Ferrvor magazine once again teamed up with photographer extraordinaire, Kaleb Khu to shoot Val Chmerkovskiy for our May 2017 cover. After the shoot at a local North Hollywood tire location, we got a chance to have an in-depth conversation about his life, his inspirations and of course favorite dance moves. I’m sure by now most of you know “Val” Chmerkovskiy, as the outstanding, extraordinary dance-man on Dancing with the Stars.
To say that Valentin ‘Val’ Chmerkovskiy is a really good dancer is an understatement. He’s won, not once, which is impressive enough, but twice on Dancing with the Stars, a feat not many have achieved. Chmerkovskiy’s dancing roots go deep and cross into several styles including Latin dance where he is a two-time World Latin Dance Champion (Junior and Youth) and a 14-time U.S. National Latin Dance champion. Let’s face it, the guy knows how to move on a dance floor.
Noho Tires & Wheels
Photographer: Kaleb Khu
Stylist: Mercedes Natalia for Exclusive Artists
Grooming: Sacha Quarles for Exclusive Artists using Color Wow Haircare
Written By: Christian Burkholder
Val was born in the Ukrainian city of Odessa, which back in the day was known as the Soviet Union. His older brother, Maksim Chmerkovskiy is also a pro dancer who has also appeared on Dancing with the Stars. He and his whole family moved to the United States in 1994 where his brother and father opened a youth-oriented dance studio in New Jersey, and Val was one of the first students. What was sure to be a sign of things to come, back in 2001, Chmerkovskiy and his partner Diana Olonetskaya; who was just 15 at the time, became the first American dance team to win a world junior championship title.
Majoring in business Management at Pace University in New York City. Chmerkovskiy first appeared on season 2 of Dancing with the Stars in 2006 as a student of his brother during Week 6. He appeared once again on season 4 where he starred in a dance off against his brother, Maksim Chmerkovskiy and of course the rest is history; having performed of many more seasons including the latest.
It takes a lot of talent, incredible discipline, training and guts to achieve what Val has achieved. We at Ferrvor like to showcase gifted, talented artists in whatever discipline that can serve as an inspiration to others as well. We believe that’s also a big part of being a Ferrvor Man. Obviously we couldn’t wait to sit and have a chat.
Val, can you share with us what you think it means to be a gentleman in today’s tumultuous, albeit slightly crazy world?
I think being a gentleman means being someone that’s thoughtful and mindful of other people. Ultimately though, being a gentleman to me varies from person to person but I think always being thoughtful and respectful to people is a big part of it.
To many people, dressing well is one trait of being a ‘gentleman’, what is your definition of dressing well?
My definition of dressing well is dressing in a way that is honest to who you are and how it makes you feel. Personal style is very important because it’s a reflection of who you are as a person.
What would be your go to designer?
It’s hard to say who my go to designer is because I go to different designers for different occasions.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style can be defined as being well-fitted with strong attention to detail. A big thing about your style is the way you wear the clothes so I try to wear things that make me feel confident and comfortable and that comes out in my personality. I often find myself in a James Pierse t-shirt with a pair of jeans and of course, a pair Jordans.
In your own words, how would you define DWTS?
It is more than just a reality show or dance competition – it’s an incredible platform that help people to create, connect and be inspired. It’s all about the stories and the journey. DWTS has the power to bring families together. Sometimes there are multiple generations that gather together at home in their living rooms and watch us on television. They allow us into their lives and make us a part of their family which is a really special feeling.
Speaking of Dancing, what’s your favorite go-to dance?
My favorite go to Dance is the paso doble because it’s very passionate and very high-energy. It’s intense so it is masculine, but at the same time is feminine as well with moments of softness and passion.
If we spent a day with you in Los Angeles, what would we do? Where would we go?
We would have breakfast at Fratelli Café on Melrose and then head to the gym for a workout. After that, we would spend the rest of the day in the dance studio teaching, choreographing, or creatively directing. By the end of the day, we would end up back home for dinner and then at my brother’s house visiting my nephew Shai.
What about in New YORK?
We would be walking around the city, soaking in all the inspiration around us. We would probably stroll into a small café or classic diner – I love Sweet Chic in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. We would definitely do a bit of shopping in SoHo and then visit my “Dance With Me” studio on Broome Street to say hello to some of our students. And then I like to end the night with friends so we would probably end up at having drinks in the gem of little Italy.
For those few who may have been hidden under a rock and don’t know you – How would you describe yourself as a person?
I would hope people would say I am a great guy. I’m very curious and very driven to help others. Anything I can do to make someone else’s day or teach someone else is very important
What does love mean to you?
Love is an amazing feeling and is a key component to having happiness in your life.
Do you have anyone that inspires you to keep going when you’re maybe not 100%?
My parents. Everything I have is because of them and the sacrifices they made to make me the person that I am today. They mean the world to me and inspire me to do things to make them proud.
T-Shirt: Vintage | Slacks: All Saints
How would you describe your current dance partner (Normani) for this season?
She is talented, driven, focused, and inspiring to a generation of young adults and teens looking that are looking for direction in life. Her story is something that I truly admire.
What was little Val like as a boy growing up? Any fun stories or mischief you can share with us about growing up with your brother, Maksim?
I was a troublemaker and was fascinated by fire, so much so that I nearly burnt my house down by starting a fire under the dinner table one night. I definitely learned my lesson about playing with fire.
If you weren’t a pro dancer, what else could you see yourself doing as an alternate career path?
I could see myself being an actor. I would love to play a character that tells the story of struggle and how hard work and perseverance pay off. I think I can really relate and would love to explain my personal story and journey to achieving the American dream.
How and where do you go to unplug and recharge after a long day?
I like to go to bathhouses to really relax and unwind. There is a Russian bathhouse close to where I live; so I go a lot.
If there was a hashtag that would describe and or sum up everything in your life, what would it be?
Can you give your fans an inspirational quote to chew on that might inspire them to achieve a long lost goal, or get them through their day?
Do what you love. Having a career that you are passionate about will make going to work fun and will bring you lifelong happiness.
Can you share some last words before we say goodbye?
Strive to do better in all aspects of life and remember that kindness goes a long way.
…And with that, it’s back to the dance studio for Mr. Chmerkovskiy.
Victoriously Valentin Chmerkovskiy BTS