Recently Published Articles
I am a freelance journalist who was based in Los Angeles for eight years writing about the entertainment industry for the likes of Vanity Fair, Esquire UK, Variety and The Washington Post.
Four years ago, I put my belongings in storage and began the life of a digital nomad, writing personal essays, travel pieces, cultural and human interest stories and adventurous tales. Now, I've hung up my nomadic shoes and am living in London. I've completed my Masters in Creative Nonfiction and am seeking representation for my first memoir.
I am also a copywriter and producer when the right situation calls for it.
Recently Published Articles
On the surface, Jon Stewart's sophomore film, "Irresistible" - a satirical comedy about a small-town mayoral run - is a lot funnier than his first outing. That may seem obvious, given that his directorial debut, "Rosewater," tracked the harrowing story of Canadian Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari during his unlawful imprisonment in Iran.
Season 3 of Netflix’s rural family drug saga, "Ozark," hits new visual highs (and dark narrative lows)
Fishermen have been a staple on Martha's Vineyard for centuries. But over the last decade, there's been a bit of a farming boom. (Page 46)
"Nobody wants to reinforce negative stereotypes about their own community," says Atkins Estimond, the Haitian-American actor who plays Osito, a Black drug dealer, in Hightown. The Starz series-a drama about the opioid epidemic on Cape Cod, the people who struggle to fight the addiction and the law enforcement who struggle to control the proliferation-comes to a close on July 12 and was recently picked up for a second season.
During the first decade of Lynn Shelton's career, it was nearly impossible to find her on a set without cinematographer Benjamin Kasulke by her side...
On Instagram Live, choreographer Ryan Heffington twirls around, his limbs a blur, his mustache coiffed above twinkling eyes that punctuate the screen as he nears the camera. The celebrated choreographer is teaching one of his live, donation-based dance classes called Sweatfests.
Cinematographer Katelin Arizmendi crafts a dazzling psychological study for the indie thriller "Swallow"
First-time filmmaker Channing Godfrey Peoples feels it's a blessing and a curse to have a film about Black Americans be released just as Black America rises up to demand justice and equality.
One-thousand-and-one cars long . . . It’s the line repeated at the beginning of each episode of TNT’s latest dystopian drama, “Snowpiercer,” based on the Bong Joon-ho cult classic film from 2013, itself based on the 1982 graphic novel series, “Le Transperceneige.”
For director Lynn Shelton, filmmaking and motherhood have always been entwined. In 2005, she got an offer to write and direct her first feature film, We Go Way Back; at the same time, Shelton and her then husband were attempting a second pregnancy. "I decided to put our pregnancy quest on hold," Shelton told me recently.
Annie Lennox's "Little Bird" bops in the background. Petite Reebok-clad feet, complete with scrunched white socks and ankle weights, tap down a ginormous carpeted hallway. I know I'm in a familiar place.
A new HBO documentary re-examines Wood's career in hopes that she'll be remembered for more than her mysterious death.
As a community shrouded in secrecy, Hasidic Jews aren't often seen on television or in movie theaters. Their lives are mostly lived quietly and piously according to a very strict set of rules meant to guard them and their people from disaster - which makes sense, when their entire existence was born out of a reaction to the Holocaust, the greatest tragedy in their people's history.
"I'm in love," says Autumn de Wilde. The multihyphenate artist (photographer, author, music video/commercials/short films director) is talking about movies-feature-length films, to be exact. De Wilde-who got her start shooting CD covers for musicians like The White Stripes and Elliott Smith, then went on to direct music videos for The Decemberists and Death Cab for Cutie-has jumped into the narrative movie world with a classic: Jane Austen's Emma .
Eddie Redmayne dashes over to the monitor, watching playback with his face inches from the screen. He shakes his head and mutters, eyes intent. "The thing is," he says, staring at his miniature self, "for this to work it has to feel authentic."
How do you write political satire in the stranger-than-fiction age of Donald Trump? With great difficulty, it turns out. It hasn't helped that the person most likely to land a meaningful blow - Armando Iannucci, perhaps the most penetrating political lampooner of our age - stepped out of the ring one year before that fateful election.
