||Hollywood Actress Brings Foster Care Message Back To Maine|
Hollywood Actress Brings Foster Care Message Back To Maine
Rhonda Erskine , Online Content Producer Last Updated: 5/4/2007 8:14:26 PM
A Hollywood star who grew up in Maine is helping to spread the word about the importance of foster families in the state. Actress Victoria Rowell joined Governor Baldacci and first lady Karen Baldacci in proclaiming May "Foster Care Month" in Maine.
Rowell, who is best known for her roles on "The Young and the Restless" and "Diagnosis Murder," is the author of a new book about her own experience as a foster child. She was born in Portland and raised in foster homes until she was 18.
Rowell went on to become a dancer, a model and then a movie and television actress. She says her book tells of the foster mothers and other women who have inspired her through her life.
"I have embraced my experience in every way. It has been the platform from which I've been able to fly. And I draw from all the characters in my life. When I saw characters I do character studies and when I'm asked to portray a myriad of people even in ballet roles, I've always been able to draw a rich well of personalities I've met over the years," said Rowell.
Her book "The Women who Raised Me" is now number 22 on the best seller list. Rowell is autographing her book Friday night at 7:00 P.M. at the Barnes and Noble in Augusta.
You can see our full interview with Victoria Rowell next week on "207."
||IVillage Message Boards-Pregnancy (NY)|
||The Women Who Raised Me: A Memoir|
This book is by Victoria Rowell who used to play Drucilla on The Young and the Restless
Description: The story of a remarkable woman's rise out of the foster-care system to attain the American dream -- and of the unlikely series of women who lifted her up in marvelous and distinctive ways. Born as a ward of the state of Maine -- the child of an unmarried Yankee blueblood mother and an unknown black father -- Victoria Rowell beat the odds. Unlike so many other children who fall through the cracks of our overburdened foster-care system, her experience was nothing short of miraculous, thanks to several extraordinary women who stepped forward to love, nurture, guide, teach, and challenge her to become the accomplished actress, philanthropist, and mother that she is today.
Rowell spent her first weeks of life as a boarder infant before being placed with a Caucasian foster family. Although her stay lasted for only two years, at this critical stage Rowell was given a foundation of love by the first of what would be an amazing array of women, each of whom presented herself for different purposes at every dramatic turn of Rowell's life.
In this deeply touching memoir, Rowell pays tribute to her personal champions: the mothers, grandmothers, aunts, mentors, teachers, and sisters who each have fascinating stories to tell. Among them are Agatha Armstead, Rowell's longest-term foster mother, a black Bostonian on whose rural Maine farm Rowell's fire to reach for greatness was lit; Esther Brooks, a Paris-trained prima ballerina, Rowell's first mentor at the Cambridge School of Ballet; Rosa Turner, a Boston inner-city fosterer who taught Rowell lessons of independence; Sylvia Silverman, a mother and teacher whose home in a well-kept middle-class suburban neighborhood prepared Rowell for her transition out of foster care and into New York City's wild worlds of ballet and acting and adulthood.
In spite of support from individuals and agencies, Rowell nonetheless carried the burden of loneliness and anxiety, common to most foster children, particularly those "orphans of the living" who are never adopted. Heroically overcoming those obstacles, Rowell also reaches a moment when she can embrace her biological mother, Dorothy, and, most important, accept herself.
The Women Who Raised Me is a story that belongs to each of us as it shines a glowing light on the transformational power of mentoring, love, art, and womanhood.
||Toronto Globe & Mail|
||MOM'S DAY: FOSTER PARENTS TAKE SPOTLIGHT IN NEW BOOK|
In praise of 'other mothers' SIRI AGRELL Melanie Filiatrault has 42 children, not counting the three she gave birth to herself.
This Sunday, the 52-year-old Kelowna resident expects to receive Mother's Day calls from about 12 of the boys and girls she has provided foster care to over the past 20 years - kids she considers her own. "Even that one call from a child shows that you've made a difference in their life," said Ms. Filiatrault, who has a collection of Mother's Day cards and trinkets piled in her attic.
But while the children themselves express gratitude, some of Canada's approximately 35,000 foster families say their efforts go largely unnoticed by the rest of society, not just on the second Sunday in May, but throughout the year.
