Connections: An Interview Series with Entrepreneurs

I met Val Cripps about 6 months ago when we were both participating in an all day online summit. I was instantly drawn to her and knew I needed to feature her in this series. She is magic!

I was born in Colorado, during the time my father was in the Airforce.  He got out of the service right around when I was 3, and we moved to Japan for two years. My parents were delighted to travel and see the world, and my brother and I were eating sushi and watching monster movies and learning to say “origato” in Yokohama and Tokyo.  My father was working for an international corporation, so after a couple of years, we transferred to near Buffalo New York.

I remember a big house on a pretty quiet street, lots of snow, and I do remember my mother planting a garden from scratch. She is a pianist, and was always playing classical music in our home, and she started teaching me to play piano at 5. At 7, we transferred to Geneva, Switzerland.  We lived in that gorgeous city for five years, where my brother and I attended the international school, Ecolint. That experienced really shaped me, as it was such a creative and inspiring education, with so many trips to the museums and lots of art work and creativity. My friends were children of those who worked in the United Nations or the World Health Organization, and they were from around the world. I LOVED it there.

When I was 12, my dad decided to leave corporate life and go into business with his brother and his Dad. We moved to Salt Lake City, Utah. What a stunning city, but not so fun to be as a kid if you’re not Mormon. We were only there a year, and then we moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma where my mother was raised.

That was fun switching into school at 7th grade (not!) By 11th grade, I made my way across the world and lived with a family I had never met as a foreign exchange student. That was a remarkable experience and yes, I speak French fluently now! I was truly seeking the big city and an urban creative life, so I moved to Watertown, MA near Boston when I was 18 for a summer and worked at Perkin’s School for the Blind. That was a truly remarkable experience where I learned to sign into the mentally and physically challenged kids hands, and help them to enjoy their days at the residency there.

After high school, I got signed up at Indiana University where much of my Dad’s family had attended over the years.  I loved traveling overseas so much, that in my college years I also studied for a year in Bologna, Italy. What an honor to study under the same porticoes where Dante had written the inferno! I travelled around Italy and made wonderful friends and got a “con laudi” from Ezio Raymond on my final exam. Yes, I speak Italian fluently now! While I was in college, my parents had moved again to Tupelo, MS. Upon completion, I moved in with them to figure out my next steps. I knew I was going to graduate school, because my father had always said “you will go to graduate school, and you will pay for it yourself!” I decided to attend the television study program at MSU in Starkville, MS, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I ended up learning all the technical visualization software to be able to enter a career in the visual FX film business in Hollywood.

I had a couple brief stints up in New York City before I finished my MFA. I was a nanny for a family in upper state New York, and that was truly an interesting experience. I also spent a summer living in various shared apartments and working as a temp in some of the most exciting places, using my French and Italian on the jobs. I worked reception at Vanity Fair, the show room in Dolce Gabbana in SOHO, and the front office at Lippur Analytical on Wall Street. They actually wanted to hire me at Dolce Gabbana, but at that point I knew I was heading out to Los Angeles to get in the film biz.

I headed out in 1997 as I was finishing my thesis, and drove across the country with two of my besties from grad school. My parents weren’t sure about me heading out with no job, but I found the financial support I needed  (my friends had my back and then I had theirs the next summer) and within a month I’d gotten a great job at a software company, Side Effects Software. I ended up working there for almost seven years and it allowed me a great introduction into the world of visual FX. I got to know everybody and learn all the tools, and in 2003 I went into production on my first movie, The Cat in the Hat. I was thrilled! I then worked on films as a freelance FX artist for years. I worked at Rhythm and Hues, Sony Imageworks, CBS television and Disney Feature Animation. I loved all the people with whom I worked, and enjoyed learning all the technical details, though it was super challenging! I was beyond stoked to be included to work on two Oscar winning movies, Life of Pi and Big Hero Six. In 2005, I met my now husband who was also in the biz and in my community, and after a whirlwind romance, we were married and finding out we were pregnant and getting the keys to our first home on the same day. We launched into home renovations, making babies and continuing to work in the film biz.

It was extremely busy and challenging, as the business was leaving town, and going all over the world to wherever prices were cheaper, and production hours were long, stressful and taxing. In 2014, my only brother passed away suddenly after a long period of struggle with illness. His passing affected me on a deeply spiritual level, and in 2015, when my husband was working so hard overseas on several different film sets as a visual FX supervisor, I had time to myself to expand exponentially in my spiritual identity and expression. It is during this time I founded Valtopia and began my journey as a creative spiritual entrepreneur, shifting energy, raising consciousness through creative, visionary and transformational art and energy work.

