Alumni Spotlight – Lisann Valentin ’01
Lights, Camera, Action: One Alumna’s Journey to the Big Screen
by Valerie Esposito
It’s hard to imagine that Lisann Valentin ’01, a woman who seems at home in front of the camera, was ever a shy freshman on SJC’s Brooklyn Campus. However, Ms. Valentin insists it was the individual attention and encouragement that St. Joseph’s gave her that helped her evolve into an outgoing powerhouse with the courage to pursue her dreams.
“When I chose to study at SJC, I knew it had everything I was looking for,” Ms. Valentin said. “I wanted the individual attention and camaraderie that a small school provides, along with the opportunity to explore a wide variety of interests.”
During her years as an undergraduate student, Ms. Valentin became actively involved with many organizations on campus, including the Beta Upsilon Delta sorority, the Student Government Association and campus ministries. In addition, she received guidance and mentoring along the way from Patricia Gabel, assistant professor of English on the Brooklyn Campus.
“I knew then that college is what you make of it, so I decided to try a lot of new things,” Ms. Valentin said. “As a result of my experiences, I became more confident and even found myself in leadership roles. True leaders inspire others to become leaders in their own lives. SJC helped do that for me and I still strive to do that in my own life every day.”
After graduating with a B.A. in English and Secondary Education, Ms. Valentin went on to study at Western New England University School of Law in Springfield, Mass. Since then, she has been practicing law, taking acting classes, starring in various roles and working to improve the portrayal of Latinos in the media.
Most recently, Ms. Valentin earned a starring role in the independent film Made from Scratch, which focuses on the lives of four multicultural women. Ms. Valentin stars as Victoria Alvarado, a successful advertising executive who is trying to find a deeper purpose for her life. Although a challenging role, it is quite fitting for Ms. Valentin, who works tirelessly to juggle many projects on a daily basis.
“Although my interest in acting started at a young age, I didn’t pursue a career as an actress until after I began to practice law,” Ms. Valentin said. “Since then, I've been honing my craft, auditioning and booking roles ever since I made the commitment to chase my dreams. The transition has not been seamless and every day is a balancing act, but I'm following my bliss and it is a blessing. My character is a strong woman, and I’m thrilled that she is a Latina. It’s about time more powerful lead roles for Latinas appear on the big screen.”
In addition to being a lawyer and actress, Ms. Valentin has written several short films and is founder of a blog, www.herdeepthoughts.com, a creative outlet that earned her a nomination for the 2012 Best Latina Inspirational Blogger Award.
As she continues to pursue her dreams while inspiring others to do the same, Ms. Valentin offers this advice: “You can have a second act (or third act) at any stage of your life so you don’t need to have it all figured out right now. Once you have that ‘aha’ moment that ignites a fire in you, don't let it go out. Believe in yourself, make a plan and carry it out. And of course, never ever give up.”