How Victoria Justice Learned to Use Her Voice on the Set of 'Victorious'

"I recognized my power," Justice says on the debut episode of 'Marie Claire' podcast "Nice Talk."

victoria justice on the marie claire nice talk podcast
(Image credit: Future)

Welcome to Nice Talk, hosted by Marie Claire Editor in Chief Nikki Ogunnaike. Each week, Nikki will sit down with fascinating women—entertainers, entrepreneurs, creators, athletes, and changemakers—to discuss money, power, and style. “Well-behaved” women have long been discouraged from speaking on these topics—style should be effortless, and conversations about money or power aren’t “proper,” “ladylike,” or “nice.” But Nikki's definition of a Nice Talk is one where all parties walk away feeling empowered. You can listen to Nice Talk with Nikki Ogunnaike on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Even as a child star surrounded by adults on the set of Nickelodeon's Victorious, Victoria Justice was unafraid to advocate for herself.

On the debut episode of Marie Claire's podcast Nice Talk with Nikki Ogunnaike, Justice recalls how she gained the confidence to speak up for herself while starring in Victorious.

"Even though I was young and I was in a world predominantly surrounded by adults, I think I recognized my power," says Justice, who appears on the cover of Marie Claire's music issue.

The singer and actress explains that she had a strong support system she could model herself after. "I had a lot of guidance in my life at that point, and I also have a very strong mother who isn't afraid to speak up," said Justice, who also appeared on Nickelodeon's Zoey 101 before leading her own show.

So when it came time to be first on the call sheet in Victorious—in which Justice played an aspiring singer attending a performing arts high school during a three-season run from 2010-2013—she felt empowered to talk about how she was "being treated."

Justice recalls, "I realized that even though I am a teenager, I still know what I'm talking about. I'm not an idiot. I have a voice and, respectfully, I'm going to let you know how I feel. And if I feel like I don't like the way that I'm being treated, or whatever it may be, I'm going to voice that."

The former child star shares that both having the proper guidance and her experience on Victorious has continued to impact how she carries herself in the industry today, especially as she pursues a career as an independent musician.

"I think that's trickled over into the way I am now," the performer says. "I definitely do advocate for myself. I'm not afraid to speak up."

She continues, "I feel like I need something different or I don't like the way things are going or if something just isn't working, I think it's important to always say something. It's like the squeaky wheel gets greased at the end of the day. Like, you can't be afraid to just ask at least or speak up for yourself. Because if you're not going to, then like who is?"

Sadie Bell
Senior Culture Editor

Sadie Bell is the Senior Culture Editor at Marie Claire, where she edits, writes, and helps to ideate stories across movies, TV, books, and music, from interviews with talent to pop culture features and trend stories. She has a passion for uplifting rising stars, and a special interest in cult-classic movies, emerging arts scenes, and music. She has over eight years of experience covering pop culture and her byline has appeared in Billboard, Interview Magazine, NYLON, PEOPLE, Rolling Stone, Thrillist and other outlets.