Through this work, not only did I experience a great return to myself, my calling and passion and my authentic voice and drive, but my husband and family and I were able to reconnect and regenerate on a whole new level. Together we published my first offering from Valtopia, an expansive coloring book with a guide to crystals and essential oils. I have since been offering transformative energy portraits, both traditional and digital and Valtopia is now expanding into more widespread offerings to share love, light, delight and inspire vision, creativity and transformation. Let’s shift and raise energy to light up the universe!  I currently live with my family near Venice Beach, CA and Valtopia Studios is in our home studio. 

What does IMPACT mean to you?

Impact to me is the touch, the effect, the response I contribute to the experience we are all living together. My impact is to inspire in myself and others a delight in life and a vision for our dreams, and the impact of that is so powerful and so transformational that it then ripples out from the universe, to me, to the people I reach, and then to the people they reach and its a huge ripple wave effect spreading kickass energy of expansion, flow and infinite possibility and joy.  THAT’s the kind of impact I dream up.

What gives you the drive and passion to do what you do - what is your WHY?

My why, on the most esoteric level, is that I intend to shift energy and raise consciousness. So what does it mean to shift energy? The greatest tragedy to me is that as beings, human beings, we can possibly remain stuck. When we’re stuck we become contracted, we can become ridden with disease, we feel like we don’t have any options, we just give in and give up and we quit emanating light and love and we stop creating that kind of ripple effect that I was just talking about. Ideally, the effect that I have, the mission that pulls me is to free people from being stuck and to believe in their dreams and make it happen. I want to believe in MY dream of creative expression as an artist and musician, and that in sharing and connecting with others and serving in the best of my energy and gifts I uplift myself, and those around me, and they in turn uplift me and all of those around them. We are so fortunate in our lives to be capable to generate anything we really believe in and put our minds to. Because of this, Valtopia also contributes time and money towards the relief of distress, poverty, and providing education and care to those in need. We can live by choice, not circumstance, and then help to change the circumstances around us. 

HOW do you get your mission out into the world?

In everything I DO! HAHA! I am super creative, expressive, and I love using my VOICE and my ENERGY to shift others into their best energy. My first offering was a fantastic coloring book and guide to essential oils and crystals. It went bestseller overnight, and is an invaluable tool to guiding you in the cycles of your expansive journey (aka creating a beautiful experience of life). You can find it on my website or on amazon. “Valtopia, An Expansive Journey”. I have created a website experience with I offer insightful and telling weekly ENERGY wisdom with intuitive guidance for the week. I am so excited because I have begun recording these in my sound booth, and have included powerful audio healings, which are getting rave reviews.  

This summer has been a phenomenally powerful series of digital energy portraits where I am activating priestesses and queens. The activation is a process of energy sessions, intuitive guidance and creativity. We experience an amazing positive shift as these empowered, epic, world changing women transition from their current energy to a whole new reboot and boost in their energy, mind and life. The experience is a delightful, loving and transformative mix of divine energy healing, creative alchemy and my uniquely Valtopian magic and energy. I also love to offer a weekly live stream on my Facebook feed where I share my expansive journey as an intuitive artist and energy guide, and my experience as an entrepreneur. I always offer value by sharing my true journey as a mom, wife and creative entrepreneur following my dreams.  I share my gifts (intuitive, creative, performance, connection) by reading the energy of each guest who shares my live stream, right on the livestream.

We have so much fun and I get great feedback. I have been adding the shows to my YouTube station and I have a lot more in mind for that. People absolutely LOVE me on video and I adore interacting with and connecting on video as well. I would love to do WAY more of this as it’s natural for me. I love it so much that I have collaborated with my friend to create a product that helps sensitive, spiritual entrepreneurs, healers, artists to share their message on live video. It’s completely innovative for us to offer our veteran Hollywood film production tips, tricks and secrets (both for the video and for getting the shot and making things happen) AND powerful energy work and guidance. Not only will those who go through the Epic Video Rock Star Masterclass know how to get their video out with great lighting, framing, set and content, but their fears and anxieties will be released and they will learn how to boost their own energy and feel AMAZING like an epic video rock star! (Or a really stoked entrepreneur with new levels of impact because they are now able to share their message on video to their best energy). You can find out more:

I also adore sharing daily on Instagram as @valtopia, and I’m loving the interaction I’ve been getting on there lately. It’s so visual, yet you can express your ideas, I love it. I have so many powerful energy shifting experiences in the works so stay tuned for much more Valtopian magic. I am super grateful for these platforms each and every time someone messages me about how much better they are feeling, and how they have taken steps to take hold of their life, their energy and just kick ass and thrive in their life. 

