Behind-the-Scenes with Valerie van der Graaf

THE VERY SMALL DOWNSIDE OF BEING DUTCH
I’ve been taking acting classes for the past year and a half. I appreciate both drama and comedy, as long as it’s well written. But with my accent, a future in acting is not very realistic. It’s going to take me a long time to get rid of it.

MY TYPICAL WEEKEND
My hometown is only an hour-long flight from London, so I can easily go visit friends and family on weekends. But I recently moved into a new flat in northwest London with a good friend, so I’m looking forward to having girlie time with her, watching movies and drinking malbec.

MY ATHLETIC SIDE
I’m not the best at sports, but I do love watching soccer. In 2012 I got tickets to the Olympic gold-medal women’s hockey match between Argentina and the Netherlands. I went with three other Dutch women, all wearing orange, and the Netherlands won! We celebrated all night.

WHAT IS EUROVISION ANYWAY?
For the unfamiliar, Eurovision is one of the biggest music and song competitions in Europe, featuring competitors from every country. The contest promotes togetherness across the continent, and millions of viewers tune in to watch. The catch? You can’t vote for your own country, but since I live in London I can get around that rule.

LONDON CALLING
If you’re visiting London for the first time, go on the London Eye on a clear day. Then walk along the South Bank, which is lovely even in winter because of the stands selling mulled wine along the way. And of course you must go to a proper London pub.

BUT FIRST, WINE
The best thing about traveling in France, Italy or Spain is that you can go into any café and get an amazing glass of wine for four euros—practically nothing. Wine is cheaper there than Diet Coke, so why not drink it?

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