Victoria Konefal is an American actor who is perhaps best known for playing Ciara Brady on the Daytime Emmy-winning soap opera ‘Days of Our Lives'.
Dogs have played a huge role in Victoria's life, she tells us ‘they’re my animal’. Now mum to a super smart Miniature Schnauzer called Lola, we caught up with Victoria to hear about what dogs can teach us all.
Hi Victoria! Thanks so much for your time today.
Of course! It’s my pleasure.
We know you own a Miniature Schnauzer, Lola. Please tell us anything and everything about her.
Well first off, I’d like to mention that today, December 11th, is Lola’s 3rd birthday! We plan on spending it at the dog park and eating this peanut butter bacon ice cream snack I got for her.
She is also the runt of her litter. I was expecting her to grow past 20 lbs, but she stopped once she got to 11, so essentially, I have an accidental perpetual puppy and I’m so happy about it.
All Photography: Julian Dahl / Makeup: Elizabeth Dahl / Hair: Sarah Ault
She acts like a goat most of the time. It’s in the way she hops. She’s barely even a dog, more like a puppy, bunny, goat, deer, angel hybrid.
A fun fact about her is that she loves watching ‘Planet Earth’. She does not, however, like elephants or a bird’s eye panoramic shot of the forest. It freaks her out.
Oh really? How funny.
How did you come to own Lola and what made you choose a Miniature Schnauzer?
I grew up with Miniature Schnauzers and fell in love with the breed immediately. They are so gentle and loving all the while being fierce and passionate.
She’s a pretty smart girl, isn’t she? Rumour has it that she knows 14 tricks.
Which does she know?
She knows sit, down, roll over, spin, bang, backup, paw, high-five, close the door, speak, hug, say hi, crawl, and the thing where you put a treat on her nose and she balances it until I say ‘okay’.
She’s really smart and once she got the hang of learning signals, she was hungry to learn more!
The secret is positive reinforcement. Dogs love when their humans praise them, so if you play into that, they will be eager to earn your approval. I just noticed that she was intelligent from the get-go and picked up on things at a faster pace than my other dogs. I wanted to exercise her brain as much as possible.
Have you always owned dogs?
I’ve loved dogs ever since I can remember. They were always my animal. My very first dog was a Pit Bull/German Shepherd mix named Shadow. After that, I had two Miniature Schnauzers and now I have my little Lola!
Most people will know you for your role as Ciara Brady on the Daytime Emmy-winning soap opera ‘Days of Our Lives’. How did your role on ‘Days’ come about?
I auditioned for the character for months! It was a strenuous process but well worth it. I’m blessed to be there.
What’s been your favourite storyline to film so far?
My favourite storyline that’s aired so far is probably the one where Ciara punches Claire in the face, or really anything physical. I love when Ciara gets scrappy enough to throw the first punch.
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Have you signed Lola up for a guest part on the show yet?
(Laughs) I wish! I’ve even tried to bring her into the studio but unfortunately, we have a strict no dogs policy. I’ll find a way.
What, or perhaps who, inspired you to build a career in acting?
I was around seven when I first fell in love with acting and never really considered it a career option! I didn’t think it was a possibility, I just wanted to act.
Then I grew up and realised that I actually could do that for the rest of my life and there was no turning back. I vowed that I would never give up, no matter how long it takes me.
Let's move onto some of our more playful and quick-fire questions...
All in the name of fun and based on personalities alone, which breeds of dog come to mind when you think of these ‘Days of Our Lives’ stars and why:
Eileen Davidson (played Kristen DiMera) - I haven’t met her or know her character's personality well, but I’m going to guess with Cocker Spaniel.
Robert Scott Wilson (plays Ben Weston) - He’s either a Pit Bull or a Chihuahua. Polar opposites I know, but I can’t decide.
Lisa Rinna (played Billie Reed) - I’m gonna say Poodle!
Peter Reckell (played Bo Brady) – Unfortunately, I haven’t met him either, but in the name of his character I think he would be a black Labrador.
And what about you, what breed of dog would you be?
A goofy Golden Retriever. I asked my best friend, she said German Shepherd/Wolf mix and I like that a lot so I’m going with a mix of all of those.
What’s your current favourite:
TV show - ‘Friends’. Always.
Book – Right now I’m reading ‘Astrophysics for People in a Hurry’ by Neil deGrasse Tyson and ‘The Sun and Her Flowers’ by Rupi Kaur.
Movie – I rewatched ‘Good Will Hunting’ for the billionth time recently and now I’m in the mood to watch it again.
And turning to Lola, what's her current favourite:
Place to visit – Our favourite campsite on the beach, but she hates getting in the water. We’ve been working on it though!
Game to play – She loves playing hide and seek, but her absolute favourite thing to do is play catch with her little squeaky tennis ball. She is obsessed.
Cover Shot: Julian Dahl
Finish the following sentence: my dog is...my guardian angel.
What one life lesson do you think we can (or should) learn from dogs?
To live adventurously with full hearts and a loving attitude.
And finally, if Lola could speak and answer one question and one question only, what would you ask her and what do you think she’d say?
This is impossible because I would want to talk to her for hours, at first, I wouldn’t even know what to ask because I’d be all ‘holy sh*t you can talk!!!’ And I’d be caught up in the excitement of having a chance to communicate with her.
I would want to chat about little things with her, like what colours she can see and what her favourite flavour of dog food is. And then I’d like to teach her about space and all the phenomenon she’s incapable of comprehending regularly.
I’m all over the place on this question but after thinking about it, I finally came up with a solid answer.
Ok, go for it.
My motherly instincts are coming out for this one. I would ask her what she does to let me know she’s in pain, and if she can make it clearer.
She never yelps or shows me any signs of distress when she accidentally gets hurt. I don’t know why she’s so silent, but I would want to ask her to make it clear, so I can help. Hopefully she’d say something like ‘I never get hurt silly, love ya’.
That sounds like a great question, many thanks for your time Victoria!