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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.

Andreani Constanti

As a young girl, I was very shy. It was difficult for me to express my creativity with pride and glitz. Once I discovered performing everything changed. I was obsessed with the Beetlejuice and I even got a tattoo of Barbara on my leg. That was my initial connection with film and I was determined to train as hard as I could and make it to the screen. After years of heartbreak and devastating but necessary failures, I managed to leave my small country and try to live out my goals and dreams in the U.S.A. I am happy to say that I have reached a point in my career where I am surrounded by extraordinary people that encourage and enable my creativity to speak loudly and extravagantly. Read more>>

Shannon Morton

Well Krys, my life after college was busy and tough. I did a lot of odd jobs while living my life as a struggling artist. I was pursuing a career as a writer, so I did everything from nannying, tutoring, managing a bar and lastly before starting Black Women Lead, I was working in production and writing with my writing partner at the time while doing festival circuits. When Covid hit, I started to rethink what really mattered to me and then the murder of Breonna Taylor really hurt me. She looked like she could be me or one of my cousins, my mother, my aunts. Read more>>

LeRoyal Tutt

Theater and entertainment has always been a big thing for me. If you ask my dad, he’d say since five years old, I’ve always had a knack for acting. He came home from work to me in the kitchen crying in front of my mom. With me being the youngest of four boys, he assumed something was wrong when really, I was rehearsing for my role as baby bear in The Three bears take Goldilocks to court. Of course through high school, I continued my love for performing arts and even so much as to performing the monolog of Gollum at the end of the movie Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. It wasn’t until the end of my junior year in high school when my teacher gave me the serious conversation of whether I wanted to pursue more sports or theater. Read more>>

Jack Huang

Starting martial arts training at age 5 in different styles of Kung Fu, then Judo, Karate, Tang Soo Do, and boxing under several masters in his hometown (Tainan City, Taiwan), only for one single reason: to defend himself from the local bullies’ attack. In 1982, he was all Taiwan Teenage Nunchaku Champ. In 1983, he became the Taiwan Government selected and trained martial artist for the US Presentation to the Ronald Reagan Government’s event in Washington DC and other 13 states. In 1987, he won the World-Cup’s “Middle Weight” title in sparring (Los Angeles Open) before graduating from Blair High School (Pasadena); classmate with Director John Singleton in couple of math and English classes there. Read more>>

Francisco Lorite

I am a Latinx filmmaker and life-long storyteller. I wrote-directed my first film at 14 and, six years later, left Spain for the United States, where I taught myself English by reading voraciously, watching tons of great films and loads of bad TV. While I was in NYC, I was lucky enough to make a living as an actor, appearing in Off-Broadway plays, indie films and too many car commercials. I also became a member of the Shakespeare Lab at the extremely selective and world-famous Joseph Papp Public Theatre (which still delights/shocks me to this day, by the way…) Read more>>

Jared Alexander

I have always been creatively inclined but I didn’t start experimenting with photography until I got to college. I attended Hampton University and decided to major in visual studies with an emphasis in graphic design. I started out designing logos and flyers for student brands on campus and it slowly turned into full visual branding as I started implementing photography into my workflow. I quickly fell in love with taking pictures and slowly transitioned into more editorial work. A few months post-graduation, I decided to take it more seriously and opened up my creative studio back in Philadelphia and I have been making connections with emerging creatives ever since. I currently do most of my projects in NYC, LA and Philadelphia. Read more>>

Sam Milgrom

My story begins in my hometown of Detroit – where I embraced my passion for music at age four with my first record player. Age seven guitar lessons. Age 16 as lead singer/rhythm guitarist in a Rock Band. I worked at record stores and at 26 opened a record shop of my own – Sam’s Jams which grew to be one of the country’s highest volume emporiums. At 38, I purchased a run down old movie theatre and converted it into a multi-arts venue showcasing live music, cult films, and rotating art displays. It still thrives as my legacy to the city. I moved to LA in 1996 and, in 1998, opened Mr. Musichead, LA’s first gallery devoted to music. We showcase the world’s largest collection of music-related photography, original artworks by legendary musicians, plus concert poster art. Read more>>

