By DeAnn Lubell

Profile photo curtesy of Kim Waltrip

For many who belong to local creative groups in the Greater Palm Springs region, Kim Waltrip is considered a legend.  Her uncountable artistic and humanitarian talents have included modeling, charitable service, producing, directing, writing, as well as serving as the Palm Springs Women in Film and Television past-president and president of her own production studio called Wonderstar. Her reputation for excellence is solid gold.

She has just released a children’s book called The Mayor of Rainbow Meadows with illustrations by Nina Mkhoiani.


Kim’s career began in New York City as a model for the Wilhelmina Agency, in 1976. She traveled the world and has lived in Paris, Milan, Cannes, Munich and Zurich.

In 1998 after the death of her friend Sonny Bono, Kim moved to Palm Springs where she began work as the District Director for Congresswoman Mary Bono. There she helped establish the “Mary Bono Walk for Children’s Charities,” the “First Annual 44th Congressional District Mock Congress.”  The “Congressional Art Competition” was the liaison for the “Triangular Adoption” program which required detail discipline and a commitment to go to sea with the U.S. Navy in celebration of Assault Helicopter Warship’s duties. She also established, directed and produced the Semper Fi Memorial Honor Detail “Again They Serve” which took the top award in all services of the military and established the “Congressional Recognition for Service to the Country” certificate that is given to the families of fallen military members.

Kim was honored with the “Aide de Camp” award by the Semper Fi Memorial Honor Detail, the “Woman of Distinction” in the Arts by American Pen Women. and the “Appreciation Award” from the Semper Fi Memorial Honor Detail again in 2011. She has been awarded the “Congressional Recognition for Service to the Community,” the “Desert Visionary Award” by the Women’s Leaders Forum, the “Woman of Distinction” Award by the California State Assembly, District 42, the “Entrepreneur of the Year” award by Palm Springs Life Magazine and received the “Most Valuable Patron” award by the Garden State Film Festival.

Kim Waltrip is a producer and director.  Her projects include “7 Days to Vegas,” the revolutionary trio of films “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” (Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Viola Davis and William Hurt), “Hit & Run” (Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell, Bradley Cooper), “Back in the Day” (Michael Rosenbaum, Morena Baccarin),  “A Very Mary Christmas” (Elliott Gould, Cloris Leachman, Linda Gray, Gene Simmons, Della Reese, Fred Willard, Cybil Shepherd, Lainie Kazan) “Adopt a Sailor,” (Bebe Neuwirth, Peter Coyote, Ethan Peck).  She also produced “An Evergreen Christmas,” “I Didn’t Come Here to Die,” “A Thousand Cuts,” the PBS special “Diahann Carroll, The Lady, The Music, The Legend,” “The Bellmen,” “Bachelor Lions,” and the soon to be released musical drama “Never Alone” and many more.  Her directorial projects include “Griffin Goes to the Grand Canyon,” “The Splendor of You,” “Accidental Date,” and “Aftermath.”

Kim has numerous other projects in development.

As past president of Palm Springs Women in Film and Television, she created the Filmmakers Lab to help educate members on how to make a film by making a film. The Lab has produced 4 short films and 6 episodes of a series called “PS After Dark,” starring Tristan Rogers and Tim Gross.  Kim is on the board of the College of the Desert’s Film School, and the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce’s nominating committee for the Walk of Stars.  She is also the Director of Outreach for Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse.

Kim was a juror for the Palm Springs International Short Fest, the California Independent Film Festival, the Red Rock Film Festival, International Youth Silent Film Festival and is co-founder of the Feartastic Film Festival.  In March 2019, she received the “Most Valuable Patron” award from the Garden State Film Festival.

She has served as a board member of The Warburton, the Washington Political Film Foundation, Olive Crest Homes for Abused and Neglected Children’s Foundation, which honored her with the “Angel of the Year Award.” Palm Springs Women and Film and Television honored her with the “Desert Diva Award” at the Broken Glass Awards in 2012. Kim has served on the advisory board of CBS Local 2, the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards was a board member of the Tour de Palm Springs, and Indian Wells Rotary.  She was awarded the “Paul Harris Fellow” from Rotary International, and she has organized numerous charitable events, tournaments, and galas, including the Concert for Katrina and the Hurricane Sandy Relief Benefit for the Red Cross.  She was the Co-Chair of the Shelter From the Storm Gala 2014 and the chair of the American Cancer Society’s Desert Spirit Gala for 2016.   She is the Chairman of the Jon Reveal Memorial Foundation which offers educational grants which will help teach young athletes lessons in healthy competition and sportsmanship, as well as inspire those who want to master a sport.

And now she has penned a children’s book.

Kim and her close friend, Melissa Neiderman are presenting a no-host combined birthday celebration to help raise funds for their chosen charities at V Wine Lounge & Martini Bar on December 10th from 4 PM-7 PM by holding a book signing with Kim’s new book The Mayor of Rainbow Meadows and The Hummingbird Troupe by Mellissa Neiderman and Garyk Lee.  Proceeds from book purchases and suggested donations will benefit The Desi Strong Foundation to help families with children fighting illnesses and for children’s cancer research and Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse. Entertainment includes local performers Keisha D Sings, Carol Kamenis, Chris Bennett, Rick Ross, along with special celebrity guests.

For more information about Kim please go to or

Last week’s profile artist, Maryann Ridini Spencer’s appearance date at Barnes & Noble Book signing has been changed from Sunday, December 10 to Saturday, January 28, 2024 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at Barnes & Noble Westfield Shoppingtown 72-840 Highway CA-111, Palm Desert.