Victoria Michaels is a Nigerian-Ghanaian born Fashionista and international model. In 2014, she won awards for her outstanding performances on and off the runway. Her hard work, her versatility and humanitarian exploits across the continent among other criteria earned her praises across Africa.
Victoria has earned herself, over the years, international recognition as well as deals as brand Ambassador for international organisations such as for Bel- AQUA, Ariels Spa, Ghana @ 50 Gold show, the House Model for Artdress by the late Fashion legend Kofi Ansah, BBC African Fashion Week, Dubai Fashion Week, FIMA Fashion Week, Dark & Lovely Hair Fashion Show.
She has also featured on Oh! Yes Magazine, FIMA Magazine, Da Viva, Print ads for Agricultural Development Bank, Woodin, MTN, Cover for Ghana’s 2006 Presidential diary, TV commercials for MTN, Nescafe, Woodin, Social media campaign for Vodaphone alongside renowned artistes like; D’Banj and Sarkodie.
In this interview with YTAINMENT.COM, she spoke on what 2015 holds for her, her passion and her recent experience at the London Fashion Week.
Happy New Year to you because this is the first interview we are having in 2015, but before going on, tell us about your 2014; how was it in terms of modelling
Thanks you very much and Happy New Year to you too. I wish all of you at City People an eventful year. Well, 2014 was quite a remarkable year for me, with the benefit of hindsight, I think it is probably the most demanding year yet in my career both as a model and entrepreneur. We worked so hard but my joy is that it paid off. I really challenged myself last year to be a better model and followed up with that resolve through engagements in various modelling projects both within and outside of Ghana. So 2014 was both demanding and rewarding at the same time as far as my modelling career is concerned.
You were probably one of the most sort after brand in Ghana as in 2014, what was the ‘magic’ that worked for you?
Really? Most Sort after? That sounds like an award category (laughs) I must say that I have enjoyed Divine favour in so many respects. My management have been inundated with inquiries regarding the VM Brand and that for me is a good thing. I may not attribute that to any particular magic or formula but the one thing that resonates in my career life as a model is the Grace of God. My team and I are very resilient and focused, we have a goal and everyone works towards that vision determined to achieve it, at Team VM, we are a bunch of goal getters. We are working on the brand every day, adding value, evolving, been consistent with our values, making relentless efforts, engaging the right partnerships and most especially ensuring that the brand is positioned strategically for the benefit of all our stakeholders including clients, fan base, partners etc.
At the last quarter of 2014, you had your birthday, launched your foundation and also attended some international events as a top notch model, were did you really get the energy to pull all these trips came from?
As I mentioned earlier, last year was quite a remarkable year, even though I have always had a year plan but last year was just one interesting year. Okay, let’s talk about the last quarter of last year, As usual I celebrated my birthday with destitute children and this time around it was with the kids at the Osu Children’s Home. My friends and I took the party to them and I must say we had tons of fun. That very occasion was one of the best highlights of 2014, watching those kids and seeing them happy gave me a sense of fulfilment. What we did with the Victoria Michaels Foundation was not a launch, it was more of a public awareness campaign to introduce the foundation and the projects we have been doing this last few years. The truth is that the Victoria Michaels Foundation have been operating actively since three years ago, we just don’t make noise, our focus is to help as many people as we can regardless of where they are. I am a highly motivated person who is driven by passion, I love my work and getting things done is an adrenaline pumper for me. Combining my modelling career that requires a lot of international travels with running a foundation and leading a vibrant PR/Marketing firm is really demanding but worthwhile.
How has life being with you so far since the beginning of 2015?
Life has been great, The year have started on a good note. I believe that God has wonderful plans for us this year. We are working on a number of projects, My management is working round the clock and very soon we shall be deploying a number of very interesting activities.
With Projects and happenings so far, would you beat your chest and say that, “it’s going to be a great year”, looking at the opportunities that have come your way thus far?
As I said earlier, it is most certainly a great year, we have indicators to that fact. I see a lot potentials, especially giving our antecedents, we have the right foundation and we are poised to build on that this year. So I can tell my fans to be expectant of an exciting year ahead.
Let’s swing back a little to 2014, you won about four major awards including the Ovation Carol Awards, what was the feeling like then and what do you expect in terms of awards this year 2015?
It was indeed a rewarding year, I was both thrilled and elated to know that people are watching, to think that people are seeing what we are doing and could come out to publicly recognize us is something I find quite fulfilling. All the awards shows recognition for our hard work and dedication, the big surprise however was the Prestigious Ovation Angel of Hope Award, I couldn’t even breath on the stage, imagine receiving an award alongside one of Ghana’s most celebrated former president and a host of other great achievers. I am really thankful. One of my personal mantra is that “ the reward for good work is more work” that is why we are committed to doing more not because we want to be recognized or rewarded but to stand in the gap of getting things done. I believe that someone has to do whatever it takes to affect our generation positively and if I be the one, why not?
