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Portraits of Hollywood

You matter. Your story matters. You don’t have to be a billionaire or pop star for your story to matter. We think it’s important to ask our neighbors and friends and people throughout the community to share their stories because if no one asks, far too many stories would go untold. The coffee shop around the corner and the artist next door have stories we can learn from, grow because of and be inspired by and we are so proud to be able to help make sure these stories are told each week. Below you’ll find inspiring stories from Hollywood and the surrounding areas.

Bruno Lamas

I am a 26 years old Brazillian drummer based in Los Angeles, CA. Well, it all started when I was a kid, like 4 years old. My parents would show me a lot of music, but I don’t know why I decided that I wanted to be like Phil Collins. Read more>>

Young Retro

Born in Los Angeles, California, my passion for music started at the age of eight. I got my first shot in middle school when I was asked to perform at the assembly our school was having in front of the entire school. Read more>>

Amandine Nabarra

I thought I was the “perfect” wife and mother living my sleepy suburban community. Then, life happened. As I was personally going through a very tumultuous time, the country was also experiencing the fallout from the 2016. Read more>>

Santiago Pedroza

As a kid, I was always interested in movies and cameras, I remember watching my dad videotaping on his VHS camcorder at family parties or my mom taking photos of our family on 35mm film. At that time, I never really thought about shooting video or taking photos. Read more>>

Angela Dirksen

I’ve been a professional actress/singer and director for 20 years. After graduating from Stephens College with my BFA in Theatre Arts, I immediately started touring the country directing and performing. Read more>>

Shante’ Nichele

222MAIN is an entertainment brand consisting of a record label, management, and media company. The name was derived from my childhood address where the foundation of my passion for music was developed. During my pre-teen years. Read more>>

Jarrett and Sable

I always knew that I was talented and interested in being in the entertainment industry, however, I always thought that the people who were on TV, radio and Film were “the chosen ones.” I had no idea that this could even be a viable path for me. Read more>>

Chris Shelton

I started this business in a small office in Los Gatos, California, in 2001. At that time, I was a full-time butcher, a single father and a competitive martial artist. I got to where I am today through perseverance, persistence, and hard work. Read more>>

Stephen Augustin

The Cultured Chef was built on the pillars of enhanced experience, service, fine quality & attention to detail. Chef Stephen grew up in a culinary family based in Boston and decided after successful years in the tech industry to launch the culinary service full-time. Read more>>


The truth is that I’m so very shy and this project was a means for me to come out of my shell. I started this project to prove to myself that I am worthy of power and responsibility. The mask does not represent me hiding from the world. Read more>>

Carlos Fandiño

I was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. Since I was little I knew I wanted to be an actor. Thankfully, my parents always believed in me and push me in that direction. After I graduated, I knew I had to improve my English. Read more>>

Laura Gagliardi

I was born in Italy and moved to the US around ten years ago. I started traveling whenever possible because I can’t seem to find peace if I feel like I am getting stuck in a place, and this was reflected also in my professional. Read more>>

Kelsey Hewlett

My favorite movie was Hocus Pocus. I was old enough to understand that the plot of the movie wasn’t real and the actors were just “pretending,” but I was still young enough to feel a little spooked by the characters and the plot. Read more>>

Marya Khalil-Otto

When I was 25, my father passed away and I had to take over his skincare company. It was a very trying time in my life. I’m the eldest of three sisters. My youngest sister was just finishing high school. My middle sister was finishing law school. Read more>>

Paul Culos

I’m from a suburb just outside of Detroit, MI (holds up right hand and points to a place next to his thumb) and my journey with acting began at the age of nine. Sports weren’t my thing. I immediately gravitated towards theatre and dance classes. Read more>>

Julie Pearson

I grew up in Minnesota, which is a nice place that can also be kind of allergic to self-expression. I buried myself in books and watched a lot of sitcoms and old movies – I think I liked the big, exaggerated emotions. Read more>>

Teena Apeles and Andrea Richards

Our collaboration and friendship actually started just over two decades ago, when Andrea and I met at CalArts. After we graduated, we cowrote a piece for BUST magazine about a trip we took to Vegas and had so much fun working together. Read more>>

Alex Prequel

I am a Tattooist, I am based in Italy and I periodically come to the States, especially in Los Angeles and I participate in many tattoo conventions around the world. I started tattooing in 2013, I was almost 22 years old. Read more>>

Julie Ordoñez

Eleven years ago, I visited LA from Texas (H-Town, whatup!) for the first time and told my boyfriend who lived here that I hated it and I would never live here. We broke up—for a whole week. We decided we would figure it out. Read more>>

