Michelle Vezilj is one of the best PR Agents around and recently I discovered she is also an incredibly talented singer. Her new female-driven anthem is heartfelt, passionate, and empowering. It’s about her own #MeToo experience and how she fought to overcome what happened.
I recently had a chance to chat with Michelle about her upcoming debut single “Fire Goes To Die,” her story behind it, her advice to others who have gone through a similar experience, her love for music, and more!
PopHorror: Hi Michelle! Thanks for taking the time to chat with me and do this interview.
Michelle Vezilj: Hi Tori! Thank you so much for having me today. I’m a big fan of PopHorror and of you!
PopHorror: Thank you, you’re so sweet! How long have you had a love for singing?
Michelle Vezilj: I’m pretty sure I came out of the womb singing… my mom said that my screams were like music to her ears. She’s so sweet and Canadian!
In all seriousness, music has been what guides me since before I can even remember. I used to hop up on my grandparents’ dining room table and belt out “A Whole New World” to anyone who would listen. My Oma and Opa are still two of my biggest fans!
PopHorror: Me too… except I don’t have a voice like yours. (Laughs) Have you always wanted to be in the entertainment business?
Michelle Vezilj: Yes, a million times, yes! I think in order to be in this biz, you have to want it with every fiber of your being. Otherwise, why do it? It’s hard and unpredictable, and there’s constant failure… but I love it and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
PopHorror: It suits you well. What inspired your new single debut, “Fire Goes to Die”?
Michelle Vezilj: “Fire Goes to Die” is my response to a terrifying #MeToo experience I had in my early 20s with the very well-known modelling agency, Elite Model Management. I was working closely with Elite’s London-based director, Michelangelo Chiacchio. He had me in consideration for two major athletic modelling campaigns – one for Adidas by Stella McCartney and the other for Dior.
After a year and a half of strict dieting and regimented workouts, Michelangelo said that I was ready to meet with a company representative for final approval. Right before my meeting, I was put in touch with two models who were already working with Elite. They let me know that I would be propositioned during the evaluation, and if I wanted to book the job, I would need to follow through.
I was horrified, but I had flown myself out for the meeting and had dedicated such a large amount of time to this opportunity. I dismissed their claims and hoped that they were wrong. I was very young and naïve, but I knew my own boundaries.
I was sexually assaulted by the man Michelangelo Chiacchio insisted I meet before officially signing with Elite Model Management. This isn’t the first time that this has happened in the modelling industry. I hope that I am able to start a very important conversation about how these young people are being mistreated and abused.
[If you’d like to read more, you can do so here]
PopHorror: Do you think it’s important for other people to speak out and share their experiences so that others know they’re not alone?
Michelle Vezilj: If there is anything that I could say to a survivor of sexual assault, it’s that you are not alone. Sexual assault is an incredibly delicate subject and I don’t want to push anyone to come forward before they’re truly ready. I think that speaking out is very healing, both for those sharing their experience as well as for those listening. I felt so much shame and guilt around what happened to me, but when I finally spoke up, I realized that there is a very loving community of people waiting to support me.
PopHorror: Yes there is… including myself! Was this song hard to write and perform, being that it came from such a dark time in your life?
Michelle Vezilj: Writing “Fire Goes to Die” was therapeutic, but performing it live is where I feel powerful. I can taste the words coming out of my mouth, and they’ve got quite the bite! Not only do I heal every time I sing it, but I hope I am helping others heal as well.
PopHorror: That’s wonderful to hear. I hope so too! What are you hopes and goals for this song debut?
Michelle Vezilj: This is my official introduction into the music world. I have been writing and performing my songs for years, but now I’m officially a Spotify artist! My hope for “Fire Goes to Die” is that it reaches the people that need to hear it most.
PopHorror: I will definitely be sharing with everyone! Beyond singing, you’re also involved in the film community, working for Epic Pictures. How did that come about?
Michelle Vezilj: I am very grateful for my job at Epic Pictures. We produce and distribute beautiful and horrifying films, and I am in awe of the talent around me at all times. Just about a year ago, I was leaving another production company and heard that Epic was looking for someone. Fate sort of intervened and led me there. It’s an inspiring work environment, and I’m thrilled to be writing original music for one of their upcoming films!
PopHorror: That’s so cool! They’re lucky to have you. If you had to choose, what’s your favorite film that Epic Pictures has released?
Michelle Vezilj: I really love The Golem directed by Doron and Yoav Paz. Not only is the film gorgeously shot, but the storyline is progressive and terrifying. It was actually Epic Pictures’ DREAD Presents first original production, so it was a monumental moment for the company.
PopHorror: Me too! What’s your favorite horror film and regular film of all time?
Michelle Vezilj: Oh man, tough question! I’ll never forget the experience of accidentally watching Poltergeist at eight years old. Just innocuously wandering downstairs in the middle of the night, turning on the TV to find something to help me sleep, and stumbling upon one of the scariest films I have ever seen. White noise will never be the same to me again!
My all-time favorite non-genre is Singing in the Rain. There’s a tap number to top all tap numbers, AND the entire scene is done in one take. So impressive! I am currently writing my own movie musical which will change the world, so keep an eye out!