Grant Kemp

When I moved to LA, I came to make music and ended up on a few TV shows in the process. It’s a different path than I had planned but it’s worked out for the better. Read more>>

Federica Beni

After spending ten years in business consultancy for project management, I did a break in my business for personal reasons and then, once I was ready to jump into the business world again, I realized that I could put my process management expertise and the knowledge of the English language to the service of international couples who come to Italy every year for their dream destination weddings. During these past years, I discovered a great passion for design and now a great part of my core business is dedicated to the design aspects of all events (weddings, elopements, editorials, anniversary, etc.) that we organize. Read more>>

Polina Galkina

It all started when I moved to Utah in my early 20s. I was surrounded by National Parks, hiking trails and epic scenery, the experience of which inspired me to combine my passion for photography and love for nature into Rocknroamgirl. In our world of digital noise and overstimulation, Rocknroamgirl was created with the purpose to bring one to a present moment and through nature’s beauty inspire one to get out and explore the great outdoors. Read more>>

Maria Corso

I always loved film and television. When I was younger, while other kids played sports, I did theater. It gave me confidence, helped me build friendships, and most importantly, helped me solidify what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. After graduating college with a film degree, I moved out to Los Angeles with just a volunteer position at a film festival and an unpaid internship once a week at a production company as my only job prospects. Afterwards, I moved on to background extra work, which allowed me a front-row seat in observing virtually every department in film and television production. Read more>>

Rob Dietz

I am a founding co-director of A Cappella Academy, which was officially founded in 2014, but we really got our start two years before that in 2012 when Avi Kaplan (who was on tour singing bass with Pentatonix) tweeted: “Ok. I’m buying a plot of land, building a huge log cabin for my future family and putting together an a cappella camp every summer #someday.” Ben Bram and I (Rob Dietz) had worked on The Sing-Off with Avi during Pentatonix’s winning season, and as soon as we saw his tweet, we realized that an a cappella summer camp was an idea with incredible potential. We both reached out to see if we could make his dream a reality! Read more>>

Lisa Freberg

I grew up in Texas in a large family of seven kids. In a big family, each kid learns to hold their own a very young age. I loved performing. I became very involved in theater starting in elementary school where I was LUCY in “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown”, and this continued for many years including community theater after college. I knew I wanted to be in entertainment but not necessarily in front of the camera. I was not up for all the rejection and anxiety of auditioning! (Consequently, to this day, I have TREMENDOUS RESPECT for All Artists – actors, musicians, painters, etc.). This all lead me to learn the production side of the industry. I majored in TV/Film. I did not go to a top-tier film school, I went to TCU in Fort Worth, Texas. I got a lot of “hands on” experience and fell in love with storytelling. Read more>>

Ferelith Young

I was born and raised in Toronto. I got an Honors Bachelor of Arts from McGill before moving to New York City to study at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre. I started a theatre company there, Truffle Theatre Company, where I produced and performed in new works with the city’s top emerging talent. I relocated to LA after a few years working back in Toronto and have been working, living and loving it here ever since! Read more>>

Ilias Anwar

When The Clout Cloud was started back in 2017 the platform was originally focused on providing news to the male millennial generation covering topics like cryptocurrency, stocks, fashion, music, pop-culture, and sports. I noticed a transition and how people were finding news on social media and saw that there was a gap in the market for pages like this. Since then, The Clout Cloud has grown to nearly 108,000 followers and over 3,200 posts, while I was proven to be true with Instagram being filled with various pages to provide users with the news. I realized that I could leverage my platform to create a vehicle to do some of the things I have always dreamed of doing. Which then led me to make a seamless transition into being a full-time music video director, marketer, and manager. Read more>>

Chuck Pfoutz

When I was fourteen years old, I received the devastating that my parents were getting a divorce—finding out that the foundation of my life at that time was about to crumble. My father, who became a product of a broken home at the same age, went out and bought me a camera. I started out taking pictures of parties, sports events, and private shoots. This was the foundation of what leads to a very productive future. In 2011, I came out to my family and moved to St. Louis with a dream of becoming a dancer. I fell in love with a choreographer and learned how to dance. For two years, I was booked on every dancefloor in the tristate area. The crazy costumes and dance moves won me a following in the local nightlife scene. In 2013, I suffered an arm and shoulder injury and had to take time off from the stage. I was getting ready to graduate college, and I needed to earn so many volunteer hours to get my sash and make the dean’s list. Read more>>

