Victoria Justice was born on February 19, 1993, in Hollywood, Florida, to Serene and Zack Justice. Her mother is Puerto Rican and her father is of English, German, and Irish descent. She first developed an interest in acting when she was 8 years old after watching a children's commercial. She and her family relocated to Hollywood, California, in 2003. In 2005, she auditioned and was accepted into the musical theatre program at Los Angeles' renowned Performing Arts Magnet school. Her family moved from Hollywood, Florida, to Los Angeles when she was 11 after Justice had stated she wanted to be a part of filming commercials as well as television series and films. Victoria Justice has done commercials for companies such as Ralph Lauren, Gap and Guess. She appeared in national commercials for Mervyn's, Peanut Butter Toast Crunch and Ovaltine.
2003–09: Beginnings and Zoey 101
Victoria Justice first began her acting career when she was 10 years old, when she made a guest appearance on the Gilmore Girls episode "The Hobbit, the Sofa and Digger Stiles". Justice portrayed Jill #2 in a walk-on role. After her appearance in the series, her family moved to Los Angeles, when Justice stated she wanted a career in acting. The following year, Justice guest starred on the second episode of the Disney channel series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, in which she plays a young pageant contestant named Rebecca. Later, Justice was awarded a role in the 2005 drama-thriller Mary. Justice portrayed the role of Stella, a young girl who begins seeing visions of Mary Magdalene. After informing her family of this, they take her to see a psychiatrist, who places her on medication. Later that night, when Mary comes back, Stella takes her medicine and ignores her. This leads Mary to give Stella's sister the task instead. The film debuted at 2005 Venice Film Festival, before being showed at several other Festivals, including the 2005 Toronto Film Festival, Deauville Film Festival and San Sebastián International Film Festival.
In 2006, while filming episodes for Zoey 101, Victoria Justice made a guest appearance on an episode of the series Everwood, in the episode "Enjoy the Ride". Justice made her theatrical film debut that year, when she was given a cameo role in the film Unknown. The film was a financial failure, and received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film currently has a 39% approval rate, and only has a 44% approval rate on metacritic.
2006 also saw Victoria Justice in her first major theatrical role, when she was awarded the supporting role of Holly in the thriller film The Garden. The film was met with negative reviews from critics, with Tex Massacre of Bloody Disgusting giving the film a score of 3 out of 10, stating, "Overflowing with way too much exposition, and a barrage of scenes that offer little more than the actors looking pensive, The Garden felt like five movies – five long strange never-ending tales that were designed to suck the very soul from my body. Perhaps it felt that way because it took me 5 sittings to finally make it through the film!"
2007 and 2008 saw Victoria Justice focusing on the third and fourth seasons of Zoey 101, which was coming to a close. Victoria Justice released her debut single midway through 2007, while she was still filming Zoey 101. The song was a cover of the Vanessa Carlton song, "A Thousand Miles". The song failed to make an impact on any charts, had little promotion, and no music video was filmed or released. When being interviewed about in 2010 about her musical career, Justice has stated "My family could always tell, ever since I was little, that music is something that's always come natural to me and that I've always wanted to do. It's something that's just been in my blood. Ever since I was little, I was taking tap classes, jazz classes, hip-hop classes, acting classes. I just always wanted to cultivate that and do that more. But, the moment where I actually realized, "Woah, this is something that I can actually do for the rest of my life and maybe be successful at," was actually the pilot of Victorious when I did the performance number for the first time. I just remember standing on stage and seeing all these people looking at me and I was nervous. And then, the music started and I started dancing around and really feeling it and having an amazing time, and that's when it clicked for me that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life." May 2, 2008 saw the airing of the final episode of the series.
