Have You Met?

Perky, vivacious, outgoing and friendly…that’s a good description of Valere Shane. Valere reminds me of Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde. She’s a walking fashion statement with a head on her shoulders. We met at Valere’s favorite “Movie Star Starbucks” on Fillmore. She told me, “ I love this place. You can sit in the sun, sip your triple grande with three shots of espresso and see so many of your friends.” She was right. During our interview there must have been at least a half dozen people stopping by our table to chat. I thought that kind of table-hopping only took place in LA.

Valere was born in New York City. Her mom was a model and an actress on a soap opera series and her dad was a sales executive. When Valere was three, her mom decided that she didn’t want to raise a daughter in New York City so they returned to her hometown of Denver. “ I was an only child, raised by my mom, and we were a very close team. She was beyond devoted and absolutely my best friend.” Valere grew up near Cherry Creek and attended Dora Moore, Morey Junior High and East High School. Her grandfather lived with them and Valere fondly remembers this story about the time her grandfather played a little trick on her. “ My grandfather would baby sit for my mom after school. One day he found a sign that said “Police headquarters” and put it in our window. When I came home from school and saw the sign, I thought they had turned our home into Police Headquarters. I ran over to my grandmother’s house crying, convinced that my house was now Police Headquarters. My grandfather thought that the whole thing was pretty funny.”

Do you have a favorite childhood story? What is it? The Wizard of Oz or Alice in Wonderland. I like things that are way out there.

Tell me a little about your career. I started as an intern for Westword newspaper while in high school. After graduating from Barnard College, I landed a job with Andy Warhol at Interview Magazine where I was an advertising assistant by day and nightlife photographer at New York’s hottest clubs and parties by night. I had many exhibitions of my nightlife photography from New York, including photos of Andy Warhol and his entourage. When you’re 22, it is okay to go out until 4am and get to work by 9am. I did writing and photography for numerous New York, Aspen and Denver magazines including Colorado Homes and Lifestyles, Aspen Times and Aspen Magazine. The past ten years I’ve devoted my time to traveling with my husband, Tom, and working on galas and fundraisers.

What’s important in your life? I want to obtain focus and clarity each day and I want to try to be a better person, friend and family member and make more time for deepening the relationships.

What’s in your future? I’d love to get involved with art, photography, fashion and museums. Maybe get a Master’s of Fine Art degree. Denver has some terrific artists and photographers such as Pamela Mougins. I’d also like to spend more time having lunch at The Palm.

In which ways would you like to get involved in the creative world? I want to explore opportunities in the art field. I think I would like to help entrepreneurs in the art industry get established; whether it’s photographers, fashion designers, aspiring actors and actresses…I just like to connect people.

What are your volunteer activities? Volunteers of America, Cystic Fibrosis, Fashion Group, ArtReach, Denver Film Society, Cancer League, National Jewish

What do you do as a volunteer? I work on committees for fundraisers. ShaneCo. is a sponsor for many events and fundraisers. I also served on the board of directors of the Denver Film Society for many years.

Which social event is your favorite? Western Fantasy, Cancer League Gala, Cystic Fibrosis Gala, Cherish the Children Gala, Beaux Art Ball, Children’s Hospital, Icon Awards, Mutts and Models and Wines for Life.

Favorite restaurant? Campo Di Fiore, Del Frisco’s Steakhouse, Ventura Grill and The Palm

Who is the most interesting celebrity you have ever met? Andy Warhol. While working for him I learned a lot about his celebrity persona, which was very meek and mild mannered. Underneath he was a sharp businessman and very calculating. He had a fall guy, Fred Hughes, who had a fake British accent and wore a three-piece suit to project those business-like qualities so Andy could maintain his artistic, quiet demeanor.

If your life were a movie, whom would you want to play your part? Diane Lane. She is glamorous, sexy, exciting and deadly. I would like people to imagine I had that kind of body!

How would you describe your personality? I go with the flow and don’t like confrontations. I’m mild mannered and easy-going.

Do you have any pets? My dog who I call “husband number two.” He’s a Shih Tzu and his name is Duncan McGregor Hines.

When you move, what will your home tell its next owner about you? That I really needed my space

What word describes you best? Fun loving and independent

How would you like others to describe you? Honest with integrity and passion

What was your first job? Intern/Writer for Westword newspaper. I was 17.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? My inability to return phone calls

What is the trait you most deplore in others? Bitterness and deceitfulness

What is your greatest indulgence? Starbucks Triple Grande, No-Fat, No Whip, Mocha Latte. That’s three shots of espresso. Also, caviar, foie gras and champagne

What is the best gift you have ever given? Love and forgiveness

What is the best gift you’ve received? Kindness and appreciation

What or who is the greatest love in your life? My family

What is your current state of mind? Happy. I’m trying to slow down and get organized.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Motherhood

What is your most treasured possession? Photographs of family and friends

What is the quality you most like in a man? Great sense of humor. Great abs and biceps are not a bad thing either.

Which virtue do you think is the most over-rated? Moderation!

What is the quality you most like in a woman? The ability to be a true, loyal and non-competitive friend to other women

Favorite books/writers? The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. All of interior designer Alexandra Stoddard’s books and for laughs, The Bombshell Manual of Style by Lauren Stover.

What is the best advice you have ever received? Be true to yourself

Do you have a motto? Die fighting, play to win

What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you? I was searching frantically around the house for my cell phone…while I was talking on it.

If you could come back in another lifetime, what/who would you like to be? And why? Elizabeth I, who ruled England from 1558 –1601. The book Elizabeth I, CEO is quite inspiring and the movie about her life is fabulous. I would love to rule England and have Joseph Fiennes for a boyfriend. He’s my favorite actor.

What are your hobbies? Other interests? Writing, photography, working out, reading, visiting art museums, film, fine dining, trips to the mountains, great wine, decorating, planning parties and the Sunday New York Times.

Who is your mentor? I admire women such as Arlene Hirschfeld, Edie Marks, Annabell Bowlen, Linda Goto and Sharon Magness, who devote their time and their hearts to so many charitable causes and they are always so gracious.

What would you most like to be remembered for? My incredulous fashion wardrobe and shoe collection. I’m just kidding, but that’s what my husband would say.

Who are your favorite fashion designers? This season I’m doing all Italian…Prada, Gucci, Valentino and Armani. I just came back from LA where I did a shopping trip on Rodeo Drive.

If you could go anywhere and do anything, what would it be? I really enjoy staying put right now. I’m striving for stability, routine and a calm, ordered and organized life. No wild adventures desired…and no packing.

What do you like about the town you live in? Denver is far more sophisticated than the rest of the country realizes. It has come a long way from the cow town I grew up in. Most importantly, the people here are wonderful, fun, dedicated and quality people.