Victoria Lee wearing Dion Lee in the David Jones AW18 campaign
Credit: (L) Instagram @victorialee (R) Supplied

CAN YOU TELL US SOMETHING THAT WOULD SURPRISE US ABOUT YOU? I’m quite handy. My brother is in construction and I’d like to think I’ve learned a few things from him. I’m great at DIY. I basically put up everything in my New York apartment myself, like my blinds. I have a tool belt and electric drill.

HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP YOUR PERSONAL STYLE? Laid-back and effortless but chic and put together. I’m good to go with jeans with a cute tee and fitted blazer.

WHICH SHOE STYLE BEST MATCHES YOUR PERSONALITY? A slide with a slight heel that’s comfortable enough that you can walk all day in them.

WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST FASHION EXTRAVAGANCE? Bags – those are my favourite investment pieces. My favourite bag brand is Celine. I just bought a beautiful one from David Jones. [Ed’s note: Lee later admits this bag was the first thing she bought with her DJs wardrobe allowance, followed by a pair of Saint Laurent shoes.]

Victoria Lee, here with model Jai Stevens in GRAZIA’s 2016 fashion story Angels & Demons styled by Charlotte Stokes
Credit: Steven Chee

WHERE’S DO YOU CONSIDER HOME? I’m from six hours west of Sydney in the Riverina near Wagga Wagga called Narrandera. That’s home but my ‘home away from home’ – because mum would hate it if I called it home – is New York.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT NEW YORK? The city is the eclectic culture and the energy. It’s literally a melting pot. I’ve never been anywhere that has the diversity that New York has. But the reason I embrace that so much is that I know I have Australia to come home, so I can take New York for the experience of it, then know I’m coming home to basically the best place in the world.

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST DAVID JONES MEMORY? Travelling to see the Christmas windows. My family would drive six hours to see them – and now I’m in them! When my mum and dad arrived in Sydney [for the Autumn/Winter 2018 fashion show], mum came with me to the store and I was like “look, look, look” at the campaign in the window. [Ed’s note: Lee stars in this campaign.]

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT BEING 27? I’ve worked in the industry for nearly nine years – I started when I was 19 – and it’s funny because now is when I feel the most comfortable and confident in my own skin.

WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR WORK? I think that’s the people. I’m so fortunate to work with the most talented and creative people all over the world. The teams and the creative vision and the skills that I’ve seen behind the scenes of.

Lee wearing a Christian Dior coat and Zimmermann dress in our 2016 fashion story Angels & Demons styled by Charlotte Stokes
Credit: Steven Chee

See Victoria Lee in GRAZIA’s 2016 FASHION STORY Angels & DemonS

WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT MODEL LIFE? The hardest thing would be the time away from family. I struggled with that a lot at the beginning of my career – being away from home – and you’re by yourself a lot of the time. I’m very lucky to have this amazing job but a lot of the time you’re alone and it’s because of that support network at the end of the phone – my mum, my dad, my nan, my agency, my agent Doll – I can get through the bad days. That encouragement [makes all the difference].

WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING IF YOU WEREN’T A MODEL? I was recommended to an agency when I was 16 but … I didn’t see it as a career at all. So instead I studied hard, did really well at school, and got into university to study nutrition and dietetics. But then the modelling came up again and knew it was a short-lived career opportunity and I should probably take it, so I did. It kind of developed from there. I also didn’t put pressure on myself – I thought I’ll just see how this goes. But nutrition and health is still something that really interests me and it will always be there.

WHICH FASHION TREND FOR THE COMING WINTER DO YOU LOVE MOST? I’m such a fan of an expertly tailored jacket. It’s so versatile. In the David Jones AW18 campaign, I wore a Sandro suit – I love how that instantly makes your outfit elegant no matter what it is. If you’ve got a floral dress, you can throw a fitted blazer over that and you’re set from day to night.

Lee wears a Sandro suit in the David Jones AW18 campaign
Credit: Supplied

WHO HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION OVER THE PAST DECADE? In terms of career, I’ve had multiple mentors but they just didn’t know they were. I looked up to people like Megan Gale and Jess [Jessica Gomes] who’ve had incredible careers then turned that into amazing business opportunities. That’s what inspiring and amazing – taking this platform then developing it into something else so your career has longevity.

WHAT’S BEEN YOUR BIGGEST LIFE LESSON SO FAR? I know it’s kind of clichéd, but it would probably be: just stay true to yourself and do the best that you can. At the end of the day, if you couldn’t have done any more, that’s all that matters.