"If you go into it thinking you're going to get rewarded, you probably won't," Ms. Filiatrault said. "But if you go into it thinking you're going to make a difference in a child's life, it'll be worth it."
Yesterday, a group of Toronto-area foster parents gathered for a special audience with author and actress Victoria Rowell, who told them about the difference foster care made in her life.
Famous for her role as Drucilla Winters on the soap opera The Young and the Restless , Ms. Rowell has written a book, The Women Who Raised Me , chronicling the 18 years she spent in foster care in the United States before becoming a professional ballet dancer and, eventually, a daytime television star.
She wrote the book to pay tribute to those who wouldn't let her fall through the cracks, but also to celebrate all the "other mothers" - foster parents, social workers, mentors, aunts and grandmothers who often play a major role in a child's development.
"What they did was raise a child, collectively," she said. "There are millions of women who have done what these women did for me."
Among the women who raised Ms. Rowell was a 54-year-old housewife who took her in as an infant, but was told she could not keep a child who was half black. Another foster mother taught ballet to the dance-obsessed young Victoria out of a magazine.
Ms. Rowell had saved more than 500 letters from her various foster mothers, all of whom helped her get over the shame of not being raised by her biological parents.
Susan McDevitt, a social worker and executive director of the Federation of Foster Families of Nova Scotia, said she sees the same efforts being put forward by the 650 foster families in her province.
Most people who work with displaced young people, from foster parents to Children's Aid Society officials, are motivated by a love of kids. But, she said, many foster families still struggle with issues of negative public perception, fuelled by occasional news stories about abuse or neglect. While those cases are rare, Ms. McDevitt says it is still common to regard foster parents as service providers, not parents.
"They don't feel they're respected," she said.
There have been efforts to improve attitudes toward foster mothers and other caregivers. In 2002, the card maker American Greetings introduced a line of Mother's Day cards that acknowledged the "other mother" phenomenon of adoptive parents, aunts and role models.
"Because you're like a mother to me, I'm thinking of you," one card reads.
Ms. Filiatrault said she thinks of all her foster children on Mother's Day, no matter where they are now, scattered across the country.
"You always hope they're doing awesome," she said. "I'm just very pleased and honoured to have been their parent for a short period of time."
||Westside Gazette (Ft. Lauderdale,FL)|
||Foster Care Awareness Month spokesperson Victoria Rowell ignites students to "Master the Fundamentals"|
by Olivia Williams
Westside Gazette Originally posted 5/9/2007
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL -On April 27 Victoria Rowell graced Dillard High School Auditorium to celebrate Foster Care Awareness Month, which she is a national spokesperson for. Although faced with a limited amount of time to speak, Rowell, best known for her role of Drucilla on the day time soap opera The Young and the Restless, engaged the audience with her down to earth personality and natural flair. Her first request to the crowd of high school students was for volunteers to come sing a song a cappella, being that Dillard is praised for their Arts Program. One young man and young woman rose to the occasion to display their talents for the crowd. And, another student played his Cello instrument, which inspired Rowell to perform her ballet dance moves from college.
Rowell also related to the audience that everyone should visit New York City's Carnegie Hall. She said, "Rosa Turner, mother of 10, was the first person to take her to the play Madame Butterfly. This exposed her to another artistic expression, and this exposure inspired the spirit of creativity in her. She stated emphatically, "Give yourself permission to Show Up." This lead to her next statement, "Preparation is for FREE. No one will stop you from being prepared," she said. While on a scholarship to an arts school in New York City, she showed up, she learned French, she learned different kinds of music, she met different kinds of people, and it was her merit that defined her, not her background or her color. Raised as a product of the foster care system for 18 years, she was inspired to write the book
The Women Who Raised Me . "Although I didn't have parents, didn't go to the best schools, I showed up and I prepared, because no one can fake talent. The person who doesn't have the foundation, the person without the fundamental tool belt in check will not make it in this competitive world. No matter what you are doing, you've got to get the work done. You've got to master the fundamentals," she said.
Lastly, she spoke of her first foster care mother, born in 1903, as the person who inspired her the most. She recalled that her foster care mother taught her how to live and helped her to open a bank account at the age of six. Rowell truly made a lasting impression on everyone in the audience with her insightful and soft-spoken words. They were words that will surely resonate for years with everyone present.