Brooke Kallon

I’m a Gemini sun, Capricorn moon, and Libra rising. Which means I’m super heady and can get caught up in work easily, hahaha. I initially thought plant medicine found me in my thirties as a way to cope with anxiety and my high-stress advertising job, however once I began the journey of plant discovery and started healing, the memories came back. Memories of my mother cooking with rosemary when I was a child and my Pocky introducing me to the peppermint growing in her garden. Pocky was an amazing woman who lived next door to my parents when I was little and became like a grandmother. I made up the name Pocky for her one day and then everyone I knew started calling her that (even though her real name was Margaret). She took care of me and showed me how to walk barefoot in the grass (being careful not to step on bees), she taught me to become friends with the flowers and talk to the trees. Read more>>

Christopher Pedraza

I was born and raised in Michigan where I grew up drumming in local punk bands and skating around with my friends eating Hot N Ready’s. I was always an artsy kid – spending my most formative years in Lansing, MI, where people care about sports and sports and guns and more sports I struggled to find where I fit in until I found music. That alone gave me the confidence to try other mediums – acting, short films, and eventually photography. After graduating from college, I packed what I could into my car and drove myself out to LA. Read more>>

Johnny “StiXXX” Careccia

I was born on February 2nd, 1967 in Bronx, New York. I was an only child, so I spent a lot of time by myself, which I guess is the reason I was influenced by movies and music at an early age. Friends and family started to refer to me as Johnny. My mom took me to the theater often when I was a little boy. I remember enjoying classic films like THE GODFATHER, THE EXORCIST, JAWS and of course my favorite BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID, among others. When I was ten years old, my love for music started to grow. At age 16, I taught himself to play the drums, like one of my favorite band’s KISS. I eventually earned the moniker “Stixxx” and started playing and gigging with original and tribute bands all over the Tri-State area (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut). Read more>>

Make Magic (Alexander and Johnny)

Fifteen years ago… Alexander and John met at a mutual friend’s backyard party. Alex was living in a converted garage behind the main house and the two men stayed up all night writing their first song. They discovered they had a great rapport along with a common love of music, movies, and stage magic. Johnny was producing music for a popular Spanish language kids show on PBS called Dos Y Dos and Alexander was working as a voice-over artist on animated TV shows: Teen Titans and Starship Troopers. There was a kind of instant friendship that happened that one can only call “rare and lucky” with collaborators. Make Magic is more of a prankster invitation/invocation than a straight band name, it’s fun to think about people seeing it and saying it. What is magic? It’s so many things. It’s a trick, like a magic trick… an illusion, but it’s also the way in which people use their power, their creativity and their life force… if you can create something that changes your mind or other peoples’ minds, you can change the world. That is the magic we’re talking about…and telling stories and performing music is the best way we know how to spread that kind of magic. Read more>>

Ellie Araiza

My parents started calling me an “actress at heart” as far back as I can remember. I didn’t know what this meant for a long time, except that they often said it to me when I had dressed up in a costume and asked them to take videos of me while I improvised characters. You could say that’s when my career started. I was learning the craft that I would eventually be making a living at. Fast forward to when I was 16 years old, I had moved to the Chicago suburbs from my hometown of San Luis Potosi, Mexico. I was a fish out of water to say the least. Experiencing culture shock and feeling invisible as a teenager at Lyons Township High School, the only way I knew how to stay connected was to act. I made short films, music videos, acted in plays and did improv. By the time high school was over, I couldn’t imagine going to college when I already knew what I wanted to do. Knowing little to nothing about the Entertainment Business, I moved to Los Angeles in 2002 when I was 18 years old. Read more>>

