Turkey and other places around the world just to name a few. My whole life was about dance and school, yet I am very close with my family and siblings, from whom by the way nobody dances.
BY laeey taggesell
When, how and why did you first get involved in the modeling industry?
My dream was always to be a dancer in NYC, so at the age of 21 I did the step and I came to NYC – with 2 suitcases and nothing else. I got a part stipend for “Steps on Broadway” but I had to build my whole life up from nothing… by myself. I was not naive, I knew it would be hard but I had a passion and a dream and I had to give it a try, as I never thought about myself as a model, because I am short -5’3″- and I don’t consider myself as very pretty, and I just didn’t fit in in any category: too short for fashion, too “ugly” for print, not muscular enough for fitness. I had some experiences with photo shoots, because while dancing with the company in Austria we had a lot of shoots for magazines, newspaper, billboards, and I truly enjoyed it.
At the beginning I still worked as a ballet dancer in NYC when I was asked to do a photo shoot for a ballet catalog. After the shoot I did some research and I realized that there is a “whole other world of modeling” out there and again I went all in: I decided to be a full time model overnight! It may seem naive, I knew it won’t be easy but I knew if I want to make it – I have to make it work because I did not know anyone nor did I have money I could fall back on.
What are your personal and professional goals? Where do you see yourself in five to ten years?
That’s a good question. I always have very long term goals and a lot of ideas, but I very often have no exact plan on how to achieve them but always do so by staying flexible in the way of approaching them; one big goal I am working on at the moment is to get my green card, it is a big goal for me, as most people and even lawyers told me it is impossible to do so, but I got already my work permit as a ballerina model with “extraordinary abilities” which made me very proud and I am not afraid of working hard to archive the next step.
I want to eventually write my own book as I had a lot of crazy things already happening in my life and I get asked quite often when I will publish my book. I also want to keep inspiring people, put my toes more into acting as I enjoy that part of modeling a lot… there are many ideas I have but I like to convince people by action not by words. As far as personal goals, my whole life has been about work and my career so I would like to eventually settle down, a little bit, not really settling down in the ordinary way but maybe just find a place of my own in a city I want to live in.
by Rod B.
How often are you modeling and what does it usually consist of?
Well every day is different really. Most work I do are photo shoots, specially ballet and dance related. When I am touring I shoot a lot: 1 to 4 shoots a day, and then sometimes I don’t shoot for a week… it all depends. I always work out in the morning, do my shoots and after my shoots I answer emails to set up new work.
Please tell us about the best and/or worst experiences you’ve had so far in modeling.
I prefer to focus on the good, no matter what kind of work you do there is always something you don’t like, but all in all I had good luck and the good things definitely outdo the bad ones. I love hearing so many personal stories of people I work with, and I feel very blessed that nearly at every shoot it ends up to be a collaboration and I have a lot of saying specially regarding poses, timing, angles, and others. My work with dbox, an incredible agency in NYC who hired me for the “432 park avenue project” was definitely one of my highlights so far, but also the work with Samantha Yousseff for “Studio Technique” was very inspiring, and I felt very honored as she flew in from Toronto just to work with me.
To work with the well-known sculpture artist Richard MacDonald and seeing a statue I posed for at the Bellagio in Las Vegas was fantastic as well. I love leaving “quiet little footprints” all over the world by having images of me in galleries in San Fransisco, NYC, Boston, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Austria, Italy and many more. Posing as the cover model for the highest luxury apartment in the western hemisphere in NYC and posing for Richard MacDonald as well as getting booked by Gene Schiavone, one of ballet’s top photographer and published in NYC times are definitely one of my best experiences so far.
Have you had anything funny, embarrassing or completely out of the ordinary happen during your modeling career?
I had a lot of funny moments at the beginning of my career due to the fact that english is not my native language, A lot of people use sarcasm in this industry which was really hard for me, because at first I had to translate the meaning of their words and then figure out if they actually mean it or not. It caused a lot of “little – long breaks” which turned out a bit embarrassing for me.
As it took quite a while until I got a joke, sometimes I said things the wrong way, and it came across very wrong. e.g, for me it is important that the photographer got the shot he had in mind or we created the vision he was going for, the “Austrian” way of saying this is : “Are you satisfied” – you can image that I got a lot of weird looks and laughter at the beginning; but believe me, I learned fast. Out of the ordinary: Well very often people told me to do an image where I stretch, so I did my stretching. I am very very flexible, due to hard work, not naturally, so people where literally shocked when I really stretched. We then agreed on the fact that it would be a better picture if I just pretend to stretch.
Is there anything you would change about the modeling industry if you could?
To be honest I had a very hard time to refer to myself as a “model”, because there are just too many bad associations with this job title; and while people immediately think about a tall and beautiful girl, other associations are: lazy, bitchy, irresponsible and dumb. I met a lot of other models over the years or am at least in conversations with them and believe me most of them are anything but that.
Therefore I would love for people to understand that this is a job as well and it takes a lot of work to create beautiful images and art. Not every model just models for the fact of “fast or easy money”, not every photographer sleeps with the model or vice versa and not every model takes drugs. These are all stigmas, maybe a small percentage behaves that way but definitely not the majority of the models.
Do you practice any sports and what do you typically eat? Please elaborate on the importance of nutrition and exercise in your life.
Yes I work out a lot, as lot of the bookings I get are due to my ballet and dance experience, and as a former ballerina I am used to practice 7 to 10 hours daily and I want to keep my technique and physique as much as possible. When I shoot dance or contortion images it is just kind of an additional little work out for me! I do work out daily, a routine I have created for myself that consist of stretching, yoga, Pilates and muscle exercises, and I constantly watch what I eat and follow a vegan plant based lifestyle.
Please share something people don’t know about you.
I am really shy in “normal” life, I feel very comfortable posing nude and dancing on a stage but I still get very uncomfortable in groups… Yes I feel more uncomfortable wearing a bikini on a public beach than posing as a model in front of a large group of photographers.
Would you change anything about yourself?
A few years ago I would have given you a long list, but nowadays I try to work with what I have. I still wish to be taller and have bigger eyes and longer legs and clean skin at all times, and be funnier in bigger groups, but I learned that nobody is perfect so I decide to work with what I have and make the best out of it.
What is the one talent you wish you possessed?
I would love to speak more language, as I think that a language barrier is the main reason that causes misunderstandings and separation. I speak German and English fluently and I learned French at school, and I taught myself some Brazilian Portuguese – as I have a lot of friends from Brazil and I fell in love with the country. I understand a little bit of Russian, because most of my dance teachers where from Russia, but I would love to speak all languages fluently! And, if I can get a second wish: I really really really wish I could tackle the whole media, internet, and computer thing better as I would love to improve my knowledge of using a computer as I am not the best in that.
Visit VikTory!’s website for more photos and information