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Victoria Justice: Nick starlet eyes bigscreen debut

Youth Impact Report 2011: Channeling Talent

Impact: Parlayed the success of her popular “Victorious” show into a music career.
Next: Feature films “Fun Size” and “The First Time,” plus a solo album through Sony/Columbia.
Causes: Girl Up, a U.N. Foundation campaign that encourages girls in the U.S. to help create a better future for girls in developing countries.

Review Victoria Justice’s credits and one thing is clear: It’s not just Nickelodeon behind her; she’s the darling of Viacom. Dan Schneider created the Nick TV series “Victorious” as a starring vehicle for his former “Zoey 101” actress, she’s got a much-hyped track on the “Footloose” soundtrack and she’ll star in Josh Schwartz’s “Fun Size” for Paramount.

“She’s beautiful enough to be a model, yet as an actress, she’s fearless in her comedy. She’ll commit to anything to make something funny,” says Paula Kaplan, Nickelodeon’s executive VP of talent. “And of course, she can sing. That’s a rare commodity.”

Set at a performing-arts high school where Justice has ample opportunity to demonstrate her various skills, “Victorious” is Nick’s highest-rated series among kids 6-11 and earned a 2011 Emmy nomination. The song-filled skein is a joint venture with Sony Music, who released a tie-in album with performances by Justice and the cast that hit the Billboard Top 200 chart at No. 5. Hoping to capitalize on that success, Justice is busy writing songs for her first solo album.

The 18-year-old will also branch out from her Viacom support network, making her feature debut in Warner Bros.’ “The First Time.” “The character I play is different from what I’m doing on Nickelodeon, which is very good for me and very refreshing,” she says.

Justice believes the key to her success is being strategic about her choices. “I’m staying true to myself and to scripts that I like and I want to be a part of,” she says. “I’m not going to do things just for the money or just for attention. I want to carve out a career.”

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