You may have heard 25-year-old Victoria Robertson singing in the chorus with the San Diego Opera over the past five years (most recently Madama Butterfly) or soloing the national anthem at a Miramar Air Show. Or you may have seen her modeling in international print ads and catalogs for Kyocera cell phones and Road Runner Sports. If you hang around La Jolla's Living Room on Thursday nights, you might have caught her with acoustic guitar (Taylor model 414, made in El Cajon) and perhaps a band, performing (self-described) "Acoustic-pop-Sheryl-Crow-meets-Jewel-with-a-touch-of-Sarah-McLachlan" style originals. If you're in the armed forces, however, you probably know her as Miss USO San Diego, a post she's held since shortly after relinquishing her Miss San Diego crown from the 1998 Miss America competition. "People think the USO died with Bob Hope, World War II, or maybe Vietnam, but the entertainment department is still out there playing all kinds of training bases, all over the world, in war and in peacetime. We've even landed on aircraft carriers, coming down in this little plane on a postage-stamp--sized spot on the ocean and then playing on a stage at the flight line!"
Accommodations for her and her backup band are paid by the USO when they perform far-flung places like Germany, England, the Netherlands, and Thule Air Base in Greenland (where only 700 troops were stationed). "The A-list performers are building morale in the war zones. We get sent to the other places, where the support troops are warming up." She says she'd have no problem going to a hot zone like Iraq. "I'll sing wherever they send me, wherever they think I can do some good. No matter what your politics are, whether you're for or against the war itself, the men and women in uniform are just doing their job. They deserve support."
Only one other state has a Miss USO -- New York -- and that post is voted annually via pageantry and judges. "I'm told they'll let me be Miss USO San Diego until either the troops don't like me anymore or I can't sing. I hope that's a long time away. Boy, that'll be a sad day when they come up to me and say, 'It's time.' "
A CD-release party for Robertson's On My Mind is set for Lestat's in Kensington tomorrow night, November 12. It's available locally and at www.victoriarobertson.com.
Favorite Local Restaurants?
Beach House, Cardiff ("I like the steak sandwich.")
The Olympic Café, University and Texas, North Park ("It looks dodgy but they have great Greek food.")
Café Forte, North Park ("The Italian wedding soup, or any sandwich.")
Ono Sushi, Hillcrest ("I usually get the spicy tuna and shrimp tempura.")
Marine Room, La Jolla ("They have a great surf 'n' turf.")
Five Celebrities You'd Never Date:
Ben Affleck ("I don't think he has good taste in women.")
Bill Clinton ("He's very untrustworthy.")
Mick Jagger ("I hear he's into, um, eccentric stuff.")
Ben Stiller ("He's funny looking.")
Elton John ("I don't think he'd want to date me either.")
Desert Island Discs?
David Gray, White Ladder
Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms
Shelby Lynne, I Am Shelby Lynne
Fono, It's the Way That You Use It
Aimee Mann, Magnolia soundtrack
Top Gun ("That's what got me started on all this military stuff.")
The Lion King ("The Elton John soundtrack is beautiful.")
Seabiscuit ("I love horses.")
Spider-Man ("I really felt like I was in another world for a while.")
Movies based on Jane Austen books ("I like Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma.")