Victoria Lynn Childress, director of GIRLGO, appeared on HGTV’s House Hunters International with her daughter, exploring their hometown, Orvieto, Italy and discussing the GIRLGO program!
Episode: Baby Girl Meets Orvieto; Season 134 Episode 10
How did you get on HGTV?
I spoke to some producers and coordinators circa five years ago, about being on the show. The timing was always bad and we could never align. Then I received another opportunity to finally be on the show, but this time, it would be with my toddler Daughter — which was perfect! We did the show during the summer, and afterwards I didn’t hear anything else for several months. Late one evening this past January, one of my best friends who lives in Texas messaged me, several time zones away, upset (in a comical way) that I didn’t tell her we would be on House Hunter’s International that evening. I was just as surprised as she was (and nervous)! There I was walking the cobblestone roads of Orvieto with my babygirl, in a yellow dress that I had to wear everyday for five days straight. I wanted to burn that dress. You see, we shot the episode the summer before, but I had no idea when or if it was going to air. I also didn’t know how they would tell my story. And, well, there were some interesting edits that obscured our real story and journey, to say the least, but hey, that’s TV.
What is your story or history with Italy?
I studied in Orvieto fifteen years ago as a first time study abroad student. I was just walking down the hall of my community college when I saw a big STUDY IN ROME sign on the wall. I immediately inquired, applied and spent that summer fundraising to go on the trip. Traveling so young, independently, changed the course of my life, including how I approached college, when and how I started my business, and what I ended up achieving in my life. After my experience as a student, I visited Italy almost every year until I eventually moved to the very town that I studied in, all those years prior.
What are some things about the show that you liked, and think others would enjoy?
The show positioned my family as recently relocating to Orvieto, but the truth is, we have been here for quite a while. In fact, my Daughter was born here! The producers organized the hunt, followed me around town to “consider three properties” with a real estate agent from Rome by my side. Touring the homes was a neat experience. I think people might enjoy us sharing a bit of every day life that we get to enjoy in our quaint little hometown; things like, playing soccer in the piazzas, strolling around and chatting with locals and tourists, grabbing a cone of cool artisan gelato and eating at some of our favorite restaurants about town. The coolest aspect of the show for me, was talking about GIRLGO! The producers of HGTV showcased a few photos from the GIRLGO 2018 Summer Experience, and I talked a bit about my inspiration for starting the organization. This was a game-changer for GIRLGO, because I received so many inquiries about the program.
From the moment that episode aired in January, to now, parents of girls who want to travel, women with and without children who want to relocate and people who have traveled to Italy before or want to travel to Italy for the first time, send notes inquiring about visiting, sending their girl or moving here. It has all been so humbling and inspiring to experience.
What is something cool that has happened since the show aired?
I was shocked to walk outdoors and run into tourists who knew my Daughters name, and recognized us from the show. We have met folks from California, New York, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan.. all over! It has been cool to hear people say, “We came to Orvieto because we saw your episode on HGTV!” More than anything, it is a blessing to speak to parents who saw the show and want their girl to come here to spend time with me, the GIRLGO team and the beautiful country of Italy! Well the wait is over! All new details for the GIRLGO Summer Experience Abroad 2020 is here! June 5-15, 20 spots, 7 cities, 3 new programs and more. Click here for details!
Check your on-demand listings for this episode!