My Interview with author Carla Valderrama from This Was Hollywood: Forgotten Stars and Stories

A Vintage Nerd, Old Hollywood Blog, Carla Valderrama, This Was Hollywood, Old Hollywood Books, This Was Hollywood Book, Classic Film Blog
Photo by Zack Munson

If you love Old Hollywood and have been on Instagram, you must have come across Carla Valderrama's amazing account called This Was Hollywood. It is a jam packed account filled with images and tidbits about classic films and their stars from every decade. 

Recently Carla wrote her own book all about the Old Hollywood stars she loved. I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing her book which you can find HERE. I was also lucky to score an interview with Carla and learn more about where her passion of classic films and Old Hollywood comes from. She is such a sweetheart and I feel lucky to have connected with someone who gets as giddy about classic films as I do. 

If you are interested in reading Carla's book This Was Hollywood ,  you can get your own copy HERE. Carla also created a super fun Movie Club for those of you who identify as classic film buffs or are interested in learning more about Old Hollywood movies. 

When did your love for classic film begin? What was the first classic film ever you watched?  

My love for classic film started at a Party City with my mom when I was 6, and I saw a cardboard cutout of Marilyn Monroe. I asked my mom, “Who is that?” and she said, “It’s Marilyn Monroe, she was a huge movie star.” And I knew I had to watch all of her movies. 


I don’t remember the first film. It might have been Some Like It Hot, but it might also have been Gone With the Wind. It’s all a blur.

What motivated you to share your passion on Instagram?


I was frustrated and depressed with where I was in my life, and classic movies always made me feel better. So I decided to share them with other people, hoping it would make them feel better too.


What is one classic film you can watch over and over again and not get bored?


Singin’ In the Rain. Watched it more times than I can count. It’s the greatest escapism ever. It’s got singing, dancing, a great story with tons of film history. And it’s in glorious Technicolor.


What is your favorite year or decade of classic film?


Depends on the day of the week. I love the 40s and 50s because of film noir and musicals. But I also love the 70s, because it’s so real and raw. 


Name your favorites: 


Man, you’re not playing around here!

Top five films:


In no particular order, also changes all the time. But today’s Thursday, and here’s what I’m feeling:

Singin’ In the Rain. Vertigo. Sherlock Jr. (1924). Odds Against Tomorrow. Paper Moon. 




Can’t pick one. Lois Weber, because she was a badass bitch and super innovative. Alfred Hitchcock and Billy Wilder, because they turned out an insane amount of classics. Stanley Kubrick, because he did something different for every movie. 


Costume Designer: Travis Banton, a guy more people should know about.

Top five actors:


Sidney Poitier, John Garfield, Robert Mitchum, Gary Cooper, William Holden


Top five actresses:


Carole Lombard, Marilyn Monroe, Gloria Grahame, Gene Tierney, Judy Garland


Did you always want to be an author? How did the idea of your book, This Was Hollywood come about? 


Yes, but I never thought I’d get to write a book. Especially since I never finished college and never published anything before, LOL. 


The idea came from my Instagram, where I was writing really long captions. An editor from the publishing house noticed and asked if I had an idea for a book. I said yes, and quickly came up with one on the spot.


What did you learn from the process of putting this amazing book together? 


To always fight for what I believe in, even if other people are telling me otherwise. It doesn’t matter if something isn’t usually done a certain way. If I think it’s the way it should be done, I’m going to push for that. A lot of people did not think this book would succeed based on how I presented it, but it did because of how I presented it. Which was very satisfying.


Also, in a world of remakes and reboots, be yourself.


What advice do you have for those starting out watching classic films?


Have fun. Movies are fun. They’re not a chore. If you’re watching a movie and you’re not enjoying it, move on to something else. I don’t care if some pretentious institution says it’s a great film. It doesn’t matter. The only basis I think you can judge a movie is an emotional one. Does it make me laugh or cry or feel something? If not, why am I wasting my time. Also, don’t pay attention to reviews—either from critics or IMDB or whatever. I’ve discovered many gems just by keeping an open mind. 


What advice would you have for those who want to share their passion for film? 


Share what you love and do it for fun. If you’re not having fun, what’s the point? Let’s be real, we ain’t in this for the money!


Lastly, list ten films you think are as close to perfect as a film could be. 

Singin’ in the Rain (again!). Paper Moon (again). Rififi. La Grande Illusion. Casablanca. The Godfather. The Killing. Sunset Boulevard. Double Indemnity. It’s a Wonderful Life. 

Share this:


  1. What a great post! Thank you for sharing this! I wasn't familiar with this book!


    1. I think you'd really enjoy it! She did an amazing job with her book! xox

  2. What a great interview! I enjoyed this so much, Daffny. Thank you for sharing Carla's inspiring words with us!

    1. Thank you so much hun! Carla is a doll! I feel so lucky to have connected with her!! xox


Copyright © A Vintage Nerd || Exploring Old Hollywood Through Fashion, Film, & Books. Designed by OddThemes