When models are looking for someone to take their career to the topmost level and worldwide publications are looking for the utmost talent, they call Victoria Talbot at Hype Inc. Victoria is the CEO of Hype Inc. and started her public relations company with an innovative approach to learning the business and then built it into a thriving entity that has major connections all over the world. She is “The Premier Gatekeeper” in the PR business today and has negotiated talent bookings that range from several thousand dollars all the way up to multi-million dollar deals.
When she’s not navigating through high pressure dealings, she does something that really makes her sweat. She competes in triathlons and 70 mile canoe races! And, if that is not already enough to do in a day…she’s a wife of 15 years and mother of three 8, 7 and 3 years of age. She has recently joined in a partnership to form a new production company: DHHP (Down Home Hype Productions) The first project from DHHP is the forthcoming reality show: “Hotties In Hicktown” that features Angelica Bridges, Summer Altice (See past interviews with Angelica and Summer) and Victoria herself along with ambitious models that compete for a chance to make it big in Hollywood.
Victoria took time out of her extremely busy schedule to talk about running her companies from an office at home, going to movie premiers with her clients, what it’s like to mediate enormous press deals and how she survives when the world doesn’t approve her actions. Oh, and one more thing, when Victoria had something important to say and was looking for someone to share it with…she called T.E.N!
TEN- You are the CEO of a major PR company, you’re a mother and a wife, and you now have a production company, compete in triathlons and 70 mile canoe races. Where do you find time to do everything?
Victoria Talbot- (Laughs) Sleep is overrated. No, I don’t believe that sleep is definitely not overrated but my trainer would definitely say that! Well the thing is…I just kinda organize my day. I get up at like 5:30 a.m. and I go to the gym and work out with a class. It’s like a tri-athlete class. Then I run a while. Then come home and get the kids ready for schools, then they’re off to school for most of the day. Then I start working on my clients until the kids get off the bus from school and then I keep things going with their activities. Plus, my husband and I both work from home and we both have home offices so it just makes it a lot easier where we can “tag team” each other. You know like “tag you’re it!” If he has a project he has to do then I’ll take the kids to their after school programs or whatever. We’re just really organized so were helping each other. We’ve been together for 15 years and we both started our own businesses. We both worked in the city right out of college for five or six years then we decided that we wanted our own businesses and work from home so that we can be with our kids. So that’s what we’ve been doing. (Laughs) And the canoeing, I do that, my partner doesn’t get out of work until like 5:30 p.m. so that is definitely giving up a lot of my time to do that but it’s a small time period. Let’s say we start training in February/March and the race is in May and were just training crazy from 5:30 p.m. until dark that whole time. After the 70 mile race I don’t have to train as much because they’re much smaller races and we just practice right before a race. Once I do the 70 mile race I am so like; “I know what I’m doing and I am so ready for any other little race!”
TEN- All of the other races probably seem easy at that point.
VT- Yeah, and it’s not the fact that I’m gonna win or I’m winning because my trainer. A lot of other people that I know do the races and they come in “Top 20” I’m just happy that I can finish. I never was really athletic growing up. I was more of the girl going to the movies and talking on the phone. I was never on the softball team or basketball team. I didn’t do anything athletic. I didn’t really start any of that until I turned 40! And now it’s like “out of control!” The thing is I’m not the models so I’m not going to get botox or get a boob job or liposuction because…why do that? It’s not like I’m doing it for a career. Tomorrow I’m running a race that’s three miles and it’s cold and I’m not used to running in the cold…but I’ll figure it out.
TEN- Do you ever stop for a vacation?
VT- Yes. We go on two vacations a year. We take the kids to Florida to visit my grandmother…she lives in Boca, right on the ocean so it’s a great vacation. It’s hot tubs and running on the beach and the ocean and it’s really nice. We also do Disney too. In the summer we try to hit Europe. We’ve done a lot of European travels.
TEN- You’ve built your PR Company from the ground up starting in the ‘90s.
VT- I started Hype Inc. in 1997, the year I got married. I was working with a girl Estella Warren and she was a model with me. I kinda used her as a guinea pig for the press. This was all when I was working for a modeling agency in the city. I was on a high board with models like Estella and Caprice and girls that were already doing other things like Vogue or L’Oreal campaigns. I was negotiating deals in the six figures. I was doing that for seven years so I knew that and I learned from the best agents in the business. Most agents are just born into the business, like their aunt in Paris owned the first modeling agency. It’s just a really connected group you just don’t become an agent. I just happen to open my own agency with a lot of money so I was able to pay people to train me. I paid high salaries to the best people in the business and then they trained me and that’s how I learned how to be an agent and who was who in the business and how to network people between Europe and here. So around the seventh year in the city, I wanted to hit the “Hollywood thing” so I started to do press. Estella wasn’t an actress, she was a synchronized swimmer in Canada and I scouted her with a partner. She was in the Junior Olympics and at the time she was living with me in the city in my apartment. I was doing press on her based on; “What would an Olympic swimmer wanna use for her hair?” You know, “What shampoo would she use?” So Glamour magazine would interview her so we started to develop her modeling book with Vogue and Glamour and the entire editorial that got her the campaign because she was a famous model. For Hollywood, it has to be more about your name. The fact that we had a separate press book and I was promoting her name as a Junior Olympic swimmer it got the attention of Hollywood and George Lucas called. That was so insane. He calls and asks me “Could she read for Princess Leia?” and I said “definitely!” He paid to fly her out to Hollywood and she read for the part but didn’t get it. She had never read for a part before and she was really shy. Models are used to just being in front of the camera and not speaking. So for her, it was really scary because she wasn’t used to it but because she had the Olympic training it was easy for her to say “Okay, this is something I want to do and I’m going to train and work with a coach and learn it.” And she did. At that time I had hired another publicist and paid him like $5000 a month to help me promote her and every month I would get a bill but no press. Nothing…zero! He was like: “Okay next month will be better…here’s your bill.” That’s why I just learned it on my own and I’m like “I’m not paying these publicists to promote my models when they get me nothing!” So, that is how I started to do it on my own and learned it. Then Estella got the “Planet Of The Apes” movie as her first film and then “Driven” with Sylvester Stallone. My second girl was Caprice. She really wasn’t doing anything; she was just a catalog model with me so I took Caprice and turned her into a worldwide celebrity through the press during my pregnancy. I was pregnant with three babies back-to-back but Caprice was such a good friend that we worked together and she helped me and Hype just took off because of her. Within a two-year period we had over 250 covers. Amazing right? Everybody was calling. I mean, I was making anywhere from $90,000 to $200,000 in my pocket per deal because she was so famous through the press. It was just deal after deal on Caprice and then all of the other clients just wanted to follow in her footsteps so they would do Google and see that I was her agent and call me. Hype was opened because I was going to just work with Caprice and Estella. All the other girls just called and it just happened. Then the phone started ringing and its Hugh Hefner or Donald Trump…all the biggest names in the whole “Hollywood thing.”
