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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.

Vonjako Andrea Giacomini

I am a Photographer and a Filmmaker in Los Angeles. I was born in Italy and my passion as a kid was music and photography. I never went to photography or filmmaking school but I went to music school. I studied Percussion and classical music at the conservatory of music in Italy (Pescara) and Musicology at the Dams University (Bologna) then I won a scholarship to go study at Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1997 to study performance as a drummer. So I moved to the US. There I graduated in less than four semesters (very fast graduation) and then moved to LA to pursue a career in music as a drummer. While playing with multiple bands in LA, I also started my master’s in communication and music at Cal State LA. Read more>>

Zara Harutyunyan

I come from an Armenian background, born and raised in Armenia where I received my doctorate in Gynecology and specialized in infertility prior to moving to the states. Read More>>

Shane Nagy

I’m a comedy content creator specializing in skits! My videos are high energy with “punch angles”. Punch angles are powerful, quick zoom-ins to emphasize the high-energy lines. I create different, various series and they are short-form video. I got started by watching Smosh, a YouTube channel all the way back in 2006. They inspired me and I made videos in 2008/2009 when I was 12/13. I then stopped and didn’t make videos until my last year of college. I was in Greek life and entered in a philanthropy called the “Greek Music Awards”. My parents are divorced and I haven’t had a picture with them since I was a child. I thought if I made a video and won the philanthropy, that I could use the trophy won as an excuse to get my parents to take a picture with me at the same time. I ended up blowing the crowd away and won. I got the gold trophy that night, but the real trophy was the picture with my parents. I figured if God blessed me with a gift that got my family together, I oughta run with it!. Read more>>

Nicole Eckenroad

It’s difficult to choose a beginning. My instinct is to jump right into all the childhood trauma, the coloring contests I won and my Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Kreiter, who was the first person outside of my blood family to gush about my artistic talents. That was the beginning of ego. Countering that, I had a father who was instilling fear, shame and rage. I was the shyest kid. I had a lot of trouble relating to other kids and stuck to drawing and Disney movies. When my incredibly brave mother ended the marriage, she enrolled in a community college with a plan to become an accountant so she would have a chance at providing a stable home for us. We lived with our grandparents for a year and I feel like we never saw my mom because she was working multiple jobs and going to school, but I have a terrible memory—my brain dumped everything into a vault just to make sure we don’t come across some really bad sh*t. It took my mom seven years to get her degree and we got to watch. I escaped with art. Read more>>

Sofie Roelens

I started my career 15 years ago as a model. I was young and I wanted to discover the world. Modeling gave me the opportunity to travel and worked at the same time. After a couple of years of traveling, I met my now husband in Paris where I settled for four years. I decided to stay around, I would then share most of my time between Chanel and Lanvin. Working with Albert Elbaz on a daily basis, becoming his muse changed me forever. His creativity, his attention to detail, his vision impressed me so much that I promised myself to create my own brand one day. We moved to NY in 2011, I continued my model’s career for a while before starting working with my husband in his restaurant, Cocotte, as a GM. I really enjoyed being close to our staff, we were like a family and for me being able to take care of everything during the day before the ‘show’ every night was very satisfying, although a bit frustrating and hard at times. Read more>>

Fabiola Wong

I knew I wanted to work in “relationships” pretty much right after college. My first job after college was working for a marriage counseling non-profit, which helped couples repair their relationships through communication skills. Coming from a divorced home, I knew the impact of broken marriages on children and families as a whole. After seeing how communication skills could repair and improve relationships, I knew I wanted to help people have loving and lasting relationships. From there, I got certified in Life Coaching and dedicated my practice to focusing on romantic relationships only. Currently, I’ve been working one-on-one with single career-oriented adults to help them date and find love. As part of my coaching offering, my clients have access to the “Hotline” which is my personal phone number where they can reach me six days a week for support when sh*t hits the fan in their love life. For example. Read more>>

