Nothing Like Arrested Development by Kelly Victoria in Newport Beach

I was born about a mile away from this beach and grew up with sand practically stitched into my clothing. My father taught me how to surf here and I spent most of my weekends as a child running up and down the beach with friends. The sea, the sand, the atmosphere – it all holds such a special place in my heart. Long before shows like The OC or Arrested Development brought an unhealthy amount of tourists, this was just a charming little beach town. Everyone rides their bikes around and eats frozen bananas and ice cream cones. The sea feels like home to me and even though I prefer colder climates now, I will always feel the most at home when I am underwater.

Name:Kelly Victoria

Student and freelance photographer, nanny, science tutor and swim instructor.


Dreaming of a life in the north, studying climate change, and documenting earth science. Maybe I’ll do some professional storm chasing for a bit, and then publish a children’s book. I’d like to include my cat in all of these endeavors.

Tell us about Newport Beach:

When I tell people where I grew up, they typically associate me with a stereotype that’s difficult to shake off. As with most other places, Newport Beach isn’t portrayed honestly on television. There’s a liquor store here where the elderly owners always remember you by name and the walls are covered in photos of the local children who stop by after school every day. The surf shop where I bought my first surfboard is still open, with the same logo, the same sign, and the same paint on the walls as they had the day I first walked in. Though parts of Newport are a little more wealthy or self-centered (when driving down the Pacific Coast Highway you will likely encounter at least one car that costs more than all of your assets combined), there is still a small section of it that feels like a charming little beach town. Almost every happy memory I have as a child takes place along its shore.

A perfect day?

My perfect day in Newport would begin surfing at Blackies, the surf spot in the photos, followed by lunch at the Big Belly Deli. Then maybe a game of volleyball, a jog to the dog beach with my fluffy companion, or a dip in the Newport Shores pool. I’d have dinner at Spaghetti Bender and maybe do some late night fishing in the back bay. If rocking pruney skin and a pink nose isn’t your thing, Fashion Island shopping center is just down the street, with a plethora of places to spend all your money and fill your belly with amazing food.

What is the best thing about Newport Beach?

Off season! The atmosphere is a little more relaxed and it doesn’t take hours to find a place to park. The best feeling for me is surfing for an hour and then coming out of the water, collapsing on the sand and feeling your heart beat and the waves hit the sand. It’s very therapeutic, and sometimes the peaceful nature of those moments are lost with people running around and kids throwing sand everywhere. Even on days when I don’t go in the water, it’s always nice to sit on the lifeguard tower and watch the sunset with a friend, or just read a book and listen to the waves. I suppose I will share my beach with everyone, if I have to.

What is the worst?

The summer crowds, all the people littering, the lack of parking spots, the traffic. All the people in the water make it almost too dangerous to surf at times.

What would be surprising about Newport Beach to an outsider?

How little it’s actually like the television shows. The OC and Arrested Development supposedly take place in Newport, yet neither show was actually filmed here. There are definitely some areas that are more wealthy and stuck up, but for the most part, the whole city has a charming beach town attitude.

If Newport Beach was a person or character who would it be?

HA! I can’t really think of a famous person or character that embodies Newport Beach. I strictly imagine my own father. Constantly tan, constantly has sand in his mustache, and has a bumper sticker on his surf van that reads “I love to pee in my wetsuit”.

Who are three of your favorite artists?

This is the hardest question I have ever been asked. I am greatly influenced by hundreds of artists every day. I went to an arts high school, so the majority of my best friends are very talented artists. Three of my best friends, Eastyn Cazin, Devin Montes and Brianna Lynch are incredibly talented visual artists and they constantly inspire me with their work. I have watched them grow as artists and I learn so much through them and the way they see the world. I really like art that is slightly dark and twisted but carries a beautiful, honest message. I’m not the biggest fan of bright colors or anything bold. The most beautiful art to me is the stuff you have to look at for a few minutes, pieces that haunt you and grow on you in a way you didn’t expect. We are constantly fed so many types of art that satisfy at first glance, but it’s difficult to hold this type of art in your heart and have it inspire you. I like things that stay in my mind for days: songs or paintings or poems that have a different meaning every time I experience them. It’s rare to come across artists that can evoke emotion like that. I’m a huge fan of the artwork of James Jean, the writing of Charles Bukowski and Dave Eggers, and I love piano so I am a huge fan of Nils Frahm and pretty much every song ever written by Radiohead.


Name:Kelly Victoria

City:Newport Beach

Favorite place to eat:

The Spaghetti Bender

Favorite place to drink:

Big Belly Deli or Newport Fresh

Favorite shop:

The Froghouse

Local Tip:

Prospect Street and all the streets between there and the dog beach are typically the least crowded. Also, make sure you know what all of the flags mean. The lifeguards fly flags on the towers that indicate the safety levels of the waves and currents. Pay attention!

Must Do:

Visit The Wedge, it’s a famous spot where the waves often break bigger than anywhere else in Orange County. It’s awesome to experience.