Valerie Menzel: Carving

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 1.31.44 PMTo many young actors embarking on their careers, New York and LA can seem like the only options. If you really want to make it, you have to choose one, or both, because God knows you will never get seen in any other square inch of this artistically barren, Philistinic Hellscape of a country. Right?

Wrong! (Thank goodness). The days of acting being a strictly bicoastal endeavor are rapidly fading, ushering in an era of more inclusive geography. Valerie Menzel of Charlotte, North Carolina, is living proof that these days, a rich and varied career can call anywhere home.

Menzel, a member of SAG-AFTRA for twenty-three years, says she “grew up on stage,” and has been enamored of the TV and film industry. Her resume is varied and impressive, including commercials on a national and local scale, an award-winning children’s audiobook (Bella’s Ball), gigs as a host for PBS drives and Lifetime Television, and forays into the indie scene (she was recently  nominated for a Best Actress Audience Choice Award at the TPN Film Festival).

Her career has been hard-won. For fifteen years, Menzel was a photoshoot producer in NYC, all while raising a family and soldiering on with her training at The William Esper Studio and The Neighborhood Playhouse. These days, she’s hosting a local show called “MattTV” out of Charlotte as she continues to pursue acting opportunities.

Her experiences have amply prepared her for the life of a modern actor, and Valerie Menzel pulls no punches when it comes to driving her own career. “I’m grateful for the digital age and sites like Cast It because it’s allowed me to juggle a happy family life and still have access to great resources and auditions even though we’ve moved around and I don’t live in LA or NY,” she reflected. She has certainly taken advantage of the limitless opportunities afforded by the entertainment industry’s increasing reliance on the internet. Represented by Privilege in Atlanta, Evolution in Charlotte, and CTA in DC, she also hones her skills via Skype with LA audition coach Amy Jo Berman. Menzel has armed herself for every prospect, setting up a quality home studio for voiceovers and self-taped auditions. “The great thing about being in Charlotte is that you can drive to bookings in Atlanta, Wilmington and Richmond in 4 hours,” she explained, “It can be a bit isolating to be in a small market though so having Cast It’s newsletter and Adam Lazarre-White’s 1 Minute Acting Lessons (which are just terrific!) at my finger tips is a huge help. They let me feel connected and keep learning even at a distance. I’ve had a wonderful experience with Cast It and look forward to participating in their showcase.”

Meanwhile, Valerie gave us the scoop on being an actor in Charlotte, NC. Below are her favorites and recommendations for the savvy area actor!

Headshots: Check out  and


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Rachel Rachel Frawley is an actor living in Atlanta. She holds a B.F.A. in Theatre from Michigan State University (with cognates in Music and Professional Writing) and is an Apprentice Company graduate from the Atlanta Shakespeare Co. She also works as an education artist for local theatres, which have included the Shakespeare Tavern and Aurora Theatre. For more information, visit her website at