Focus, faith guide Lambert’s successful rise

Vicky Lambert is a rising star. — SUBMITTED PHOTO

Vicky Lambert, formally of West Philadelphia, is making her imprint on the world — literally.  A repertoire dancer, Hollywood and stage actress, professional runway and print fashion model, and Christian disciple, Lambert is living life abundantly.

The daughter of the Rev. Emanuel Lambert and Martina Lambert, she is a former member of Sharon Baptist Church. Her local education ties included Overbrook Elementary School, Masterman Junior High School, Performing Arts High School, and Overbrook High School. She currently resides in Los Angeles, Calif. 

Lambert’s awards and acclaim are numerous, according to IMDb (Internet Movie Database), she is the first African American to be crowned the Princess Grace of Monaco Award. She was a principal dancer with the world famous Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and Dance Magazine cited her as a credible heir to Judith Jamison (Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre). She toured with Grammy Award-winning artist Barry Manilow as a dancer in his hugely successful Copacabana U.S. concert tour and her extraordinary dancing skills landed her roles in feature films such as Chicago (starring Richard Gere and Queen Latifah) and Disney’s Enchanted. As a dancer, Vicky has traveled the world performing with various dance companies and entertaining thousands.

“I started dancing at the ripe age of 4-years-old, but my mother says 3.  I started dancing at Philadelphia Dance Company [Philadanco],” she said. 

During this early period, Lambert said someone noticed her talents and urged her mother to put her in a more highly competitive dance environment.

“And so [my mother] took me over to the Pennsylvania Ballet, and I auditioned on scholarship and received a full scholarship to dance there. And so, I guess you would say, when I turned 10-years-old, is when I really started to get some amazing training.” she said.

Lambert credits one of her early female instructors for mentoring her and training her in classic ballet.  She was groomed in a classical Russian dance technique.

“Prima ballerinas, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and all the high echelon ballet dancers study under this really special technique,” Lambert said.

When Lambert matriculated to Villanova University, she was faced with a critical life decision: finish college or pursue a professional dance career that was quickly on the rise.

“That’s where there was a fork in the road,” she said. “My mother’s contention was, ‘Go to college so you have a back-up plan.  I was doing that to appease her, but at the same time, it was kind of derailing me, because I was trying to do both.”

Lambert left Villanova and transferred to North Carolina School of the Arts, a performing arts college that she felt could nurture and heighten her dance skills.

“And while I was there, I saw a video of an amazing dance company that I had never laid my eyes on before, because I had been in the classical realm,” she said. “I saw Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre for the first time, and I just remember thinking, ‘They do everything. I want to do that!’ 

She traveled back and forth between New York and North Carolina to audition. She was selected to join Alvin Ailey’s junior dance company. After two years of performing, she was invited into (Alvin Ailey’s) main professional dance company.

She moved to New York and parlayed her dance career into acting and modeling. As a fashion model, Lambert has appeared in major advertising campaigns for L’Oreal, American Express, Power Bar, Buick, Levis, and in top fashion magazines Vogue and GQ.

The dance, acting and modeling industries are known to have a dark underbelly of illegal drug use, rampant sexual promiscuity and other vices.  Lambert has stood on her Christian faith and values to preserve her from such decadence.  She said she had to be very “in tune and very sensitive to what’s going on around and what’s going on inside.” 

“Many times,” Lambert said, “I’ve asked God where do I fit? How do I fit in this industry that seems to be so oppose to who you are?  How do I fit in?  That’s still a constant question.” 

In Hollywood or on Broadway, “You may not always play a Christian. You may not always play the good girl.  You may not always play the person that believes [in Christ] like you do, but you constantly have to ask yourself, what is the message? At the end of the day, what is the script, or what is this ad, or what is this dance trying to say?  What is the message that this [project] is trying to say to the world?  And if I can reconcile myself with the overall message, I can kind of give myself a barometer or a system of how I need to be involved or not be involved with it.”

She currently fellowships at Saddleback Church, under the leadership of the Rev. Rick Warren, founder and senior pastor. Warren is the author of the hugely popular book: ‘A Purpose Driven Life,’ a New York bestseller that has sold millions worldwide.

Warren’s attention to details impresses Lambert, whose success as an actress-model-dancer is all about being detailed and disciplined.

“He’s so meticulous with details…details say, ‘I care.’ [At Saddleback Church] there’s just something for everyone,”  she said.

According Lambert, Saddleback’s worship experience and music are varied, diverse and appealing to reach a wide range of people.

“[Warren] has so many options [of ministry] that you can find yourself in,” she said. “There’s no way you couldn’t find your resonation.”

Lambert admits it takes personal courage to take a stand on spiritual and moral issues while working in secular-mainstream industries.

“To have that [Biblical] Daniel kind of faith, and say there are just certain things that I will not do. And to stand alone at times, and to maybe make people upset at times, to say ‘No, sorry, I can’t say that line.’ Or, to say to my agent, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t go out to that audition. I’m not comfortable with that.’  And so, there’s definitely those moments when you have to stand alone, when you have to leave to gain yourself.  To gain who you are and who you’ve been called to be.  God has His people everywhere,” she said.”  

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