TEN- Now they’re calling you!
VT- Yeah…yeah they’re calling me! At that time I lived on wildlife preserve property in Long Island by the water. They were calling me and I was there on the beach, pregnant and changing diapers and the phone’s ringing and it’s Hugh Hefner. That was right when e-mailing was starting to get big and I could send pictures and I didn’t even have high-speed then. I still had dial-up so it was slow. I booked Anna Nicole Smith for TrimSpa because she was my client and it was just one thing after another.
TEN- Did you help Angelica Bridges get her TrimSpa work?
VT- Yeah, I did. Well this is what happened with that. I was hired by TrimSpa to do the press for a beauty pageant that they were doing. All the girls that wanted to be supermodels were like really heavy, like 200 plus pounds went on the TrimSpa diet. So I was a celebrity judge for them in the Bahamas. They flew my husband, the kids and I to the Bahamas first-class…limos and everything. I stayed in the studio for like two days and listened to these women that had lost all of this weight. One lady would say; “I’m a nurse and I try to help my son’s soccer team as a soccer mom. I heard the other kids making fun of him because his mom was so fat and why does she think she can be a coach?” So she said; “That was it. I wanted to loose weight.” I swear to God she looked like Barbie. She was like the fattest lady and then all of a sudden she was so beautiful and skinny. It was just hours and hours of listening to these stories…these incredible stories. The thing was we had this girl Victoria Silvstedt booked. She was a celebrity judge that I had booked and was flying in and meeting me there. She canceled and called me at the last minute so I said to the owner; “Look why don’t we fly Angelica Bridges in? She’s reliable and let me call her. I know her really well and she’d be great.” And they were like “We don’t even know her, forget it.” One of the owners wives went up to their room and Angelica was on TV doing an interview for “Extra.” Isn’t that funny? So she says to me; “Oh my God, I’ve seen Angelica, she’s amazing! Can you get her here?” I got her there and she did the gig. They paid her like $12,000 and flew her first class and she met me in the Bahamas. She is so reliable and amazing that she got on a plane that next morning. That’s why booked her for my show, she’s so reliable like that.
TEN- She seems like a real sweetheart when we’ve spoken.
VT- She is a sweetheart…she’s reliable…she’s a professional…she has kids. We’re a perfect team. Summer Altice was my third client after Caprice. Summer was with Elite and she was Elites’ “YM Magazine cover girl, girl next door” But Summer is kind of like a wild-card. Elite is really strict and would never associate themselves with a playmate. They’ve had girls like Cindy Crawford and other girls that have done Playboy as celebrities and not all the way nude. So, Summer was with Elite and they said “She booked herself for Playboy as a playmate and Victoria help us! What do we do? How do we do this? We want to spin this but we don’t want to be associated with the whole playmate thing.” (Laughs) So I said: “Okay, where is she?” They said “She’s in London dating Vin Diesel and staying in his hotel room while he’s shooting a film.” So I called her and she was just so cute and wanting it so bad…the whole “Caprice thing.” So, the fact that she was in London, I told her that I was going to call the editor of the British GQ and I’m going to ask him if he can meet you to possibly shoot a cover. So, I called him and he was like; “No problem!” because he really wanted to see Vin Diesel. He goes to this beautiful suite and Summer has tea and biscuits and totally impressed him. Bam! She was shooting GQ and Bam! she was in GQ. It just took off like that for her from the day I met her. She has done so many covers and she has been doing so well. I booked her to be a celebrity judge on my new show. Summer and I have worked together for a long time. Most of my clients stay with me for a long time like Caprice and Summer and Angelica. I’ve worked with them for over ten years.
TEN- Who else do you work with?
VT- I’m working with Gretchen Bonaduce right now, which is a lot of fun. You just did an interview with her!
TEN- Yes, thank you for setting that up.
VT- That was fun! She’s a really fun client to work with because she is so positive and full of energy. She’s older than I am too. She’s 43 and the fact that she has two kids…we just have so much in common. She looks so good for her age. She might be on the cover of Maxim. I just sealed the deal for the cover. Her body looks incredible! I mean she’s got the boob job and the liposuction and the botox but so what! Plus, she’s getting $20,000 a month from Danny! I have to work 12 hours a day to make that in two months. (Laughs) She’s got it made over there…now. She wanted her marriage to work. She was with him for 17 years.
TEN- Many of your models have appeared in Playboy Magazine. What is involved in landing a deal like that? It has to be more than just sending them pictures…right?
