Hi, I’m Valerie.

My first love has always been writing, which was later coupled with the very fulfilling art of photography to tie all of my creative itches together in a neat bow. After a serious bout with postpartum depression following the birth of my firstborn, I picked up some old film cameras laying around the house, like I had done so many times before to keep busy, and began to shoot to my hearts content. Digital became more of a thing at that time, so I ordered my first DSLR (a Nikon D40x) off eBay, and attended “YouTube/Google University” to learn how to take better images of my growing child. Photography brought me so much joy that I started grooming this newfound gift into a successful photography business, launched in 2009 (Photography by Valerie). I am currently expanding into filmmaking world to document travels, families, and small branding projects. Stay tuned, as I will be sharing more of that in this space.

I have worked in public health for over 15 years and, given my science background and passion for women’s health, I knew that I wanted to channel that energy in giving back to my community in launching a wellness platform. In 2014, I was feeling deeply inspired by Serena Williams, but loathed the constant unjust scrutiny she encountered as a Black woman of excellence in her field. We needed more safe spaces just for us, where we could be ourselves and celebrate one another without apology. Where we could openly discuss topics that many women, especially Black women, were too afraid to make public – like depression, how we navigate the workplace, our natural hair and beauty, relationships, coping with loss and injustice, and the infamous myth of work-life “balance”. It was then that I became the proud Founder and CEO of Unapologetically Us, LLC , and in 2020, Mocha Health. Each venture has been a labor of love.

To be continued…

Love her style and the relaxed and comfortable feeling photos. A lot of creativity in each capture! ♥


Her photos tell a story that’s always open for interpretation.