If you could take anyone (living or dead) to lunch, who would it be and why?

Living, I would love to have a piano lesson lunch with Stevie Wonder - I absolutely adore his music, I always have and I’m such a sucker for a fender rhodes vintage keyboard. I have a gorgeous one named Betty.  I don’t think there’s more exuberant and divine energy than when you hear Stevie singing. I’ve seen him live and it was out of this world. If I could meet with him and have a piano lesson? That would be HUGE for me! If I could take someone to lunch that is no longer living, I would have lunch with Jimi Hendrix. There’s so much blissful love, peace and light and sweetness about him and his music just blows my mind. There’s a timeless, genius quality about him and there’s something so gentle yet so fierce, bold and courageous about him. Yet, he’s so uniquely himself, just viscerally, deep within me I resonate with his energy, his music and what he put out in the world in his short life in the world.

If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to and why?

If I could go back in time, I’d go back to the 60s. I feel there are a lot of similarities between the energy of the 60s and a lot of the creative impulse I feel. The idea of spiritual opening, and love and the age of aquarius, the grateful dead and Jimi Hendrix and Janice Joplin, peace and love and expansive, galactic love the way I imagine it to be! I was drawn to it as a teenager and I’m still drawn to that, and the emerging feminine divine that guides us now, and the opening of love and spiritual awareness that took us to where we are now?! I would LOVE to connect in with that time. Another time frame that’s really appealing to me is the romantic, bohemian era where they thought we should return to nature and people were wild and free. That really appeals to me on a spiritual and creative level. I guess at heart I’m a hippy, bohemian.

What one experience has left the most impact on you and why?

My brother died in October of 2014. He struggled throughout his life with anxiety. I never wish anyone to live their life less than joyfully because they get trapped in imbalances of the mind, body or spirit. I think when he passed, he stayed with me very powerfully as I came into my spiritual awakening. This last year has been huge for me and stepping into my spiritual awareness and learning how to shift energy using modalities rather than just using my intuition. It’s been extremely powerful experience for me to really step into who I am authentically, rather than being confined by what others want me to do or trying to please others or do what I think I’m supposed to do. I now operate more than ever from a place of inner guidance, from what the universe shows me, from my intuition.  My awakening has been a very powerful shifting life experience. It came from me stopping in my life, allowing myself the time and to reach out and find that spiritual support. I had to write down what I truly wanted and allow myself to meditate and dream about it and allow me time to shift that energy and go to healers and dream up a beautiful future that really involves what I desire deep from my heart and soul, not because I think it will pay, or someone will do it for me, but because it’s what is coming for me naturally and authentically. 

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done and would you do it again?

I’ve done plenty of crazy things and though I seem like a wild and crazy gal and I am a free spirit, but I’m not THAT crazy or wild. Something pretty wacky I did when I was 19 and living in Bologna, Italy as a foreign exchange student at the university of Bologna. I had an Italian friend and we were on the bus together. He was a pretty conservative, normal guy, and here I was wearing a wig, for fun, you know, as you do. And at the end of the bus I got up in the middle of the bus, and sang Gloria Gaynor “I will survive”, and at the end of the song after everyone was looking at me, I ripped the wig off my head, and then got off the bus. Pretty crazy. You know, I think I was just doing what I do now. I was shifting energy and expanding consciousness because Italy is so beautiful and they’re very traditional and conservative in a way? They keep things the way they always have been, and there’s something about that I want to shake it up and I want to release some of those old rules so there is room for creativity and innovation.   

I love to create experiences for people so they can get outside of their “now” and have a possibility of something else! I think that’s what I was doing by having that experience - sure I’d do it again - I’d probably get as much of a kick out of it now as I did then. I like to create experiences for people that might stun, startle, entertain, and surprise them - anything that shifts the energy, because that’s when the flow begins. That’s my aim, for myself, mostly, and for whoever wants to follow along with me - to keep everything in the flow because that’s where you get love, joy, delight, abundance and exuberance - beautiful flow - and you don’t get flow unless you shift energy, baby. 


Andi Wickman is a Personality Based Marketing strategist, helping struggling business owners go from unknown to influential by leveraging their personality. She does this through 1:1 coaching. Her mission is to elevate. To lift those who are ready, into the entrepreneur world. To hold their hand when they think they can’t go bigger. To help them see the fire within them. To help them get their mission out to the world. 

You can hang out with her in her /"}}">Facebook group for kick-ass biz owners who are building empires while having fun! The group is for the passionate, high achieving go-getters who want to collaborate with high level entrepreneurs.

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