We had the good fortune of connecting with Diana Bonilla and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Diana, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley by two Salvadoran immigrants who worked hard to provide for my sisters and I. Through my parents’ sacrifices, love and upbringing I learned the value of appreciating life and the little things, servicing others and celebrating community.
Growing up as a Salvadoran Valley girl, I have an immense love and appreciation for the Valley and the people in the Valley. The Valley and the people of The Valley have inspired me in many ways and have impacted in the person I am today.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started creating content through my personal Instagram account @thedianatimes. I created a space to highlight small businesses , sharing parts of my life and creating fun posts through my creativity. Unknowingly, with time it became a space that taught me to practice self love through modeling in my own pictures whenever I created content.
From there, I wanted to create a space to highlight my love for the San Fernando Valley and the people in the Valley. This led to the creation of @valleygems. Valley Gems is a space I created to highlight and celebrate the amazing beings and places of the San Fernando Valley. I love learning people’s stories and sharing new small businesses. It can be a bit nerve wrecking at times when creating content because sometimes I can be my harshest critic but I’ve learned that when you do everything with love and good intentions–in the end, it will always work out.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The beauty of the Valley is there’s something for everyone to do. If you’re into nature you can have a picnic at O’Melveny park and hike the trails or visit classic staple pieces of the Valley like Beeps Diner in Van Nuys or a visit to the Valley Relics Museum.
For the fashionistas, thrift stores are always a must and you can check out Value Center thrift store in Sylmar. Bookstores like Tia Chucha’s are true Valley gems and perfect to stop by after picking up some coffee at Yonder Coffee. If you’re not a coffee person, there are plenty of tea places to check out like Chala Boba in Van Nuys or if you’d like natural juices check out Flor De Lima in San Fernando.
For the pop culture fans, stop by Chandler Valley Center Studios in Panorama City to see the outside building of where the hit show The Office was filmed. Afterwards you can stop by Mom’s Haus to eat some of the best Louisiana style cuisine and end the day with delicious custards from Crème Caramel LA in Sherman Oaks.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My story wouldn’t be possible without the amazing people in my life. From my family to my friends, to the love and support of community, none of it would be possible without them. I thank each of them for their existence, love, light, support and encouragement.
I appreciate the people who I’ve crossed paths with. The ones who have taught me new things, encouraged me and impacted me in ways I’m very grateful for.