appearance on Gilmore Girls and rose to fame in the Nickelodeon series Zoey 101 and Victorious.
As she balances her TV, musical, and film projects (her comedy Outskirts premieres in 2015), the 21-year-old actress and singer keeps busy on Twitter, treating her 8.3 million fans to periodical “follow sprees”, in which her biggest supporters vie passionately for a virtual nod from the star.
All this attention could easily seem overwhelming, but Justice says she stays grounded thanks to her close bond with her family, as well as her decision to avoid reading negative comments about herself online. Parade.com spoke with Justice about her rise to fame at a young age, her partnership with the Jet Blue Soar With Reading Program, and her recent surprise marriage proposal.
What’s the best way for a fan to get a follow from you on Twitter?
“I definitely pay attention to the people who have been supporting me for a while.”
Justice at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards. (Getty Images)
Who are your favorite people to follow on Twitter?
“I like reading tweets that are inspirational and positive, so I like reading tweets from like the Dalai Lama. There’s this site called Tiny Buddha that I also love. And I like reading my sister’s tweets! It’s nice when I’m away filming a movie or traveling or whatever to be able to see what she’s up to and what she’s doing.”
Do you tend to read stories about yourself online or do you try to avoid them?
“I try to avoid reading stuff online because I feel like so much of it [doesn't] have truth to it. Yeah, I try and steer clear…people will definitely send me hateful tweets and just negative things, and I try and just not even pay attention to that or acknowledge it and let that sort of thing into my life.”
You’ve been in the business from a really young age—how do you think you stay grounded despite your fame?
“I spend a lot of time with my family. I’m super close to my mom. She travels with me pretty much all the time and she’s my best friend, so I think she keeps me grounded in a lot of ways. She doesn’t sugar coat anything, which I love. She always tells me exactly what she thinks and keeps it completely real, and I really respect and admire her for that. She’s just an amazing role model and a great influence for me in my life.”
You’ve risen to fame alongside other Nickelodeon and Disney stars like Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus. Do you feel a connection to them?
“I guess we can all relate to each other as far as media [attention]–the fact that people will just say things about you online and make up things, and that sort of thing. But I think at the end of the day…we’re all just following our own path and doing our own thing, and I think that’s all you really can do.”
We heard you recently received an unexpected marriage proposal?
“I was in Australia doing a signing and this guy got on one knee and had the ring and everything and was like, ‘Victoria, will you marry me? Like, let’s do this.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, we don’t know each other very well!’ and you know, was trying to joke about it. And he was like, ‘Oh, well, we can get to know each other. We should do dinner tonight.’ It was just a really bizarre thing, and it was very sweet, but I think it got taken a little too far at a certain point! But for the most part, fan encounters have been really great, and they’ve all been really supportive and kind and sweet, and especially the relationships with the fans that I’ve got on Twitter has been really amazing and supportive. For the most part, it’s been really good.”
There’s been a lot of talk online about your upcoming album. Do you have any details you can share?
“I’ve been working on this album for a long time and I’ve kind of put it on pause because I’ve been focusing on acting for a while. So, yeah, I can’t really share any other details on that right now—it’s not really my main focus. But I’m super passionate about music and I definitely will be releasing some of my own music soon.”
You’ve partnered with the Jet Blue Soar With Reading program. What inspired you to get involved?
“I think it’s a great initiative and great campaign, and I’ve been an avid reader ever since I was little. It’s something that I’ve always loved, and I just the fact that we’re so close to reaching our goal of $500,000 worth of books for underprivileged kids…is amazing. Hopefully we can just keep spreading the word and keep kids reading everywhere.”
What fictional character do you most look up to?
“I haven’t read the book yet, but I do want to read it, and I’ve seen the movie, The Fault In Our Stars. I really love Shailene Woodley’s character in that film and also Augustus Waters, who’s played by Ansel Elgort. It’s such a beautiful love story, and she’s such a strong, great female character, and despite the fact that she is battling this horrible illness, she still tries to have this positive attitude. I just love her outlook on life, so I really love that character.”
Your high school comedy Outskirts comes out next year. What are some of the things you like about working on a movie versus a TV show?
“That’s a great question. I feel like the style of acting that I did on Victorious on Nickelodeon is very different from what I’m doing when I’m in a film. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing the same character—like Tori Vega was so much fun, and Lola on Zoey  was so much fun, and playing a character for all these years you get really comfortable in that character’s skin. But it’s also really cool to be able to do different film projects and get to like take on a new and exciting role and challenge yourself and transform yourself. I think that’s really a very exciting part of the process.”