Georgia teen uses "Top Model" stint to advance career

Victoria Henley

Victoria Henley

COLQUITT -- Victoria Henley can't remember when she didn't want to be an actress or a model. When she was a little girl here, she wore various costumes to school, pretending to be characters she'd created.

Thanks in part to her classic good looks, her slim, 5-foot-9 1/2 inch frame, dauntless dedication and a mom who stands behind her, 19-year-old Henley is already achieving a degree of national success. Her recent stint on "America's Next Top Model: College Edition," a television model competition/reality show, hasn't hampered her career.

Contestants are tested in a variety of real-life modeling challenges and awarded points by the show's judges. There's an elimination process until a single girl, the winner, remains.

As with other such shows, much of the appeal is from the interaction between model wannabes and judges, and between the girls themselves. Henley bit the dust, eventually, but not before she gained her reputation for quirkiness and a propensity to find the heart of any drama storm. She's unfazed by the characterization, she says, and thinks the image may even boost her young career.

"If you're on a reality show, people like to see something more interesting in the blend," Henley said. "I think that being the 'different' girl has offered more opportunities for me."

According to Henley, the "Top Model" experience has resulted in not only a deluge of modeling and acting opportunities, but near-constant encounters with admiring fans as well.

"I could barely walk 10 steps at a recent New Year's celebration without a fan stopping to ask for a picture or autograph," Henley said in a recent Columbus Ledger-Inquirer interview. "It's such a gratifying feeling to know that fans were able to experience my journey and get so invested in my career pursuits."

Among the achievements Henley lists are appearances in high-fashion magazines in New York, Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia. Raine, a high-fashion magazine, called her one of the three most memorable contestants in history of "Top Model," she said, and because of her Jewish/Native American heritage, highlighted her in its first international edition. She's been interviewed by Nylon Magazine, Extra Hollywood and Nine West.

These days, Henley is busy with photo shoots, she said, and also teaches modeling workshops across the country to "instill confidence and self-esteem" in the many models of all ages and genders with whom she's worked.

Henley said she is collaborating with a filmmaker to execute a writing project, which, when completed, she hopes to enter into competition.

Henley is the daughter of Lynn and Russ Henley of Colquitt and the granddaughter of Gene and Ramona Boatright of Sylvester.