Jennifer Love

Born in Augusta, GA, I spent the first eight years of my life living overseas. Being able to see fashion in Paris, Amsterdam, parts of Africa, like Kenya and Cameroon, made me want to be a Fashion Designer. I love watching how clothes built confidence in women and allowed them to express who they wanted the world to see. But life took a hard turn and I had a mental breakdown down. I lost the confidence in myself. It was the lowest part of my life, everything was going wrong, but I learned that I had to take a moment and have love for myself. Starting my Women high fashion brand Bodylicious Couture in 2018 saved my life. It gave me back purpose. Being a Fashion Designer has allowed me to be creative and tell my stories through my garments. Read more>>

Allen Morris-Smith

I first started my journey as an artist in elementary school drawing pictures. It was not until I attended high school that I began to write poetry. Later that same poetry would be recited in front of people with melodic structures that motivated them to push me to record music. I’ve spent four years in college building a foundation for my music career. I moved to LA for the last term of school. After graduating, I’ve been planning performances, meet-ups and apply to jobs as a Storyboard Artist. Read more>>


Dzasko is the name for the producer and composer project I’m currently working on. I was born as Diego Zevallos in Lima-Peru in 1997, I’ve experimented with music production on early music software as a way to cope with my desire of being in a band. The constant experimentation of programming instruments slowly gravitated into a form of electronic music after having a “spiritual” experience with Dance Music growing up in Lima’s electronic music scene. Up to this point, the music I worked the most was EDM, and the method of performance was as a DJ. I felt I needed to grow musically and went to pursuit a more organic and “traditional” approach with the sound, yet still with an electronic foundation, creating a Retro-futuristic journey (as I would call it). Read more>>

Sormeh Rienne

(Formerly Sormeh Azad) I was born and raised in Partille, Sweden. I moved to the United States when I was fifteen years old. After high school, I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Design with a concentration in Architecture from the University of Colorado Boulder. It was during my time at CU that I cultivated the design and architecture experience I would later employ at Sormeh Rienne. I also founded the University’s Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter and participating in several design/build competitions focused on the built environment in Boulder specifically but also the surrounding areas. Read more>>

Melissa Johnson

I went from being a small-town southern girl headed to study neuroscience and psychology at Yale only to fall back in love with photography and acting. So I graduated and moved to LA to pursue passion instead of people-pleasing. Read more>>

Alex Hall

As a kid in Toledo, Ohio, the summers were really only as good as you and your friends could make them, so around seven or so I guess I decided that I would start filming everything we did. From short films with my Star Wars action figures to reenacting our favorite scenes from “Jackass” with a local grocery store shopping cart, I captured a whole lot of nothing that at the time felt like everything. And while those videos didn’t necessarily help me get into film school, they did build the foundation for my true obsession with all things film and photography. I don’t think that I would still be here, living in LA, without this relentless curiosity for perfecting an art form that is impossible to perfect. Read more>>

Keturah Hamilton

I was born in Jamaica West Indies. As a little girl, I was always fascinated with playing dress up and entertaining my community by entering and conducting beauty pageants. There was something about competition that gave me a boost of confidence and encouragement. My biggest cheerleader was my late stepdad, Clarence Ffrench. I migrated to the United States and settled in Chicago, IL. Years later, I was discovered by Modeling Association of America International, who flew me to New York to the Waldorf Astoria hotel. It was a dream come true for a small-town girl from Jamaica to be in the city that never sleeps and to stay at such prestigious hotel. My entire world changed when I won third place runner up in the leg competition and then signed to Silk Modeling Agency. Read more>>

Deven Powers

Born Deven Lavale Purifoy on February 27th, 1983. In San Bernardino, California; the 10th of 14 children. His father was a Pastor and his mother is a great gospel singer. Mr. Hollywood started playing the drums at nine years of age, at 13 he was given his very 1st drum set by a member of the Legendary Gap Band. At 13, Deven became California’s State drummer in his church congregation. During his freshman year at Rancho Verde High School in Moreno Valley, CA Deven joined the marching band. Which went on to win several Championships. Read more>>