Erik Kluiber

In late 2008 I was living in Detroit, Mi and my band Overloaded had run it’s course. Faintly in the back of the mind, I heard a distant voice beckon, “Hey, Hey you.” I pulled a list up on the internet that posted help wanted listings for musicians across the country, it’s name was Craig. I opened the list, and the first result I clicked was a N.W.O.B.H.metal band based in LA called White Wizzad. I watched their video and they were everything I was into. One problem, I was in Detroit and they were in LA. That’s when Craig spoke, “You got this, learn their songs, and send a video.” I got the gig and moved to LA. White Wizzard’s album, “Over The Top” was released on Earache Records, and I got to tour North America and the UK in front of amazing audiences along side killer bands. A year later I dusted off the magic list and reached out to Craig. “Can I help you?”, answered Craig. I replied, “That band was great, but me and that one guy just didn’t get along.” Craig responded snarkly, “You ain’t no angel yourself. Keep your nose to the grindstone, and maybe I’ll reach out.” Read more>>

Shepard McBurnie

I was born in Brooklyn New York. Ever since I was three years old, I’ve loved art. Whether it be theater, music, film, fashion; external expression was something I identified with and wanted to explore. My mother has been a great influence on my love for the arts, as well as fashion. I remember my mother and I planning outfits for school the night before with great detail. My dad definitely supported my enthusiasm for picking out an outfit for school, even though we’d have to rush some mornings because of it. My fashion evolved from: Sean John, oversized sports jerseys and Jordans in elementary school; to True Religions, Ralph Lauren polos and Prada in middle school: followed by Supreme, Louis Vuitton, and custom denim jackets I made in high school; and finally to Mysteries in college. After graduating from N.Y.F.A I decided to study Visual Communication at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Downtown L.A. That’s where I began to learn the tools that I would later use to create my own brand, Mysteries. Read more>>

Emeline Lotherington

Dance-Break.com (IG/TikTok @takeadancebreak) is a virtual dance studio that produces events, dance classes, workshops, intensives, private events, dance films, and much more. It was created by Emeline Lotherington during the pandemic and still continues to focus on dance film creation and private events. Read more>>

Easton Edwin

Graduating from my University, I had expected to have a career in Fashion. I spent most of my time focusing on art, design and the Fashion Industry since I was young. But shortly after I graduated college, I was asked to interview for a position on a daytime talk show. I had always loved the Entertainment Industry, but I had no idea what it entailed, the departments or areas of focus. With a love for TV, I thought why not, let’s give this a shot and see what it is like. Even though I didn’t stay in daytime talk, I immediately knew that I loved this industry and all of the diverse roles it had to offer. Working in daytime talk have me a chance to experience working on set as well as in an office setting. This entry-level position opened many doors for me and it ultimately led me down a career in Casting, which I’m very grateful for. Now a Casting Director with almost 12 years of casting experience, I’ve had the opportunity to work on some amazing shows for major cable. Read more>>

James Lopez and Zack Callahan

We began six years ago when we met in acting studio that we both were attending. I, Jamie, was randomly making up a class and really caught notice to the raw acting skills of Zack. After class, we decided to grab a bite and just talk acting. We realized instantly that we both had a very strong passion for film. Over the next six years, we practiced scenes, wrote, and visualized ideas together, but the everyday grind of work in LA really took a hold on us. We both had successful jobs and never truly found the time to actually dedicate to all that we had wanted to. Well much like everyone else Covid came and affected many things in all our lives. For us, it gave us the time to finally come to the decision that we will never achieve what we wanted in film if we continued to devote all of our time to our 9 to 5 jobs. We gave ourselves a date to stop working our jobs after the re-opening stuck to it and created Businessman Productions and haven’t looked back.  Read more>>

