With genuine enthusiasm and an upbeat, positive attitude, WHAS 11 anchor Juliana Valencia strives to bring a kind, personal touch to local news. She visited with our own Rocko Jerome at a local pub, where she shared just what she loves about the city that we share.
Born in Florida, spending much of her childhood in South Texas, the latter part of her teen years in Nashville, then attending college in Florida, Juliana Valencia had many rich experiences growing up, experiencing the cultures of different parts of the country. "My father was a university professor, and my mother was a Spanish teacher. It was very important to them that they set me up for success," she says. "I deeply appreciate it, but as an only child some- times you really felt the pressure to succeed."
She has nothing to fear. Already an anchor at a top local station in her twenties, her hard work and can-do attitude has brought her to a fantastic place - both figuratively and literally. "I love Louisville so much," she says. "It's such an active city with so much passion and history." Juliana's path to here and now was an unusual one. Growing up with a love of theater, piano, and dance, journalism was not necessarily her first chosen path as she enrolled in the University of Florida. She was hesitant to commit to journal- ism because of the pay and transient lifestyle. So, she started out trying to also major in Hospitality and tacked on a business minor.
The business minor stuck, but ultimately journalism persevered over hospitality. As she says, "Things kept working out." She was absolutely bit- ten by the bug in her Junior year when she landed an internship at CNN in Atlanta. After graduating in 2013, she took an on-air job as a one-man band reporter in New Bern, North Caroina, then made it as a weekend anchor and reporter in Paducah. Along the way, she was told that she would never be an anchor...making it all the more sweet when she became just that when WHAS hired her as a week- day anchor in 2016.
She initially served on the morning and noon shows, but in March she took over the 4:00 p.m. It’s the same show the well-loved Rachel Platt did before she left broadcasting to begin a new role at the Frazier Museum. "Rachel is really fantastic, and it's a tremendous honor," Juliana says. "I also really like these new hours, be- cause it means that I don't have to get up at 3 AM!" Besides bringing a youthful energy to the news, she also endeavors to bring new ideas as well. A first generation American, Juliana's parents hailed from Colombia. Juliana is bilingual, and she produces a daily online version of WHAS news in Spanish. "I feel that we live in a time in which it's just very important to be inclusive," she says.
Juliana enjoys Louisville's rich social scene and the charm of it’s diferent neighborhoods. "I love the way that making friends here tends to lead to making more friends, as everyone kind of likes to get together and have a good time. You don't re- ally find that everywhere; this innate friendliness. I love it here." She loves exploring new places to eat, and that Bourbanism is a thing.
There are a few things that have led to making Louisville so special to her. Getting a little slice of heaven and love at Butchertown Pizza, running more than a 5k for the first time in her life through the Triple Crown of Running series, and Louisville City FC. She only overslept twice (still making it before air) while working the morning show... the two times LouCity won the national championship the night before.