Tyler Scott

Growing up, we always had technology in the home because my parents worked for IBM. That exposer sparked an interest in engineering at a young age than in second grade that took a musical turn. I began taking drum lessons. Read more>>

Gabriela Garcia Medina

I am originally from Cuba, though I was born in Russia in 1982 while my parents did a “study abroad” in Moscow. I grew up in Havana until 1989 when my parents and I moved to the UK. We lived in London for nine years and then. Read more>>

Mercedes Maria

I was born and raised on the East Coast. I found my way to the West in adulthood. Moving across the country has brought obvious change. The climate is different and the backdrop looks different. Read more>>

Jordyn Torres

You can say it got serious when I was grounded by my mom at five years old for being upset she would not call me by the name of “Dorothy.” I guess I was hardcore method because I would choose a different character to be each day. Read more>>

Yvette Cortez

My mother exposed me to recipes handcrafted from generations before me. That is where my love for baking was formed, and I have my mother to thank. She grew up very poor and took pride in making my sisters and I birthday cakes. Read more>>

Joshua Hyde

I start working I began to borrow their cameras for the weekend and started going out and shooting street photography. It wasn’t long before I found myself obsessed with the photography industry and was thirsty and eager to develop my new found skill. Read more>>

Tami D’Addio

I began my career by running scared. As I was set to graduate from Georgia State University with a B of A in Film, into an oncoming actor’s strike. So, logically, I fled to radio where I found a home producing Morning Radio. Read more>>

Stephanie Yu a.k.a. Hustlekat

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, spent almost a decade in New York City, and moved back here about three years ago. I’ve come full circle. My mother told me that I had a precocious interest in music as a child.  Read more>>

Hailey Jones

I always desired to be a comic actress, that was always the dream as far as I can remember. It all began when I was born, maybe before, that part is a little fuzzy. Some say I grew up in the Loony Bin, and some say that the Loony is a small midwest chain of comedy. Read more>>

Vinayak Pal

When I was younger, I always loved making people laugh because of the positive effect I created made me feel great. I never thought of being a comedian because I never could fathom being on stage cracking jokes. It was a scary idea. Read more>>

Vanessa Valdéz

13 years ago, I started my career as a Journalist at Univision; the # 1 Spanish-language network television station in the country. My first job was being a newsroom intern where I was in charge of reviewing and editing writing assignments. Read more>>

Sarah Maddocks

I love inhabiting different characters and telling their stories and was fortunate to be given the opportunity to train as an actor at RADA and Drama Studio in London. This training gave me a fantastic grounding. Read more>>

Jules Sanchez

I was born in the Golden States Capitol City, Sacramento, California. I was a very sick child with a chronic ear nose and throat infections. At age three, my Mother and Father went their separate ways. My Father moved to Pismo Beach, CA. Read more>>

Fernando Duran

Mexican born, Fernando Duran serves as the west coast host, emcee, and voice-over announcer for Universal Studios CityWalk. He is known as Ferrrnando with 3 Rs. Since joining Universal CityWalk Hollywood 5 Towers Stage as their resident emcee. Read more>>

Siria Contreras

My professional career has been centered in the fields of Entertainment and Digital Marketing. I actually got my start at Variety magazine, I was recruited by them in my early 20s and was lucky enough to be there at a time. Read more>>

Sam Webb

LIVIN Started in September 2013 after the death of our dear friend, Dwayne Lally to suicide. I was actually with Dwayne in his final moments the night that he passed. We actually spoke at lengths about life and his struggles that he had been facing. Read more>>

Rich (Habits) Rogers

I was working as a nursing assistant for three years and was feeling worn out made a few investments and was looking for one more, I was told by a close friend that my now business partner Sharif McFadden was looking for help getting his films out. Read more>>

Dr. Danielle Delaney

Dr. Danielle Delaney is a doctor of Theology and is a Crisis Intervention Counselor, Drug and Alcohol Interventionist & an Addiction Aftercare Specialist. She holds her private counseling practice in the Hollywood Hills, works with patients and doctors from multiple top tier rehab facilities. Read more>>

Shionta Jones

I am the founder of Shades of Health, LLC. I’ve practiced as a Hematology-Oncology nurse for 11 years and I am also a certified yoga teacher from Southern Maryland. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Hampton University in 2008. Read more>>

Carlo Canlas Mendoza

I am originally from the Philippines. I did my 1st ever independent feature film as a cinematographer back in 2007. My 2nd independent feature in 2008, JAY competed at the Venice International Film Festival Horizons Competition (Orrizonti). Read more>>


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