To Rome for Love

To Rome for Love
  • Diann Valentine
    Diann Valentine
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    Diann Valentine, an intrepid traveler with connections all over the globe, is the mastermind behind The Venus Affect, a matchmaking company for women looking to date internationally. She started visiting Italy 25 years ago and fell in love with the country, but it was visits with girlfriends who were interested in testing the international dating scene that sparked her idea for a business. It was a natural evolution in her career, given her unique insight into Italy from years of travel, and her experience with women in love—and with women who often make bad decisions when it comes to love.


    Diann has been in the relationship business for a long time but is more than just a matchmaker. She is an internationally acclaimed wedding, event, and interior designer who has produced jaw-dropping weddings for top celebrities such as Usher, Martin Lawrence, Toni Braxton, Kelis and Nas, Lela Rochon and Antoine Fuqua, and Boyz II Men crooner Shawn Stockman, among many others.

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  • Gina Neely
    Gina Neely
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    Gina Neely, 52, is a celebrity chef who spent 25 years in a challenging marriage trying to balance motherhood, career, and fame. She’s been out of the dating game for two decades, but after a very public divorce, this Southern belle is ready to take a leap of faith on love.

    Gina is known for her famous Food Network show, Down Home with the Neelys. Extremely successful, she has written three cookbooks, Down Home with the Neelys, which earned her a place on the New York Times Bestseller List; The Neelys Celebration Cookbook (Knopf 2011); and Back Home with the Neelys (Knopf). In 2011, she opened the Neelys' Barbecue Parlor, which brought her Southern style and flavor to New York City. 2013 added yet another accomplishment with the launch of a branded line of cookware on QVC. As a public speaker, Gina has entertained audiences globally, not only showcasing her cooking skills, but also sharing her perspectives on life, love, the personal and professional issues facing women.

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  • Shay Atkins
    Shay Atkins
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    Hopelessly in love with being in love, Shay Atkins, 38, tends to fall too fast and settle for men that are not worthy of her. She gravitates toward the bad guys but is ready to break the cycle of bad relationships for herself and her daughter, Ashleigh.

    Shay is a Chicago native and single mother who recently settled down in Houston, TX. She earned a BS degree in management/marketing from Robert Morris University, and in 2010, after a very impressive win at Black Enterprise’s Elevator Pitch Competition, she launched her own business, My Creative Cuisine, a mobile and catering service.  She is currently the Executive Chef and owner of Celebrity Chef Shay, Inc. and is dedicated to helping people and feeding them amazing healthy gourmet meals that provide a life changing “taste” experience.

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  • Nakita McGraw
    Nakita McGraw
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    Nakita, McGraw, 37, is a divorced mother whose inability to find love has taken a toll on her self-esteem. She’s looking for answers as to why she has been so unsuccessful with dating and is ready to get her groove back.

    Nakita holds an MBA in management from Concordia University. She is a lupus survivor, award-winning published author, and CEO who helps mothers and women with chronic illnesses secure financial freedom by opening Lanique Virtual Solutions, a boutique call center that allows women to work from home answering customer service calls for top companies across the nation.

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  • Ashley Russell
    Ashley Russell
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    Ashley Russell, 32, from Covington, Louisiana, is a small-town girl who thought she had the perfect life with her pro-footballer fiancé and cute kids, but infidelity shattered her dreams. She got snatched to soothe her heartache and boost her confidence, but will her body makeover overshadow her inner qualities and make it hard to find love? Close
  • Mercedes Young
    Mercedes Young
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    Mercedes Young, 25, is jaded by today's dating scene. Her father told her that most men are unfaithful, so he taught her how to play the game so that she wouldn't get played. She believes 85% of men cheat, which makes it difficult for her to dive in head first on her quest for love, but her strong faith in God gives her faith that she will meet the right guy. Close
  • D. Micah Lindsey
    D. Micah Lindsey
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    Cleveland, Ohio, native D. Micah Lindsey has worked for Diann Valentine for the past seven years collaborating in the love and relationship space. At The Venus Affect, he works diligently by Diann’s side to help deserving women rewrite their love stories. With a strong male perspective and his larger-than-life personality, D. Micah has a balance of humor and heart that shows clients what men really want.

    D. Micah has always aspired to achieve greatness in every area of his life. After attending Bible College and graduating from Kaplan University with a bachelor’s degree in business, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of breaking into the events industry. He is currently the owner and principle designer of D. Micah and Company, a full-service event production and design firm that specialized in luxury events, invitations, and florals. A lover of textiles, colors, and extravagant floral designs, D. Micah has learned how to skillfully merge all three into tasteful collaborations producing stunning visual works of art.

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  • Christine "Cece" Counts
    Christine "Cece" Counts
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    Christine “CeCe” Counts is the daughter of an American soldier and Italian woman. This military brat has lived and traveled all over the United States and Europe, even living in her mother’s home of Sardinia, Italy. Cece has gathered years of creative influence from all of the beautiful places, people, and cultures she’s experienced, which is why she is Diann’s secret weapon when it comes to finding and vetting the right men for the women to meet.

    As Diann’s right hand, she has a straight-to-the-point approach that gives clients a good dose of reality, and with a background in production and events, including a stint with comedian and actor Steve Harvey, she assists in design, entertainment, and floral art production for The Venus Affect. Close