We cannot have this interview without saying that it seems you management are really working hard to see you become a top notch model; tell us about your relationship with your team, how cordial has it been?
I have the best people around me, Team VM is like a family and we are all committed to the same cause. Everyone is working dedicatedly to get the brand to the peak. I am grateful for the effective human resources God have placed at my disposal. We have a tight management team of goal getting professionals, my people are working, that’s why VM is working.
Seems you have started the year on a high note ahead of your peers in the same industry, what did you do right and perhaps fix in line with this year?
Well, the part of starting the year on a high note is absolutely correct. I am energised by the prospects of this industry; I believe we have to do more if we want to achieve more. One of the principles that have helped me is to always remind myself of the need to be consistent with my values even as I evolve. I can change my style, looks, mindset, focus and even choices but not my core values, my character must be consistent with who I am. This principle though tough to practice have helped me to make peace with myself, it has also propelled me to constantly rediscover myself and evolve into the person I have to be. I think there are a lot of my peers who are also doing very well, no one has seen it all, neither has anyone done it all, I don’t consider this career as a race, we are all contributing our quota to make the industry better, so we all do have our edge and that is good for both fashion and business.
Some models of with which you all came up together in the ranks, you seem to have gone far past the all, what has been that major thing that you are doing right which may be particularly important to the next young lady out there wanting to be like you?
As I said, this modelling career is not a race, when decided to leave the banking sector after five years and make a comeback into the fashion industry as a model, a lot of people thought I was crazy and you can’t blame them. This was me, I already have had a stint with the modelling industry before leaving it to the Financial Service sector, so I knew the implications of my decision. Many so it as leaving certainty for uncertainty but I saw my potential, my passion, my dream and a vision of myself fulfilled. I was driven by a desire to metamorphose into Victoria Michaels – I wanted to be me, that original person inside of me has to be given an expression. I tell aspiring and younger models this, don’t come into this industry with the mentality of competing with anybody, I would rather compete with myself, challenge myself, make demand on myself and become myself than focus my energy on competing and wanting to become like someone else. Believe and keep working on yourself, have a “ I am a work in progress mentality” it will help you to become both a better person and a better brand.
When it comes to paying attention to details as a person, you are probably on top of your game with that, tell us what you feel should be imbibed into the industry to help move it forward from where it is now.
I think my education and professional training both as a Banker and a Communicator has contributed to my preparation for this moment. That is why I advocate for girl child education, we need to get mentally and emotionally empowered. Believe it or not, there is something education does to the emotional development of a person, especially women, especially when we live in a space considered as a “ Man’s world” we need to get empowered through education. A model who is formally schooled would ultimately have more advantage than the one who isn’t. This career is transient, looks and style will change,demand for you will drop at some point cos you won’t be young forever, the younger ones will come on the stage at some point and you have to move on and then what? Education and Skill is a must for anyone who wants to excel in this industry.
Few weeks ago, you were at the London Fashion Week in UK, what exactly did you do out there?
What else does a model do at Fashion Weeks? I was rocking and having fun.
Would you say that it is an experience worth attending over and over again?
Sure, I have been attending international fashion weeks and events both as a runway model and guest, but the recent London Fashion Week was an unforgettable experience. This is so because, I was hanging out with one of the greatest fashion authority from Africa to the World – Ronke Ademiluyi – The Founder of the African Fashion Week London. It both fun and insightful, Ronke is a mentor, inspiration and a thought leader. She is not just a fashionista, she has a great mind and beein around her have made me richer both mentally and emotionally. I met great people of like mind like Christelle Nganhou – Cameroonian multi talented designer, this people are taking the fashion industry by storm through innovative ideas, it is always great to be around people of like mind.
We have seen more African models excel on the world market, we have also seen so many models who are brilliant and charming go down the drain and forgotten, what do you think the government of Africa has to do to see that our models are given equal chances to prove themselves?
I think this question should focus more on how our individual African governments can focus on the development of the fashion industry. I think the number one step is to start the process of regulating the industry, this will help measure its net worth and potential contribution to national GDPs. I have also been an advocate for public-private sector engagement and collaboration to develop the industry, when you have a dynamic and well grown industry it will most certainly affect the stakeholders positively. Fashion Designers, Fabric Producers, Models and other players including government agencies will be the beneficiaries of a more organized fashion sector.
What are your expectations in 2015?
It will be a great year, a year of restoration on every side.
You are a lady of surprises, what do you have for us aside modelling in this New Year?
Just Watch out! The surprises are coming …….(Laughs)
Thank you for talking to us and we hope to have you once again, very soon.
Thank you too for your time.