After the success of The Naked Brothers Band special in which Victoria Justice guest starred, producers insisted on placing her in yet another episode. The episode, titled "The Premiere", debuted on April 11, 2009. Shortly afterward, it was announced that Victoria Justice would be guest starring on a special episode of the hit television series iCarly. The episode, which aired on August 8, 2009 saw Justice portraying ring fighter Shelby Marx. After Carly jokingly states she could beat Marx in a fight, Marx goes to Carly's home and challenges her. The plan is to rig the fight, so no one really is hurt. The fight is set to air on TV as well. However, after Carly's enemy, Nevel, intervenes, the fight turns real. The special was later released onto a DVD of the same name, which features not only the episode, but also has three other iCarly episodes, including "iDate a Bad Boy", "iCarly Awards", and "iLook Alike". The DVD also includes Big Time Audition, the pilot movie of Big Time Rush. September 26 saw the release of the True Jackson, VP episode "True Crush", which featured an appearance by Victoria Justice. On its original airdate, the show received 3.6 million viewers.
Victoria Justice guest-starred on the Nickelodeon television series, The Troop, in which she portrays an Eris Fairy who has been running around the school breaking up couples in love in the episode "Speed."
2010–present: Victorious and other projects
Victoria Justice confirmed that she would be receiving her own musical show on Nickelodeon, explaining the show's genesis thus: "I was on Zoey 101. When I was 12, Dan Schneider cast me as a new character, Lola Martinez. From there, I worked with him for three years, on three seasons of Zoey 101. And, after that, Dan found out that I could also sing and dance as well as act, so he thought it would be really cool to create a show for me on Nickelodeon, called Victorious." The pilot for the show, which was presented as a special for the series, debuted on March 27, 2010, and received 5.7 million views, making it the highest rated premiere for a live-action Nickelodeon series. The original broadcast of this episode was an extended cut, all subsequent airings had various scenes and lines were removed to conform to its time-slot. The extended cut version can be downloaded on iTunes and was featured on the iCarly DVD iSpace Out. The series premiere received generally positive reviews from critics. Brian Lowry of variety.com said of the shows debut "The difference between "Big Time Rush" – Nickelodeon's lackluster first collaboration with Sony Music—and their latest joint venture, "Victorious," rests almost entirely on 17-year-old Victoria Justice's petite shoulders. Both shows are near plot-free and set in a high school for the performing arts, as if the original "Fame" were given a frontal lobotomy. But Victoria Justice is winsome and talented enough to provide the latest show a leg up in connecting with tween girls—and not incidentally, maybe selling some music in the process." Common Sense Media praised Justice's role in the series, stating, "Victorious marks Victoria Justice’s rise from successful supporting roles in Zoey 101 and Spectacular! to the center stage, and like her TV counterpart, she proves she’s worthy of the promotion. Tweens will find much to like in this upbeat comedy – original music, dance, and plenty of mild teen drama – and the fact that Tori always emerges with unwavering self-assurance sends positive vibes to impressionable viewers."
Victoria Justice returned to the recording studio to record music for the series in 2010. She recorded the series first featured song, which also serves as the theme song, titled "Make It Shine". The single had little success charting in the U.S., however it did manage to reach 16 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 singles chart. Several other songs have been featured in the series, including "You're the Reason", "Finally Falling", "Beggin' on Your Knees","Best Friend's Brother" and "Tell Me That You Love Me". Justice performed her third official single, "Freak the Freak Out", during the Victorious special episode of the same name. The single became her third song to receive an official release, after "A Thousand Miles" and "Make It Shine" and was officially released on November 22, 2010. The single has become her first song to chart on any major chart, when it debuted at 78 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Justice performed the song live for the first time at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
In a 2010 interview with the Associated Press, Victoria Justice stated that she is recording an album but will take her time with the process, rather than rush it, and write the songs on the album. But, she is very excited waiting for it. In March 2011 The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Justice had landed the lead role in the coming of age comedy Fun Size (set for release in October 2012). Justice will play the part of Wren and the movie will also feature stars such as Johnny Knoxville, Chelsea Handler and Josh Pence.