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Portraits of Hollywood

It’s more important to understand someone than to judge them. We think the first step to understanding someone is asking them the fundamental questions about who they are and how they became the person they are today. Understanding and empathy are essential building blocks for a better, more compassionate world. We’re incredibly fortunate to be able to ask these questions each week through our interview series. Below you’ll find inspiring interviews from in and around Hollywood.

Gregory Zaccagnino

I’m actually a New York native. I moved out to LA years into my career and though I recently moved back to New York, I owe LA a lot because I learned a lot by living there. I started my career as a music producer and a DJ by pretty much having no social life. I dedicated all the time that I would’ve used at school and going out with friends at high school parties to making music and going out to nightclubs to network with DJ’s who were already in the game for a long time. It took a lot of trial and error but producing music finally clicked for me when some bigger DJ’s starting playing my stuff. I remember eating Chinese food with my mom and sister at the dinner table and my social media started going crazy, one of the biggest DJ’s in the world played one of my bootleg remixes on his radio show out of seemingly nowhere and then the rest was history. Read more>>

Ali Attar

I’m a 6th generation Natural Perfumist and Attar maker. I’m also the master Perfumist and owner of the house of the perfumist a 300 years old family owner perfume house specializing in ultra-niche natural rare perfumes and attars (oil-based perfumes). Read more>>

Logan Wilkes

I am a self-made entrepreneur and the owner of Envy Lifestyle Group, a modeling and influencer agency with offices in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Denver and Miami. I grew up in a small town in Georgia and attended the University of Georgia where I studied Mass Communications and Fashion Merchandising. I always knew I had bigger dreams than a small town had to offer, so as soon as I graduated college I moved to Miami, Florida. I had the time of my life and the most amazing experiences living in Miami but never found my true passion there. I worked in nightlife, hospitality. Modeling and marketing while living in Miami, but always knew that my real dream was to own my own company and work for myself. I tried several times while I was living in Miami and had several failed ventures. The highlight of my time in South Florida was being named Miss South Beach USA 2019 and competing for Miss Florida USA. Read more>>

Chris Han

I am a content creator based in Los Angeles. I started using Instagram back in 2011 and rebranded all my social media channels to @chrishanxoxo in 2016 when I was studying MBA in University or Southern California. As a fashion lover, I didn’t start my career in the fashion or media industry. I had a consulting business in Shanghai, China and I sold it in 2015 after receiving my MBA offer. I moved to LA to explore a different side of the world. This is a paradise for creative people. Inspired by the LA community, I decided to produce fashion and lifestyle content professionally on Instagram and other social media platforms. After graduation, I became a full-time content creator. I share content on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. Social media has been unleashing so much of my potential in creativity. Now I am connecting with like-minded people from all over the world through social media. Read more>>

Graham Streeter

I’m an indie filmmaker. But I didn’t know that when I was younger. By chance, one day shortly after high school I remember buying a pocket-sized video camera. It was 1982. I was living in Osaka, Japan. In the 80s everything cool was also small, so when I saw that tiny camera all I thought was that I would take it everywhere! And I did. Like a kid with a new toy, I was constantly playing with it. Experimenting. Having a great time. One thing led to another and another, and I slowly found a love for storytelling; what would later be called motion pictures. Having some confidence behind a camera motivated me to take a stab at writing, directing, and eventually editing. I did everything from cheesy Santa-sighting short for my nieces and nephews to keep the holidays magic alive one more year to blurry low-res music videos for musician friends who clearly deserved someone better. But all that “playing” allowed me to discover what I really enjoyed doing. Read more>>

Jonathan Heit

I was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Hollywood, CA. In true Hollywood form, I started acting at the age of four. I worked often and had a knack for it. By eight years old, my career had taken off. I worked on some big projects, met some inspiring people and had the opportunity to travel all around the world. While this part of my life is important to my story, it is not the focus of my current chapter. In the midst of my childhood stardom, I met an extraordinary character and next-door neighbor: Tyler Shields. The story goes that Tyler heard a knock on the door, he and his crew opened it to find me with a holiday basket the size of my upper body with the question of: “Can we be friends?” That innocent question turned into a lifelong friendship. At that time, he was just beginning his career in the fine art world but had already solidified himself as the “It” photographer taking shocking images of faces all too familiar. When I was 14, I began working alongside him assisting on shoots and prepping for gallery openings. At some point, it clicked: I have a ton of connection from entertainment, ‘I wonder if anyone I know would want some of his prints. Read more>>

Domenick Nati

I started my company in 2006 and started a career as a Celebrity Publicist. I started working in sports working with athletes in NBA, NFL, and NASCAR. I then moved on to working with recording artists and actors. Sadly, some of which have passed away such as Charlie Murphy and DMX. In 2013 I began interviewing celebrities on FM radio such as Bill Cosby and Ted Nugent. I was fired from the show after just two months due to my unsuitable topics and was offered a show again in 2016 by a new radio station. This is where The Domenick Nati Show began and my controversial interviews with Todd Chrisley, Gene Simmons, and Whoopi Goldberg were embraced by the viewers. I still work in public relations everyday and offer my services to existing celebrities and aspiring entertainers, recording artists, and businesses. Additionally, The Domenick Nati Show is going strong in season five and a new celebrity interview can be seen and heard every week!. Read more>>

