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Meet Valerie Robfogel

Today we’d like to introduce you to Valerie Robfogel.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
13 years ago, I found my passion. I stumbled upon a little casting table at the age of seven years old at a mall in my hometown of Huntington Beach, California, with my friend and her mom. “Do you want to be on Disney Channel?!”, the woman with a kind smile asked me. That question opened up my wildest dreams and imaginations. Of course, any seven years old wants to be on the Disney Channel. I confidently walked toward the stand and strayed away from my friend and her mother. I wrote down my home phone number and my name in my second-grade handwriting skills. Two weeks later, my mother called me into the kitchen. “Valerie… did you sign up for acting classes?”. I stopped and thought for a second… “Oh yeah! I want to be on the Disney Channel”. My mother laughed and continued to question me. But, I was persistent! I kept telling her that this was my dream and that I wanted to be an actress. It took my mom some convincing, but with the help of my father, the creative one in my family, we got her to say yes and enroll me into classes. Little did we know, the classes were a scam and the corporation was later shut down for fraud. But that didn’t stop me from dreaming and realizing that telling stories was the one thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Since then, I have not stopped training. I later began to go to a REAL acting school in Irvine, California where I learned so much and got my first agent at the age of 9! I started auditioning for ice cream commercials, phone service commercials, horror movies, etc. But I was so young I didn’t really understand what I was doing. Because my mom worked full time, she wasn’t able to take me to auditions, so that’s where my dad came in. My father was a visual FX editor, and get this, a Heavy Metal artist and performer. In between his freelance work and studio time, he was able to take me to auditions. I booked little things here and there and I continued to work on my craft through middle school, getting involved in theater and what not. But everything came to a halt when my father got sick. On July 31, 2012, my father passed away. Being freshly 13, and about to start the eighth grade, I was devastated to lose him. I didn’t know what my life would look like without my creative support system right there by my side, but I knew that I had to keep going.

So I did. In 2013, my high school days began and I auditioned for my high school’s performing arts program, The Academy for the Performing Arts at Huntington Beach High School– or APA. I was happily accepted and I continued my acting journey. I began auditioning and performing in all of our plays. And in the very beginning of my senior year of high school, I achieved my first lead role in the play “Rumors” by Neil Simon where I played Chris Gorman. This part was monumental for me, being and high school and all. This was the first time I was able to work creatively with freedom and I got to build a wonderful relationship with my cast and director, Jolene Bogard, who I still talk to today and even got to help out with her children’s theater company in San Diego. “Rumors” brought me my first “Best Actress” award and I was thrilled because I knew my hard work and passion paid off. Later that year, I made the decision to continue working on my craft and attend The New York Film Academy in Los Angeles to receive my BFA in Acting For Film.

So, here I am. I’m 20 years old, have one semester to go, and continuing to grow my love and passion for acting. I truly don’t see myself doing anything else and I have felt that way since I told my parents that I had this dream at the age of 7. Who knew that a wide-eyed little girl saw her future in a crowded mall where a scam of a casting booth stood and said “Do YOU want to be on the Disney Channel”?

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My journey has not been smooth at all, and I know that it will most likely never be, this is an actor’s life. As I mentioned before, I lost my father at the age of 13. My father had been sick his entire life, but I always watched him do what he loved without regret. He definitely motivated me to keep doing what I loved without shame. If he taught me anything it is that life is short, and you shouldn’t waste it by doing something you don’t wake up happy to do every day. Throughout my life, I have faced so much doubt and judgment for pursuing a career that is unpredictable and unstable. Friends, family, and even teachers have doubted or questioned my decision to pursue this. I remember in high school, I was taking a college prep course. My teacher had created an assignment to choose our “Plan B” path. I found this assignment troubling since I did not have a plan B. Not because I didn’t know of one, but because I avidly and wholeheartedly decided not to have one.

Most people say that this is dangerous, and I know it is. But I am an optimist. I know that once I have that safeguard career in the back of my head and something disappoints me or if I ever feel like this is not working for me, it would be easier to give up trying and start a desk job that I would hate to wake up for. I might be crazy for having one dangerous, whirling, and unpredictable path in life, but I’ll be crazy happily for choosing me, and what makes me want to live every day to the fullest. My road will never be smooth, and I will have MANY struggles, but I know that if I focus on achieving my goals, big or small, I will be successful. I don’t think success can be measured by the amount of money you have in the bank, but with the people you have there by your side supporting you, your family who loves you, and with the passion that drives you to be happy in life. Whatever else comes along in my path is merely a gift.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am an actress. I love television and film acting the most, yet theater will always hold a special place in my heart. Sitcom television like Friends, Mom, That 70’s Show, etc., is what I’m most fascinated by and hope to achieve one day. I think I’m fascinated by it because the story carries every emotion. It’s never just jokes, and you go on a journey with the characters and fall in love with them. Career-wise, I’m still in college, but I am set to graduate in May 2020. Before I graduate, I hope to find representation and start getting as much audition experience as I can. In life, I’m known for being dedicated, crazy passionate, optimistic about everything I do, yet real with the expectation of the outcome. I think the thing I’m most proud of is the fact that I have never given up or lost hope.

When I say I’m dedicated, I mean I live in Huntington Beach, but I commute 2 hours each way to Los Angeles and back for school. That’s 100 miles a day, 4 hours a day, in my car listening to Off Camera with Sam Jones or the Lana Del Rey NFR album TWICE in a row until I reach my destination. Whenever I get to class on time at 9 AM, I get, “Valerie… I don’t know how you do it, I seriously could never do that”. I guess my literal drive for this career is really what sets me apart! Don’t get me wrong, I know what I do is not for all, but if it’s taught me anything it is that sitting in my car for most of the day is what my life is going to look like after college with auditioning and working. Time management, baby.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Honestly, I wouldn’t start over. I believe whatever obstacle was put forth in my path was to test me, and if I failed, I learned a valuable lesson. Life is not perfect, and as humans we need the capability to understand that. I see failure as progress because then I could evaluate what made me fail, and try again in a different way without judgment. Recently, I was referred to an agent by a friend, and I was over the moon about it because maybe, just maybe, this would get my career into motion. And nowadays you can’t submit yourself to a good agent unless you are referred, or they found you.

I gathered my resume, headshot, reels, and voice-over reels and I wrote the most heartfelt email and I made sure everything was perfect, or so I thought. I had the pleasure of texting this agent directly where I got a message back saying “Be patient…I’ll gets back to you when I can”. Two weeks, one month, and a month and a half went by– no response. I started doubting myself. “What if they didn’t like me… did I say something wrong…am I too fat or ugly…am I not good enough?”. I quickly pushed the negative thoughts away and smacked myself back into reality. The truth is, it probably wasn’t meant to be, and I have my whole life ahead of me to find someone that wants to collaborate and make some magic. My biggest lesson learned? This isn’t the end until I say it is.

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Image Credit:
Kaylee Araiza (first picture)

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