Yannick Duyck

My story starts off across the world. I was born in Kenya to a Belgian father, Rwandan mother and spent the majority of my childhood in Uganda. I attended the American International school there which opened so many doors for me. I was able to meet people from all walks of life and learn about different cultures. This is where my passion for music started to develop. I learnt about the basics of music production, got into DJ-ing and helped the school build its first recording studio. I say recording studio but it was just a room with a computer, some speakers and a recording software! After high school, I decided to move to the UK to study Business Management where I continued to DJ at local bars and nightclubs in my spare time. School eventually took over my life and I had to put music on the back burner for a couple of years. Before I knew it, I was working a finance job I didn’t like so I decided to drop everything and continue to pursue a career in music, which brought me to Los Angeles to study Music Production. Read more>>

Nicole Ballantine

My entire life I have been drawn to the human body’s ability to heal itself. My fascination lead me to become a 200 HR Registered Yoga Teacher, a Reiki Master and a Wellness/Holistic Health Practitioner and Educator. My journey towards a spiritual career path started during my own wellness journey spanning over 15 years of my life. I battled with depression, anxiety, overeating and religious identity issues. My personal battles have led me to open a practice that is meant to help reshape, transform and heal all those looking for guidance. My holistic approach to wellness combines my knowledge of yoga, reiki, nutrition, astrology, and human design to help others become their highest self. Read more>>

Yujin BPMs

I started electronic sound project “BPMs” in Los Angeles in 2012. The BPM of music affects humans both physiologically and emotionally, causing changes in the body as well as the subconscious. I moved to London in 2015 to pursue further research on the use of BPM in dance music. Read more>>

Gavanni

I started making music about three or four years ago with a vision to reinvent modern afro music. With consistency, patience, and time, I’ve been able to be very intentional with my art, which has brought me this far with my music. Read more>>

Sydney Karmes-Wainer

I have always loved food & cooking. I remember, as a kid, spending hours in the kitchen cooking for my family. I even went to cooking camp every summer growing up. This deep love for food diminished as I quickly immersed myself in the college environment, particularly sorority life. I had never been very mindful of my appearance prior, but soon after being surrounded with girls who obsessed over body image, I too fell into this trap. I developed many orthorexic tendencies (orthorexia is the unhealthy obsession with eating “clean” foods and eating “perfectly” all the time). After losing my period for years, I decided to take control of my health and begin healing my relationship with food and exercise. I started my own food Instagram @french.squirrel, where I documented all the recipes I made and restaurants I went to. I graduated UC Santa Barbara and then began to work in the food industry in Brand Management at LA’s premier grocer. Read more>>

Allison Bajracharya

I grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, went to college on the east coast, and then started my career as a high school teacher in New Orleans. I moved to Los Angeles 18 years ago, reluctantly, and then fell in love with its glamor and painful paradoxes. I’ve been here ever since. In that time, I’ve worn many professional hats, mostly in the public education space–doing policy and advocacy work, running schools, running campaigns, including my own, and launching a consulting business. A throughline for me, initially implicitly and now explicitly, has been a commitment to racial equity. In the wake of George Floyd’s death, a multi-racial group of friends and colleagues connected in our collective outrage. We knew emotion alone would not change what happened to George Floyd or the thousands of others whose lives had been wrongfully taken because of their race. And so, over the course of the last 16+ months, this group of eight has begun to translate our anger and hopelessness into a vision of action and power. Read more>>

Steven Marusarz

I have really been designing since I was a child, always drawing large houses and floor plans, I still have the binder full of hundreds of my old plans. I am lucky to have grown up always traveling between Louisiana, Chicago, Walloon Lake Michigan, and beach in Florida. I was always surrounded by my family’s beautiful homes in all kinds of places in all kinds of styles, so I’d say that set my internal precedent of what’s visually correct. My Freshman year of high school, I met an architect named Mike McSwain in Shreveport, Louisiana, and went over to work for him every day after school and summers until college. Art school at SAIC in Chicago was my first real taste of freedom of thought, and I truly grew as an artist and person in my time there. I left Chicago and began my Los Angeles journey working at several of LA’s top level design firms including Mary McDonald Inc., Timothy Corrigan Inc., Philip Nimmo Design, and Todd Yoggy Designs inspired us to create designs which champion craftsmanship, originality, and taste.  Read more>>