VT- It’s funny because I was on the booking table with Playboy for Carrie Otis and the thing is they negotiated money and if you don’t say “Okay the money has to be paid when the pictures come out in this amount of time” the girl might not get paid if the pictures never come out. So from just knowing other agents that got messed up Playboy deals, I just knew how to go for a Playboy deal and how to negotiate it myself without an attorney to make sure regardless whether the pictures came out or not… the girl will still be paid. My thing with Playboy is that I always write a great press release like I did with you for Summer to promote the project and then I just send magazine covers and stuff that the girls have done to show that she has been seen and gets attention. Then Playboy decides what they want to offer the girl and we just negotiate back and forth. With Caprice they offered her a playmate deal and I was like “No way!” So, I declined and then I kept sending posters and other campaigns that were coming out and I kept up feeding them. So over a year, we got our celebrity Playboy deal where she made six figures and she got “B” nudity, which I knew to negotiate like the agencies do where she only has to show her top and you have a bathing suit on your bottom. So Caprice got the right deal so Playboy knows to only come to me for celebrity deals. I only negotiate celebrity deals with Playboy but playmates do hire me to do their press. They do their own deals and I had nothing to do with their deal. I’ve never negotiated a “Playmate deal” only “celebrity deals.” I negotiated Caprice, Joanna Krupa that I booked for the cover in 2004 and now there’s the “Krupa sisters”, which we might negotiate something. Joanna has a sister Martha who is very beautiful. But right now everything is down because of the economy and its two girls so it needs to be double money.
TEN- Is that how you negotiate other magazines like Maxim?
VT- No, Maxim is for press. Playboy is for money and press. Press if you want to do it in that direction. You wouldn’t see Angelina Jolie doing it but you would see Caprice and Joanna and the girls that want to do beer commercials and modeling and sexier things. I have other clients like this girl Saskia Neillsen and she is an actress/model from Australia and I’m holding her visa. I’m working on her and we are only going for the prestigious high-fashion gigs. I’m working for her all this week for London and Paris and setting her up with the best shoots and photographers. Somebody asked me for her to do Playboy and I declined.
TEN- She has very long legs. How tall is she?
VT- She is 5’11” and a half. Saskia is more of a high fashion model where Joanna is more of a spokes/sexy model. There’s a difference. You have to push different images in different directions. When I’m talking to people on the phone in Paris, I’m talking to the big fashion photographers that shoot Vogue. She’s meeting photographers at that level. For a model like that, that is just starting out…you start out in Europe, France and England. They are going to make for the most famous right now. So she’s over there and shooting with this one guy Vincent Peter and the minute that I mention his name and that she is shooting with him, clients like Victoria’s Secret and Sports Illustrated go crazy because he is so famous and he opens the door for her. The photographers create the models. So, with Gretchen…that’s what I’m doing. I’m creating her image through photography and it’s different than what she already has. There is more style and she’s going to be on the cover of Steppin Out next week and I set up the photo shoot so it’s more like fashion sexy. Gretchen looks almost like Angelica!
TEN- Who is your biggest celebrity/money client?
VT- I think you’ll find in my “discovered talents” section I’ve worked with Connie Nielsen who starred in “Gladiator” and Estella Warren. A lot of the girls I work with and launching their careers and helping them get off the ground and then they become huge Hollywood names. A lot of models that crossover to Hollywood like Kim Basinger and so many different actresses were models first.
TEN- You’ve also worked with Claudia Schiffer as well.
VT- I booked her for lots of catalogs and money jobs. I wasn’t her main booker but I was at the booking table and I was allowed to book her for money. But the thing is, with her agent now, I can bring deals to the table since I’m not a modeling agency, I’m a PR celebrity firm. I could say “Okay, I have a client that wants to book Claudia for a Coke commercial in Egypt and they’ll pay her $250,000. Can I book it?” and then we will do a split commission. I did meet with her agent and he said I could push on stuff.
TEN- What’s the biggest deal that you’ve negotiated?
VT- The biggest money deal that I’ve probably done actually was for a poker company. It was for Paradise Poker and that was for Caprice. It was for almost 1 million dollars. She was a spokes model in London and I did the press and…yeah…she made a million bucks! And…that’s every year! But, that company is outside of the states. In America you can’t book poker or gambling.
TEN- When you’re sitting there negotiating a deal, do you ever feel pressured? I mean when you’re sitting there thinking “I’m going to put this out there and it’ll never fly.”
VT- Of course I do! I’m like Oprah…up-and-down with the weight. I get so stressed. When I worked in the city we would just sit at the table and smoke and that would release the pressure. The thing is I don’t smoke anymore. Nobody does really. So now I eat. I get nervous and I start shoving stuff in my mouth. I can gain like 13-15 pounds in a week in half. And it happens!
TEN- I was going to ask you about going from a size 6 to a size 16 and then back to size 6 for the movie premier of “The Departed.”