Alex Kumph

I grew up in a small town of around 5 thousand people on the east coast, Newmarket NH. I was interested in drawing and writing as a kid, which my parents encouraged and supported. Before I learned to spell, I would tell my mother stories and she would type them on the computer for me. This evolved into a deep love for storytelling, and specifically visual storytelling. I didn’t watch a ton of movies as a kid, my parents were strict about how much “daily screen time” I had, so movies were a rare treat. I started making stop motion shorts with a VHS camera and eventually moved on to writing and shooting scripts with actors. NH doesn’t have much of a film scene, so most of what I learned was through YouTube and experimenting. From the start, I uploaded my work to YouTube, which I have continued to do over time. The experience of putting your work online and have people rip it apart or love it has been greatly rewarding. Read more>>

Katie J. Stone

I moved to LA in ’04 to study screenwriting at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. During that time, I also began modeling in the fine art world for David LaChapelle and also did a little acting around town. I graduated in 2008 – into both the recession and writers’ strike – definitely a challenging time to be a young artist trying to break into the industry. I continued modeling and acting, but my priority was always building my long-term TV writing career. In 2011 I decided to team up as writing partners with David Daitch, who I knew from USC and had just gotten off active duty from the US Navy. It turned out to be a life-changing and a great decision for both of us. As we worked toward meeting our professional writing goals, David continued his work in the Navy Reserve, and I continued with my performing arts endeavors, even expanding my portfolio to burlesque and pole dancing. All of this led us to hitting our big break in 2016, writing for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered. Read more>>

Dellamarie Parrilli

My journey has had more twists and turns than… well, life is the ultimate roller coaster isn’t it? mine sure was… so please fasten your seat belt! My life has been marked by tragedy and adversity. I was born in Chicago three months premature and was not expected to live. During my youth, my father was killed by a drunk driver and three months later my mother, twin brother and I surviving a devastating house fire were left homeless. I was 11 years old at the time. I embraced my creativity and completely immersed myself in music, writing, and drawing. I attended DePaul University where I earned a BA in Music; I studied voice, dance—tap, jazz and ballet—and improv at Second City. I funded my college education by doing theater performances, voiceovers, and singing in clubs. I set my sights on Broadway and was just about to open in Judy Garland: The Songs and Stories of A Legend when fate stepped in… I was diagnosed with Lyme disease and Sjogren’s Syndrome, a rare autoimmune disease. Read more>>

Lynna Yee

I was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and I immigrated to the US when I was 15 or 16. I was overjoyed when I found out my parents wanted to move the family to the suburbs of Los Angeles. I was in love with American movies and music, and I dreamed of becoming a Hollywood actress. In my spare time, I devoured any of the limited information I could find on how to become an actor in Hollywood. So moving to Los Angeles felt like the first big step. I was already a motivated student learning English, so after one semester of ESL, I asked to be placed in a regular English class. And the next semester, with a friend’s encouragement, I auditioned and got accepted into our high school’s drama club. I landed roles in school productions and even got some recognition at the California Thespian Festival. Upon the encouragement of a couple of my drama teachers, I continued my theater study, against my parents’ wishes, as a drama major in UC, Irvine. Read more>>

Naz Meknat

I immigrated from Iran in 1997. After a few years, I decided to go to school for fashion. After I graduated from FIDM, I started working in the fashion industry and became a celebrity wardrobe Stylist. I am also a first-time author. Last month my first book, “7000 Miles to Freedom” A memoir, was released. The book is about growing up in a war-torn country, growing up under an Islamic Extremist regime, and my journey of escaping my country overnight and how I got here to United States. Read more>>

Maria Shapley

I remember how stressed I was at the time. It had been months since a very traumatic experience and a hard separation from a close relationship. I left an entire world and relationship feeling like I had just moved to Los Angeles all over again. Not knowing anyone, finding a place to live, a job, taking care of my mom who initially came out here to support me but ended up almost having a heart attack. It felt as if my life was over. The first thing I did to try to gain my sense of self again was to find a good acting school or workshop. I started acting for fun ten years ago because it had always brought me joy and I stopped for a few years when I was involved in the healing field. I did my research and was recommended to take voice lessons and acting classes. I wanted to light up what had been put to rest inside of me for so long and acting always helped spark that light within me. The leadership program I took gave me great insight and knowledge of myself, how to be a leader and let go of fear. Acting helped me regain my innocence, feel a sense of belonging, connection, and invoked my creativity. Read more>>

Shannon Decker

I was born in Washington State. My parents divorced when I was two years old. I had an older brother who I was obsessed with and wanted to do everything that he did. My mom was on welfare and my dad was a “derelict” who we saw but mostly cared only about surfing and his own survival. I was naturally very athletic and had a lot of energy. I was willing to participate and try new things. My brother ran away but I wanted to stay with my mom so I could keep playing sports – so I started the long hard process of being emancipated. I lived with friends and some foster care until it got so bad I had to move to a small fishing town with my dad. Read more>>

Laura Goycochea

This is a true love story! Story about the love and bond of mother and daughter. Originally from Latvia, Europe we made it all the way to Santa Barbara, CA. It has been a long, adventurous, exciting, difficult and very rewarding experience. Blue Blossoms was dreamt by Laura (daughter) one night, and she knew this was a gift that she will give to her mother for moving across the World to be with her and her family leaving everything she knew behind. Working with flowers was Ingrid’s childhood dream that never seemed possible to bring to life so together with many dreams, lots of love and some bravery our company was made. We have moved from our bedroom to garage and finally to our own studio and store. Read more>>

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