When I was told that during the #InfinityWarEvent, we would be sitting down with the top female at Marvel Studios, I was probably way too excited. Victoria Alonso is the EVP of Physical Production & Avengers: Infinity War Executive Producer. To say that I would give just about anything to have her job is an understatement. I am a tad bit in to Marvel, in case you haven’t noticed, so I was really excited to pick her brain. I was secretly hoping that she was a total comic book geek like me – but everything I learned about her surprised me (and made me love her more!).
Our interview moved away from interview and entered the therapy session realm almost immediately. Since we had all just seen Infinity War the night before, this was exactly what we needed. I am not going to lie, I cried several times during our discussion with Victoria. She is a brilliant woman, and is beyond inspirational. If I can be half the woman she is, I will be happy. She started off by saying “I am best when I’m talking with you, not at you. Everything you want to know about me, you can find. I want to know what you want to know that you can’t find.” and that moment is when I knew this was going to be a once in a lifetime experience.
Inspiring Her Daughter
Since we are all parents, we asked Victoria what her daughter thinks of her career. I know that when my daughters get excited over one of my videos, or something I am covering, I love it. She let us know that her daughter has become quite popular at school thanks to one of the latest Marvel films. “My little girl is so proud. She hasn’t seen many Marvel movies. She’s seen the Guardians films and Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Ant-Man but nothing else, because she’s been quite little. She’s about to turn eight. She hasn’t seen Black Panther, but she has heard me talk about it and what it has meant to me. I don’t talk about what the movies are but what it has meant to me as a career. She hears me talk about it – whether I did press at the house or if we’re with friends. And she said to me yesterday, I know I didn’t do it, but since you made Black Panther, I’m a really popular kid.”
Victoria had the perfect response to her daughter. “I think you’re popular because of you not because of the movie. She goes, no, they all knew what you did, but now I’m the daughter. And I said, I guess that’s great.” For the record, Black Panther is an incredible movie and if you have not seen it yet, you really are missing out. There are so many lessons to learn from it, including acceptance and love.
Being a Change-Maker
Victoria told us that her daughter’s teachers invited her to do a change-maker thing at the school – and that it was a big deal. Hearing her describe the pride that her daughter felt, warmed my heart. I know what it is like to want my girls to have someone to look up to, and to understand that they can do whatever they put their minds to. “It was a big deal to me begin with. And then she repeated for about five weeks out loud, my mommy’s a change-maker. My mommy’s a change-maker. And I thought what a beautiful thing, because I knew my mother was a change-maker, but I never said it aloud because I didn’t have the words. And the fact that she has two moms to choose from. She has one mom that is one change-maker. The other one is this kickass, amazing designer, creative force, all of it. But the fact that she can say it out loud and she can look up to it is a beautiful thing.”
She truly is humble, as well. “I don’t know that I’m a change-maker. That’s what her teachers think. I’m a working mother. That’s all. That’s my title. I try to create a balance between home, life, marriage, friends, career. So, if that’s a change-maker, so be it, but that doesn’t make me any different than any of you. The Gina Davis Foundation has a tagline that says if you can see it, you can be it. So, for her seeing me or her other mother or any other woman out there doing it is what inspires her to be.”
Hurdles NOT Challenges
As most of you know, I have two small daughters. It can sometimes be difficult to show them that girls can be strong too because a lot of the girls they have to look up to in movies and shows are Princesses. Thankfully, movies like Frozen and Tangled are changing their views on Princesses. We mentioned this to Victoria and asked about her challenges she has had as a woman in the career world. Her answer was nothing short of inspiring. “I don’t see them as challenges. I just see it as a day-to-day hurdle. To me a challenge is something you can’t achieve where a hurdle is something you just need to jump over and go. Something that you want to get past is a hurdle and not a challenge. A challenge seems like something you can’t get to.”
She went on to explain that at one time, her daughter stated she wanted to be a boy. This is something I have heard from my own girls from time to time. But after the change-maker experience and really seeing what her mothers do for the world, she realized that she could be a girl, and still get things done. I hope that I have shown my daughters they can be whatever they want, and do whatever they want, even though they are girls. That is something I truly want them to understand.
When Is Violence Necessary?