A handful of Sundance alumni, including Local 600 Director of Photography Tim Orr, gather to contemporize a classic figure of American letters. by Valentina Valentini Photos by Michael Parmalee Four out of the five directors and the cinematographer for all 10 episodes of the new Apple TV+ series Dickinson are Sundance alumni.
Netflix's The Crown does wonders when it comes to sucking its audience back into the patriarchy; the acting, the sets, the costumes all point to pomp and circumstance where women were more ornamental than oratory.
Trauma has always been fertile ground for art. Creativity is a way to process pain, to find meaning in personal suffering. It's also, as a byproduct, a good way to get yourself mentioned in Oscar conversations.
Spoilers below for The Handmaid's Tale season three. Yvonne Strahovski had been getting roles as silly spies (she played CIA Agent Sarah Walker on Chuck for five seasons) and serious agents (Hannah McKay on Dexter in 2013 and Kate Morgan on 24: Live Another Day the following year), when the chance to play "the woman behind the man" with 2015's The Astronaut Wives Club came along.
For those of us not entirely ensconced in all things Game of Thrones, HBO's newest show, Gentleman Jack, is serving up a different degree of period drama. The series follows the later years of the real-life Anne Lister - fiercely portrayed by British actress Suranne Jones - a 41-year-old landowner running her family's coal business with full financial control over their 400-acre estate.
Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi talks about the technicalities of filming vampires, why he thinks that the British have "better comedy" than Americans, and whether his What We Do in the Shadows character might wind up on the new FX comedy.
Documentary filmmaker Chai Vasarhelyi and her husband, climber and filmmaker Jimmy Chin, haven't been making movies together for all that long. But you wouldn't know it when talking to them, as their synchronicity is acute, even over a conference call with each of them in different locations.
There were no women nominated for a cinematography Oscar this year, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty whose work you should watch.
As a veracious fan of all things British - upper class, lower class, teatime, royals, you name it (I even moved to the U.K. just to be closer to their kind) - I was, perhaps more than most, eagerly awaiting the trailer for the Downton Abbey movie.
Philip Larkin probably said it best: "They fuck you up, your mum and dad." For some, the scars will barely be detectable; for others, they'll hurt for a lifetime. But for a lucky few, that inevitability will inspire great art.
In March, Rachel Morrison attended the Oscars as the first-ever woman nominated in the cinematography category for her work on Netflix's Mudbound. The week before the awards, Wired celebrated her achievement on Black Panther as the first woman to film a Marvel feature, calling Morrison a " superhero."
In over a decade of film and television work, Ruth Wilson has played characters named Alice or Alison no less than four times-on the British series Freezing, three seasons of the BBC's celebrated Luther, Showtime's ongoing The Affair, and, finally, in the new movie Dark River.
If you want to test your acting chops, try playing a flamboyant, amiable millennial drug dealer and the spoiled, incompetent, entitled son of a Colombian drug lord at the same time. Arturo Castro did just that last year, when the 31-year-old was simultaneously filming both Netflix's dark, dramatic Narcos and the decidedly sunnier Broad City.
Most of us remember exactly where we were when Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park opened in 1993. For me, it was the day school got out and I was holding the sweaty hand of Johnny Parker in the sixth row of the Calvin Theater while Mom chaperoned a few rows behind.
When a movie that is set to premiere at Sundance Film Festival has an anonymous director, it's sure to create buzz.
From 20-something sex in Undressed to high stakes in StartUp, Brody looks back on his most memorable screen roles.
Colin Hanks was in New York City for the Tribeca Film Festival when he decided to visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum last April. "What really resonated with me-the thing that made me break down in tears in public-were the little details," he tells Vanity Fair via FaceTime.
It was a fair question to ask. " Michelle Obama, will you run for president?" asked Queen Latifah, part of badass panel of women gathered to kick off the SXSW music programming today.
Around the second episode of O.J.: Made in America, you may think to yourself, "Not much has changed in 22 years." Football players are still American heroes, celebrity scandals monopolize the media, black people are still being unfairly shot, prosecuted and persecuted, and rich people still get away with... murder?
Mashable Debuts exclusively premieres music, videos, artwork, trailers and more. You saw it here first! Two months ago, Mashable exclusively reported that less than 10% of television commercial directors rostered at the major ad agencies are female.
