At 5-years-old, Victoria Elizabeth Newman was painfully shy and awkward. Concerned, her mother thought it’d be best to just shove her into the water and see if she could swim; she decided to put her daughter as the role of “Rose” in the production of “Annie” with the Northwest Children’s Theater. With this, she hoped her 5-year-old would get out of her comfort zone and learn social skills. However, a lot more came out of that decision: a new love for acting.
Now, Newman, a freshman at the California School of the Arts (CSArts) in the Acting Conservatory, has grown far beyond the young girl that refused to socialize by acting in commercials and short films.
“Networking, networking. It’s so important. Who knows if one day these connections could lead you to your next audition, or next big role. You always need to talk to people,” Newman repeats.
This demonstrates her growth from a socially awkward 5-year-old to a teen willing to reach out to others for help.
Today, she is a repeating character in two separate web series. One is called “Sanctuary” where she gets to play the character Reese, a victim of human trafficking. In contrast, her other web series is a comedy named “Les Moore.” Because Newman must play the roles of two completely different characters, one may think that it can be too overwhelming for an actress.
However, Newman said, “I actually enjoy it because if I just play Reese, I would always have to be in the character of someone scared and timid. I’m glad to have a balance.”
According to Newman, the auditions can be just as tough as playing the role, if not harder. Usually for her, all the film auditions use the same routine. If one does not have an agent, self-submitting is just as valid whether it be through LA Casting, Actors Access, or Casting Network. They ask for a headshot and a profile. Once they have viewed the resume, they would email an actor a script and ask them if they’d like to try out for the role. Because of the many auditions Newman wants to try out for, she often finds herself having to leave school early. Luckily, compared to her old school, CSArts is understanding in letting her get to her auditions on time.
Although Newman is part of an audition techniques class, she couldn’t have done it without conservatory. Unlike her lessons outside of school, conservatory is a big class which involves a lot of teamwork. She loves the ensemble work and believes it has helped her as a team player on set.
Newman would like to advise her peers that “their job is to audition, not to book the role. Don’t tell yourself that if you don’t book the role, your life will be horrible for the rest of your career. A lot of times it’s not about your acting. It can be the color of your eyes, how tall you are, or if you have the right chemistry with another actor.”
Although passing the audition seems like the hardest part, not everything after booking a role is smooth sailing. There were some instances in which Newman had the experience of working with unprofessional fellow actors, calling it a “nightmare.” She becomes stressed and anxious, and usually finds herself working too hard to fill in the gaps.
Furthermore, Newman faced criticism which she had not earlier expected. She warns others that in the entertainment field, or even life in general, to know ahead of time that “there are going to be haters” and “it is so much worse than it sounds.”
A recent event that happened to Newman was when she posted some musical covers on social media for fun. She did not expect to have backlash, but her followers commented that she couldn’t sing and that she’s an actress, and only an actress.
“It’s the worst feeling ever and you feel betrayed,” Newman said. “But you have to learn that if people are doing that, then just separate from those people! Don’t engage and make it worse. It’s not something you can prevent.”
Instead, Newman focuses on her achievements and what her acting can do to impact the people around her.
“When I act, I want people to understand that this is another way of storytelling and all storytelling is based on something,” she said. “I want my audience to realize that maybe someone out there has probably experienced the same thing my character is going through and I’m here to show it.”