A once, foster child, now Mom, giving back to others…
Having spent eighteen years in foster care, Victoria Rowell became a passionate voice for children like herself. In 1990, she founded the Rowell Foster Children’s Positive Plan (RFCPP), which enriches foster children through artistic and athletic expression. In addition to facilitating job opportunities with Viacom television productions, she assisted youths in getting jobs with other companies, including BMG and Oxygen. For more information about her charity, log on to www.rowellfosterchildren.org.
For years, Rowell has been the national spokesperson for Casey Family Services — an arm of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. In part, United Parcel Service visionary, Jim Casey, founded the foundation.
Rowell has been recognized for her contributions in educating and supporting foster children. She has received the first National Arts Award from the National Association of Counties and the United Nations Association Award for her continuous efforts with foster care and adoption as well as her work on human rights and world peace. Recently, Rowell received honorary doctorate’s degrees from the University of Southern Maine and Wheelock College in Boston. In addition, Rowell has been honored as a National Angel in Adoption by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.
Rowell recently wrote and published a book titled, “The Women Who Raised Me,” celebrating the role models in her life. She completed the documentary, “The Mentor,” which featured the important people in her life who’ve helped her achieve success.
Very few actors embody the talent, determination and perseverance it takes to flourish in the entertainment world while understanding the importance of sharing it with the world. Victoria Rowell is that special persona. A true Renaissance woman.
Recently, Maddie Jomolca (Editor) asked Victoria the following questions:
MJ: How did you come to know the Lord?
VR: Just by the title of my book, “The Women Who Raised Me” that says it all.
MJ: Does your relationship with Christ affect your career as an actor? How so?
VR: Yes, with Humility, Courage, Strength, Perseverance, Faith, and Hope…
MJ: You were evidently blessed with a positive foster care experience, do you think this is rare, or is it the prevailing circumstance in foster care cases?
VR: I don’t think it was as rare as we are led to believe, there are 100’s of thousands of people who go unheard – “unsung heroes” while dedicating their lives to someone else’s children.
MJ: Do you feel that Christians in Hollywood are making an impact in some way? How so?
VR: Yes, thru Faith based groups such as West Angeles Church in God, FAME, Brookins Church, and thru the community with mentoring in foster care and the community.
MJ: You are a mother now– — has your childhood within foster care affected your parenting?
VR: Yes – I understand the importance of providing a home and lots and lots of hugs – structure and supporting what my children’s interests are.
MJ: IM has chosen you as their “Woman on a Mission” for the May issue. This month, as you know is Mother’s Day , a time we gather with our families to give thanks and praise for our mothers and/or maternal figures in our lives. What are a few of things that you are most thankful for? How do you usually spend your Mother’s Day?
VR: Thank you INSPIRED! …I spend my Mother’s Day with my immediate and extended family in New Hampshire. However, Mother’s Day is simply one of many days that I am grateful and for which I give thanks for the blessing of being called “Mom” as I am for “the women who raised me”.
A versatile actress of theatre, primetime, daytime and feature films, the Victoria Rowell is known around the world for her various roles. She has been nominated twice for a Daytime Emmy and awarded eleven NAACP Image Awards.
Born in Portland, Maine, Rowell was raised in foster care for 18 years. At the age of eight, Rowell received the Ford Foundation scholarship to the Cambridge School of Ballet under the auspices of the Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. After eight years of training, she flourished as a dancer, garnering scholarships to both the School of American Ballet and the American Ballet Theater by the age of 16.
After dancing professionally with various companies – that is, the
American Ballet Theater II Company, Ballet Hispanico of New York,
Contemporary Ballet, Twyla Tharp Workshop and the Julliard School of
Music Dance Extension Program with Anthony Tudor – Rowell accepted
guest-artist teaching posts in New England.
While teaching, the opportunity presented itself for her to pursue a
career in modeling. Soon, she began gracing the pages of various
magazines, including Seventeen and Mademoiselle before auditioning for
her first television role.
Rowell’s Big Break
Rowell auditioned and landed a role on the highly-rated NBC sitcom, “The
Cosby Show.” In fact, Bill Cosby was so impressed by the young actress’s
poise and talent that he cast her as his daughter in the feature film
“Leonard 6.” He also gave her a recurring role on “The Cosby Show” as
the character of Paula, the biological mother of Olivia Kendall,
portrayed by Raven-Simone.
Once the acting bug bit her, she decided to pack up and move to Los
Angeles to pursue her dream of acting. She began working with some of
Hollywood’s award-winning leading men, including Beau Bridges, Jim
Carrey, Dick Van Dyke, Mario Van Peoples, Will Smith, Eddie Murphy and
Samuel L. Jackson.
Finally, fate lent a helping hand and Rowell landed the role of Drucilla
Winters on CBS’s highest-rated daytime drama, “The Young and the
Restless.” At Rowell’s suggestion, Sony Television supported a foster
care and adoption storyline on the number one daytime drama, which
reaches an audience of millions weekly – that is, domestically and
internationally. In addition, the storyline has been praised for its
portrayal of the foster care system, receiving local and national
honors, including congressional recognition.