She may be best known for her role on "Gossip Girl," as one of Blair Waldorf's many minions, but it's the lessons she takes away from ATWT that sticks with her.
Valentina grew up in New York City and started modeling at the ripe age of six. She transitioned into acting on a fluke. "It was absolutely by accident, but I came to find that I loved acting and the more passionate about it I became the more I realized that's what I not want to do but that's what I need to do for the rest of my life," she passionately explains.
An actress, writer, singer and current University student, Valentina might have recently caught your eye on an episode of "CSI: NY," "Person of Interest" or "Blue Bloods." She's been super busy, and that's just the way she likes it.
Chosen as this week's Actor2Watch, Valentina will be featured in a series of articles, fun facts and social media tweets through this week for subscribers of Girl2Watch.com.
A2W: How did you get your start?
VD: I grew up in the City and I initially started out in modeling when I was very young. My cousin was into it and I was like 'oh, I want to do it too. 'I had never really thought about it before and decided to try it out. Everything was kind of a trial and error type thing. Try it out and see if I like it and I loved it, but what I eventually met somebody who was doing film and television, doing commercials and voiceovers and I found that intriguing and liked that more, so eventually gave up the whole modeling thing, plus it wouldn't have worked out anyway I'm like 5'3".
A2W: And you just fell in love with acting?
VD: It's kind of like whether or not I was making money or not, I would have to still be doing the same thing. I think I was very lucky and very fortunate and didn't even realize it at the time because I was just doing what I liked and I was having fun and it didn't matter and there was no pressure involved in like 'oh, I have to make something of myself, I have to make money, I have to make a living.' There were none of those pressures, it was more just, I do enjoy doing this or not and I obviously enjoyed it enough to stay in it.
A2W: What was it like attending Professional Children's School in New York?
VD: Initially when I was looking at high schools I didn't want to go to school with other actors, I didn't want the competitiveness, I didn't want the cattiness. That's the image I had in my head of what going to PCS would be like but it really is a school that's made for people just like me. You need to go to school, need to get an education, but may not be in school all the time, might be there for a month, two months, might be there for the whole time, who knows. They have the flexibility that other schools don't.
A2W: How do you handle the ups and downs of the business?
VD: I kind of went through a rut as an actor. When you're really passionate about what you do and you don't work you tend to get anxiety ridden and almost miserable in a way. You put so much pressure on yourself. I started going through this 'oh my God, I'm 21 years old, my parents aren't supporting me anymore I really need to start making a living out of what I do.' It was essentially paralyzing me during my auditions, so I would freeze up and not do as good a job as I was capable of and that eventually harmed me, but I came back into the City and being around my family and my friends in an environment that I'm comfortable with kind of got me back into more of a normal state of mind and as soon as I started getting comfortable again I started booking more. The more comfortable I am the more confident I am.
A2W: It's a catch-22 in this business. Confidence breeds success and success breeds confidence.
VD: Exactly. I started gaining momentum, I started gaining confidence and the more my confidence grew the more jobs I started booking.