With unwavering positivity, a million dollar smile, work experience that stretches from Wall Street to Hollywood and a chic yet approachable fashion sense; Chelsea Burka (@ChelseaRae_B) won the hearts — and the coveted cover spot — of Valley Magazine.
The Penn State senior, who’s a duel major in Accounting and PR, is enrolled in the Honors College and spends her free time as a consultant for Silicon Valley start-ups with InnoBlue, shines from the glossy pages of the fall 2012 edition of Happy Valley’s only life and style publication. Onward State was able to sit down with PSU’s newest socialite for a 10 questions interview.
Onward State: How does it feel to be the cover girl of Valley Magazine?
Chelsea Burka: Honestly, it’s a really big honor. It’s kind of shameless to promote yourself sometimes, but I’m proud of the fact I was selected and feel honored to have the opportunity to work with Valley. I feel absolutely humbled by the whole experience.
OS: Is it awkward seeing your face on the magazine that a bunch of students around campus are reading?
CB: Yeah, it’s a little awkward in the the sense that, “wow, that’s my face everyone is holding.” But in the same sense, I don’t see this as being about me. Yes, I’m the cover girl. Yes, I’m featured in an article. But there is an over arching theme of positivity being promoted here, especially in light of all that has happened at Penn State. This issue of the magazine is focusing on all of the good going on on-campus and I’m just a small piece of a larger, greater thing.
OS: Was modeling something that came naturally for you or did it take some time to get comfortable in front of the camera?
CB: I did do a little bit of modeling in high school and I danced for 15 years so surprisingly that translated really well to photography. I also did some random student films and theater. But the photo-shoot was more fun than anything. We were blaring music and moving all around. It was a blast!
OS: What was the selection process like to be chosen as the cover girl of Valley? Describe the scenario when you first found out you got the spot?
CB: I knew about Valley just being at Penn State and I dreamed about being on the cover, but I thought I didn’t have a chance because I wasn’t the THON overall or president of the PanHellenic Council. My story is a little more unconventional. So, I was shocked last year when I was nominated by Lisa Kerchinski in the Schreyer Honors College. I was then notified by Valley, but unfortunately I was studying abroad last semester in Milan, so I couldn’t actually do it for the spring. But they asked to interview me again, so I went through that process, and then I was called the next day and told I got the position. I was just ecstatic And it was hard because I couldn’t tell anyone, but I had to cheat and call my mom.
OS: One of the reasons why you’re featured in the magazine is because of your fashion sense. Do you ever just rock the Uggs and sweatpants look?
CB: Not on campus. (breaks into laughter) I mean, maybe on like really bad days. But I still try to keep it fashionable with Juicy sweatpants.
OS: Being from Southern California, what made you choose Penn State?
CB: I actually moved to Pennsylvania in high school when my mom got a job with Penn State and I’ve been bi-coastal ever since. So, with her working here and my acceptance into the honors college, it was an amazing opportunity and I definitely have no regrets looking back.
OS: What’s your fondest Happy Valley memory?
CB: I was a dancer in high school. I never did any sports. I was sort of physically challenged And so I never really got the whole football thing. And obviously whenever you say Penn State it’s synonymous with football. So sophomore year I was watching the Ohio State game with my roommates, and it was the year we had that awesome win. Everyone was so excited and we went rushing out of our dorm room. Everyone in the hall was parading around together and we decided to run to the Nittany Lion shrine. We jumped onto the Blue Loop with all of these other students who were chanting and at that moment it hit me what being Penn State proud really meant. It wasn’t just about football, it was about unity and a feeling of collective pride.
OS: What are your future aspirations?
CB: Most of my professional experience has been finance-oriented. I started working at Goldman Sachs my sophomore year in New York and then eventually Los Angeles. But I’ve always had a huge passion for film. As the Valley article states, I got to work for Cannes Film Festival this year under Harvey Weinstein. That was the most amazing opportunity and it helped me realize that ultimately what I want to do is merge my passion for finance with my passion for film. So, I ultimately want to go into producing. After graduation in December, I’m looking at a couple of different offers on Wall Street and then in the long run, I hope to get involved with film financing.
OS: This is going to be super awkward but it’s a question every guy at Penn State wants to know. Are you single and if so, what is your type?
CB: Oh my gosh. (Instantly starts blushing) Well, it’s hard you know? Today it sometimes isn’t clear whether you’re with someone or not. So, I can say that I have been talking with someone in particular, but I guess officially you could say that I am single. My type is tall, athletic and they have to have more than just looks. I’m a big personality person. They have to be someone I can have a good time with or someone that could make me laugh. Someone who is ambitious as well and can hold a conversation. They usually have to have something that they are personally passionate about. I want someone who can inspire me.
OS: If you were a dinosaur which one would you be?
CB: I don’t know the names of dinosaurs. Ugh….
OS: How about, what’s your spirit animal?
CB: Cheetah! I think the whole ballet thing goes well with a cheetah, ya know? It’s all graceful and stealthy. And I like cats.
If you still want to know more about Chelsea, pick up a copy of the newest Valley Magazine this week through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the HUB, Redifer and East Halls. You can also find Valley online or on Twitter.