Born and bred in Texas, Virginia hung up her cowboy hat to come out to Los Angeles and pursue her dreams of living the glamorous life of the starving artist. She got her start in theatre – attending Interlochen Arts Academy (her own version of Hogwarts) and graduated with a BFA in Acting from the University of Hartford in Connecticut. Although she loves the LA sun she really misses fall in New England.
She has since worked on various film, theatrical, and commercial projects here in LA. Virginia has a great passion for learning and a perpetual curiosity for everything. So if she’s not reading up on European folklore or how to communicate in Sign Language, she might be in action hero training taking martial arts or aerial classes. But most important, she will always leave herself a little time for the finer things in life, namely monkeying around with her little sister.
After growing up in Texas, what made you hang up your cowboy hat and move to LA?
I loved performing and the feeling of capturing an audience’s imagination. I also knew, that if that was going to be my path, I had to either head out west to LA or east to NYC. I chose the east coast first, studying theatre. I wanted to get a solid foundation in Shakespeare and the classics. I also studied in England, which was amazing. But as I started to get more and more into film, I decided it was time to make the move to LA.
Did you always dream of becoming an actress?
No, not really. When I was really little my mom put me in art school; I loved sketching and painting. Then my love of animals took over and I put all my time into working with them. I even had the chance to volunteer for a wild cat rescue where I was able to work with baby tigers. Not long after though, when a local vet offered to let me sit in on an operation and I passed out at the first sight of blood, I realized that was not my ideal occupation.
You’re currently starring in the Lifetime film Prosecuting Casey Anthony. What was is like playing the role of such a controversial person?
The whole casting process happened so quickly, I didn’t really have the chance to consider that. I got the call on a Friday at 5pm that I’d gotten the role and was flown out Sunday morning to start shooting Monday. Once on set I only had time to put all my attention into the research and then into the scenes. I really just looked at it as another opportunity to work with great actors and step into another character’s shoes.
How did you prepare for the role?
Lots of research. Once I got to Canada I spent hours watching video footage and reading Casey’s police interviews. I also found writing as the character helped my focus on set. I could drown out the hustle and bustle and slowly get myself in to the mindset and feel of each scene.
How was it working alongside such a seasoned professional like Rob Lowe?
He was fantastic to work with; very kind, and loved to talk about the characters and really get into the meat and potatoes of acting. All the other actors were also so welcoming. Elizabeth Mitchell was kinda like the big sister on set; so honest, open, and supportive. Oscar Nunez, David Richmond-Peck, and Art Hindle were the ones you could count on to lighten the mood – these guys always cracked me up between shots.
What is your daily routine? Fitness Routine?
I’ve just gotten in to running. I’ve always had a hard time working out because I can get bored pretty quickly with repetitive exercises, but with the help of audiobooks running is much easier. I also love taking dance and mixed martial arts classes. I get up early and work with a fantastic mixed martial arts/capoeira teacher each morning and then, if I have the time, drop in on a hip hop class at night.
BELLA’s tagline is Beauty as Defined by You, How do you define beauty?
I feel most beautiful when I feel healthy. It’s amazing how much good food, lots of water, and a hard workout can affect your body as well as your mindset.
What are your fashion favorites?
I like to feel feminine and creative but I definitely live in my jeans. I really look up to Blake Lively as a fashionista; she has a great mix of elegance and fun flirty style. Also, a little perfume goes a long way to make you feel sexy.
What are you most proud of?
My perseverance; I will always see things through to the end. Even on my most difficult days I know I’ll have that little voice in the back of my head saying “It’s ok, I will try again tomorrow.”
What is the best advice you ever received?
I remember reading this quote by the lovely Dita Von Teese and found it very freeing: “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” Letting go of the notion that you have to satisfy everyone else’s expectations is so liberating.
If you could pick one thing about yourself that you love the most, what would it be?
My curiosity. I love learning from people- everything from languages, to cooking, to comic books. I am constantly reading; I make a habit of asking strangers what books they are in to so I don’t stick to the same old genres. If I could be in classes all day long (dance, aerial, art, anything!) I would.
Are there any charities or foundations that you work with that are close to your heart?
I support the ASPCA and the WWF and would like to be even more involved with them. Growing up we had a menagerie of pets, I can’t imagine a home without one. My sister and I were also raised on a steady diet of National Geographic so we were fascinated by and drawn to wild animals.