Young, Wild & Free

Written by: Kelli Gustafson

Name: Dominique Viney
Nicknames: Dom
Hometown: Sydney, Australia
Three things I can’t live without: Travel, coffee, my glasses

Although Dom is only 22 years old, she has explored more of this world than most people twice her age. Bitten by the incurable travel bug, this incredibly brave, talented and spunky young woman won’t let anything get in the way of her next adventure.

Pursuing her dreams of one day being inside your living room, Dom’s passion for acting and performing brings her that sense of joy we all so desperately seek. What most people might not know — it is this same passion that tests her patience, confidence and self-esteem.

So, how does this beautiful young woman keep her head held high?


Disney Cruise Fantasy

Average Jil: First off, if you had to give an elevator pitch about who you are, what would you say?

Dominique Viney: Well, I am really just your ordinary 22-year-old from Sydney. I grew up in the inner-west suburb of Strathfield, NSW with an outgoing and supportive family. I am passionate about pursuing a career in the performing arts, aiming to head down the acting path towards screen and film. I have completed a Performing Arts diploma course and travelled around England and Europe spending some time sightseeing and au pairing. I also participated in a short film course in London along the way. I have recently just returned from a nine-month performing contract on Disney Cruise Lines. I would like to say I am an adventurer — I love going out, meeting new people and exploring different places.

AJ: What are some things you would say you are most passionate about in your life right now?

DV: Hmm things I am most passionate about right now… one would have to be my career. This industry, like most, requires a lot of hard work and time put into it. I suppose what differs to other fields, is the fact that you are putting the time and energy into yourself. You are the product you are trying to perfect and sell to what the client is looking for in order to get work. Your look, style, height, hair length, skin tone, they are all factors considered when getting hired for a job. It could even come down to your eye colour as a reason why you didn’t score a job. Crazy right?! I know! I keep asking myself constantly why I keep pushing to pursue a career so cut throat. But the thrill and experience I have gotten out of it make it worthwhile for me. My skin gets thicker every knock back I get.

“You are young, wild and free.”

I am also passionate about constantly meeting new people and experiencing different and crazy things. My friends and family hold such a positive influence on me and are always up for going on an adventure. Even if it is just checking out the trending ‘hottest brunch spot’ to see if it actually is the ‘hottest brunch spot’ or if it’s just an overpriced ‘spot’ that is only, in fact, somewhat average.

I love having friends within the performing arts community as well as different career fields so I can constantly learn new things. As much as I love hearing about auditions and their process, or what choreographer or director are complete assholes, I also love hearing about how corporate office jobs operate, or even part-time jobs and the day-to-day occurrences that happen when dealing with the general public. I suppose becoming an actor, learning and hearing about everyday reactions to situations that occur — that sounds so intriguing to me!

Another passion would be my love for exercise and staying active to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I’m no fitness guru or 6-times-a-week gym junkie (ew, no!) but I love nothing more than taking time out of my day to go attend a dance class, a Namaste yoga practice or even just going for a walk on the beach, in a park or around the bay. It gives me a chance to clear my mind and worries of what’s going on in my life.

AJ: How did you find yourself heading down the path of performing arts? What is it that makes you love performing?

DV: I started dancing around 4 years old. Being a young girl at that age, I suppose it was the norm to attend ballet class and I thank my parents that I did. I went to a dance school near my area — gradually taking on different dance styles —, which inevitably became my second home. So cliché I know!

“I was in love. I knew that that was what I wanted to do.”

The first time I was inspired by the arts and creative talent was when I went to my first musical The Lion King at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney 2003. I was sitting on an aisle seat waiting nervously for what I was about to experience. I distinctly remember the giant elephant walking down the aisle, my eyes popping out of my head as I sat there frozen and in awe as it joined the other animals on stage. Until the end of the show I was in love. I knew that that was what I wanted to do. The fun and joy the artists were having entertaining the audience was inspiring.

I continued dancing and performing all the way through high school. During that time I was grateful to be a part of two different overseas dance tours performing in Disneyland, Anaheim and Disney World, Florida. I then continued onto a full-time performing arts course for two years at ED5International. I graduated with a diploma and an exhausted body… Which, in a professional’s belief, is fit and ready for a job! These were the hardest two years of my life, but complimented with some of the best and most memorable moments. This course taught me how to act professional, how to battle the struggles of the industry, but also how to passionately push for the career I have chosen to pursue.

I can’t recommend dance enough to young kids or adults as a hobby or even a chance to socialize with others!

AJ: What are some of the challenges that you’ve faced over the years in pursuit of your passions?

DV: Ha! Well, this profession is definitely not shy of being a large order of challenges… delivered with a continuous free refill of rejection. Auditioning is defined as being a “trial hearing given to a singer, actor, or other performer to test suitability for employment, professional training or competition”. ‘Trial hearing’ oh my, doesn’t that already sound daunting enough?!