Rowell is currently promoting her book
The Women Who Raised Me as she tours across the nation bringing awareness to the importance of the foster care system. The event was sponsored by the Urban League of Broward County's Young Professionals Network.
Foster Care is High on Victoria Rowell's Agenda By DARLENE C. DONLOE
While traditionally Mother's Day is celebrated one Sunday during the month of May, for actress Victoria Rowell, it's celebrated every day of the year.
That's because Rowell, who was separated from her white mother, Dorothy, at birth and who never knew her black father, has a lot of women to thank for participating in her growth and development over the years.
A former foster child who was in the foster care system for 18 years, Rowell, who was born in Portland, Maine, pays tribute to those women in her latest book, "The Women Who Raised Me: A Memoir" (HarperCollins).
The book is a tribute not only to the women who cared for Rowell when her schizophrenic birth mother could not, but also to the foster care system that brought them into her life.
"I was never meant to be raised by one mother, but by many," said Rowell, a mother of two--Maya, 18, and Jasper, 11. "I am very galvanized around the support of people who raised me. The women who raised me are the women of the world. They are the women out there everyday who do the trench work and never get recognized. They told me to keep my nose to the grindstone. I'm by no means an overnight success. I've done the work and it paid off."
It paid off big time!
Rowell was one of the most popular characters on daytime television before quitting her high profile gig on the No. 1 rated soap opera, "The Young and the Restless." She was also a series regular for eight seasons on "Diagnosis Murder" with Dick Van Dyke and has done countless other television, theater and feature films. And, the whole time, she had a plan.
"This soap opera has been much more than doing a soap opera," explained Rowell, who has been nominated twice for a Daytime Emmy and awarded 11 NAACP Image Awards from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "I wanted to have time and resources to do the work on foster care. I saved my money and flipped the script. I've invested in intellectual properties, in this book, in scripts and I've invested in business. That's what it's about. Some questioned why I did a soap opera and didn't do a lot of films. I can't live on one movie a year. My ministry is all about getting the word out about foster care."
Part of Rowell's agenda is to let the public know that there are a number of ways to help the foster care system.
"You can be a single foster parent," said Rowell. "You don't have to have a palatial home or a robust bank account. You can be a respite care giver if you can't do it all the time. You can be a mentor or a court appointed advocate. Mentor. Give donations to legal aid. Everyone can do something."
This month, which is National Foster Care Month, the actress has been busy not only enjoying a nationwide book tour, but also stomping for a cause that is near and dear to her heart. She was recently at the state capitol in Sacramento and at Los Angeles City Hall to bring awareness to the fact that there are 513,000 children in foster care in America every day. About 800,000 pass through the system every year and of that, 40 percent are African American.
Statistics show that if the foster care system does not get more individuals involved by the year 2020: Nearly 14 million confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect will be reported; 22,500 children will die of abuse or neglect, most before their fifth birthday; more than 9 million children will experience the foster care system; more than 300,000 children will age out of our foster care system, in poor health and ill-prepared for success in higher education, technical college or the workforce; and 99,000 former foster youth, who aged out of the system, can expect to experience homelessness.
Rowell, who got her big break on "The Cosby Show," uses her celebrity status to bring a heightened awareness and understanding about foster care to a national audience. She has been featured on various television shows, including the "Dr. Phil Show" for her work on foster care. She has also shared her story with millions of readers of People, Glamour, Essence, and Black Enterprise magazines, just to name a few.
In 1990, Rowell, who has lobbied on Capitol Hill about issues concerning foster children, founded the Rowell Foster Children's Positive Plan, (RFCPP) which enriches foster children through artistic expression and a variety of other enrichment programs. RFCPP has awarded full scholarships for fine arts, sports and summer camps and offers job placement for emancipated foster youth.
Although she's not a foster parent herself, Rowell said she is giving it some thought.
"I'm raising a 17 (year-old daughter) and an 11-year-old son," said Rowell. "I'd have to sit down and think about how I would want to approach that. I know how much effort went into raising me. Before I take that responsibility on, I'd have to have all my ducks in a row. Right now I'm not fostering, but I am currently mentoring many children."
Since 1998, Rowell, who was been honored as a National Angel in Adoption by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, has been the national spokesperson for the Annie E. Casey Foundation's direct service arm, Casey Family Services. The foundation was established by Jim Casey, a founder of the United Parcel Service (UPS).
