All eight-year-old Victoria wanted to do was take that calligraphy class. Her parents swear that they had nothing to do with “accidentally” sending her to an improvisational class instead. If it was a prank, which by all accounts seems like it wasn’t, it was a cruel one to play on someone so introverted.
Victoria Hoffman, assistant creative director at Global Connections, was just trying to find a hobby as a child. That summer, she went to the room where she was told and in walked an energetic man looking for volunteers to do some improv and acting. Victoria was too shy to even tell anyone she was in the wrong class, so it was a nightmare situation.
Eventually, she was called upon to go and perform.
“I went with it and it was like I was doing it forever,” Victoria said. “I was making people laugh, I was hamming it up. That’s how it all started, I just loved it right off the bat. I loved being in front of an audience.”
And just like that, her shell was cracked wide open.
She had her first role in a sixth grade performance of Guys and Dolls (pictured above), and she’s been acting ever since. Her new-found love prompted Victoria’s mother to reveal that she too was an actress before becoming a mother. Her mother never told her this because she wanted Victoria to find her own path. We call that fate.
However, Victoria realized early on that the full-time lifestyle of an actress was not going to fulfill her aspirations. She studied psychology and she wanted to work in communications, both traits of good actors, but you’d have to sacrifice all of that to make in the business.
“I thought about it long and hard after college when all my actor friends went off an acted,” Victoria said. “But they were living in trailers and horrible basement studios in New York City with six people. I don’t love it that much.”
But don’t get her wrong, she is still very much ingrained in Kansas City’s community theater scene. She is the marketing liaison for the Olathe Civic Theatre Association and she does perform regularly, mostly in dark comedies. Trying to broaden her range, Victoria is currently auditioning for God of Carnage, which is a little more dramatic than her normal humorous roles.
So if you ever hear Victoria start imitating you, it’s not intentional, it’s just the actress in her studying human mannerisms. She once had to play a French, British and American Texan woman in the same play, proving her versatility. Over time, Victoria has even learned how to forego some of her own quirks (human contact, for one) to become better on stage.
Victoria’s skills in communication and education in psychology helps her round her characters into shape. She’ll sit down and write the character from all angles: How did they grow up, what is their relationship to other characters and how do they feel?
“There’s no character that doesn’t deserve depth,” she said, “even if it’s a fluffy role.”
Even if it’s a shy girl rising to the occasion and never looking back.