Hi, I’m Valerie Tejeda (you can also call me Val)! I’m an author, editor, and journalist. My bylines have appeared in publications such as Vanity Fair, Teen Vogue, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, Latina, and more. I’m currently an editor of words at Upworthy. Hollywood Witch Hunter (published by Bloomsbury in 2015 and Audible in 2016) was my debut young adult urban fantasy novel, and the first book I’ve ever written.
Email: For all other inquires: valerie_tejeda [at] aol [dot] com
If you’re interested in learning a little more about me …
I’m a pop music and pop culture aficionado. Literally. This definitely came in handy when I worked as an entertainment journalist.
I always start my morning with mediation and throughout the day I practice mindfulness. It’s been a game-changer for me.
I couldn’t live with out coffee (especially Peet’s!), cupcakes, French fries, guacamole, and cheese.
My Hogwarts House is Slytherin.
I like taking pictures for fun. It’s a way for me to be in the now and focus on the moment.
I love to binge-watch TV shows with my husband (he always knows the best stuff to watch!).
I was born and raised in California, and the only time I’ve lived outside of the state was when I moved by myself to Kihei, Maui, at 19. (Yes, living in Hawaii was just as amazing as you’d imagine it to be. #TakeMeBack).
My favorite colors are rose gold and black.
I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology and I love to analyze people. 🙂
I don’t wear makeup everyday (because, lazy), but I am obsessed with it. Lip gloss and black eyeliner can always be found in my makeup bag.
Whether or not they are in style, I will always have a thing for graphic tees and Converse.
I prefer iced coffee to hot—even when it’s cold outside.
I’d rather eat dessert than dinner. #SweetTooth
My name, Valerie, means “strong; valiant,” and my last name, Tejeda, means “yew tree.” Speaking of my last name, Tejeda is pronounced “tuh-HAY-duh” by English speakers. However, the proper way to pronounce it in Spanish is “teh-HEH-dah.” The name originates from a village on the Canary Islands, which is Spanish archipelago off the coast of northwestern Africa (if you look “Tejeda” up on Google maps, you’ll find the village!). The Tejedas have been in the U.S. for a couple generations, so I have family who pronounces it both ways.
And on that note … One of my favorite pastimes is studying genealogy and building my family tree—talking to family members and hearing their stories, tracking down old photos and immigration documents, doing ancestral DNA testing … I seriously love it! I’m even in the process of making an ancestor wall in my home. Building my family tree has taught me so much about myself and my roots. I often get asked what my heritage is, so here’s the whole enchilada:
I am Mexican, Jewish, and Moroccan.
If you’re interested, here’s a little more detail:
My Mexican roots come from my dad’s side. Like many people from Mexico, we are mestizo—a mix of Spanish, Native Mexican, and some African. The Tejedas are from Jalisco, Mexico, and fun fact, my great-great-great grandfather was the chief aka “el jefe” of a small village in Jalisco.
My Jewish heritage (Ashkenazi and Sephardic) comes from both sides of the family, but it’s mostly from my dad’s side. And with the Jewish diaspora, they’ve lived all over— the Middle East, Europe, North Africa, and the Americas.
My Moroccan roots come from my mom’s side. Morocco is in North Africa, not the Middle East, and it’s an admixed country. My family is from Casablanca, Morocco, with a mix of mostly Spanish (Andalusia) and Native North African. And although they don’t have French blood, they grew up with a heavy French influence in the country, speaking French, and mixing French, Spanish, and traditional Moroccan cuisines (lots of good cooks on this side of the fam!).
Thanks for stopping by! 🙂