Victoria Jimenez, a junior at Olympia High School, is no stranger to the runway and demands of the modeling industry.
Growing up, Victoria Jimenez, 16, always was encouraged to model by friends and strangers who would comment on her looks and height.
Being of Mexican, Native American and Spanish descent has given her an exotic look and height that fashion and commercial photographers seek in potential models.
During a family photo shoot a few years ago, she and her mother, Erika, finally decided to give modeling a try when the photographer requested to pass on their contact information to a modeling agency.
“We actually were just taking family pictures with this photographer, and then the photographer said she knew this agency that is looking for models and (Victoria) would be perfect for that agency because of her height,” Erika said.
Three years later, Victoria, now 5 feet, 8 inches tall (thanks to her father) is still modeling and frequently works photo shoots for commercial and fashion photographers. She has since learned to study a photographer’s portfolio before going in front of the camera, she said.
“The most challenging part is figuring out what the photographer wants or what the audience wants,” Victoria said. “Before going up on the runway or in front of a camera, you have to study the photographer and look through their past work to see what type of modeling they want. So before going to a shoot, I always look at the previous work on Instagram. But they’re also always looking for something new and fresh, so it’s also good to create new poses.”
She is, as she said, in love with her job, and hopes to one day model for Sherri Hill — a fashion designer who specializes in elegant gowns and pageant dresses often worn by television and movie stars at red-carpet events.
But for now, she is modeling on a freelance basis and goes to about two to three photo shoots a week. She values her mom’s support, as it helps her focus on school.
“I have the help of my ‘momager’ — that’s what I call her,” Victoria said with a laugh. “She manages everything. She sets up the appointments. She talks with the different photographers that contact us, and she helps a lot with managing the whole modeling thing while I do homework and study for tests.”
Victoria said her primary focus is school, because she dreams of becoming a veterinarian to help animals — a goal her family suspects she developed while helping manage her family’s animal-rescue farm in their backyard.
She has been known to use the money she earns from her gigs to help her family with rehabilitation costs for the animals, because many come in sick from owners who neglected them.
“What I admire about her is that if a teenager comes into $700, as she did with her photo shoot for Universal, they’re likely thinking about getting new shoes, a new phone, new clothes,” David Jimenez, Victoria’s dad, said. “But when she got it, the first thing she said was, ‘Oh, I get to buy you all Christmas gifts.’ And she did. She also used the money to help rescue two goats named Alfie and Elsa. It was so impressive to me to see that.”
Victoria emphasized she aims to stay true to herself and accomplish all her goals — despite the pressures of the modeling industry. She uses famous quotes from Coco Chanel about elegance and modesty as her inspiration and admires Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima for her ability to stick to her morals and beliefs.
“I just go up there and have fun,” Victoria said. “I’m not trying to impress anybody or change who I am. Like Adriana Lima, she’s Catholic, and she brings her Bible behind the stage and reads it before going onstage. She holds on to what she believes and never changed for the industry. So when I go behind the camera or onstage, I stay true to myself. A lot of people tell me you have to change for the industry and act a certain way, but I’m going to stay the way I am. If they want me, they will understand my beliefs. And if not, then I just I won’t do it.”