Most people, when they get up in front of an audience and have to perform, usually have one of two reactions. They either feel like they want to throw up and vow never to do “that” again. Or there are folks like Daniel Victor, who took the stage for the first time in the tiny upstate New York town where he grew up, and immediately knew he’d found his calling.
“I was very active in theater when I was a kid, so I got the rush of performing in front of others at a young age and learned to love it and embrace it,” he remembers. Hooked on that feeling, he joined the “Worship Team” at his local church, which reinforced his desire to be an entertainer and gave him the first taste of the years of work that he would need to hone his skills.
“I got to sing in front of people every weekend which was great practice for being on stage and being in front of people,” he says. “All the little creative jaunts that I got into as a kid really carried me into the beginnings of making it in my career.”
Driven by this feeling of connection to the crowd, he has blossomed into a uber-multiple threat performer of all sorts: singer, songwriter, actor, artist, brand ambassador, influencer, fitness guru and, because you have to eat, an internet cook.
A resume like that is pretty unbelievable, especially when the place you come from is barely on the map. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that Victor’s family thought his head was in the clouds when he told them what he wanted to do with his life. “I was a bit of a black sheep to my family when I made the decision to be in the creative field full-time and not go the traditional route,” he says. “I can’t blame them for being skeptical of it at all.”
Luckily, just like in the movies where the hero has a mentor who helps him on his path, Victor did have someone who believed in him and his dreams. “Shoutout to my teacher Mr. Shaver,” Victor exclaims. “He was very adamant about us learning and loving poetry, which set me up for a passion of writing and appreciating music and the lyrics in music.”
Still, even with the support from folks like Mr. Shaver and a belief in himself, Victor stayed quiet about what he was doing, keeping his head down while he worked a 9-to-5 job and keeping his dream gigs as an entertainer as side hustle. This is a Catch-22 many creatives find themselves in: you have to work to support your dreams but you can’t fully commit to your dreams while you are working another job.
Caught between two worlds, Victor finally broke away after he booked his first commercial shoot with Gillette. After years of ups and downs, this was the first time he thought that maybe he could make this his full-time gig. So, betting on himself, he up and quit his job. “I think I could have easily kept pushing it off and continued to work and try to juggle everything,” he explains. “But actually quitting and taking the leap of faith made everything real for me. I had no other plan. It was do or die!”
Instead of dying, he has thrived. One look at his Instagram and you’ll see him acting, singing, modeling…all with a huge smile on his face, which can’t help but make others smile.
“Seeing myself on a billboard in Times Square was wild because I grew up taking trips to the city and always looking at the billboards as these crazy things for famous people,” Victor says. ”So to be on one was a visceral experience for me. My mom and I both cried on the phone when I showed her the billboard. I carry that moment with me a lot and it keeps me motivated.”
BLUEPRINT FOR SUCCESS
Being the ultimate multi-hyphenate, Victor has attributed structure as being a major factor in his success. Afterall, if you are going to do it all you better make time for it all, which means he starts early and has a plan. “I’m definitely a creature of habit and a sucker for a good routine. I wake up at 4:40am to be at the gym by 5, I make my bed, I journal consistently and I try to get the hardest emails/tasks knocked out of my day first.”
There’s the physical aspect of having a plan, which definitely makes sure Victor can fit all his tasks into the day, but there’s also the mental side of being prepared, which he also benefits from. “I find that the less you have to think about what you’re going to do during the day, the more you can actually get done, so I’m a firm believer in a strong routine making a strong performer,” he explains.
Of course, we’re still talking about a guy who is a “creative” who shunned the 9-to-5 world so he’s also not a slave to Google calendar alerts. “I also believe that having some flexibility and room for spontaneity is also equally as important because you never know where the random ‘side quest’ might lead you.”
Great advice for sure, and that’s not the only wisdom Victor can impart to those looking to put their stamp on the world. Though he has a long list of people that have inspired him, including Jon Bellion, Justin Timberlake, Christian Bale and John Favreau, Victor doesn’t copy them. In fact, what he admires most about them is that they never tried to fit someone else’s mold and found success doing things they loved and that worked for them.
“I never worried about the market needs or trying to fill a hole. I just wanted to be myself and be the vest version of me that I can be,” he says of finding his place in the entertainment world.
As previously mentioned, he has a strong presence on social media, a platform that can lead many people to feel depressed and anxious when they look at the lives of others in correlation to their own.
But Victor says, “comparison is the thief of joy. It’s never productive and you end up doing more damage to your mental state and your workflow by constantly stacking yourself up against other people.” That why he strives to be himself on these platforms, showing the world who he is. Doing so has allowed him to find his tribe and a support system of people who want to engage with him and with whom he has a lot in common.
He adds, “Remember that you are individually you and that NOBODY can do what you do like you can. You will always bring something unique to the table that nobody else has, so lean into that and embrace yourself.”
This type of self-confidence has served Victor well, because despite all his successes, he also has seen his share of failure. Instead, of ruing his defeats or giving up, he’s become comfortable with failing, as any good artist must.
“Failure is simply the easiest way to figure out what isn’t working so you can reframe and try a new way to solve the problem,” he remarks. “If you can keep getting better each time you fail, eventually the failures become fewer and farther between and you can avoid them in the future.”
HAVING FUN WITH FASHION
With so much going on, what the future holds for Victor is anyone’s guess. One thing he hasn’t done that interests him is creating his own merchandise/clothing line that he could sell at his own show where he’s performing his new music. “I want it to stand out and be unique and “cool” so getting to have a hand in the design of my own pieces would be SUPER fun and I can’t wait to dive into that someday.”
For now, he’ll continue to model and style other people’s designs. If he looks more-than-comfortable in our Triple F.A.T. Goose gear it’s because he’s a snowboarder and, hailing from the northern reaches of the country, he’s no stranger to being active in the cold. When he’s on the slopes he makes it a point to look good but more importantly he wants to feel good. “For the cold, I’m looking for things that are not only warm, but also windproof. I didn’t realize how much the wind was a factor in how cold it can really get, so having a coat that’s water and windproof is HUGE for me - especially for impromptu ski trips.”
No matter what he is wearing or doing, you can bet on one thing – that ever-present smile. As much as anything, it’s a huge part of his look because he truly enjoys what he does and that inner joy shows itself on the outside.
“I never envisioned myself being any sort of authority on fashion or style at all, and there’s definitely times where I feel a little in-over-my-head with it, but if I can keep it fun and light, that’s all that matters to me,” he says. “I see style as the outward expression of who you are, so as long as I’m looking like I’m having a good time, I usually am, and I’ve won.”