Alisa Valdes is a true renaissance woman and without question one of the most powerful and successful Latinas in the United States.
Alisa is an executive producer of Dirty Girls Social Club, a TV series on the Starz network, based on her bestselling novel of the same name. A NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen published books, with more than 2 million in print in 11 languages around the world, Alisa has also written and sold TV scripts to Nickelodeon, Lifetime TV and NBC.
A prize-winning former staff writer with both the Boston Globe and the LA Times, where she was thrice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in features and where she was named the top newspaper magazine essayist in the nation before the age of 30, Alisa is also an Emmy-winning broadcast journalist formerly with WHDH-TV in Boston. She’s written cover stories for Redbook and Glamour, and her work has been published in dozens of newspapers and magazines.
More recently, Alisa is the founder and director of the nonprofit New Mexico Foundation for Literary Arts, which oversees New Mexico WordFest each year while raising money for literacy organizations in the state. She’s also the founder and CEO of Dirty Girls Flash Mob, a branded national dance-exercise program; and founder and CEO of the SUCIA/DGSC line of cosmetics and apparel.
Named among Time magazine’s 25 Most Influential Hispanics, and a Latina magazine Woman of the Year, and a recipient of the Literary Achievement Award from the United States Hispanic Congressional Caucus, Alisa is a popular public speaker who has given TEDx talks and who charms and inspires audiences on college campuses, as well as in corporations, government entities and nonprofit organizations. Twice named among Hispanic Business magazine’s 100 Most influential Hispanics, named among CNN’s Most Influential Hispanics, and called a Breakout Literary Star by Entertainment Weekly, Alisa is as tireless and visionary as she is creative, compassionate, hilarious, irreverent and outspoken.
Kirkus has called Alisa’s writing “Pride and Prejudice for the CNN age,” and she is proud of the fact that her commercial female friendship books are written with enough depth and nuance to be used to teach identity politics in sociology courses at Brown University. “I purposely write everything on multiple levels, from the fun and shallow to the deep and ponderous,” she says. “If you want to see one and not the other, you can. It’s up to the reader. I like big ideas, but I’m not impressed by academic elitism. It’s harder to be funny and popular than it is to obfuscate and pontificate. So I guess you could say I’m a utilitarian wordsmith whose misanthropy is a byproduct of despair. I also like writing about sex and shoes. So, you know. Make of me what you will. I don’t care.”
Alisa has been named Artist in Residence at Berklee College of Music, from which she graduated with a bachelor’s in music performance (saxophone and voice), and at Washington & Lee University, where alum Tom Wolfe appointed her to the position, saying, “she’s like the new me,” because of her witty writing and biting social commentary.
With a master’s from Columbia in journalism, Alisa is also a certified fitness instructor, fitness silver medalist for New England, and a former fitness catalog model. She is a licensed educator who has taught for UCLA, UNM and the Santa Fe public schools. She’s also an accomplished songwriter.
Alisa is a proud single mom to a cool teen boy who makes her laugh as much as Carlin; they divide their time between a house in Albuquerque, and an apartment in Los Angeles.
“If I’m breathing, I’m creating,” says Alisa. “I don’t care if it’s a writing a book, creating and selling a TV series, composing, recording and producing a song, or building a nonprofit or business from the ground up – there is nothing I love more in life than thinking of an idea, and then acquiring and mastering the tools to make what was just a cool thought into an even cooler reality.”
Alisa says she does her best thinking while running trails in the high desert mountains of New Mexico, with headphones blasting moody indiepop. “I’m a natural introvert, with extroverted moments,” she says. Asked to name five things she loves other than being creative and scandalous, Alisa says, “Friends, family, cooking, fitness and, what the hell, vodka.”