We had the good fortune of connecting with Valerie Penso-Cuculich and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Valerie, how do you think about risk?
I’ve always been a risk-taker. My thought process has never been to ask why but why not! If an opportunity that intrigued me presented itself I’d take it. Even if I meant I didn’t know what the outcome would be or if I had to figure it out as I went along. Maybe that’s just how us Sagittarius roll. When I look back on my career I am still amazed at how it all came together.
On a whim, I went on the reality show Temptation Island. Mind you this was way before they were mainstream like they are now. It ended up being a huge hit and without realizing it, from there I stumbled into the world of television. I had no idea when I said yes to being on a show that it would lead to a very interesting career. Love or hate reality tv, it is definitely a conversation starter. No matter where I am in the world I get the opportunity to talk to people about all the funny and outrageous stories that go on behind the scenes. Meeting new people on the go in my life and on various castings was the perfect vocation for a people person who loves fun and challenging opportunities.
The casting casting company that I currently co-own is No Alibi Media, a full-service casting company that has been non-stop since the day it opened in early 2020.
Then there is my Salsa brand (that I started with my husband) Uncle Franks’ Salsa, which can be found in Bristol Farms in southern California & several other boutique stores across the US! Talk about taking a risk! I had ZERO experience in food manufacturing but when the chance of being carried at my favorite upscale grocery store chain happened there was no way I could pass it up! And so far is has panned out. But not without a lot mistakes ….
Looking back I see that if I hadn’t taken the initial challenge to do something out of my comfort zone, I never would have ended up where I am now. Sometimes in life you just had to take a chance, some might say it’s a risk and true it won’t always work out perfectly or even at all. Many times I decided on something but got re-routed to something else. I see now that it was never wrong and there was always something that I learned from the experience. Something I am sure I wouldn’t have known if I had originally passed it by.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more? What sets you apart from others?
I can’t say that this sets me apart from others but whatever I’m doing — I giving it a 110%. Whether it’s a high-paying job, a workout or a favor for a friend. I don’t know how to half-ass things. I get surprised when I see that not everyone lives this way… I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I knew I didn’t give it my all.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Most of my friends know I’m a fitness lover so, even if they are not they know the trip is going to entail getting outside and working up a sweat. Some of my favorite places are the Santa Monica Stairs & Runyon Canyon. The hard way of course (what I like to call Death Mountain).
Don’t let my workouts fool you though, once it’s out of the way there are many ways to reward yourself. It’s all about balance right? We have to have fun to balance out all that hard work. Though I love a cool new hotspot and getting glammed up I am all about the real deal Los Angeles experience. Go Greek, Breakroom 86 or some iconic dive bar is definitely on the itinerary. If we are feeling like having a more chill dining experience there is nothing better than hitting up a local Mexican restaurant to get a Margarita and of course some chips and salsa. Lastly, I can’t leave Disney’s California Adventure off the list! People don’t realize you can get some great food & drinks there and of course hop on a ride or two.
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?
I give a shout out to all the amazing females in my life who have gone for their dreams and made their businesses a success. Like my friend’s Jodi Thomas & Rebecca Reczek of City Media and Alyson Sullivan who owns Sullivan Farms Mustard (the best sweet & spicy mustard on the planet) who I met doing demos at Bristol Farms. None of us compete with each other — in fact, we share the love. There is no need to cling to or get competitive with any job or opportunity that comes along because there is always enough for everyone. Besides, sometimes you are or aren’t meant to have a certain job come your way — these are things I have learned to let go and trust in the flow. I can thank Abraham Hicks for that.