There's life after "America's Next Top Model."
That's one of the things we learned from Victoria Henley, who recently appeared on the college edition of the reality TV competition. She's based in Colquitt, Ga., which is about 100 miles south of Columbus, but she's spent time in the Chattahoochee Valley.
Henley chatted with us about "Top Model," beauty tips and other topics. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Since your hometown is often listed as Colquitt, Ga., some people might not know about your local ties. What's your connection to the Chattahoochee Valley?
Although Colquitt, Ga., is technically still my "home base," I spend very little time there as I travel extremely frequently for magazine shoots, modeling workshops, film projects and runway shows.
I have always immensely enjoyed the wonderful shopping, restaurants, culture and entertainment that Columbus has to offer. Most recently, I had the pleasure of conducting a large modeling workshop in the area with local (but nationally recognized) photographer, Sammie Saxon. I have felt very honored and privileged to be able to build working relationships with photographers, aspiring models and publication teams in Columbus.
How's life after "America's Next Top Model"?
Although one's experience on a reality show can't always be summed up as a "walk in the park," my exposure to millions worldwide has opened up many doors for me within the industry. Upon my return from the show, I have modeled on the covers and in editorial spreads for countless fashion magazines (many of them national and international), hosted runway shows, and have taught many modeling workshops to aspiring models of all ages across the U.S.
Anyone who watched me on Cycle 19 of "America's Next Top Model" knows that I have a passion for acting as well. I am in talks with various filmmakers to collaborate on projects I have conceived for submission for various film festivals such as Sundance and Cannes.
Aside from the wonderful career opportunities, "Top Model" has resulted in a deluge of fan encounters nearly everywhere I go. I could barely walk 10 steps at a recent New Year's celebration without a fan stopping to ask for a picture or autograph. It's such a gratifying feeling to know that fans were able to experience my journey and get so invested in my career pursuits.
Do you have days when you don't feel pretty? If so, how do you handle those feelings?
Participating in a reality show when you are constantly being scrutinized and criticized can be less than elevating to one's ego. On more than one of the really early mornings I had to wake up and go to set, I definitely did not feel at my most attractive. It is human nature to feel flawed and "un-pretty" some days. My best advice to anyone having a day like this is to remind themselves of all their positive attributes and to also remember that their negative state of mind should not project upon or affect themselves existentially.
Please share a simple beauty secret you've learned from modeling.
I have been modeling since I was very small (I was a baby Wal-Mart model), and I have definitely picked up quite a few handy tricks along the way. Makeup styling can pose some intensive wear and tear on your skin, and that's why I always thoroughly cleanse my skin after a shoot, especially after I have worn thick bases or concealers. Then, I apply a mint julep facial masque to the most vulnerable areas of my face, and the masque helps significantly reduce swelling, cleanses your pores, and eliminates pesky blackheads and pimples. A blemish-free face is a must for my photo shoots and film projects, and my mint julep masque does the trick while also making my skin feel clean and fresh.
What's your advice for women who are struggling with their weight?
As many people know, reality shows are notorious for over-dramatizing certain matters, and "Top Model" unfortunately did not portray me in an accurate or flattering way pertaining to my weight, body and health.
I have always lived an active, healthy lifestyle, and my best advice to any woman struggling with weight issues -- whether she may be over- or under weight -- is to follow the food pyramid and fill your diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
Unfortunately, many people are under the impression that you have to go to unhealthy, extreme measures, or even starve yourself in order to lose weight. As a person who frequently dines in restaurants and enjoys getting full from an excellent meal, I can tell you this isn't the case. Whether you prefer to eat out, dine at home, or a bit of both, you never have to compromise great taste for health.
Most grocery stores and restaurants offer healthy items such as veggie/turkey burgers, portobello mushrooms, salmon, whole grain pastas and breads, varieties of vegetables, avocado and much more. Pair the aforementioned healthy foods with an active lifestyle, and you will feel more happy and fulfilled in most aspects of your life.
Fans who saw you on "Top Model" know you have a strong relationship with your mom. What's the best advice she's given you?
While my relationship with my mom was sometimes mis-edited, over-dramatized and even misrepresented on the show, I do have an extremely close relationship with her. I know that I will always have her unwavering support and encouragement no matter what comes my way.
Surprising from someone who comes from a family of doctors and lawyers, my mom never scoffed at or questioned me when I announced at a young age that I wanted to be part of the entertainment industry. She did everything she could to help me make the necessary connections to help propel me further within this industry. Her best advice to me in regard to my career has been to be direct with people while still being professional/pleasant and also to never let any harsh or negative things people say get under my skin or affect me in a detrimental way. Nearly all of my successes thus far are attributed to her kindness, selflessness, and confidence in the fact that I can do anything to which I set my mind.