Testimonial #44: Victoria Orvañanos Archer, Writer Televisa


“Every time my mother punished me, locked me in my room and hit me yet again, I would listen over and over again to ‘The Phantom Of The Opera’ to ‘Music Of The Night’ and I would smile between tears. I just had to find the way to become that beautiful swan just like the Phantom did and turn all my pain into beauty. I was eight-years-old and fell in love with art.”

I am a writer in Televisa, I write telenovelas and tv series and right now I’m breaking into film and theatre. So my story begins when I was six years old…

I am the oldest of four children and the only girl. Music has always inspired me to create great stories and complex characters that can outshine during crisis for what makes a man is what he does when the storm comes. I had a rough childhood and music was always my shelter. One day, my parents came home from a trip to Toronto where they saw Andrew Lloyd Webber’s newest musical “The Phantom of The Opera” and brought me the soundtrack tape and vinyl disc as well as the Playbill of the time; it was 1987. When I first read the story I immediately identified with “The Phantom” a man suffering the cruelty of the world due to a mother’s rejection and was hiding underneath the Opera House where “the monster” grew up to become The Angel of Music. My heart stopped.  My soul was frozen as I was listening to the music and reading the lyrics. How can it be that so much grief could turn into something so magical and fascinating?! That’s when I decided I wanted to become a writer and tell stories that would ease aching hearts such as mine. So every time my mother punished me, locked me in my room and hit me yet again, I would listen over and over again to “The Phantom Of The Opera” to “Music Of The Night” and I would smile between tears. I just had to find the way to become that beautiful swan just like “The Phantom” did and turn all my pain into beauty. I was eight-years-old and fell in love with art.

Years went by and I was never picked for my school’s musicals or plays.  My mother was still in rage by my existence and by this time I was a teenager crying alongside my piano, which I learned quickly to play. I was sent to a boarding school in England for a year where I saw for the first time my beloved disfigured genius “The Phantom Of The Opera” in London!!!!! When I first saw the man behind the mask I found myself crying tears down to my neck as I understood he was but a vulnerable man crying for help, hiding behind a mask of strength, just like me. That was me on stage before the world to see, a wound opened hearted yearning for love exploiting in majestic music! I had to find my mask.  I had to find my strength. I had to find my angel and I did… The Beatles!

Lennon and McCartney’s words empowered me to dream big and aim for the greater goals. I got into UCLA and graduated and then I was offered a job in Televisa for writing the script of an entertainment news and interviews show for Telehit Channel called “Activon Tv”. I was doing great! Finally I was writing about music and art. Paul McCartney came to Mexico City and I got tickets on row number 5!!! It was the best day of my life, I shall never forget the entire stadium singing at the top of their lungs:  “Hey Jude, don’t be afraid, take a sad song and make it better, remember to let it into your heart then you can start to make it better. And any time you feel the pain, Hey Jude reframe, don’t carry the world upon your shoulder.”

And I thought to myself – I will make it through- And I did! When I incorporated the story of my life into a soap opera I was writing at the time, the ratings flew over the roof and I was receiving tweets from fans all over the world telling me how my story was changing their lives and now they were doing amazing things they never thought they could do. I was thriving with joy and suddenly all the grief I had gone through was unexpectedly worth it for it has made me who I am.

I wanted to push myself to the limit and I started writing a musical and created a non- profit organization where I teach orphan children to speak English through Beatles and Broadway songs to lead them to a world of new opportunities to build a prosperous future. These children are now dreaming of being someone great, of becoming a leader of achieving the unachievable! They laugh, they sing, they thirst for knowledge and they have become brothers. Thank God I went through that depression because these boys’ lives are changing with art and music! They want to be actors, singers, and football players and by God they will. I am teaching them to sing because we will form a children’s choir that will perform in schools and small theaters singing in English aiming for one dream: College. Every earnings will be funded to their college education. This is what it feels like to be alive!!!!!! And I would go through it all again a thousand times to find art in my way and do magic with it drawing smiles and planting dreams in lost little souls.

And now, in six months I am moving to New York City to bet on myself I can do it! I will take musical theatre writing and I will become the best writer there ever was. I will produce my musical in Mexico and I will continue to deliver happiness to children through art for as long as I live. Art has always brought up the best in me, has always led me to hope, to regain strength and fight till the end. Art has given me happiness I wish everybody out there could experience, it has given me peace and a higher understanding of life. It has made me the artist I am and the artist I will become. In my world, art has made me My Own Angel Of Music.

And that’s my story.

How are the arts re-igniting your community and sparking innovation and creativity in your local schools?

I have done exciting projects with my non- profit organization “Levantémos México” such as:

A photography exposition in The National Museum of Art titled “Black & White” 

I created an art photograph contests in several universities in Mexico: Ibero, Anáhuac and Tec de Monterrey, where students had to capture the different paths one can choose when crisis strikes: “BLACK” turning yourself into drugs, alcohol, prostitution, lust and hated with it’s consequences and “WHITE” Mediation, forgiveness, therapy, strength, faith and art with it’s results.

The project was sponsored by Domecq None profit organization, Kodak and Convivencia Sin Violencia.

KARAOKE NIGHTS FOR HAITI: I invited people to sing songs of praise and hope every Thursday for one month in a karaoke bar called REC. We gathered four thousand US dollars, which I gave to the Haiti Ambassador in Mexico City.

ORPHAN CHILDREN: We teach orphan children to speak English in order to ensure them a better future through the music of The Beatles and Broadway hit songs. These children now want to become actors and singers and are anxious to one travel to New York City and see all Broadway shows, but there are 2 in particular that became quickly very popular among them: “Les Misérables” and “The Phantom Of The Opera”. The children are now hoping, dreaming and finding their own voice and importance in life in a world that had closed the doors to them. Schools across Mexico City are helping sending their students to teach and sing with the children and an environment of joy and hope has been developed in the hearts of every one that take the lessons and teach them as well.