Dressing one of the most iconic fashion figures of the 20th century might seem like a daunting task, but for costume designer Madeline Fontaine-who has created spectacular looks for films like Amélie and Yves Saint Laurent-Jackie was just another exciting challenge.
The lower Manhattan Refinery29 office in spring is the real-life equivalent of the lifestyle company's website. It's all whites and pastels, women everywhere in fashion-forward looks, a buzz in the air that makes a visitor want to be part of this world. But don't be fooled by the dreamy surroundings: There is hard work being done here.
PARK CITY, Utah - It's been a while since Sundance was just about buying and selling movies, and as much as film purists may hate to admit it, technology companies have staked out a big swath of Park City real estate in the past few years - particularly in areas that are most relevant to up-and-coming filmmakers.
(It's never a good idea to start off a story with a cliché, but bear with me a moment.) Don't judge a book by its cover. (It's also never a good idea to start off a story with hyperbole. Again, indulge me.) Never has this been truer than with WWE wrestler and actor John Cena.
In a business where the highest praise is often reserved for directors and stars, the Black List aims to be a haven for writers - an archive where the creators of concept, characters and content are given their due. This story first appeared in the November 18, 2014 issue of Variety.
Plenty of people in the world find themselves restless with their surroundings - they're yearning for a change in location, but figuring out where that next Big Move is supposed to take them, or where to spend their hard-earned money on visiting, isn't always easy to determine.
For most people, hearing mention of the Greek islands typically conjures up images of hot spots like Mykonos and Santorini, with their recognizable windmills, winding streets, and white-and-blue-trimmed buildings. Islands like these can host up to two million tourists during the summer months.
Island festivals offer something for almost every taste
A day at The Grand Hotel Tremezzo - spas, pools and all the food
A century ago, the Grand Hotel Tremezzo was the backdrop for some of Lake Como's most fantastic love stories-romances that some guests recorded in heartfelt letters. At one point, some of these letters-penned by various authors-were hidden in the walls and only rediscovered in the 1970s behind nearly a century of wallpaper and renovations.
Helena Bay, the country's first beachside luxury lodge, is finally giving travelers a reason to skip adventure-filled South Island for the milder North Island.
When I heard the knock on my bedroom door, I was in my 50-shades-of-purple room at Casa Grande in Burgau, Portugal - a quirky bed-and-breakfast run by the quirkier matriarch, Sally Vincent, who expatriated from England 40 years prior. I was moping, chin on elbows, gazing out of the wood-panelled window at the bougainvillea drooping overhead.
A look at the elegant splendor of Ireland's 2018 Hotel of the Year.
These days, a bed, clean sheets and a mini bar aren't enough to impress; modern travellers are searching for the most unique getaway, an "experience" that really kicks their trip up a gear. Glamping has gone from a niche way to spend a night in the woods to a multimillion-pound industry, while Airbnb has opened the door to a range of quirky sleeping opportunities worldwide.
Out of his isolated roots in New Zealand, Sam Neill has emerged as a multifaceted actor, able to tackle villainous roles ("The Piano," "The Tudors"), heroic ones ("Jurassic Park"), and those in between ("Peaky Blinders") with the same aplomb. A self-ascribed travel addict, Neill has worked in nearly three dozen countries and seems keen on upping that number.
Two Yellowknife residents are using one-of-a-kind technology to connect communities separated by thousands of kilometres of ice and snow.
Imagine facing another day of work on your computer, full of Skype meetings, email threads and spreadsheets. But instead of rolling out of bed and trucking it to the office, you slide the curtains aside - and gaze upon the open sea and azure sky.
As the photographer snapped the shutter, the man drinking a pint of Guinness in the front booth of John Kavanagh "The Gravediggers" pub held a newspaper up over his face, annoyed. "Oh no," said Anne Kavanagh, the front-of-house manager. "Don't take pictures of the locals. They don't like it."
On my last night in New Orleans I found myself in Tremé with neighbourhood residents, barbecueing on a vacant lot next to the Candlelight Lounge. I'd gone there to catch a rotating cast of brass-band musicians who play every Wednesday night, and sometimes on Mondays.
