The Women Who Raised Me
By Victoria Rowell
(William Morrow Paperbacks, Paperback, 9780061246609, 352pp.)
Publication Date: May 2008
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Born as a ward of the state of Maine, the child of an unmarried Yankee blueblood mother and an unknown black father, Victoria Rowell beat the odds. The Women Who Raised Me is the remarkable story of her rise out of the foster care system to attain the American Dream—and of the unlikely series of women who lifted, motivated, and inspired her along the way.
From Agatha Armstead—a black Bostonian who was Victoria's longest-term foster mother and first noticed her spark of creativity and talent—to Esther Brooks, a Paris-trained prima ballerina who would become her first mentor at the Cambridge School of Ballet—The Women Who Raised Me is a loving, vivid portrait of all the women who would help Victoria transition out of foster care and into New York City's wild worlds of ballet, acting, and adulthood. Though Victoria would go on to become an accomplished television and film star, she still carried the burden of loneliness and anxiety, particularly common to those "orphans of the living" who are never adopted. Vividly recalled and candidly told, her story is transfixing, redemptive, heartbreaking, and, ultimately, inspiring.
At age eight, Victoria Rowell won a Ford Foundation grant to study ballet and later went on to train and dance professionally under the auspices of the American Ballet Theatre, Twyla Tharp Workshop, and the Juilliard School before becoming an actress. She is the founder of the Rowell Foster Children Positive Plan, which provides scholarships in the arts and education to foster youth, and serves as national spokesperson for the Annie E. Casey Foundation/Casey Family Services. Rowell is an award-winning actress and veteran of many acclaimed feature films and several television series, including eight seasons on Diagnosis Murder, and has starred for the past thirteen years as Drucilla Winters on CBS's #1 daytime drama The Young and the Restless.