Talent on mic, on camera
VICTORIA JELSTROM SWILLEY
By Linnda Durre’
Victoria was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Anna and Kai Jelstrom. Victoria went to private school until the third grade, when her parents started to homeschool her. Because of the flexibility of her homeschooling schedule, Victoria trained extensively in ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, piano, hand bells, and voice—she loved every minute of it.
She was a member of the Fort Lauderdale Children’s Ballet Theatre from 2000 to 2005. She volunteered at an exotic animal rescue and a children’s museum. She got a job at a local coffeehouse when she was only 16, where she worked for two years. No stranger to discipline and hard work, this young woman!
Victoria attended Belhaven University from 2005 to 2010, earning a B.A. in Vocal Performance with a Musical Theater emphasis, the first graduate in the Musical Theater specialization at Belhaven.
Dr. Christopher Shelt, coordinator of the program, emphasized Victoria’s character, “She is the kind of artist that you want to know personally. She is approachable and kind. She embodies not only the interesting artist, but the artist who makes a difference in her world.”
Dr. Shelt continues in praise of her senior project, I Can’t Do It Alone, “Victoria set an incredibly high standard for future musical theater students. Even I, her teacher, was drafted to be part of her large cast of performers. Dancers, singers, actors! Lights, blocking, make-up! She was the vivacious conductor of the entire symphony of artistic effort. I witnessed excellence, not only in the final artistic product, but in the artistic process. She was a virtuoso, not only in performing, but working with people. She really treated people like she ‘couldn’t do it alone’ and was always inspiring to and respectful of her cast while she led them to do something extraordinary.”
When asked about all her myriad talents – dance, choreography, singing, theater, video, voiceover, film, acting, and producing – Victoria says, “I love them all! I began film acting in the spring of 2011, and it is one of my favorite things to do in the world.”
Victoria’s acting can be seen in numerous independent films, some of which are film festival selections and award winners.
Filmmaker/director Banks Helfrich commented on casting Victoria in his film, “7 Lives of Chance”, in which “Victoria played Cherry Blossom - a Mississippi girl. Victoria was great on set, fun to be around and a go-getter, and she is great with dialects!”
Her accent repertoire includes Southern, Australian, South African, and a comedic Eastern European.
Of special note are her "Printout Pages" and "Storytime with Ms. Victoria" series from Peter Harvey’s TinyGrads Company of California, which produces videos acceptable for children and without violence, profane language, and sexuality inappropriate for young ones. She produced these series from her home studio, and is now working on a series of short videos based on letter sounds for TinyGrads.
Peter Harvey says how lucky he felt to have her do his video series: “It's hard enough these days to find a lovely, talented, and easy-to-work-with actress, much less one with a solid moral compass as well. Victoria has all of these in spades. The kids around the world that make up our 60,000 daily views love Ms. Victoria. So do we!”
One of her Orlando talent agents, Nancy Clark, founder and owner of Clark Talent, LLC, a SAG-AFTRA Agency, describes Victoria in these words, “I have been in the talent industry for 25 years and I found that Victoria Swilley brings professionalism to this industry with the willingness to do what is asked of her. I find she has an understanding of what is need for each casting and brings it to each audition and job. Victoria has a high percentage rate of bookings. She is a credit to our industry and she will only continue to grow.”
She counts among her awards and honors being selected for Best of Belhaven Music Concerts, and she won the Caroline Dellaporta Award from her ballet company for dedication to excellence and positive attitude.
Her dance career included solo turns as a Fairy in Fort Lauderdale Children’s Ballet Theatre production of Sleeping Beauty; the shy friend in Coppelia; and a solo in Cinderella; as well as a solo, a duet, and in the corps pieces in the company’s first production of Carnival of the Animals.
Her additional training includes: the “Live the Life” Seminar with Margie Haber in 2013; “The Performer’s Conservatory” with Sammy Pawlak and Lauren O'Quinn in 2013; and Scott Cooper’s “Audition Techniques” Workshop in 2011.
Victoria’s special skills would need another ream of paper, but they include classical singing, modeling, mime, piano, ballet, tap, jazz, and modern dance, living statue, living mannequin, hand-to-hand stage combat, some puppetry, henna body art, whistling, crochet, copy editing, and blowing smoke rings. and three years as a barista. And maybe – in her multi-tasking, multi-talented way—this includes being a mother to an active three year old—all at the same time!
She also runs her own production company, StandAlone Pictures, which is now making comedy shorts (www.youtube.com/standalonepics, www.facebook.com/standalonepictures).
If you’re looking for a total package of actor, model, singer, dancer, choreographer, voiceover artist, and producer, then Victoria Swilley is your pick!
With all this talent, will success go to her head? Not according to Dr. Christopher Shelt, who attests, “I continue to be amazed at the skill she achieves in so many areas of artistic endeavor, most recently in her thoughtful film work. She is an emerging, blossoming artist. I think we have just begun to see what she can do. But, the greatest thing is that I feel I can be confident that she will still remain my friend even if she should become famous!” Quite a compliment, I must say.
Victoria can be reached directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.