Marco Delli

Authentically Italian, Marco Delli was born and raised in the fashion capital of the world. Lured away from city life and the familiar urban landscape of Milan, he began his journey as an engineer in remote locations across North Africa and South America. After refining his creative eye and gleaning a vast wealth of knowledge in the international marketplace, Marco returned to Milan where he applied his passion for design and engineering towards furniture and interiors. A true creative mind, his love for design quickly spilled into fashion. He launched his first line of premium leatherwear and later parlayed his talents internationally to Los Angeles where his signature label Marco Delli was born in the 90s. In the U.S. Marco established key relationships with top buyers, securing his line in numerous high-end boutiques. Read more>>

Jessica Auguste

When I was young, I knew I wanted to be an entertainer. The first film that I watched that made me fall in love with film is “what’s love got to do with it” starring Laurence Fishburne and the beautiful Angela Bassett. I used to dance for my church. Later I branched into other genres: hip hop, modern, ballet, and jazz. Because of that, I’ve had the opportunity to dance with Alvin Ailey, Jonte Moaning and many others. My oldest cousin would send me movies to watch ever since we expressed our love for movies. That began my love for films. When I became a sophomore in high school, I started dancing on their dance team. Afterward, I became a well know dancer on the east coast. If it wasn’t for my dance siblings and close family member’s encouragement I wouldn’t be here. Read more>>

Samuel Nkwume

I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, starting off my career briefly as an accountant. I had always been obsessed with film and TV, spending a good portion of my time watching behind-the-scenes videos of film production sets. There weren’t a lot of filmmaking school opportunities in Nigeria, resulting in me getting an undergrad degree in accounting. While in college, a friend of mine pushed me to chase my dream and to do what makes me happy, regardless of the societal norms. I eventually started a review website/blog focusing on film and TV. I simultaneously started writing a bunch of screenplays with little knowledge of story structure. I just wanted to tell stories. Once I was done with college, I became a qualified accountant and worked briefly for a year in Deloitte, one of the big four accounting firms. It wasn’t my passion, my goal was to be a film producer, so I moved from Lagos to Los Angeles for film school, where my journey began. From there, it’s been quite a ride. Read more>>

Anna Dahl

I was born and raised on a sailboat in Sweden. My family and I were sailing to different countries and exploring the European waters. My dad was telling stories on the boat, I believe that was my first introduction to acting. Acting is a way of telling a story. To make people feel something when they watch you through your character. I fell in love with the craft when I was 14 years old and went to my first theatre class. I have been doing acting almost every day since. I studied psychology back home while I was doing acting, but I always knew that my heart and passion belonged to acting. I chose to follow my heart and I am now doing acting and modeling full-time. I still use psychology when acting since it’s has a lot to do with human behavior. Acting is the connection to people and how the mind works. I love to dig deep into a character’s life and learn everything about that person and their past. It´s such an interesting experience and you become one with your character. Read more>>

Victor M Parker II

I’m a fourth-generation native Angeleno – my mom grew up on a farm in present-day South Central/Watts – who spent the first half of my childhood in the View Park neighborhood and the second half in the Greater Pasadena area. As a graduate of Macalester College (St. Paul, MN) and Le Lycée International de Los Angeles (LILA School), my global citizenship was established from an early age. Having started my career in political/international relations communications in South Africa, Parker’s experience aligns perfectly with the diverse verticals and markets with contemporary requirements in advertising, ad tech products, and production. Career-wise, I’ve spent the bulk of my professional life working in communications/PR roles. Currently, I’m the Communications Director of Ayzenberg Group – a communication orchestra of marketing and creativity. As cringe-worthy as it sounds, I make news through storytelling and realigning narratives for a diverse portfolio of companies and market verticals, ranging from tech innovation, media and entertainment, advertising, and digital production, to digital storage solutions. Read more>>