VT- Oh yeah! That was so fun. This is what happened with that. When I first started working in New York City out of college I was pretty fit. I was smoking cigarettes and eating too. So let’s say I was 130 pounds, size 6 and by the time I had met my husband and left the city I was 170 pounds and size 14! My husband was like “Well, you’re so pretty…your face…why don’t you get a trainer? I’ll pay for it.” I wasn’t working in the city, that’s when I was opening Hype. I got the trainer and I started to lose weight down to 150 and I was definitely a size 8. Everybody was like; “You look so great, you look so good!” By the time I was married I weighed 145. I wasn’t skinny because I’m only 5’6” but I definitely wasn’t fat. Then I had the three babies over that time period and I blew up to like 200 pounds! I was still working with Caprice and the models and da…da…da and working and eating and babies and stress. I definitely gained the weight. Then we moved to the country where we are now in Cherry Valley. It’s outside of Cooperstown. I went to this gym and it seems like everybody in the country and especially Cooperstown are very “granola crunchy, running and athletic.” The gym is about 20 minutes outside of Cherry Valley and everybody is running with little blinking lights. Nobody is fat, they all look skinny…they’re doctors’ wives. The Budweiser family is from there. All the Budweiser family is there. All the big old money is there in Cooperstown. Not where I live but in Cooperstown. Where I live it is totally just farms and land and barns and old beautiful houses. It’s more “country.” Jane Clark from the Singer sewing machine family also is from Cooperstown. My gym, The Clark Center is her foundation sports complex that she opened for the community. They all get paid good money and the trainers are happy. Everybody is really happy there because it’s her own little world. But the thing is, the girl trainers there are really snobby because they want to work out with these “beautiful tri-athlete women.” They don’t want to deal with the “200 pound fatso.” They don’t even know that I own a PR company. They just think that I’m a housewife. No trainer would take me. There’s one guy that trains there and I said; “Oh, no trainers want to take me” and I started crying. At this point I am so upset because I’m so fat. So he says; “Okay, let’s do your measurements and let’s weigh you in and I’ll train you three days a week but you have to listen to everything I say.” He’s an okay looking guy and he seems fit, you wouldn’t think he was mean. So I said “Okay” and he does those fat calipers to measure my body fat and said; “obesity!” The thing is I’m used to being pretty and walking into a nightclub, walking up to the bar and guys just sending me drinks. I’m not used to not getting that attention. I’m pretty outgoing so it’s like I always got more attention because of my personality. Being that fat was just so bad for me. So this guy is real calm and tells me to be here at 9:00 a.m. and I show up late. This guy flips on me for being late. He’s like this military Gestapo. He was out of control…he was on me making me do pull ups and push-ups and sit ups. He was so freaking mean. I just dropped the weight and my whole body changed. My body looked fit. I’d always had big legs and my butt was kind of big but now it’s like my butt looks good…my legs look good. It’s incredible how he changed my whole life. He was so mean and I would say; “Do I look skinny yet?” and he would say “NO! Don’t even ask me. Go ask that old guy over there. He’ll tell you a lie!” He’d just say the meanest things.
TEN- Kind of a tough love, huh?
VT- Yeah, he was out of control. My weight was down and my inches were down and he tells me “Okay, I don’t need to train you on your own, just come to my classes at 6 in the morning.” The first class I went to, I threw up afterwards it was so hard. (Laughs) He makes all of us girls run against each other as fast as we can sprint and then he is like; “Okay, now do skipping…now running…now squats!” It just doesn’t stop. That’s how I got to the level to where I could do triathlons. I could probably go to a boot camp. But over Christmas, I gained a little weight and I go walking into the gym and he goes; “Whad’ya pack on 40?” Thank God I have him in my life. I always feel like I have certain men in my life for certain reasons. My husband gets me motivated with my company and really helps me with my business. My business partner Carl is really nurturing. He is such a good fighter and is always boosting me up with the girls and helping me in that way. The TV project is really taking off because of him. Plus, he’s a recognizable writer. He has done “Miami Vice.”
TEN- Do you ever get star struck when you are at movie premieres like for “The Departed?”
VT- Okay, this is what happened with “The Departed.” I met one of the actresses that were in the film, Sallie Toussaint and she had a really small part. The thing was that Martin Scorsese and Jack Nicholson wrote a certain part into the script because Jack wanted in the movie. He wanted to have this crazy sex maniac role with that character.
TEN- Was that the famous “Jack Attack” scene?
VT- Yeah, yeah with the dildo remember?
TEN- The version that I saw just had the opera scene and then the next scene they were standing at the foot of the bed.
VT- Yeah, they edited everything out because at that time during the Bush administration they were really strict about that stuff. The studio had to take a lot of that out. The actual scene, Jack had a dildo strapped on! Sallie told me everything! It was two weeks of taping and Martin, Jack and Sallie and the other girl spent the whole two weeks together just really going crazy with the scene. But it got totally edited out because it was too racy for the studio to put it in theaters. But, Jack Nicholson asked for that scene. He wanted that in there! The scene involved pictures of priests and the Cross and everything was involved. The way Sallie described it I just couldn’t believe it. I was like “Sallie, we’re gonna make you a star!” So that’s how we started the “Jack Attack” and that went worldwide. I thought of that! (Laughs) The only time you saw the dildo was when he was in the movie theater and he whipped it out in front of Matt Damon. I love Matt Damon! You can quote me on that! I had booked Sallie for the cover of Steppin Out Magazine. I knew that studios really don’t want you, as the publicist for an actress with the least part in the film, to override them. So I called the studio and got in touch with the press and I was working with them really closely. I said; “I’m not going to do anything without your approval in writing.” I was talking to them the whole time and they talked to Steppin Out and they approved everything with Sallies’ interview and cover but the producer Graham King didn’t know. I guess nobody told him and it was Memorial Day weekend and I get a call from his assistant on Memorial Day and she says: “Uh, Graham King would like to talk to you.” I heard it playing back on my machine, I wasn’t going to be taking calls, and I thought “I gotta pick this up, maybe he loves me? Maybe he’s thanking me?” So I picked up the phone and he starts yelling at me that he was going to “cut Sallie out of the film completely and how dare I book her for a cover? It should have been the other actress!” He was going crazy on me. I was like: “Dude, I cleared it through the studio PR. They were on the phone with me the whole time with me and the editor. Everything was cleared. Talk to your press at the studio. Don’t get upset with me.” And then he goes “Oh” and he hung up on me. So then I called Steppin Out and told them what had happened and they went crazy with the press. They told the press and the daily news that I had a fight with Graham King and that hit all of the papers. The studio loved me and they were like “Get us more, get us more. Help us!” They wanted to get the girls the press too so it was easy for me to book a lot of press like “Extra” and Maxim and all these other things because I know the photographers and I have that model background. I helped them a lot with the film and so they asked me “If I would do the red carpet at the premier?” I said, “Yeah, I’ll do it with Sallie” because Sallie was paying me…not the studio. I went with Sallie and they got us a limo and we did an “Extra” and “Access Hollywood” interview of her and I was getting ready for the premier. Sallie had given me her dress because she didn’t like the way I dressed being a “country mom” and she came to my house two nights before and dressed me. She gave me this beautiful Versace black dress and these beautiful shoes and a wig. She totally dressed me for the part but I didn’t wear the wig. A lot of the paparazzi were taking pictures of me instead of the models and I was like; “No, no those are the models. I’m not in the film I’m the PR!” It was funny they were going crazy trying to get my picture. Warner Bros. gave me the names of everybody and I was meeting everyone. Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio was sitting behind me; Mark Walberg was next to me. It was like Martin Scorsese’s private premier. It was all of his Hollywood friends and it was for his foundation. Right after the premier he bused us all to this private party with the best food and the best drinks and everybody was in this private room. Martin really liked Sallie so we got red carpet for everything. She got a lot of press that night. It was a really good night for her.
