Victoria Nelli

Tell us about yourself! What do you do for a living? What are your interests? What are your pronouns?

I’m Victoria! I’m 26 and use she/her pronouns. I work as a social media manager! I love Broadway, the USWNT, reading Courtney Peppernell poetry books, and going to the beach! Oh, and I made this interview series! 

About how old were you when you came out? How was the climate you grew up in?

I came out to myself when I was about 21 and then to my friends and family when I was 22. I was in my early twenties and was extremely lucky because I knew that I would be coming out to loving and accepting people and that it would be a safe space. My father is also gay and I knew that none of my family or friends would bat an eye. 

Did you make career choices that allowed you to feel comfortable being open about your sexuality? (Are you out or feel comfortable being out at your workplace?)

I didn’t choose my career based on this, I’ve always loved communication and finding ways to engage with people who have similar interests to me. I’m really lucky because I feel completely comfortable being out and myself at my job! I have wonderful coworkers and am really lucky!

If you could tell your younger self something about yourself that you are proud of today, what would it be?

If I were to tell younger Victoria that she is openly out and working with multiple LGBTQ+ organizations and working on an interview series promoting LGBTQ+ voices I think she would pass out! I’m extremely proud of how far I’ve come in terms of accepting and loving who I am as a person and not beating myself up over who I choose to love. 

Have you tried to surround yourself with like-minded peers/colleagues? If so, how? 

I didn’t intentionally do this growing up, and 99% of my friends I have had for over a decade. (A lot of them turned out to be gay though, haha!) I think more in my adult life I don’t seek out LGBTQ+ people specifically for friendships but I 100% seek out people who are allies and who respect equality and have similar beliefs as I do. I have found though that people in the LGBTQ+ community do tend to somehow flock towards each other and I’ve been very grateful for that.

Who were your role models growing up? What tv shows/movies allowed you to feel seen?

I grew up absolutely loving television (it is still one of my biggest dreams in life to write an episode of television) and it immensely shaped who I am as a person. I’ve identified with a few characters for a bunch of different reasons but I never understood why I had a really, really intense admiration for Alex Danvers on Supergirl until I came out to myself. The way her character figures herself out and expresses what she is feeling is one of the most beautiful, raw, and at least for me, accurate portrayals of coming to terms with your sexuality that I have ever seen. I also adore Elena on One Day at a Time and Tess on This is us! Seeing young characters like them on television gives me such hope for the future! 

Complete the sentence, if I knew ____________ back when I was first figuring myself out, I would tell my younger self that _____________________? 

If I knew that I would be completely open with who I am as a person and no longer feel ashamed and embarrassed when I was figuring myself out, I would tell my younger self that it’s all going to be okay. It sounds so cliche but it’s true! What once felt like this enormous, impossible thing to wrap my head around seems so small now and is only a small part of who I am as a person. I’m proud to be gay! But I’m also proud to be a hard worker, a good friend, and a kind person. It’s just one part of me,  but a part I’m really glad exists! 

What inspired you to create this interview series?

I feel like every queer person might have a similar story to this but I remember vividly one day in middle school someone called me gay (and it would be over a decade before I myself even realized it) and I remember feeling sick to my stomach and then completely shutting down. I just always had such anxiety and ill emotions towards that word. I always felt like it was this thing to be ashamed of and that it was an insult. Growing up and becoming an adult who is (most days) happy in their own skin I wouldn’t ever want someone else to feel like that. Ever. I created this series so people can see themselves represented in the most human and normal way possible. I want someone who is maybe afraid to come out to see that it doesn’t have to be this enormous thing that weighs heavy on you, it can be a tiny part of who you are. You can be a doctor, or a poet, or a chef, or a teacher, or a performer and be gay but being gay is at the bottom of the list of things that make you special. I want young people to look at this and feel inspired by these people for living their lives authentically and proudly!

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