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‘Hard-wired for the moment’: Victoria Powell leads first Black-owned interior design series

The cast of “Trash vs Treasure.” (Courtesy of Dina White)

Victoria Rowell is a trailblazer.

The actress is best known for her role as Drucilla Winters on “The Young & the Restless.”

Since leaving the soap opera in 2007, she’s made moves as a content creator.

She’s the driving force behind a few new cable projects, including the UMC original series, “Trash vs Treasure.”

UMC is the first streaming service created for Black TV and film from AMC Network.

Rowell is leading the first Black-owned and -produced interior design TV series.

“I believe that I was hard-wired for the moment,” Rowell says in a recent interview. “All the experience that I’ve had over the years, I’m able to provide jobs behind the camera.”

“Trash vs Treasure” follows Rowell on a determined journey to help families with varying struggles of living in confined and cluttered spaces, by reimagining those spaces while repurposing and rehabilitating furniture, resulting in renewed homes and lives.

Rowell helps three tightknit families in the Los Angeles area and Kingston, Jamaica.

These families include a grandmother with severe health ailments and limited mobility, living with her daughter and several grandchildren; a single mother of five who survived domestic violence and homelessness and recovered from drug addiction, living in a small studio apartment with her teenage son; and a single mother living in challenging conditions with her two children, particularly a home filled with furniture left behind after the passing of her mother.

Victoria Rowell is the driving force behind the series, “Trash vs Treasure” and “The Rich & the Ruthless.” (Courtesy of Dina White)

“The impetus behind the series is my foster care background,” she explains. “I spent 18 years in foster care. Ordinary people would make space for me. My primary caregiver, Agatha Wooten Armstead, was a mother of 10, and she worked hard to own property. They weren’t elaborate properties, but she owned many properties.”

Wooten Armstead shared everything with Rowell.

“Her knowledge and wisdom, she is the foundation of the inspiration,” Rowell says. “She taught me everything has value. If you find an item at a ReStore or garage sale, it has value. Because something is tarnished or chipped doesn’t mean you toss it out.”

Rowell hopes the series will change how we look at people who are struggling.

“(Think of) those trying to reemerge into society and are laden with the appendage of addiction,” she says. “Because a person is tossed out in the gutter, we should be helping our brothers and sisters.”

Rowell says the series also shines a light on people being affected by the pandemic.

“It does cross below poverty lines in many cases,” she says of the show. “Often, invisible people who are not regarded as part of society. I was one of those people, and I still work in foster care. I know the suffering of having been homeless in New York City at one point – then having a full scholarship at American Ballet Theatre.”

Rowell’s other project finds her behind the camera.

With the film “Everything is Fine,” streaming on BET HER, Rowell stepped outside her comfort zone to direct.

The film stars Charmin Lee and Malachi Malik and features a cameo appearance by former NFL star Vernon Davis.

The film, written by Dez White, shows the charmed life of an affluent Black family that seems to have it all but faces a challenge with their estranged son who struggles to hold on to reality with the confidential help of his younger sister.

Rowell will also star in two films on BET HER in October.

The films are “Like, Comment, Subscribe,” directed by Sheryl Lee Ralph, and “A Long Look in the Mirror,” directed by Vanessa Bell Calloway.

Rowell is also getting ready to film another series, “The Rich & the Ruthless,” in which she plays Kitty Barringer.

“Being able to create content has always been my vision,” she says. “Everyone deserves to live in beauty. I’m trying to make a difference.”

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