An audition situation I believe is the most uncomfortable and pressuring environments anyone can put themselves in. Everyone has to do it!  Job interviews, meeting your partner’s parents for the first time — those inevitable ‘clammy hand’ situations where all you can do is just plaster some kind of smile on your face and hope anyone around you can’t feel or smell your perspiration.

Auditions come in all shapes and sizes: large, small, intimate or the grueling long panel. The reality being that you are in a competition and you are being judged. From the moment you leave your car to the moment you get back in, you are ‘on’.

“You just always have to stay positive and hopeful. Perseverance and acceptance of rejection is the key to success.”

You always experience the standard ‘looks and stares’ walking in, registering with a nervous smile on your face. (Tip: you never know who is sitting behind the registering desk. If you enter flustered or rude to the person signing you in and collecting your headshot, they could in fact be the director of the job you are auditioning for. I experienced one large dance call where the director had walked in with all the collected materials to then call out numbers and ask them to leave without even having a chance to showcase themselves. True story.)

Competition is fierce and the talents are hungry for a job. Here in Australia, everyone can agree with the fact that work in the arts is slim and for creatives, taking on new, fresh talent is getting improbable.

I can honestly say the arts aren’t for everyone. Dealing with rejection is a hard thing to grasp and get your head around for it to not deflate your confidence, self-esteem or passion for doing what you love. The best way I handle rejection is to accept that it isn’t you it’s them.  As hard as it is to get your head around, especially when it is a role you really want or believe you are perfectly suited for. Sometimes creatives know exactly what they are looking for and sometimes they have no idea until it is standing in front of them. But I am a true believer in things happening and decisions being made for a reason. If you didn’t get this job it was for a reason, a better role or opportunity is heading your way whether it comes in a week or in a year. You just always have to stay positive and hopeful. Perseverance and acceptance of rejection is the key to success. It also helps strengthening your skin to become extra thick and durable like a gorgeous synthetic leather designer handbag for you to wear, ready to take on the world.

AJ: Can you talk a bit about your experience on the Cruise ship?

DV: The word I love describing my experience on the Disney Cruise ship is bittersweet. As much as it was a really fun and enjoyable job and workplace, the working hours were long and grueling, and living conditions were rather tight and intimate. It was a nine-month contract which included a two month rehearsal period in Toronto and seven months on board the ship. I experienced Disney’s creation of Halloween, Merrytime Christmas and the New Year celebration at sea, which was a once in a lifetime chance to see how Disney brought the seasons to life. Nothing like I have ever experienced at home, believe me!

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to become friends with Mickey Mouse and hang out with his friends, especially the famous sisters Anna and Elsa visiting from Arendelle.

I was very fortunate to have made some amazing memories with cast and crew from all over the world. My roommate, who I am forever grateful for, became such a trustworthy companion who always looked out for me.

Disney Cruise Cast
Dom with her Disney Cruise Cast!

This job also allowed me to travel to exquisite parts of the world, exploring different tropical islands within the Caribbean. Our time off included only a small handful of hours and was mainly spent on connecting to friends and family back home on glorious wifi!!

You forget to appreciate how readily available it (wifi) is all the time, until you start working on a cruise ship. Our time off was also spent sightseeing, eating meals (of our choice!) or beach time!  My friend Sophie and I had the chance to ride a two-man speedboat in Cozumel, Mexico! A definite highlight.

As amazing and glamorous this job sounds, no job is ever perfect. Working seven days a week for several months does take a toll on your body and your mind. Our schedule worked like clockwork every week. You got into a routine pretty quickly, but always had to be flexible and ready for change. Sailing during hurricane season meant that our schedule and itinerary could be altered at any time so we had to just roll with it. (Que Proud Mary: rollin’, rollin’, rollin on the high seasssss!)

All I can say is ship life isn’t for everyone. I am so glad to have experienced it and with great, positive people around me. Would I do another? Hmm let’s wait and see!

AJ: Do you think you’ve been bitten by the travel bug? Or are you happy to be back home and settled?

DV: Oh I can definitely say I have been bitten by the travel bug. As nice as it has been coming home seeing my family and friends, catching up and spending time together, I couldn’t turn down an overseas job if it was offered. I am so eager to explore and see what else is out there. There are so many vast opportunities not only in performing arts, but in other cultures all over the world — which I hope I get to discover one day!

AJ: Who in your life do you look up to the most, and why?

DV: My family and friends are constantly an inspiration. I always try and surround myself with positive and hardworking people.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t look up to several successful people in the media who were knocked back when they tried to pursue their passions. Oprah Winfrey, Meryl Streep, Steven Spielberg, Walt Disney just to name a few. They were all rejected or put down by their superiors at some point in their life and career. Look at them now! They all had to start somewhere, just like the rest of us. It’s inspiring to know that anything is possible if you keep at it and work hard.

AJ: And finally, if you could give your 15-year-old self any advice, what would you tell her?

DV: Hmm probably to keep enjoying life and take on all the opportunities that come your way. You are young, wild and free. Enjoy it while it lasts because adulthood is hard.

Dom in Tortola — in the British Virgin Islands.


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