Tales of spirits, the afterlife, and the paranormal are often passed down from generation to generation. Through recounting these stories, myth can get entangled in fact and vice versa, and can eventually make up a reality that we're both eager to hear and take part in.
Food & Drink
It's a London spot "You look like us," Mukaddes Yadiqar says, studying my face, turning to her husband, Ablikim Rahman, for confirmation. I grin back, welcoming the acceptance. "I get that a lot." Which I do. I guess I have one of those faces that melds in an environment, provided it's not Scandanavian.
Famous Syrian restaurateur who fled Damascus four years ago is about to open up his first London location Imad Alarnab holds his hands to his chest, crossed at his heart, when he recalls his life in Damascus. "I felt like I lost my city," he says as we sit on a bench outside a posh coffee shop off Carnaby Street in central London.
This year, Montreal has been celebrating its 375th anniversary (i.e. when it was "discovered" by white people) with multimedia installations, concerts, free events and official ceremonies throughout the city. It's a gorgeous town, with the culture of London and the romance of Paris and the food of New York all mashed together.
How chefs internationally are working with local producers to preserve these unique flavors.
NYC for a foodie break? Not so fast. Montréal is an hour closer to home, has more restaurants per capita than New York, and has stolen back one top chef from the Big Apple. Direct flights from London take seven-and-a-half hours and it celebrated its 375th anniversary this year.
Sustainable architecture doesn't typically come cheap, but Duncan is quick to explain that Silver Oak examined the "life cost" of the building when considering various green solutions. "Installing solar panels is an upfront expense that we think will be paid back in three or four years," he says.
Toutes les photos sont de l'auteur. It was late summer 2003 when Nick Guth and Brett Monteleone decided to clean out their refrigerator. The two Louisiana State University seniors were a typical pair of bachelors, so it was only natural that there were unidentified specimens of foodstuff and a few half-finished milk cartons in there.
Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta resort, just north of Puerto Vallarta on the west side of Mexico, is a sprawling vista of lush riverbeds peppered with impeccable landscaping of indigenous plant life. The half-dozen hotels on the property - connected via miles of wood-decked paths - provide luxury accommodation to more than 3,000 mostly American and Mexican guests.
Eating at Chipotle's about as straightforward as fast-casual gets. You stand at an assembly line and tell somebody what you want. They put it in a burrito or bowl. You get pissed about paying extra for guac. You then pay for guac. You eat. Done.
The young waiter, in a purple button-up and matching tie, stood over our table at Tandoori International listing off the specials in the typical thick South Shields "Geordie" accent, as the vernacular of the northeast is known. I asked how to spell the dish that I'd decided on, in order to keep notes on the meal.
Teeling Whiskey, run by brothers Stephen and Jack Teeling, is the first distillery to produce the liquor in Dublin in more than a century. Yes, you read that right: The political, financial and cultural hub of Ireland-the city that put whiskey on the world map in the 18th century-hasn't actually produced whiskey since 1942, and hasn't had a distillery open in over 125 years.
After they met, Bear ended up inviting Evans to a dinner and became quick friends. It was unusual that Bear, who is totally a bear and totally not a human who cooks in a bear costume, became so friendly with Evans -- typically, he evades the spotlight, going to great lengths to conceal himself, and is not one to reveal his inner self to most (his background has been a well-kept secret).
Recently, I sent a tweet that I thought was pretty innocent out into the world: I'm gonna get so fat self-isolating because I don't know how (or won't) ration. The response was hardly mind-blowing.Seven people liked it and one friend replied with a picture of donuts. (He works at a donut shop.)
I hadn't wanted to go up there in the first place. Topanga Canyon only seems fun when you're with hip Angelenos who say, "Let's do something different this weekend," like they invented being different. But my mom was in town - as she often is, despite living across the country in Massachusetts - and, in her words, needed to get out.
"I would be a turkey," Sam Neill says to me as we sip his own label of pinot noir. I had asked him about naming his farm animals after famous people - his friends who have consented, he assures me...
After 16 hours, 5 hot dogs, 2 nacho bowls, 3 sodas, and 20,000 people, I felt more like an idiot than an idol. *** Walking down the steps to Qualcomm Stadium's field level, I wondered how I'd gotten there.