Young Nicky

I was born & raised in Seattle, Washington but my family is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I always had an interest in music as a kid & wanted to make music when I hear 2pac’s, I get around plus my uncle makes music and I used to watch him play the piano at my grandmother’s house. I carried that with me as I got older then one day I got an opportunity to get in the studio & that’s how my song makes it last forever came about! I picked this song to remix because it’s a song that all generations can love and appreciate it! Read more>>

Breanne Guy

I grew a strong love for dancing and after graduating, I danced for a company in Los Angeles and went in to teach kids! I loved to dance so much I wanted to design better dancewear and attire for dancers! So they could feel amazing and relentless on the dance floor! Read more>>

Eric Stern

I started my career about 1984 as a Fashion stylist and was represented by Ford Models and stayed with them for 20 years and then moved to Wilhelmina as the first Artist they had represented. While on set, I was talking to a model and they were telling me how horrible their Mother Agents was and I was shocked to hear what they go through. So, as obsessive as I am, I started to do research on what a mother agent does. I studied contracts, placement, rules and every other aspect of what a Mother Agent does and with my connection at Wilhelmina, I started to scout and place models there. My first Model was Andre Costa @andrecostaac and the rest is history. I now have 403 models placed worldwide and I am a very busy man. I have retired as a fashion stylist and run a mother agency. Read more>>

Iliyana Apostolova

Acting and entertaining others has been my passion since I could remember. I’ve loved to make people laugh since I was a toddler. I’m originally from Bulgaria and moved to Las Vegas with my family when I was young. Growing up, I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to entertain. I would always make funny videos playing different characters, old and young, funny and crazy, and I loved doing different accents. I got accepted into the Las Vegas Academy of Performing Arts where I did four years of theatre but I realized I wanted to pursue film acting. Before quarantine happened, I started to pursue acting full-time. I attended Dimiter Marinov’s acting workshops in San Diego every week. The 5 hour drive was totally worth it. The classes were amazing and I highly recommend him as an acting coach. Read more>>

Raul Celaya

Well for me, it was never really easy, like nothing in life. Life in general has always been a challenge for me. Growing up in poverty was super difficult. Especially as a kid who doesn’t really know why we live like that. So seeing other kids with really nice things and houses and cars etc. will make you hungry to be rich and successful. Now I spent most of my teenage life at the riverside juvenile hall. I grew up in Moreno Valley, California, a suburb of Riverside, gangs and drugs are pretty common there. I watched my mom sell drugs pretty much my whole childhood and teenage life. And that really seems to be the reason I jumped straight into gangs, drugs, and violence, from Burglary’s and so on. By the time I was 16, I had over five felony counts. It wasn’t till I hit 19-20 that I realized this isn’t what I wanted, so I took on dead on jobs at Walmart, construction and so on. Now in 2019, I met a man named Ron summer a talent agent with Explore talent, he asked if I wanted to do a music video that he’s a casting agent and thought I looked cool so I said yeah. Read more>>

Dasia Williams

In 2004 on America’s Next Top Model, Tocara Jones was my favorite model on the show, and she was considered a plus-size model. At the time, I was only seven, so compared to the other girls, she did look plus size my eyes as well. Today, I am 24 years of age and am now aware that Tocara only wore a size 12, which is my size today. I say all that to say that growing up, I always looked at myself as plus size, I was always bigger than my friends, but not fat, but bigger than them and more on the curvy side. Today, a lot more women look the way I look, and that has changed the consideration of being plus size if you wear a 12. However, no one has normalized their fit or the make of the clothes. Every pair of jeans I have ever purchased did not fit my waist, and why would it, I have a 30 waist and a 52 hip. I taught myself how to sew by hand just enough to close the gap in my jeans. After college, I became more aware of my style, my keen sense to fashion trends, and how I would be able to pull such trends off. This led me to an overuse of safety pins and hand sewing. Read more>>

Adam Michael Rose

Accents and dialects have always fascinated me. As far back as I can remember, I was hyper-aware of what the people around me sounded like when they spoke. I picked up on specific phonemes (“sounds”), word choices, and other details. I also watched a lot of British entertainment (movies, TV, cartoons) and very frequently found myself copying some of the words and phrases that I was hearing. Around this time, I had also discovered acting on stage. One of the many reasons I loved acting was that it was an opportunity to explore different characters through accents. Being able to completely transform myself into someone else through a new accent was nothing less than thrilling! I then went to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where I was fortunate to study acting, and I can easily say that some of my favorite classes were voice and speech; I especially loved studying various accents in each of these classes. Read more>>

