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By Jonathan Turner, firstname.lastname@example.org
By Jonathan Turner, email@example.com
|Victoria Addis of Annawan, a freshman at Illinois State University in Bloomington, is a model student.|
The outgoing 18-year-old won Barbizon International's "Be a Star With Barbizon" contest this summer and will be featured in a full-page ad in Seventeen magazine's November issue for the Barbizon modeling and acting school.
"It was kind of nerve-wracking, but really exciting," Victoria said recently. She won an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City in July for her and her mom, Vanessa. (The rest of the family came along on their own dime).
After being picked from nearly 30,000 entrants in a national contest to be the new face for Barbizon, Victoria was given a $500 shopping spree and had her nails, hair and makeup done by professional artists before the promotional photoshoot at Seventeen.
"Around home, the only thing I get dolled up (for) is school dances, like homecoming and prom, and it was always just my mom and I. It was fun to have so many other people doing it for me," she said.
Seventeen promotion manager Tara Swansen said the panel of judges thought she was "the perfect Seventeen girl," with a great, energetic personality.
"We wanted to pick someone who was a fresh, new face," said Kelly Smith, marketing manager for Barbizon International. She said Victoria's photos will be used on all company marketing materials.
Ms. Smith said Victoria is amazing -- not only beautiful and talented, but "someone who really represents herself well, represents Barbizon well and represents Seventeen magazine. People at Seventeen were raving about her photo shoot."
The issue will be for sale from Oct. 18 through Nov. 21.
Victoria said she has been into acting and theater since fourth grade. She has appeared in the Circa '21 shows "Annie," "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and "The King and I." She was Junior Miss Henry County Fair at 14, and this past year was first runner-up for Miss Henry County Fair.
"I'm not really sure what it is," Victoria said of her attraction to acting. "It's like pretending to be somebody else."
In the spring of 2010, she completed the six-month Barbizon program over weekends in Moline. This included training in acting, modeling and boosting self-esteem.
Her mother had heard about the Seventeen contest and sent in photos without Victoria knowing. She was chosen as one of 10 finalists and then had to send in more photos and information.
"I didn't think it would actually come out to be anything," Victoria said.
In June, she found out she had won. She and her family traveled to New York, where the magazine picked them up from the airport in a limousine, and they stayed two nights in Manhattan.
"It was unbelievable," Vanessa Addis said. "They fed us breakfast; she had hair and makeup done. It was all videotaped.
"At 11:30 the shoot began, and they took photos until 1 p.m. -- like over 3,000 pictures. It was awesome. It was absolutely awesome."
After a Barbizon director of operations saw the photos, she wanted Victoria to be seen by modeling agencies, so Barbizon covered most of the cost for her and her mother on a five-day Barbizon "Passport to Discovery" cruise in August to the Grand Cayman Islands and Cozumel. Victoria participated in several modeling competitions as well as acting and music auditions.
"It was really, really exciting," she said. "I met a lot of really cool people."
Vanessa Addis said Victoria met with agents for roughly three hours one morning. "She has opportunities in California, New York."
Ms. Smith said the director of the cruise program said they had to put her in front of agents. "It paid off for her; she got so many callbacks," she said.
Victoria also has received private coaching on her potential show-biz career from Kim Furness, president of Davenport-based Curtainbox Theatre Co. In college, she is a political-science major, plans to go to law school and may work in public relations.
"Surprisingly, all the things I learned at Barbizon come in handy every day," Victoria said. "I learned to be more social and come out of (my) shell. This is such a big school; I came out of a graduating class of 23 at home, and classes here have hundreds of students.
"The biggest part was confidence. The more I get to go out and meet so many people, it makes it easier to put myself out there for jobs."
Founded in 1939, Barbizon operates in more than 200 cities around the world. It helps students with personal development and offers college scholarships, Ms. Smith said. "It's really a well-rounded program. We're about empowering young women and men."
Victoria hopes to keep modeling and acting for the rest of her life, but not as a full-time job.
"I love it so much," she said. "They say, sometimes, don't do the thing you love the rest of your life, because it becomes more of a job. I just want to love it."