Michelle Robinson

I was always interested in art as a kid… drawing all the time, learning to paint with oil in high school, and later falling in love with photography. But I was also rather pragmatic and concerned about having a steady income, so I never really considered art as a career possibility and instead studied architecture at Texas A&M University. While I was there, a brand new graduate program started up that combined photography, video, and computer graphics. I was intrigued by the possibilities in that combination of art and technology, but it wasn’t until I saw the ballroom sequence in Beauty and the Beast that I began to think it could be something like a career for me. This was still the early days of computer technology; even before the internet was a thing… but it seemed like it might be the future of animation, so I pursued it, and after making two short films that were shown in several festivals internationally, I was hired in 1993 by Walt Disney Animation Studios.  Read more>>

 

D_Rex Evans

Growing up in the city of New Orleans music is just part of our Culture. I grew up in the era when No Limit and Cash Money had the music industry going CRAZY. Just being from the same place as them seeing the effect their music had on not just our city but the whole world made me wanna become an Artist. I started freestyling for fun at school when a bunch of my classmates told me I should pursue rap and take it more seriously. Since that day, I haven’t looked back just been working on mastering the craft. Read more>>

Marilyn Sanabria

On this particular New Year’s Eve, Tony and Crucita (my parents) could not find anyone to babysit me, so naturally (?!) they took me along to a late-night party at a nightclub in old town San Juan Puerto Rico, to welcome the new year. By midnight, I was so sleepy, I could barely sit; that’s precisely when I heard the most thrilling sound ever to hit in young ears, this heart-stopping beat that pulled me right out of my chair. I couldn’t help myself, I ran through the dancing crowd, hopped onto the small stage where the live orchestra had just begun playing, and I started dancing myself to these wonderfully unknown sounds and beat, with the type of abandon only innocence allows. The music grew louder. I was laughing, I remember. Having a blast. I even closed my eyes and just kept dancing. I was too young to know it back then, but now I realize how happy I was in that moment. When the set ended, the crowd exploded in applause and cheers! For me? Yes. For me! Wow. I looked for my mother in the crowd.  Read more>>

Brahim Rachiki

I started acting when I was 12 years old and did a few little things back home in Belgium one day, I had a huge opportunity but my dad didn’t let me do it so I started dancing on the street and became obsessed with dancing. I started reading books … practice … and started doing shows and tours that took me visiting country like japan Russia … I created a Crew and we started to tour around the world sponsors by Levi’s … doing some fashion show … and one day I hurt my knee that stop everything and I start assisting directors, photographers and start to know more about directing and the work behind the camera. When I got better I started dancing again but it was really not the same … I wanted more, but again life strike me again due to a personal event I stopped everything and had burned out … then I prayed and asked God and answer the next day I had a free ticket to Los Angeles that’s changed my life forever … I arrive just for few weeks with a Dj friend of mine (Kharraz Khalile) we suppose to stay ten days but we missed our flight back we where broke so we had to improvise to make some money and travel back home so I did some extra background work and one day during a music video the director said dance. Read more>>

Omer Lotan

I was born and raised in Tel Aviv which is also where I studied film. Filmmaking is something I sort of always knew I wanted to do so the decision to go to film school was natural. In my second year at Minshar School of Art, I decided to take the Cinematography path which is what I have been doing since then. Most of the work I got right after I graduated was shooting music videos, live music performances and second camera gigs. From there, I slowly worked my way up the ladder. A couple of work opportunities led me to LA at the very end of 2019, just before Covid hit which messed up most of those. Fortunately, in the last few months I found myself involved in other interesting projects. On top of that, I really like living in this city! Read more>>