Tiffany Asamoah

I always believed that swimwear should be inclusive and diverse. I looked at many different brands and was immediately aware of how marketing was only toward one demographic in size and culture. I started to think about how others might feel when trying to find swimwear that fit them without feeling they were being forced into someone else’s ideal of beauty. That’s how BOLD Swim was born. I decided to leave a career in team leadership and decided to design my own line of swimwear. As a new designer, I could not ignore the problems of the fashion/ retail industry, so sustainability was a no-brainer. It just made sense. At the time, the conversation about sustainability was just beginning. Not even a hashtag. Read more>>

Elif Karakoc

I was born in 1990 in Istanbul, Turkey. I started photography around when I was 14 years old. My cameras were a tiny digital HP (2,4 megapixels was pretty impressive at the time!) and my mom’s old Fuji SLR. I started skipping classes to take photos with my friends in high school, constantly scouting for locations, shooting self-portraits. That HP was glued to me and I was documenting everything. I remember shooting in our apartment’s backyard while our neighbors trying to figure out why I’m all wrapped in yarn and acting eerie to a camera that’s sitting on top of a tower of books. Sharing was a huge part of creating and I was consistently putting my works onto the websites Flickr and Deviantart. Those days before Instagram and all this scrolling where you actually go through pages one by one! Read more>>

Mitch Horowitz

I grew interested in the occult as a little kid–I would take out books of magic and folklore from my local library in Queens, New York, and my big sister brought home the paperbacks of Carlos Castaneda and books on flying saucers, Bigfoot, and ESP. I was hooked. I always asked: where does all this come from–and is any of it true? In adulthood, I entered the field of metaphysical publishing and soon came to feel that the history of these topics and their key players was not being adequately written. If you do not write your own history other people write it for you. And they may not understand the values and ideals that emanate from that history. Read more>>

Adrian Rashad Driscoll

I grew up in a really small desert town on the way to Vegas called Barstow. It’s hot and there’s not a lot to do so to keep me safe (and saved) my MamaDorsie (grandmother) kept me in the church. I was one of those kids who spent probably five days a week doing some church activity or another. At six years old, I was given a one liner in the church Christmas play. They gave us a month and a half to rehearse and learn our lines. I had mine memorized by the end of the day. I loved the idea of telling a story through characters and visuals. It excited me. From there, I found every acting opportunity I could. I was doing school plays, community theater, and singing. When my mother wasn’t looking, I would literally walk up to people at Wal-Mart and sing Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” as payment they would offer to buy me Legos, my mother rarely accepted this offer, however. I was hooked. Read more>>


They are well known for their high energy, dressing, eclectic sound, storytelling and stellar aesthetics, which are expressed in their musical recordings/performances, video production and creative direction. The two brothers were born into a family of six with two other sisters. As middle children, they were able to form good rapport from childhood as they shared interest in music, innovation and creative arts. During the Summer of 2001, two months before September 11th Terror attack, their entire family moved from Enugu, Nigeria to the Bronx, NY. This was where Chimdi and Otito would hone in on their craft by working on music after school. They were able to pick up on music after their mom bought a keyboard for Otito’s 13th birthday. Read more>>

Karina Wilson

My journey has been a long and winding one. I’ve never been the type to have a rigid five years plan, but I like to dream big, set my course, and jump on opportunities when they present themselves. I was born in the UK, lived in Hong Kong for many years, and am now in my seventeenth year in Los Angeles, so I regard myself as a global citizen (I wish there was a passport that went with it!). I’m a storyteller at heart and I’ve built a career helping other people tell their stories as well as weaving my own. I started out with a lot of formal and academic training. I studied English Language and Literature as an undergrad at Oxford University and also earned a Master’s degree in screenwriting from the Northern School of Film and TV in the UK. Read more>>


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