Start Chasing Your Dreams

with Lisann Valentin

Introduce yourself! Who are you?
I’m Lisann Valentin and I’m an actor – I get to tell stories for a living!

What made you decide to pursue an acting career?
I grew up so immersed in film and TV that I reenacted scenes nearly every waking moment. But it took a while for everything to click into place (my own “aha” moment). For a long time I didn’t think a career in the arts was a logical career path. It certainly wasn’t linear and I didn’t have the wherewithal to allow for anything different than what I’d projected my life to be: school, career, family, retire. But there isn’t a rulebook for your own definition of success.

When you have a calling, I believe that the Universe gives you sign after sign. It certainly did for me. And not just externally, but deep in my heart there was a tug… and then it was a roar. My life was supposed to be very different than what I thought it should be. So when I finally listened to my heart and all the signs, I embarked on a career as a film and television actor and I haven’t looked back.

What message do you think every woman should hear?
Chase your dreams. All of them. And as you grow and change as a person, your dreams will grow and change. Then, chase your new dreams. Because living – I mean really living – is in the pursuit of ones dreams. The dream of love. The dream of family. The dream of fulfillment. Whatever those dreams may be, they’re worth chasing. Besides, that’s where the good stuff happens. So when you’re ready, start chasing your dreams. You got this!

What do you love most about yourself?
The breadth of my faith and the depth of my courage. I may be full of fear half the time, but I jump. I jump with faith.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned along the way?
Be yourself! Always!

When I first started out in this career I had a lot of people telling me what and how I should be. But I quickly learned that I couldn’t be anything but myself. When I brought that authenticity into the room, that’s when I started booking. Being true to myself is also how I found my tribe and my team.

What motivates you most?
My family. I’m very close with my mother and my sister. So close that we create content together (from films to books). But it’s our relationship that keeps me going. We’re the three-musketeers, the power-puff girls, and I couldn’t dare to dream as big without them.

How do you manage your work-life balance?
I think it’s a balancing act that I have to work at every day, with flexibility and without self-judgment.

Actors are basically small business owners: we’re the product we put forth. That requires a lot of work, but it’s work that I love doing. And when you do what you love, you can get totally immersed and become completely imbalanced. So, I make a conscious effort to check myself!

Scheduling meditation, exercise, time with friends and family is part of my routine, without any rigidity so that none of it is stressful. Being mindful of this helps me find my balance, from moment to moment.

What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?
I’m very shy. I prefer to observe and really listen to people when I meet them – that’s the best way to get to know them! So it takes me a while to open up.

What is something that has occurred in your acting career that you didn’t expect?
I think there are two things: filmmaking and stunts.

First, I never thought I’d be a filmmaker. But as a writer, I started creating the roles I wanted and filmmaking was just the next step in telling stories that were authentic to me.

Second, stunts! I had no idea I’d be as involved in stunts as I have been with the roles I’ve booked to date. Dodging gunfire and escaping burning buildings… it’s exhilarating!

Have you ever had an extraordinary experience? Describe it!
I am of the firm belief that the Universe is poetic – the ultimate storyteller. And when we look back on the serendipitous moments in our lives, we can see the connections, the signs, and character arcs in our own lives. I think just having a moment like that, where we look back in awe, with that feeling of “Wow!” … a moment like that is extraordinary.

I’ve had many moments like this. It’s truly extraordinary to live life, cognizant of such wondrous moments.

Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in art and in nature. So when I need to feel inspired, I’ll head on over to a museum or I’ll go for a walk in a park or a garden. When I see beautiful creations – manmade or in nature, I am truly mindful. And it’s in those quiet moments that inspiration hits!

What are some of your biggest passions?
I’m passionate about my spirituality; about spending time with my loved ones; about the people of Puerto Rico; and about women supporting women. But since we’re talking about acting, one of my passions is certainly storytelling!

As a storyteller, I love telling stories that move people. Stories that matter not only entertain, but they reach people. To make an audience laugh or cry; to get them to look at life from a different perspective; or to allow them to feel a little less alone in the world is a privilege and a blessing. And I’m eternally grateful to have answered the call.

More About Lisann

Lisann Valentin is a born and bred New Yorker, an actor, a writer and a filmmaker. The story of how she became an actor is part of the New York Times best-selling anthology, “Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It.” But right now she’s probably headed to an audition.

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