I am a mother, so I know how becoming one can totally change your life and your views. I never could have dreamed that I would love a little human so much, and Victoria agrees. She let us know how becoming a mother influenced the final cuts of Marvel movies. “I know I would die for her. Hands down. You just show me where the train is. I’ll go first. That kinda feeling on a daily is like – is that stab necessary? Do we need to see that blood? Can we just stop the punchy punch? Because I’m numb. I get it that they’re superheroes and they fight, but I am bored.” Personally, I appreciate this way of thinking because my love for Marvel is something I like to share with my young daughters. I always preview one of the films before watching it with them, but I can usually trust Marvel to not go over the top with the violence. It seems like what we see is totally necessary to drive the film forward – nothing more, nothing less.
“It’s a constant question as a parent. I say ‘how am I going to explain this in the playground’, which I go to every morning to drop her off. That creates a conversation. Usually it’s me and bunch of dads, because the boys are all dads. Minus two, I think they’re all dads now. And a lot of them are dads of girls. So, that’s created a new conversation as well in the last 13 years. They’ve all gotten married and they all have children now. Every day I give it all I got. What you see is the combined efforts of hopefully the best storytelling that we could tell. Sometimes it’s a little bit geared towards the inner child of some of the comic book fans.”
Is She A Comic Book Fan?
I was really hoping to walk in to this interview and be able to chat comic books all day with Victoria. If you are a fan of my site, you know I am a total comic book nerd. But she isn’t. And honestly, that makes it so much cooler that this is her job. Her insights help make Marvel Studios what it is – a massively successful 10 years and 18 movies, so far. I think it is her “outsider” opinions that have helped to propel the studios forward. There are many audience members out there who are not comic book fans, and they need to be considered when creating these movies.
“I’m not a comic book fan. I love our movies, but La La Land or Juno or 12 Years a Slave or Moonlight, I would rather go see those movies than a superhero movie. I do see our movies, because I think they have a heart and they have a message. And they have more than one message, and it’s really up to you to see it. You can peel [Marvel] movies like an onion, and find it, and find it, and eventually you might cry.” Victoria did let us know that she cried three times while watching Avengers: Infinity War – but no spoilers here, so I won’t tell you what scenes!
If Victoria Was A Superhero…
One of my favorite questions to hear the answer to is what superpower would you like to have. For Victoria, it would be to become invisible. And her reasoning? Well, pretty much the exact same reason I would love to be invisible. “There’s certain conversations I’d like to hear. I would like to hear [my daughter]on the playground when I’m not there. I think it would interesting to just be a fly on the wall in the restaurant and hear people chat.”
— Mama's Geeky – Tessa Smith (@MamasGeeky) April 24, 2018
More Words of Wisdom
Speaking with Victoria Alonso was truly eye opening. I would be willing to bet that all of us in the room cried during our talk. She is just such an inspirational person, and someone I can (and have) learned a lot from. I have already touched on some of my favorite moments from our discussion, but these quotes also stuck with me:
- “The idea of getting out there and showing that you can is by far the most important thing.”
- “Women need to believe in their core that they’re equal. Because I see it in my daughter at seven, and she’s gonna take it over. There’s a shift somewhere along the way, I think when they turn between 12 and 15. You gotta believe it in your heart.“
- “My mom used to say if it has been done, it can. And if it hasn’t been done, it should.“
- “As moms, we forget who we are because all we do is mom. You mother this and you mother that and you parent this and you parent that and you forget who you are as a human being along the way. Because it takes all we got to parent.“
- “Show [your children]that the world is better. A world together, but we’re different. The one thing that unites us is the love. For our family, for our partners, for our children, for our country, for whatever. It doesn’t divide us. That’s really Black Panther. The love of country, the love of people, the love of the kingdom.“
- “We have a six pact [when we travel]. That if I’m gonna be away for six weeks, they either come to me or I come home. But to be honest with you, I can’t be away for more than two weeks and then I come home. I don’t care if I don’t sleep. I just I need to come home. I’m a mess if I’m not in my home with my girls. It’s harder on my body, but that’s how I do it.“
About Avengers: Infinity War
Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk and the rest of the Avengers unite to battle their most powerful enemy yet, Thanos. On a mission to collect all six Infinity Stones, Thanos plans to use the artifacts to inflict his twisted will on reality. The fate of the planet and existence itself has never been more uncertain as everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment.