Guilty pleasures, embarrassing moments, and encouraging words are what triple threat Valery Ortiz had for us when she chatted with us in February. Reminding us of what it means to be beautiful inside and out, the Latin bombshell let us in on some intimate moments, her passions, and future aspirations.
Cliché: You’re an actress, dancer, TV personality, and now, a writer. In which setting do you feel the most at home?
Valery Ortiz: That probably changes often, but I can say I feel the most “at home” when I’m writing. Usually when I write, it’s just for me, so I tend to not hold back and be the most vulnerable without fear of being judged. I feel the safest and “at home” through some of my poetry.
You were named one of Maxim’s 50 Most Beautiful People. It’s pretty obvious why, but what do you find to be the most beautiful thing about you? What does “beauty” mean to you?
Beauty to me is so complex, from the obvious outer beauty to one’s mind and passions and heart. More than anything, it’s just so personal. If I had to pick, I’d say the most beautiful thing about me are my roots. My family, my childhood, my story—I think that’s the most beautiful in anyone. Their roots make them who they naturally are and there’s nothing more beautiful than that.
If there was one motto in your life that you live by, what would that be?
“Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” I love this because I think it’s important to always believe in yourself, to visualize yourself happy, healthy, succeeding. Your thoughts, whether positive or negative, are extremely powerful. What you think will validate what you do, so be careful and mindful of the things that occupy your mind on the daily. You are building, whether you realize it or not, a foundation [for your life, that is] either positive or negative with a clear, simple thought. Use it to your advantage!
You’ve always been quoted saying, “family is everything,” but what does your heritage mean to you?
My heritage makes up so much of who I’ve become. It really made me fall in love with tradition (big or small), culture, and people. I’m such a proud Latina and I love where I come from. I’ve had such strong, positive influences throughout my life and it’s made me appreciate everything that makes me, me.
No one on this earth is perfect. Would you mind telling us about one of your most embarrassing moments?
One of my most embarrassing moments happened when I was auditioning for a water park commercial in Orlando, FL. Long story short, I used to sweat a lot. It was a huge insecurity for me, so I would put toilet paper under my arms to help absorb any perspiration. That’s embarrassing enough. [Laughs] Well, that day, like many—I rushed to my audition with my swimsuit, cover-up, and a couple of tissues under my arms. When I got to the audition, they asked everyone to take off their cover-ups and come in with just swimsuits. I go ahead and do that pretty quickly and my toilet paper automatically falls on the floor. The first thing that came to my head was, “Oh my God! They’re going to think I was stuffing my bikini!” I picked up my little sweat saviors and tried to pretend nothing happened. I was super embarrassed. Update! Now they sell over-the-counter prescription strength deodorant (which works, by the way), so no more tissue under my arms ever again! And I booked that job!
If there was an era or event you could travel back in time to, what would it be and why?
The first thing that popped in my head was traveling back in time to see my parents grow up. One: I love that era anyway, and two: I’m so intrigued to see who they were as young kids, teens, and adults before my brother and I were born. It’d be cool to interact with them and get to know them in a way a child never really gets to know their parents.
One would assume that being in the spotlight and in front of the camera all the time means being conscious of your physical health. What do you do to stay in tip-top health and shape?
Everything! [Laughs] Those who know me can tell you, I work really hard to maintain my fitness. Lucky for me, I enjoy working out. I honestly feel off if I have to miss a workout. I do things like hiking with friends, running, taking a Zumba class, or doing a workout video at home. I also watch what I eat and try and have some balance. That’s the most challenging. But if I have a goal, I’m pretty disciplined.
What would you consider to be your guilty pleasure?
Oh my! You just inspired me! Here’s my ultimate guilty pleasure: I would be eating pizza, with a deliciously cold glass of wine, followed by some warm peach cobbler à la mode while watching The Bachelor. [Laughs] And then I’d go on a hike to feel a little better.
You’ve done so much work with kids, especially now being an author of bilingual children’s books. What sparked this passion? What is your goal with this new journey you’re embarking on?
I’ve always loved to write, and thanks to my mom, who never threw away things my brother or I did as kids, I have a collection of poems I’ve written since about 9 years old to date. That helped spark my passion to write a children’s book series. My goal is to publish them as tangible books or through an app and hopefully tie it in with a charity. Honestly, when I wrote them, I was just going off of inspiration. I didn’t know where they would end up, but I can’t wait to see them come to life. It’s always been a dream.
Do you mind sharing a short poem with us?
Absolutely! I have some old poems on my website, but this one I haven’t shared:
The sun sets, we left, one car in front of another.
Memory creeps, too steep, but the heart has had time to recover.
Time heals, soul meal, but it doesn’t deserve all the credit.
After all, stand tall, happy isn’t found in a karat.
Sun fades, all shade, but the light only gets brighter.
Don’t hate, love fate, you always knew I’m a fighter.
Time heals, dried tears, so many years in the making.
Butterfly, it’s time, these dreams are yours for the taking.
Years down the line when people hear your name, what is it you want to be remembered for?
I hope I’m always remembered for making people feel good about themselves and inspiring them to do something they once didn’t think they could accomplish.
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Photographed by Carlos Velez