We had the good fortune of connecting with Victoria Rose and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Victoria, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I chose: How to know whether to keep going or give up?
When we last spoke in 2019, I was at the height of my career reading tea leaves and tarot cards for clients at oddities markets, psychic fairs and conventions, the Historic Oakland Cemetery, the set of The Walking Dead, and so much more. I even had the pleasure and honor of meeting and working with Cienna Rose of the spiritual spa, Ode To Wonder, through that delightful interview.
Then, in 2020, we all were hit with the lockdown in one way or another. For me, in person readings that filled all of your senses from tasting a cup of fresh tea, to shuffling the tarot cards, and smelling the essential oils dropped into the palm of your hands before a reading turned into online readings and classes that lacked that full allure. I began filling my extra time with mixing apothecary perfumes and potions in my cottage kitchen as well as distanced and online modeling for artists, painters, and sculptors. A career that I was introduced to in my previously mentioned days of performing Burlesque, when artists would attend the shows and draw the performers live on the stage. It was not until the lockdown that I picked up a book by the dandy icon and life model, Quentin Crisp called The Naked Civil Servant that I discovered that this could also be a fulfilling job along with my fortune tellings. At least during lockdown, I thought, as all artists from all over the world were together online.
When studios were slowly opening back up in 2021, I joined a five week long sculpture class with Cherrylion Studios. A beautiful long duration of being naked and present and still. Until one day, in dressing and undressing over and over again and while my body was being formed from lumps of clay, I knew I had found a lump in the body they were forming. This lump was diagnosed that year as breast cancer. At 28 years old. Another hit that slowed down my career almost completely from the draining process of undergoing chemotherapy, a mastectomy, and radiation. As I did not give up during the lockdown, however, I also was not about to give up during any of those treatments either. My connection and bond with modeling in a still pose for artists grew much deeper as I continued posing while I lost my hair and my left breast and witnessed artists turning these scarred moments into art. I cherished these now sacred moments out of the hustle and bustle of the hospital and my spiritual journey blossomed right along with, expanding my work with healing to share to others.
Don’t ever give up. Let your circumstances flow into your life story. Turn them into art and beauty.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My business has extended to Art Modeling around the world, reading fortunes as The Romany Ruby, and running an online Apothecary & Antiques store called Victorian Rose Apothecary, and yet everything feels so connected at the same time. I get to share the history of my Romani roots and ancestry with each business format which is another something that is very important to me. This is why, over the lockdown, I rebranded from Vaudevillian Gypsy to Romany Ruby. Although my family has used the term, gypsy, as a reclamation, I didn’t want to promote the possibility of others using this word so freely. We are Roma or Romani. Not to be confused with Romanian, as we are not. Our ancestors traveled from India to European countries and some even on to America as that is how I am currently here. I am excited about sharing more through my readings and workings both online and entering back into in person events and classes.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My favorite spots to play tourist in my own city of Atlanta would have to start with a walk through the Historic Oakland Cemetery. A once Victorian garden space founded in 1850 and later turned into a cemetery with the most elaborate mausoleums and statues resting alongside the remaining Victorian flowers and greenery. It is a walking outdoor museum and an enchanting and meditative sight to be seen! Each Halloween season, they open up most of the mausoleums and you may just find me reading tarot cards in one during their events titled, Sunday in the Park and Capturing the Spirit of Oakland. From there, I would have to stop for food and drinks at either of the Café Intermezzo locations for some time traveling European cuisine. I often call this restaurant line my sanctuary as their tea napkins have wiped away many of my tears and I have spent so many more happy moments there as well from romantic dinner dates with my husband to my bachelorette party with my best friends. Another tea house worth mentioning is Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party. And since my time seems to be mostly spent in tea houses and gardens, another garden that is a must is the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would love to dedicate my shoutout to MB Andrews of MB Andrews Fine Art Dance. MB is a fantastically creative and inspiring figurative and portrait artist and educator in the Atlanta community with her own lavish studio located in the historic elementary school from 1919 now converted into an arts center known as Little Five Points Community Center. Mary Beth opens up such a safe and creative environment for artists and models during her monthly Life Drawing Salons and she really changed my life taking me in as a muse. Her story extends from the NYC fashion industry to a breast cancer diagnoses herself over 10 years ago. I find myself very fortunate to work alongside and be drawn by her. We have many future plans together in creating life drawing environments for the ever-growing artist community as well as some events to raise breast cancer awareness as I hope that each time I model, this is expressed and shared.