"Working with the foster care system is very rewarding," said Rowell.
"We have an amazing opportunity to give a child a chance at life, a level playing field. It's an opportunity to give a fellow citizen who is voiceless a chance."
When it comes to her own life, Rowell, who has six siblings, considers herself one of the blessed foster children who made it through the system. She holds no grudge for a mother who couldn't raise her or for the father she never knew. She also thinks it's important to understand where she came from.
"I stay in touch with my siblings," said Rowell, who had brief encounters with her birth mom. "I have grown with my mother's extended family. I've been able to capture quite a bit of my history. I advocate foster adults and kids to search for your history, but responsibly. Reconcile with yourself in knowing that when you show up at that front door, be prepared for it not to be opened. Not everybody wants to be found. As for my (black) father, I have to go to the root. I will never know why he abandoned me at the hospital.
What I do know and what I empower myself with is: look beyond the two people who conceived you and look to a myriad of ancestors who got you to this point. In the knowing you can stand proud."
Rowell said being in the system for 18 years opened her eyes to the goodness of mankind.
"I learned that humanity was in play in the highest order," said Rowell. I learned that people did not have to know each other to help one cause. I learned I was to be raised by many mothers--not one."
For information on Victoria Rowell's charities, contact (888) 799-KIDS or www.victoriarowell.com
||Voisey's Bay News (St. John's, NF)|
||May 10, 2007|
||May is National Foster Care Month|
|Award-winning actress, Victoria Rowell (aka Drucilla Winters on "The Young and the Restless"), has also written a memoir. You'll find The Women Who Raised Me (Morrow, $25.95, 352 pages, ISBN 9780061246593) as drama-packed and moving as any soap opera. Rowell's story begins when she is a child in the loving care of Agatha Armstead, an "epitome of strength," a "black Bostonian born in the Carolinas, with a mix of Kickapoo Indian in her background," and a fragile white woman, shaking with Parkinson's tremors, arrives. Young Vicki does not know lluit the woman is her mother. "We were black," she writes. "She was not. For me at seven years old, the world broke down simply that way." Yet despite being confused by the stranger, "there was a gravitational pull between us," Rowell recalls. |
Years later, a grown woman with two children of her own, that pull would draw Rowell into searching for answers to the mysteries surrounding her mother's life and ultimately, her own. Her determined and unflinching search for connection lies at the crux of Rowell's ability to appreciate the "mothering" she has received from other women. The Women Who Raised Me is a tribute to the iiKiny womenâ€”"surrogate mothers, grandmothers, aunts, fosterers, mentors, grande dames and sisters"â€”who buoyed Rowell's chances for succe.ss with their abundant gifts of guidance and love, but it also reminds us to be thankful for the women in our own lives who "mother" us and the power of passing on that legacy. Â«f Linda Stankard writes from in Nantwt. New York.
"The Women Who Raised Me"
"I was never meant to be raised by one mother, but by many."Â
- Victoria Rowell
Victoria Rowell said she cried a riverÂ of tears as she struggled through the memo ries of her past preparing to write: "The Women Who Raised Me."
Many know Rowell from her acting career and the multi tude of roles she's mastered as a ballet dancer and actress.
She will next be seen in co-starring role opposite Sam uel L. Jackson in Home of the Brave and was celebrated for her role on Diagnosis: Murder and The Young & the Restless. But as many women as she's played in her professional life, even more have played starring roles in her personal life as fos ter mothers, caretakers, social service workers, neighbors, friends, teachers, grand dames, and mentors, all of whom Row ell honors in her memoir, THE WOMEN WHO RAISED ME (William Morrow/An Imprint of HarperColtins Publishers; "ISBN 0-06-124659-X; $25.95 US/S29.95 Canada), a tribute not only to the amazing wom en who cared for her when her birth mother could not, but to the foster system that brought them into her life.
On May 10, 1959, in the small town of Bath, Maine, a 36 year-old single mother by the name of Dorothy Col- lins Rowell used a payphone at a local bar to call a taxi to take her to the hospital. Nine months pregnant, dirty and disheveled, she wobbled on high heels to the curb, leaving three small children behind in her upstairs apartment. Hours later, as Child Welfare was on the way to rescue them based on tips from neighbors, she gave birth to a baby girl - who was instantly made a Ward of the State. Baby Girl Rowell, whose mother was white and whose unknown father was black, became case numberÂ 19267-C, State of Maine De partment of Human Services, Bureau of Social Welfare for the next 8 years.