Georgina Tolentino

I started acting in having one liners in small plays in high schools. I remember being terrified of acting because I wasn’t fully comfortable with who I was and being seen on stage, even for a few seconds. I remember it wasn’t “my thing” because my other friends seemed to really feel invested in performing so I felt really hesitant about really exploring it. I started taking classes at New Conservatory theatre in San Francisco and then throughout college. It wasn’t until that I moved to Los Angeles to fully commit in pursuing it. It wasn’t until I started auditioning I saw the roles that felt limited. So I started writing and collaborating with other filmmakers to produce and star in “No Dogs,” which is based around the true events that happen in the 1930s race riots that swept central California. The short is a work of fiction but explores a two people on opposing sides hiding out in a diner after a taxi hall is bombed. The clubhouse taxi hall was known to have caused tension as many Filipino men had romantic relationships with white women which caused a formation of a white led hate group called “The Nightriders.” Read more>>

Ross Vinstein

I was interested in tattoos from as far back as I can remember with Popeye as an early influencer and punk rock of the early 80s sealing the deal. I started getting tattooed in at age 18 in 1988 and immediately knew that it’s what I wanted to do. However, being a nice Jewish boy with a fancy education and bright prospects, my eventual mentor (along with pretty much everyone else) encouraged me to do anything else! This was still at a time long before tattooing was what it is known as today and there was still certainly a shadow over it and it was assumed to be a one way street, from all I was told. So, I went to undergrad at UCSC and was coming down every month to get tattooed for the entire four years. All the while asking if I would be accepted as an apprentice. After graduating, I moved back to LA and started working in production for a special effects company. After about 7, or 8 months, my teacher finally asked if I still wanted to apprentice and of course, I said, ‘HELLZ YEAH!’. I di my first professional tattoo on my 24th birthday and ultimately was offered my dream job at Sunset Strip Tattoo, which was then one of the premier shops in LA later that year. Read more>>

Theresa Bouché

I am originally from the south and moved to the west coast in 2003. I always loved the arts and excelled at it in high school through college. I have passionately chased two dreams: a commercial photography career and painting. It has been a long journey of trial and error with gained and missed opportunities. I never thought I would see myself living in Hollywood to pursue my dreams, but I have found this melting pot of talent quite intriguing. My photography business has opened a variety of doors for me like being on set of movies and tv shows to the Oscars and Emmy awards. Since then, I have moved onto fashion editorials, headshots, and also real estate with video and drone. In the future, I plan to move into aquatic photography once I get certified as a diver. My passion is unlimited when it comes to getting that magical shot. As for the art world, I found myself using art as a therapy, as means to process what stimulates my senses. My two passions in life give me a much-needed balance of art and science. I like photographing what is in front of me but also need my vision expressed onto canvas. Both have made me into the person I am today. Read more>>

Landon McCarroll

After completing medical training at University of Toledo College of Medicine in Toledo, Ohio and a post-graduate dermatology fellowship I ended up moving to Los Angeles, CA to practice medicine. After several years of helping other dermatologists and physicians in the area build their practices, an opportunity was presented to own a medical practice. In 2016, DermKing Institute was born and began its dermatology and aesthetic operations in 2017 in Beverly Hills. The DermKing brand became known for its transformative skin treatments most popular amongst some of America’s and Hollywood’s favorite celebrities. As the reputation of Dermatology Specialist and Celebrity Skin Expert Landon McCarroll grew, so did the business. DermKing Institute is now an award-winning and top-rated dermatology and skincare clinic in Beverly Hills, California. The brand, DermKing, currently has a medical-grade luxury skincare line, a charity (Humanity Foundation) and merchandise. As the brand expands, plans for a larger facility and other locations are in development for 2022. Read more>>

Tonnesha Edmond

In Aug. 2020, my son Casimir was born three months premature and has been oxygen-dependent since birth. Because of his chronic lung condition, he requires around-the-clock care. As a means of income and schedule flexibility, I launched my company Pretty Resumes. Pretty Resumes is a professional writing service that specializes in career services. Throughout high school and college, I was always the go-to for resumes, but I never considered making it into a business until 2020. Read more>>