It would be a small wedding. Nothing gaudy or over-the-top. Maybe we'd even elope. Admittedly, we'd only been texting for 24 hours, but I was sure this was The One. It began at a celeb-studded non-event in Beverly Hills the evening before with a few other journalist friends.
Inside corner to inside corner. I have adult friends to this day who still don't know how to fold sheets. Turn them inside-out and pinch each corner, bringing them together to meet, dart to dart.
"Who went on the roof?!" I screamed. We were just a couple hours into our 12-hour day of shooting my boyfriend's music video at a warehouse east of downtown Los Angeles. I had used all of my connections to get the best people onboard, and it was a $30,000 project that I was getting done for $3,000.
There's a picture of me from that night - with a giant panda head on. I should have known then what I was in for, but that's half the fun - or torture - of growing up, isn't it? The not knowing what we know now; the hindsight is 20/20 and all that.
My friends and family have always gotten giddy when I've told them about a new love interest. They want to hear all about him and how we met. And when I tell them about my current boyfriend, and the saucy, yet sweet, tale of how our holidays in Portugal collided and a transatlantic relationship ensued, they practically swoon.
Culture & Sports
There are some major upsides to working remotely - you can wake up later than normal since you don't have to commute to work, wear your pajamas all day if you feel like it, and make your own lunch at home every day, saving money in the process.
Krysten Anderson, 21, has rounded out her first year as a professional Monster Jam truck driver with Grave Digger as her chariot. Her story is one of legacy: Anderson's father, Dennis, is the creator and original driver of Grave Digger -- one of the most iconic monster trucks in the world.
On July 21, late night talk show host John Oliver had a defamation of character lawsuit brought against him and HBO - who airs his weekly satirical news hour, Last Week Tonight - by West Virginia coal baron Bob Murray.
Photo by Marque McMasters The dirt bike scene held its first female-focused motocross race 44 years ago with the Powder Puff Nationals in Valencia, California. Since then, other professional and amateur competitions have been added alongside the male competitions, like at the X Games, the Loretta Lynns, the WMX championship series and the Endurocross series.
Jim Frohna on the set of I Love Dick. Image courtesy Amazon "We look forward to another season of comedy and drama, love and weirdness, God and sex-in the service of community and in pursuit of peace, joy, freedom and human rights for all," Jill Soloway, creator of the hit Amazon show Transparent, said when announcing their fifth season pick-up last month.
In the fall of 2015, in tiny Lewisburg, West Virginia, Tim Ward and Jon Matthews were gearing up for the second annual Appalachian Queer Film Festival (AQFF for short). Their mission was both simple and profound: to broaden hearts and minds, to change stereotypical perceptions of West Virginians, and to shed light on what it means to be queer in a rural community.
Three-year-old Athen Camacho is quite possibly the youngest sponsored skateboarder in the world. Right now, he's sitting on the cement crying, because his father, Tony, won't let him try an ollie five-stair without a helmet. "I'd rather hear him crying and whining all day then end up in the hospital," he said.
Inside the abandoned Hawthorne Plaza Mall in L.A., about 15 minutes from LAX, the buzz of drones echoed eerily through the 900,000-square-foot space. The cool cement and floor-to-ceiling nets-designed to catch errant drones-made the place feel like a dystopian war zone.
Every day, Pastor Gennadiy Mokhnenko fights two wars. He tries to keep the Russian Army at bay from taking over his Ukranian home of Mariupol, and he tries to save children living in the streets from a life of drugs and inevitable death.
The UFP is an eclectic mix of directors, screenwriters, two pro soccer players, and an heir to the British throne Photograph by Chris Baldwin Body slams, broken ribs, concussions, and connections It's an early Saturday morning in Santa Monica, and 22 soccer players, half of them in red shirts, the other half in white, race down a field of artificial turf.
Copywriting & Sponsored Content
All copy and image choices by Valentina Valentini
All copy and research by Valentina Valentini.
67th Emmy® nominations ceremony, of which JPMorgan is a sponsor. Present at ceremony, interviews after and use of original research to create a newsy and short piece.
Insider Access listicle for lead sponsor JPMorgan Chase. Copy from internal brief and research.
Attended meeting and used original research for copy.
Original interview shortened for story. Research for background.