During those years, even as Dorothy went in and out of mental hospitals for her schizophrenia, she struggled behind the scenes to make sure her baby - and all her children - were placed in loving homes. Baby Girl Rowell, who would be named Vicki, would not lay eyes on her until she was years old. For Vicki, "mother" would be not j ust one, but many women. So many, in fact, that as she said her girlhood prayers at night, the list of women she wished blessings upon was so long, she alphabetized it.
Rowell pays tribute to the key women in her life: Ber tha C. Taylor, Agatha Woo- ten Armstead, Esther Brooks, Linda Webb, Rosa Turner and Sylvia Silverman -.--
About the Author
Victoria Rowell is a two- time Emmy Award-nominated and an eleven-time NAACP Image Award-winning actress. Her film work includes roles opposite Jim Carrey in Dumb & Dumber, Eddie Murphy in The Distinguished Gentleman, and Eve's Bayou. Currently, she stars as Samuel L. Jack son's wife in the Irwin Winkler film Home of the Brave, about a returning Iraq wa"r veteran. Victoria is also well known for ther roles as Dick Van Dyke'% pathologist. Dr. Amanda Benley, on Diagnosis: -Murder and as Drucilla Barber Winters on The Young & The Restless. Bom in 1959, she lived in foster care until the age of eighteen.
At age nine, she won a Ford foundation and National En dowment for the Arts grant to study classical ballet and later went on to dance profession ally with the American Ballet Theatre II and Juilliard School of Dance. In the mid-1980s, Victoria began modeling and worked with such legendary photographers as Patrick De- marchelier and Bruce Weber; her photographs appeared in Seventeen, Mademoiselle and other magazines. One of her early breaks as an actress was in The Cosby Show.
Rowell is the founder of the Rowell Foster Children's Positive Plan, which provides scholarships in arts and educa tion to foster and adopted youth. She also serves as national spokesperson for the Annie E. Casey Foundation/Casey Fam ily Services. In recognition for her humanitarian work, she has received numerous awards, including the United Nations Association Award, and was selected by 193 members of congress as a congressional Angel in Adoption. Rowell is the recipient of a Whitney M. Young Award by the National Urban, League, and holds hon orary doctorates from the University of Southern Maine and Wheelock College of Boston.
||Bangor Daily News|
||Actress, author has ties to Maine|
By Dale McGarrigle, Bangor Daily News, Maine McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
May 21--Most people know Victoria Rowell as an actress, the first to simultaneously star in TV series in both daytime ("The Young and the Restless") and primetime ("Diagnosis Murder").
But few know that Rowell grew up as a foster child, first in Maine, then later in Massachusetts, where she pursued her passion for ballet.
How she rose from such humble beginnings to become a performer and social advocate is at the heart of her inspiring memoir, "The Women Who Raised Me," recently released by William Morrow.
Rowell became a ward of the state when she was born in Bath in 1959 to a white, old-money, schizophrenic mother and an unknown black father.
She credits much of her success to lessons she learned growing up in Maine.
"The state of Maine became a mother to me," said Rowell in a phone interview on her 48th birthday. "Being taught the trade of farming gave me a refined sensitivity to earth and taught me the value of patience and nurturing. Those are rudimentary steps I still apply every day."
"The Women Who Raised Me," a real it-takes-a-village tale, is divided up into three sections: "Grandmothers, Mothers, Aunts," "Mentors, Fosterers, Grande Dames" and "Sisters," as Rowell details the women who have had an impact on her life.
The book has been long in the making, as Rowell estimated that she began writing it at age 9 and has since then continued collecting material for it from letters, journals and other memorabilia.
Once she signed a book deal last year with Morrow, "it became a very aggressive schedule," she recalled. "I signed the deal in July and turned in the book by December. Fortunately, I've always kept my stories fresh, kept the memories alive."
What did Rowell learn about herself from this process? "That I have a photographic memory," she said. "And that I'm more of a packrat than I thought. I unearthed a lot of boxes that I had stored and hadn't opened. I needed to re-read a lot of my ephemera."