Jan Rivera

I started playing music in Puerto Rico. I’ll never forget playing this old guitar with a literal hole on the top next to the soundhole. There was this open structure, like a gazebo, that my father, grandfather and I built out of some zinc roofing sheets and some logs we cut from the woods. I spent a lot of hours strumming there in a hammock as a kid, pushing myself of the dirt with my feet. It was peaceful feeling. I think that feeling was another of the reasons for which I chose this as a path. My preparation for music started in Puerto Rico where I did classical studies, then moved to Musicians Institute in Hollywood, where I did contemporary studies and would go on to TA. After this, I moved to San Diego where I authored a technical music book titled “Advanced Rhythmic Concepts for Guitar”. It went on to become an Amazon #1 top seller. Here I also founded Violet Anamnesis Publications. We’ve printed ten volumes of curricula, as well as 18 music instruction books. Some of them have been printed in two languages. Read more>>

Carlton Sabbs and Corey Colvin

Carlton – I want people to understand it’s never too late. It’s never too late to live out your purpose. I was a young creative kid with a big imagination, growing up on Chicago’s South Side. Super intrigued and influenced by the culture around me and the people in it. In my journey of becoming a professional creative, I took a true unconventional route. When I was 17 years old, right before my H.S. graduation – detectives came to my home and placed me in Cook County Jail for a week. A poor decision as a teen nearly ruined my entire life. I was given two years probation and a judge allowed me to attend school out of state at Louisiana Tech Univ… That second chance lit a fire within me. I dealt with a lot of rejection, fired from numerous companies. But I never stopped believing I could do incredible things in my life. I’ve bagged groceries, sold computers, worked in marketing, I was a data analyst, I’ve worked in Finance and entertainment. All of those experiences helped me to truly create the job for myself that I’ve always wanted since I was a kid – create art for a living. There’s no greater medium for me than being able to create through video/film. It’s a blank canvas that allows me to incorporate all my favorite elements – music, color, culture, storytelling, style, symbols, design, architecture, people and the list goes on. Read more>>

Maja D’Aoust

I have been strange as long as I can remember. As a child, I was sick a lot, came close to death a few times so I had out of body experiences I can remember starting from about three years old. I navigated the world as a stranger, unable to relate to what others said but continuing to engage and hold the space for my own being. As a teenager, I began researching paganism, nature worship and witchcraft and gained more understanding of my perspective. I dedicated my life to seeking truth, knowledge and understanding of myself, others and the physical reality we were all navigating. I am insatiable in acquiring growth, evolution and creation and live my life in this fashion. I threw myself into university studies of science and after graduating became obsessed with Alchemy, eventually teaching classes on it. Read more>>

Madison Girifalco

I grew up in Wilmington, Delaware in an Italian-Irish American family. I always had an interest in the arts and social justice, but like a lot of people from smaller towns/cities, I didn’t have a lot of examples for this sort of mentorship. The only concrete examples I really had were my school’s art teachers. Eventually, I was told in college I could also be a graphic designer at a marketing company… Otherwise, it seemed, my main career option was “starving artists/activists”. I was inherently drawn to bigger cities and spent time in Chicago, Barcelona, and eventually Los Angeles. In these cities, I learned about entire ecosystems of professional artists and projects that I wanted to be a part of but I wasn’t sure how to break in. Read more>>

Colleen Gallagher

I grew up in a family with two lawyers and I was the only child. I was always very colorful and had a wild imagination. However, I never talked about the imagination I had after a certain age because I was always made fun of. Well, because I stopped speaking up about how I perceived the world and my reality, thyroid cancer ended up manifesting within my body at age 14. The thyroid is in the throat, confirming my belief that since I was not speaking up about how I perceived the world, the body had this reaction. I needed two surgeries. It was my right thyroid that needed to be removed. I was told I would be on medication for the rest of my life and when I wanted to have children, it would be challenging. As I share in my third book An Uncompromised Life, I overcame both of these long-term diagnoses. At age 14, you do not understand cognitively what this means for your life, yet it is imprinted into you that something is wrong with you. Read more>>

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