TEN- I read somewhere that you kinda pushed Matt Damon out of the way and started promoting Sallie.
VT- Oh yeah! (Laughs) That’s funny! This is what happened. Jack Nicholson was outside and I knew the whole “Jack Attack thing” and the press was going crazy with him so I pushed Matt out of the way and then pushed Sallie into him. He looked at her and was like; “Oh don’t you wish we had that scene? Don’t you miss that?” He loved her too. They all did press together and I was the little devil in the back going “he, he, he.” On the way down there I was trying to get ready and I left late. I was speeding and I got pulled over going 80 mph and I have curlers in my hair! No makeup and curlers! The patrolman walked around to the passenger-side and when I opened up my glove compartment to get my registration, all these maxi pads fell out and he looked at me with curlers in my hair and maxi pads everywhere and goes: “Where are you going young lady?” and I go “Well, I’m a publicist and I really haven’t done a big gig in 10 years because I’ve had babies but now I am going to personally get to go to this crazy gig with Martin Scorsese and I get to meet Matt Damon and I’m late!” He goes “Alright, I’m not going to give you a ticket. Put it on speed control and be careful.” I was like “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” We got there late but everything was fine because Leonardo and Matt and all those guys didn’t get there till late either. It was at The Zeigfield Theater in Manhattan and it was so crowded there because everybody wanted to see all the celebrities. There were thousands of people outside. These big security guys whipped us out of the limo and brought us in. We met everyone there; Jon Voight and Mick Jagger were there. It was such a fun night. Matt Damon was there and he was so nice and outgoing to everyone but Leonardo DiCaprio was more reserved staying next to Martin the whole time. He wasn’t talking to anyone else but Martin. He was so military like “Scorsese’s my captain and I won’t get another film unless I kiss his ass!” Leonardo is like; “If I can’t have Gisele…it’s nobody!” He wants all the top models and Matt Damon was like “I’ll just take that bartender over there.” He was just that friendly. He is so cool.
TEN- What celebrities would you like to represent?
VT- My husband is always saying “Gwyneth Paltrow is getting all the big endorsements and all these big celebrities are getting these big campaigns.” All of the big money jobs are going for the top actresses here in United States. I would like to try and create my own actress and that’s what I’m trying to do with Saskia. I don’t see how, unless I get a deal with another manager that I’m going to get a big-name actress. Actually I’m going for Kelly Pickler. I wanna try and get her for my show. She sings that song “Small Town Girl.” We have a theme song for the show that Carl and my husband wrote and it’s a great song and I want to get Kelly to record it. I have not approached her yet but I’m ready to approach her and send her the details and ask her about the song. I really studied her press and she doesn’t have any glamour press. She has just done a hair advertisement and Glamour magazine but she doesn’t have any great press and that’s what I can bring to the table. I can book her for more “image fashion” cool press to create a better image for her as opposed to what she has going for her now. I could turn her into a “glamour girl.” It’s obvious that she wants to be one because she hosted the CMT awards and she was dressed like Joanna Krupa. I mean, she wants that I can see it. I feel that I could bring that to the table. My attorney Wallace Collins is a pretty high-powered music attorney and he represents John Mayer and lots of big names. He’s going to try and get the deal for me. We’re working on that now. The other girl that I thought about was Lady Gaga. Wouldn’t that be funny? She could come in like a Martian from outer space to here in the country, it’s like were still in the 1940s. I see Amish people all the time with their little buggies. When I first moved here I was like; “Am I in an episode of the Twilight Zone?” but there is definitely something wholesome about it and I love country living. It definitely changed my life to be healthier and fit.
TEN- Have you ever had a celebrity or model refuse your help?
VT- Probably…definitely I’m sure. Let me think who. I represent this singer Esseri and I met Lady Gaga before she was anybody like five years ago right when she was signing with a record label. I think she was signing with Def Jam then and I said “Call me, I’d like to represent you or whatever” and she’s never called. I mean look at her, 5 million hits on her MySpace. I wish I would have gotten Lady Gaga.
TEN- Well, you never know.
VT- I know. I know she’s friends with my client and I could get in touch with her to talk to her about the show. I don’t know…she’s on a world tour now with The Pussycat Dolls. One of The Pussycat Dolls called last night. That was weird, maybe it got back to Lady Gaga. I just put the word out. I don’t ever just directly call somebody. I’m never soliciting clients. I just put the word out if I’m interested and either they call or they just don’t.
TEN- How does it make you feel when you see girls that you know and help become successful?
VT- Yes, I love my job! My husband always says “She just reads magazines and talks on the phone and it makes money!” He had to get his Master’s degree. (Laughs) School…we were paying it off for years and I’m just gossiping on the phone with writers. (Laughs) I just think; “Whatever it takes.” I say to the girls; “If you did a Coke commercial when you were two I want to know!” There are so many things that you can hype up in order to get attention in the press worldwide. I mean look how the “Jack Attack” thing flew in seconds. Caprice became a household name in England.
