This Was Hollywood: An Exclusive with Author Carla Valderrama

My copy of This Was Hollywood.

As of 2019, there are 532 television shows on the air, and there are always thousands of new movies to binge on various streaming services. Sometimes, it seems as soon as you binge the latest season of a popular show on one service — there already are ten other shows or movies that you need to catch up on to be in the loop. What if you aren’t that interested in current pop culture?

On my blog, we’ve talked with Nicole Randone, the creator behind the popular 2000s media-centered Instagram account, @Misss2005. Y2K culture was only two decades ago, so many readers were likely alive during the aughts. What if your world was surrounded by media that is almost a century old? I talked with my new friend, Carla Valderrama, the popular Instagram creator behind @ThisWasHollywood with 949k followers. Her account, This Was Hollywood, highlights everything old Hollywood with behind-the-scenes looks at our favorite classic movies, photographs of our favorite stars, and more. Carla is the author of the new book, “This Was Hollywood: Forgotten Stars & Stories,” which can be found everywhere books are sold. Here are some of the questions and answers from our interview.

I would love to know a little about you and what inspired you to create This Was Hollywood on Instagram.

“I’ve loved classic movies ever since I was a kid. I started my Instagram to share my passion and knowledge about classic movies with other people and because I was depressed and needed to cheer myself up! These movies, with all of their escapism, have always made me happy.”

How did you become infatuated with this world of Old Hollywood stars and Classic Movies? Was there a particular star(s) or movie(s) that got you obsessed/wanting to learn more about this time period?

“I saw a cutout of Marilyn Monroe at a Party City when I was a kid, and I asked my mother who that was, and she said, Marilyn Monroe. That was the beginning. I went out and watched all her movies and then got into others. And I haven’t stopped since!”

A large focus of your book, “This Was Hollywood: Forgotten Stars and Stories,” spotlights some actors and actresses that have been overlooked over time. What inspired you to talk about some of these stories in your book?

“I thought that for a long time, the same types of books about the same types of stars were being published. I love Marilyn, Audrey Hepburn, and Grace Kelly, but every year there are tons of books written about them, and there are so many other stories that I wanted to read, and I thought maybe others want to as well.”

Turner Classic Movies is probably every Golden Age fan’s dream is to work or be associated with them – how did that collaboration/partnership come about?

“An editor from the publisher was following my Instagram and asked me if I would be interested in writing a book. I said yes, and sent in a few proposals, and this was the one they chose. TCM partners with the publisher, and that’s how they became attached. But I always loved Robert Osborne growing up, and it was such a pleasure to talk to Ben Mankiewicz about the book and pick the movies they were showing that night! A DREAM COME TRUE!”

And now.. for the fun questions…

If you can have dinner with any star/musician from this era, who would you want to dine with and why? (I’ll say you can give top 3 because this may be difficult, haha!)

“Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman, and Marilyn Monroe. I’d have a lot of questions, LOL.”

(From Left to Right) Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman, and Marilyn Monroe.

What are some of your favorite Pre-Code films?

“Red-Headed Woman (1932), Freaks (1932), Baby Face (1933), The Black Cat (1934).”

What are some movies/media/music you are enjoying in the present day?

“I loved Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. And I’m finally watching season 3 of Twin Peaks. I love David Lynch! And I’m looking forward to Guillermo del Toro’s remake of Nightmare Alley. The original, starring Tyrone Power, is so great. But Guillermo’s looks dark and cool, and I’m very excited.”

This Was Hollywood: Forgotten Stars & Stories is available everywhere books are sold. Carla can be found on her Instagram and TikTok, @ThisWasHollywood. Carla is now on Patreon, where she hosts an exclusive movie club with new and original multimedia content.


  1. What a thrilling journey into old, and in my opinion real, Hollywood! I really find it incredible and magical … I was interested in reading all of this!

  2. Movies were very different back then. My mom used to compare movies from her time with the ones today. Love the interview! Makes me want to watch those 3 movies she mentioned.

  3. Classic movies never get old. I love them. Movies is such a good escape from reality, when we are sad or depressed

  4. Wow….I say that I am a movie-lover but the olden movies from way back then, have never been seen by my eye…including the ones mentioned here! I must do something about it, come the December holidays! Thanks for sharing.

  5. I loved this! What an interesting perspective and topic! The golden age of hollywood is so iconic, and it has changed so much since then. Thanks for sharing this interview with us!

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