Rowell has done many things during her career. She began as a ballet dancer. While teaching ballet, she began modeling, then branched out into acting.
Her best known roles were as pathologist Dr. Amanda Bentley for eight years on "Diagnosis Murder" and as Drucilla Winters on "The Young and the Restless," a role she recently left after 18 years.
Others roles have included "The Cosby Show" and "Feast of All Saints" on TV and the films "Leonard 6," "The Distinguished Gentleman," "Dumb and Dumber" and "Eve's Bayou." Her films coming out this year are "Home of the Brave" and "Of Boys and Men." She's now completing work on "The Mentor," a documentary companion piece to her memoir.
Rowell also remembers where she came from. In 1990, she founded the Rowell Foster Children's Positive Plan, offering artistic and athletic expression to foster children. She has also supported a number of artistic and children's groups through the years.
As expected, Rowell's book has been well received by those who have been involved with the foster-care system.
"A good percentage of the people at each book signing are foster youth, adult adoptees and social workers," she explained. "People are coming out to ask questions and be heard. They've thanked me for representing them fairly. They're so grateful. I'm proud to say people have found this book, enough to put me on the New York Times best-seller list."
In addition to her acting, Rowell is continuing to write. Next up is a book of fiction titled "Secret Diaries of a Daytime Diva." When asked if she was burning all her bridges to the soaps, Rowell laughed and said, "It really is fiction. It's 'Soapdish' times 1,000, with characters from my imagination."
Writing is a process which Rowell enjoys. "Writing is always cathartic," she said. "It's a place to channel my thoughts, my feelings. It's very therapeutic, and I always recommend it, especially to children."
Rowell's book tour recently brought her back to Maine, where a stop in Augusta attended by 400 people was her largest book signing to date. She was also invited to stay at the Blaine House by Gov. John Baldacci and his wife.
"That's when I realized that you can run a hundred miles and wind up back at your own front door," Rowell said. "In my book, I write about the history of Maine, some of which people would like to forget. We've come a long way as people in that time. I'm proud to be a Mainer."
||Beantown Cuban, one of the few but proud|
||Beantown Cuban, one of the few but proud: May 2007|
I recently read The Women Who Raised Me by former Young and The Restless soap opera actress Victoria Rowell and I was completely engaged from the first page. Rowell's book is a touching tribute to the foster mothers, ballet teachers, and mentors she had while growing up in Maine and in Boston throughout her 18 years of foster care. It's a gripping story, that begins with her birth mother, a white descendant of the Mayflower explorers, who suffered from schizophrenia and had six children. Taken from her mom by child services in Maine where she was born, Rowell found several foster mothers who provided a stable foundation of love and support.
I interviewed Rowell recently in New York City as she embarked on her book tour for a story I wrote this weekend for The Globe . I devoured the book and I was prepared for my interview with my list of questions and yellow post-its popping out of the book's pages. But for some reason, I was really nervous. I had spent five months trying to secure the interview with her publicist and I knew this was my one-chance for an exclusive interview with Victoria. So a lot was riding on this. And the moment I accidentally bumped into Victoria in the lobby of her hotel, my jitters melted away. She was so gracious and classy, wearing a brown hat, black dress and shiny pearls that she made me feel at ease. Instead of having the chat downstairs in the lounge, she suggested we go to her elegant suite. She had great positive energy. The moment we sat down, we hit a nice groove with the conversation, despite the 20 phone interruptions. She talked about the importance these women played in her life, especially Agatha Armstead, a black farmer in Maine who recognized Victoria's natural ability for dance and taught her ballet from a magazine. Victoria talked about the importance of the arts in her life and how dance became another parent for her. It was a great interview but one of the highlights was when I asked her, Do you still dance? That's when her face lit up as bright as the pearls she wore and she disappeared into her suite. When she emerged, she was standing on her ballet slippers, something she packs no matter where she goes. It was that moment I used to open my article for because ballet has always been a constant in Victoria's life, like a parent. If you're interested in reading an inspirational story on how a foster child beat the odds and thrived, consider my article, by clicking here .