My whole company is based on that. It’s not like I’m taking a girl that is starring in Shakespeare Theatre. I’m taking a girl that there’s something in the press that is getting noticed and we’re just “hyping it up” and cashing in on it at the moment. But, she has to be a beautiful girl. It has to be a girl that can get that attention…the next Hollywood “Glamour Girl.”
TEN- Did you ever think that your career would be like this when you first started writing for Night Life Magazine?
VT- No, no way, no! I think everything is fate and who you meet. Like I said; “It’s who you meet in life that changes things.” I feel that way with the models. If they meet me, I change their lives. We had an open call at the agency and a lot of girls would come in and if they got accepted, they’d cry like they had just won a million
dollars. It feels good that I am helping them with their dreams and things that they want to accomplish. I really thrive off of getting the booking. I get really excited every time like it’s my first booking ever! I love it.
TEN- I know what you’re talking about. I got really excited when you contacted me about doing an interview with Gretchen!
VT- Well, I saw your link on Angelica’s web site and I liked the interview. It looks good…don’t you think?
TEN- Yes, Thank you!
TEN- Weren’t you involved in some kind of lawsuit claming that: “Hype Inc. misrepresented and was fraudulent to some of your clients?”
VT- Yes, let’s set the record straight and here are the facts; the fact that I might be losing deals and new clients are always asking me about it seems like it needs to be addressed. I would like you to tell the story. The fact that it happened to Obama shows the world it could happen to anyone. The fact that my competition tries and uses the lies against me is even worse. Amber (Gristak) was an actress that lied to me. She sent me images of herself, to get me on board and she was 15-20 pounds thinner and she was at least 10 years younger. I sent her to meet a photographer that wanted to kill me for asking her to shoot Amber. She told me the facts. Then I asked Amber to meet me. She came to the country and spent the weekend with my family including my parents. She seemed really jealous of my great life. She was coming on to my husband and his friends. She seemed desperate for family and friends. My parents are so loving; they were really nice to her. I needed to tell her the reality of her career direction. She would never be a Summer Altice or Joanna Krupa. She needed to focus on “Spokes modeling” gigs for kids on Disney or Nick. I liked her witty personality for funny spokes modeling gigs. She seemed like a character actresses. She got mad and said; “No I want to be a Playmate! I want to shoot FHM and Maxim! I told her that I (Victoria) at 40 with three kids…could be a Playmate before she could. She hated that I told her the facts. At the time I felt like Simon on “American Idol" and you know how all the talent that gets booted, hate him. That is when the “Anti/Smear campaign” against me started. The truth hurts. In small claims court the judge agreed with me that she needed to face the facts and that I could not risk my relationship with Playboy or Maxim by introducing overweight, washed up actresses. She went crazy. All the blogs against me are written by her. I would love if you wrote the truth about the anti/smear blogs. I have no problems with new clients retaining my services. They are referred by existing clients that know the truth but, the potential clients that I may have possibly lost, might have Googled my name and the Amber anti/smear website came up.
TEN- Tell me about this new reality show that you are working on.
VT- It’s called “Hotties In Hicktown” and it’s “a glamour girl boot camp.” We cast contestants and we just shot the pilot and the sizzle reel. We have 60 hours of footage which could be aired on a network but usually the networks like to change stuff. Sometimes they change the name and TV’s new for me. This is the first project that I’ve ever been involved with for television and I’m used to the fashion thing where its lots of gay men and stylists and everybody is like: “Who hoo hoo!” Then you go to produce a project for movies or TV and you’re asking people for money. I had to raise $100,000 just to shoot it. So, your asking people for money and they’re like; “Yeah, but what are you going to do for me?” It’s like the whole “casting couch thing” and I’m like going “I’m not even the models!” (Laughs) I’m going to these parties or whatever to try to raise money and sell my show and these guys are trying to kiss me! It’s unbelievable. Trust me, that whole Hollywood casting couch thing is true! I am so used to fashion and where everyone is so snobby and nobody’s pinching your ass or bothering you. Do you know how many times my ass got pinched to raise $100,000? It’s unbelievable. One of the girls from the show Kate (Seeley) and I met the head of Time Warner on the train over Christmas the year that I shot the show. We were talking or what ever and the girl said “Oh we’re promoting our show all week. And we’re doing this and we’re doing that.” She’s a big talker. She’s a beautiful model with red hair…she’s gorgeous. So anyway, the Time Warner guys goes; “Here’s my card. What are you gonna do for me?” I was like “Never call you?” We raised the money for the show through friends and family. People, who knew me through my modeling agency that just trusted me in projects, gave me like $10,000 here and $20,000 there. For my first project it was really hard raising the money but we got it. And…it wasn’t through any “casting couch deal!” (Laughs) We didn’t send Summer out there or anything…it was all me. (Still laughing)
TEN- What is the show about?
VT- The girls come from the city to the country and they are girls that really haven’t done anything yet. They are just “new face models” that want to cross over into Hollywood. Before I brought them here, we had talked to hundreds of girls and we chose four girls for the demo. All of the girls we talked to were interested in promoting their name through a TV project. We were just going to shoot the first competition which was the “photo shoot competition” and the girls came from the city to the country and they were a bit shocked when they got here. It was a bit strange for them to see cows and farming. We put them in a model’s house, it was like a farmhouse and Kate, the crazy redhead girl from the city that I told you about, was in charge of the models’ house. We told them; “Ok, it’s going to be this and this is what we’re going to do” and we gave them a whole list of things and we just started shooting the next day. The girls knew that they were competing with each other so there was lots of drama and fighting. Summer, like I said is a “wild-card” so she wasn’t happy with the clothes and was fighting with a stylist and made her cry.
