Victoria Justice Inspires Teens To 'Act Out Loud' (EXCLUSIVE)

Half-Puerto Rican actress Victoria Justice is getting involved and forming part of a new campaign, Act Out Loud, which educates teens about driver safety and how to avoid accidents on the road. We chatted with the star of Nickelodeon's hit show, Victorious, about National Youth Safety Month, her new movie Fun Size, what she loves doing in her spare time, and more!

What made you form part of Act Out Loud?

It’s a national organization for youth safety about teens and driving and forcing teen-driving safety laws. I learned that 11 teens die in car crashes daily and that the upcoming summer months are the deadliest time for teens behind the wheel, and car crashes are the number one cause of death amongst teens. As a teenager — and I also have a 15-year-old sister — I found that devastating and shocking and I wanted to be able to use my voice to help reach out to this audience and to help spread the word about how we can all be safer behind the wheel.

Why do you think these statistics are so high?

I think it comes from being an inexperienced, new driver. Driving is a huge responsibility and there are already so many distractions just when you’re on the road but adding other distractions like, texting while driving and taking phone calls can be even worse. So I think we all have to use better judgment sometimes and be aware of all the distractions and try to avoid them. At the end of the day safety is the most important thing and as these statistics show, these situations can lead to something horrible and possibly fatal so I think it’s important that we all take action. 

Tell us about your upcoming movie, Fun Size.

It’s my first leading role in a feature film for Paramount, and it comes out October 26 of this year. The cast and the crew were both phenomenal. Josh Schwartz is directing the film and it’s his first time directing a feature film. He created Gossip Girl, and the O.C. and I think he has a great eye. I felt confident attaching myself to the project because I love the script as well and because I think he’s so talented. There are a lot of really funny scenes, but it also has a lot of dramatic and very sweet, real moments. I’m excited to see everyone’s reaction.

What is your character like?

My character Wren is kind of dealing with lots of teen angst, she kind of struggles with her relationship with her mom and her situation in a single-parent home. My character wants to be going to a senior-year party, but instead she’s forced to babysit her little brother on Halloween and ends up loosing him along the way. It all takes place on one night, on Halloween. So things get really crazy and the situation gets very interesting. So it’ll be really cool. 

Do you see yourself covering roles that kind of stray away from the comedy?

Yeah, I do think about that. I’m surrounded by a lot of really talented people. I felt like I was really in good hands on this film. Hopefully as my film career continues I can play different roles that people aren’t expecting to see me as. I’d love to sink my teeth into something a little bit deeper and more dramatic roles.

What do you like doing on your spare time?

I only had six free days off last year, so whenever I do [have free time] I just kind of lay low and hang out at home with my family and my two dogs, Sammy and Sophie. I’m really into going to improv shows. I like being active and riding a bike around my neighborhood and exercising when I can. I love reading, writing music, finding new music, and eating - I’m a huge foodie.

What’s your favorite Latin dish?

I’m half Puerto Rican and every Friday we have rice and beans and chicken in my house - so that’s like a very Latin-staple. It’s just so comforting. I look forward to every single Friday because I just can’t wait for my rice and beans and chicken. [Laughs]

What other projects are you working on?

I’m really focused on season 3 [of Victorious] right now and the music on the show. It takes up a lot of my time right now, it’s definitely a huge commitment, and I love doing it. After that I’m focusing on doing a tour this summer, I’m going to be rehearsing a lot for that and prepping for that. There’s a lot going on this year and it’s crazy that this is all happening. I feel really, really lucky.

Visit Act Out Loud to learn more about National Youth Traffic Safety Month.