Another reason this interview was such a treat for me is because I'm a big Young and the Restless fan. I remember watching Victoria play Drucilla Winters when I was 18 and starting college. I'd come home for lunch and sit down in the living room to watch the show when my tough Cuban dad would stop in the hallway, cross his hairy arms and say in Spanish, Johnny, you and your novelitas ! Who died and came back this week ? I would shoo him away with the wave of my hand because I didn't want to miss the latest take-over of Jabot cosmetics. My dad thought it was really gay of his Cuban son to tune into this show everyday, throughout college, then later on. It was a real pleasure telling my Papi the other day, Remember that novela I always watched? I have to write an article about it. See, all those years of watching The Young and The Restless paid off somehow. '' We both laughed. And the funny thing is, he recognized Victoria from those years of constantly interrupting me on my lunch break as I watched the show.
Victoria Rowell Promotes New Book In Dayton
By: Brenda Cochran Staff Writer
Most know her as the sassy, aggressive, outspoken actress on the popular soap opera "The Young & The Restless" - now Victoria Rowell is an author and known talented woman in ballet. On Wednesday, April 25, 2007 Daytonians who were anx ious to see the talented Ms. Rowell 'up close and personal' were able to do so at two events.
She first appeared at the North River Coffee House at 12:30 where a standing room only crowd came to see her, perhaps speak with her and to purchase her book entitled The Women Who Raised Me.
The second event was held that same evening at 7:00 p.m. at the Dayton Cultural and RTA Transit Center located at 40 S. Edwin C. Moses Blvd. Twenty-five dollars was the price for general admission. Forty-five dollars provided a VIP Reception & Photo, but all seats included autographed copy of her book.
Local sponsors included Victoria Rowell at her book signing at the North River Coffee House. James PR Group, WRCX,Â Bob Ross Buick, Monique's and M&R Construction Company.Ms. Rowell arrived at the Coffee House dressed in a simple gray pant suit set offÂ simple gray pant suit set off with a wide brimmed tan floppy, straw hat.
Amidst applause , she greeted the crowd, quickly walked up to theÂ platform. She began by saying, "I'm glad we're all hereÂ together. Thank you for supporting the show and all the work off the stage as well as to talk about good social Me is about her life born as on the stage. Most of you that following my career know that wherever I went, I tried to infiltrate withÂ foster care and adoption, including "Diagnosis Murder"Â "Young and the Restless". - newspaper. No one is trying was a product of the foster I even put ballet in a film thatÂ I did with Bill Cosby yearsÂ ago, but this book is about my life. I was honest, I allowed myself to listen and to mentor and I never gave up on this story because I knew it was important to pay tribute these extraordinary mentors.Â I had an interest classical ballet and it was usual because I was livingÂ on a farm at the time, but I want to think that it's not so unusual that I had a good experience. I want to say that there are thousandsÂ people out there some of them not registered because they don't want to be bothered by governmentÂ raising other people's children. It's unfortunate when itÂ gets into the media because that story must be told too about children that are tortured and killed. This happens."
Ms. Rowell noted that thistorturing and killing of children also happens outside of foster care. She then said,Â "But I have an equitable share of media time to talk about good foster parents and to talk about good social workers and the justices that do really care. They're outÂ there too and they don't get a fair share of the front ofÂ TIMEÂ magazine NEWSWEEK,Â fronts of papers and in theÂ newspaper. No one is trying to talk about the janitor that teaches the child how to tell time. Nobody is talking about the bus driver that picked meÂ up every single night and got me home safely. No one is talking about the ninety plus year old woman -that never forgot about me and wanted me to be her daughter, but sheÂ couldn't because she was iWhite. No one is talking about these people, but I am.
So, we're at twenty-two onÂ the "New York Times" best sellers list and we have five stars on Amazon.com. I'mÂ sharing this with you because you have made it happen."Â Ms. Rowell put her tour together because her publishing house was not going to.
She shared this. "I had to it because like Toni Morrison said - it's the women in the salons, the women on the bus,Â it's the women and the men who care about the real deal. If I can't invest in myself and buy myself a plane ticket to come to see you, then something is wrong. So I'm here, I'm ready to read and eady to sign."
The Women Who Raised Me is about her life born as a ward of the state of Maine. She was a child of an unmarried Yankee bluebloodÂ mother and unknown Black father. Ms. Rowell is one that the beat the odds - though she was a product of the fosterÂ care system. According to theÂ promotional card, "Her experience was nothing short of miraculous, thanks to several extraordinary women who stepped forward to love, nurture, guide, teach, and challenge her to become the accomplished actress, philanthropist and mother that sheÂ is today."
Prior to her signingÂ Â Erica Littlejohn Burnette presented Victoria with a beautiful tote bag from "Our Own Image" filledÂ special gifts. Another presentation came from "Desserts By Ann" which she immediately tasted and expressed her delight.
A PASSIONATE READING EXPERIENCE
Victoria Rowell pens memoir that applauds foster care
By ERICKA P. THOMPSON Staff WriterÂ
There isn't enough meaning be hind the word passion to describe Victoria Rowell.
When speakirig about her role in the world, her life in foster care and the need for mentors, the actress/ dancer enunciates every word with such power as if it could be her last.
Asked what made her decide to write her memoir The Women Who Raised Me about Jier journey as foster youth, "The Young and the Restless" star didn't pause for a second to give an answer.
"This book is a reflection to reflect on all of those people in the world who are unsung heroes," she said from her hotel room in New Orleans. "That's why I was summoned to write this book. It's not my story exclusively. It's the story of millions of people out there."
A candid and warm memoir, Row- ell pays special respect to women who entered her life as foster mothers, caregivers, social service workers, neighbors, friends, teachers, grand dames and mentors who guided and raised her after her birth mother could not.
Calling herself a conduit, Rowell says she's living her life to bring message of hope.
"Not only to my 500,OOO-plus foster brothers and sisters but a message to the world that children matter" she says. "The message of this book is bigger than me being in foster care. It's about the people out there who are faceless - the children as well as the mentors. This is to bring attention to the world pandemic of children and orphans that we need mentoring and we need parents."
A mother of a 17-year-old daughter Maya, and a 11-year-old son Jasper by jazz musician Wynton Marsalis, Rowell says she began writing letters at age 9 as an act of reciprocity to her second foster mother Agatha Armstead when she had gone away during the summer to take advantage of her first ballet scholarship.
"To revisit these people who were so colorful and rich in character and wisdom was as joyous as it was painful," she said. "It was the most cathartic experience. But caution reconcile with your life so you can go into it freely and rejoice and celebrate as I did. celebrated my experience very much so but that's after much reconciliation."
"Agatha wrote so beautifully, not only was her penmanship art but she wrote in such a vivid passion that I was inspired to write back in the same way," she says. "So she became my first writing tutor"
If Agatha had the opportunity to read The Women Who Raised Me she would undoubtedly be proud of Rowell's own vivid passion from the first sentence to the last.
If you've witnessed the enthusi asm in Rowell when she acts or the gracefulness in her body when she dances, then you expect nothing less in her first book.
*Tve already started writing second book TheMen Who Raised Me? said Rowell. "I'm not finished because writing is never final. There is always more."
Rowell who will host alecture and book signing May 3 at the Madame Walker Theatre Center says she can't wait to meet her fans. Calling them "brothers, sisters and extended family." She also says she's aware they aren't coming only to have their favorite actress sign a book.
Speaking on the 30O fans that filled a small bookstore in New Or leans she says, "People didn't show up exclusively because it was me signing their books. They came because of the soulful experience and that's some thing you can't put a price on "
And that she says makes her proud of the women who raised her.
"They poured everything they had into me. They never watered down a lesson; they never thought I was unlovable or not teachable," Rowell emotionally says. "They just gave me everything they had for the measly $87 a month they got in return. It makes me feel proud and I hope I'm doing them proud."
As you may or may not know, Victoria is national spokesperson for Casey Family Services which was founded by the founder of UPS. So we celebrate UPS turning 100 and the committment through, Casey Family Services, that UPS has shown to foster children.
Author-actor salutes her female mentors
By Amy Canfield
Victoria Rowell strives to live up to
her legacy, a cherished bequest of love and support from the remarkable
women who brought her up. And that's why Rowell, former soap opera star,
prime-time TV and film actress and classical ballet dancer, wrote The
Women Who Raised Me (Morrow, $25.95), a New York Times bestseller now in
its seventh printing. The memoir, an account of Rowell's childhood in
the foster care system and beyond, is a testament to the women who
guided her from birth.
"They passed their wisdom on to me, and
that's my inheritance," says Rowell from New York. She appears Sunday
at Miami Book Fair International".