We also had a “Hicktown Judge” named "Dangerous Dan" who looked like the Unabomber. He was part of it and it was just what it would be like for pretty girls to do fly fishing and they had to wear the boots and the hot pants and whatever. The photo shoot was with tractors and then there was a winner and we had to decide which girl could get on a plane and get to Hollywood and to get you to the level where you could be on the cover of a magazine. These girls had to compete and I was driving it in to them with Angelica and Summer what it takes to have that look and that image and have the right people around you to do your makeup and hair and styling to create that look. You can be a “nobody” and then all through “image” with somebody promoting it…all of a sudden you’re “the style” overnight. The show was a lot of fun but it was definitely a lot of hard work. You can’t just think “Oh, I am a “glamour girl” because I’m beautiful.” It’s really personality. The photo shoot competition we’ve already shot but there are four competitions. The next three competitions are gonna be really hard. One is gonna be more “theatrical” and for these girls is gonna be the “James Bond girl role.” If you want to be the next “Bond girl” you have to be physically fit, you have to be a sharpshooter, you have to know martial arts and you have to know equestrian. They could ask you to do so many things in that kind of film and the director is gonna pick the girl that can do all of that. Summer can do all of that! She is just so athletic. She was a volleyball college four letter champ. When she did “Scorpion King” she knew how to ride a horse so they picked her for the horse scene. You really couldn’t see her that much…she got edited out a lot.
TEN- So when will everything be done and ready to go?
VT- We are almost done with the sizzle reel so now my company DHHP (Down Home Hype Productions) has just merged with Carl Hughes Productions who already has shows on TV. They have lots of shows with NBC and they do martial arts and equestrian shows as well. They do Animal Planet and all of these good shows and they are now on board with us for equity. The sizzle reel is what you give to your show runner to shop it around.
TEN- So they take the reel around to prospective buyers?
VT- They have an agent and the agent sets up meetings and takes our sizzle reel to all the networks and then we go with the best offer. Already networks are asking us directly and already people are interested in our show but we were not prepped with our sizzle reel or happy with it. It takes months and months of editing and re-shooting until finally it’s like; “Ok, that’s it. That’s what we want!” Our sizzle reel just needs a little more tweaking (Laughs) but very little. It just needs a new ending and it’s only three minutes long.
TEN- It takes that long for just three minutes of film?
VT- Yeah, you have to re-shoot stuff to get it the way you want it. It has to capture the theme of what you’re trying to get across that goes with your treatment because, they’re not gonna sit there and read your whole treatment. When I saw the “The Departed” trailer…it got me. The minute I saw it I thought: “This is incredible!” They (networks) have to see the sizzle reel and want it just from that. We have the best camera crew because my brother-in-law, Ben shoots for PBS award-winning documentaries and “Trading Spouses” and “Paranormal State.” He brought his whole crew and did it for us at cost because he’s related. We got really lucky. We are gonna go for a big major network. The show is like “Green Acres” only in this day and time. (Laughs) I’m like Zsa Zsa Gabor. (Laughs) It’s like when I do my canoe races my girlfriend says; “Who do you think you are, Marilyn Monroe? How many outfits are you gonna wear?” and I say “Look, it’s all about what I look like.”(Laughs)
TEN- Do you think America will ever get tired of reality shows?
VT- I hope not. Not until my show sells and I’ve made a couple million dollars. (Laughs)
TEN- Tell me about your production company, DHHP.
VT- Down Home Hype Productions is my husband and I and Carl Waldman who is the writer that I told you I had met here. He’s a neighbor and in our group of friends…“The Artsy Group.” We have the “Townies” the people who have lived here their whole lives and then there’s the “Newcomers” which are us. Even if you’re here twenty years you’re still a newcomer. Carl is a writer who has lived here a longtime. His sister is a famous poet…Ann Waldman. Carl wrote that episode of “Miami Vice” that I told you about and he has written a lot of table top books about Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley and has done research about Indians and has done American Indian encyclopedias and has a writer friend that he works with in L.A. They always bounce ideas off each other. He is definitely in the scene and he knows the whole agent/TV pitching world. He knows how to write and is writing a treatment with me. A producer asked me three years ago when reality shows were getting big; “Could they do the show about my company and my web site and my girls?” I said; “Really, you want to do a show about me?” I mentioned to Carl and he suggested that we do it ourselves. And here we are three years later and $100,000 spent! Hopefully the reel is done and we’ll get our network deal.
TEN- So what are you gonna be doing with your company?
VT- Once we know what’s going on with the network and we can keep our footage, we are going to do little episodes online through YouTube because the girls have so many fans. I have so many other celebrity girls and this will drive a lot of traffic with their press and we will mention the web site and then we will get advertising of the DHHP web site. There can be so many different projects that we can produce online and nowadays more and more people are watching TV online. “Hotties In Hicktown” is definitely perfect for TV even if it’s CMT…which would be great or whatever network we sign with.
TEN- The production company just seemed like the next step in the evolution of your career.
VT- Absolutely! Everything’s online and the fact that people are asking me to shoot stuff based on my web site. I mean, I did my web site years ago and I never thought it would get that many hits and that much attention. But it does! Summer and the girls just have a lot of fans. I think this show will definitely get a network deal; we just don’t have one yet.
TEN- Let me ask you this: “How would you have handled the whole “Britney Spears thing” when she was spiraling out of control?”
