To celebrate Women’s History Month, we’re championing our incredible women across our global studios who we admire on a daily basis. Throughout March we will be sharing their personal stories, inspirations and career challenges. Next up is Victoria Leger, VFX Supervisor from Mikros MPC, Paris.
Victoria joined Mikros MPC in 2017 after completing her studies at ArtFX school in the south of France. She began working as a graphic designer before quickly progressing to a VFX Supervisor. At our Paris studio Victoria has collaborated on a wide range of projects including the legendary campaign for France 3 Les Marmottes and most recently a beautiful film for Chanel n° 5 featuring Marion Cotillard.
Read Victoria’s Inside MPC (women’s edition) interview below.
Can you share your story with us – where did you get your start? How did you get to where you are today and what has your journey been like as a woman in both work and life?
Born and raised in Paris, I developed a big interest in computer graphics from a very early age, and I was fascinated by the cinema industry. This is why I turned towards VFX and decided to move to the south of France to complete my studies at ArtFX school. As soon as I finished my studies, I was hired by Mikros MPC. I found a place where I could work on many different types of projects, with benevolent people that helped me and gave me the opportunity to grow as a graphic designer.
Even though women have always been a minority, I have never suffered from being a woman in my education or in my professional life. I admit this is not the case for every woman. Is it because I’ve never let anyone treat me differently, positively or negatively, because I am a woman? Maybe. Or it’s more likely just because I’ve been lucky.
I know many women have not had the chance to go through the same smooth experience as I have, and I have to say it has taken me some time to understand that more difficult situations did or do exist, but they shouldn’t. In my personal life, the only occasion when I wished I wasn’t a woman was when I experienced harassment in the street and had a fear being alone in the street at night.
How has your industry changed culturally since you started your career? What support / knowledge / collaboration within the industry would help to make positive change?
I’ve not been in the industry for a long time, so this is hard for me to comment on the changes. However, I think that more conversations have been taking place in the past few years. Not always in the right way unfortunately, but at least, we start having conversations.
I think that the most important thing is the dialogue and not the confrontation. I feel that there is a tendency to set women and men against each other or point fingers to the bad behaviors of some groups of people rather than considering that the issue comes from our society and that we’re all responsible for the current situation. For me, you can’t claim equality if you don’t start a dialogue that is based on equality.
Conferences, speeches, videos, articles, can be a great source of inspiration, and we need these things, but the solution can’t be found in one-way communication. Even the greatest ideas can be wasted if not communicated in the right way. And nobody has the final solution, I think it can only be found in open conversations with multiple points of view. We should have these conversations anytime, with anybody, at work and out of the workplace, and we need to feel free to have them.
The theme of this month is ‘Women in Leadership’ what women in leadership inspires you? And who in your life are you being inspirational for?
Honestly, there is no woman nor man that has been particularly inspiring for me. I’m inspired by a lot of different human beings, but if I had to choose someone, my choice wouldn’t be affected by her or his gender.
Obviously, we need leaders. Some people are natural leaders and others need to grow this skill. I think that management teams, with the support of human resources, should support the development of the leadership skills and provide the means for the people to develop themselves as leaders. Companies should make sure they do what’s necessary to make people feel like they’re allowed to grow and take new positions, whatever the gender.
If you could go back, what one piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
None – I would let myself go through the same mistakes and learn from them in the same way.
What challenges do you see for equality in society today?
I think that the greatest challenge is to find a way to stop labelling people or confining them in a given category, and begin to consider people completely out their gender, their ethnicity or their sexual orientation.
As an example, I am almost the first female to work as 3D supervisor in the Advertising department of Mikros MPC. It could be considered as an honor however I really don’t like mentioning it. I feel it’s just creating another difference. I really do not want my work become an example of what you get when you put a female in this role. It’s a responsibility that I don’t want to carry. Either if I fail or succeed, the responsibility is mine and mine alone, it has nothing to do with being a woman.
What have been some of biggest struggles and triumphs as a woman in business?
I think that I evolved in a quite peaceful and caring environment. When I started, the only thing I had to fight for was to be considered as a graphist, like anyone else, and that I shouldn’t be treated cautiously, professionally or socially, because I’m a woman. I think this may have contributed to grow my credibility as a graphic designer.
Describe the 3 characteristics about yourself that you believe led to your success in business.
– Defining myself by other characteristics than just my gender
– Having good relationships with my coworkers, not letting my gender impact or influence on my relationships.
– Not being afraid to say what I think.
Can you tell us about previous projects you’ve worked on and link to your work?
A year after I joined Mikros MPC, I worked on the 2018 legendary campaign for France 3 Les Marmottes. It was so funny to work on and a great professional adventure. It was all about real teamwork to bring these marmottes to life and make them act in incongruent situations. The most incredible part was seeing the audiences passion and reaction towards the marmottes, even now!
Lately I’ve worked on the beautiful film for Chanel n° 5 featuring Marion Cotillard. There was a real challenge to create the extent of gold on the moon and particularly as we had to work through lockdown. For this project, we collaborated as a close-knit craft team. Everyone shared their ideas efficiently despite the conditions.
So through my 4-year career within Mikros MPC, I have worked on a very diverse range of projects and have been lucky to have the opportunity to develop my skills further and evolve.
What woman has positively impacted/inspired you in your career, and what’s one lesson she taught you?
A lot of caring people have been extremely supportive of me, and it just so happens that the vast majority of them have been men, because well, there are more men than women in our industry. But again, it doesn’t matter to me. I only see people who have supported me in my journey as a human being. At no time has this support been tainted or affected by our genders.
What’s something interesting you’re currently working on? Personal or professional.
My first project as a 3D supervisor, it’s a real adventure for me.