VT- It happened to me with Pam Anderson. I set up a photo shoot for Pam for syndication and I had GQ in England finance the shoot. It was an expensive shoot. She wanted a case of Crystal and she wanted her best people. This was when she was with Kid Rock so he needed a case of beer. It was definitely a $20,000 shoot. The photographer was to be flown out…it was a big deal. British GQ financed it and we shared the rights to the images and Pam released everything. At that time she was with The Firm, a big management company who handles people like Fred Durst and all of these big people were with them. Pam was with them and we negotiated this big deal and I waited six months because GQ had the right’s first and they sold the images to all of the GQ covers around the world. They also gave me the rights to sell them to anyone that I wanted other than GQ. I sold the pictures to Maxim in America for a worldwide deal for $30,000. We signed the papers and I dropped off the pictures in the contact sheets. I invoiced the job and then it’s announced that: “Pam has hepatitis B” and that was all over the press. For her to do Maxim or any other sexy magazines it’s like: “She’s a mom…she could loose her kids like Britney did.” Hepatitis B is really ugly and they think that you are a heroin addict so the whole direction had to change and she wouldn’t do the Maxim interview. Instead she was doing Jane and fashion magazines and woman’s this and woman’s that saying: “That she was healthy and she was a good mom.” Remember she was changing her looks and her image then…that whole thing. Then I just got lucky because her manager said; “Victoria, could we give the pictures to FHM? We have a connection with them and they are going to do a nice article on her. Could we do that?” The thing is Maxim said “Forget it, we don’t want the deal.” And they released me from the deal. So I sold the pictures to FHM and the spread went out and Maxim freaked out and they were like: “We’ll pay $60,000!” Pam changed her image to a more “wholesome mommy” because she didn’t want to lose her kids to Tommy, not that he is such a great catch. With Britney, her husband really wasn’t doing drugs…he just wasn’t high-profile. That’s why he got custody. She just needed to do more healthy things like she’s doing now. Everything that she’s doing now is talking about how healthy she is in its more fit magazines and women’s magazines. You just steer yourself in another direction…women will like you. Like Gretchen, women like her. Most of her following are lesbians. I’m serious! When people voted for her reality show, she won over Traci Bingham and the other people because the lesbians chose her! It was like a “Go woman go!” thing. I think it’s important as a model or actress to get both men and women to like you. On my show I wanted everyone to like me I didn’t want to be “The Bitch.” I wanted women and men to like me.
TEN- As part of your PR responsibilities, do you put “The Spin” on things to the press?
VT- Yes. You have to explain to the press why whatever it is, is happening. People are still getting famous so it’s good to be in the press. With Britney she is even more famous than she ever would have been if she wasn’t such a freak. People like freaks! It’s like the characters on my show are kinda freaky. I’ve got the “Unabomber local guy” and Summer and Angelica are definitely not your norm. They are always in the press for misbehaving. The girl that won is definitely that kind of girl. Like me, I’m living a freaky lifestyle. It’s not normal. I’m in the country and I’m running a whole PR firm as if I am a “Hollywood big shot” but I have slippers on. (Laughs)
TEN- How do you feel about the whole “Jessica Simpson putting on the weight thing?”
VT- I feel bad…I know what it’s like. When you are flying above the radar you always have to be on your game. You can’t do well without lipstick…you’ve gotta look good. But, you choose that life.
TEN- She really doesn’t look that bad. She’s put on a few pounds and everyone is criticizing her.
VT- I even say it. I look at Christina Aguilera from when she has started to now after the baby and she is like “double sized” now. You just can’t help it, she was so tiny and then she’s huge. It’s terrible that women have to go through that. I guess that if you are in the press, people are going to know. I mean I’m not even in front of the camera and look what people are saying in the normal “mommy life” that I have. They know what kind of business I’m in and they pick on me. None of the mothers in Cooperstown like me because the press came out locally and they got jealous.
TEN- So there’s a lot of “cattiness” where you live?
VT- A lot! (Laughs)
TEN- I’d imagine that you have to have thick skin to deal with everything.
VT- I just look straight ahead and do what I want to do.
TEN- Here’s the question: “Tell me something disturbing about yourself that you’ve never told anyone before in an interview.”
VT- Disturbing about myself… I was out with my husband and Carl and a girl friend. We went to dinner in Cooperstown and then to hear a band locally. I mentioned how up tight the other moms are in town. I was dirty dancing that Friday night in front of the band by myself and that next Monday at the gym the whole town new about it. I was accused of teasing the other housewife’s husbands. One woman came up to me and said that “I had directed my dancing towards her husband and she knew what I was up to.” That is small town living. I was just dancing like I always do with the models in NYC with Summer, Angelica and other models. We go out dancing and we dance wild! Who knew I would get in so much trouble? My husband called the other husbands and said; “Control your wives please.” It was funny to us. The other women where so upset. (Laughs)
TEN- Is there anything else that you want to say?
VT- Let’s see, who else is in my life. Oh, Shannon James is a good client. I’m trying to do a lot of press with her. I am working on this girl Eliza K, who is like the next Pam Anderson…she’s beautiful! She’s gonna be in German Maxim. In Germany they love those “Pam Anderson” girls. Eliza is on my web site. She’s like a size double “D.” I am working on this new girl Ashley Chontas. She’s been a girlfriend for the guy from “Entourage.” I’ve been doing a lot of press with her based on that. It’s funny, here she is a fashion model and a cocktail waitress, she meets him and now she is an overnight star. I mean, she is like a star now because of him. She’s showing up to all of the award shows and everyone’s calling because of her press. That’s how it started for Caprice. Caprice was on this island vacationing with her millionaire boyfriend and Princess Di was there and Caprice and Princess Di were talking. Princess Di had something in her eye and Caprice was helping her get it out. They were on this private beach and the paparazzi took pictures and next thing I know “Extra” flew into my office and interviewed me and Caprice became an overnight star because of Princess Di. They thought they were fighting over the guy. Then she got to do the cover of British GQ and everybody wanted to know who this girl was that Princess Di was fighting over a guy with. I kept saying; “That’s not the story. She just had something in her eye. It’s not like they were duking it out!” (Laughs)
*Editor's Note: Victoria would like to dedicate this interview to "Dangerous Dan" who passed away due to cancer after taping for the show. He was a good friend and will be missed by all. She will also be donating part of the money from the show to a cancer foundation in his memory.
I want to thank Victoria for reaching out to me to do this interview as well as for the interviews with Gretchen Bonaduce and Summer Altice. It has been a genuine pleasure for me to meet these fascinating and multi-talented women.
For more information on Victoria and the models mentioned in the interview please visit www.allabouthype.com