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Inspiring Stories from DTLA

The heart of our mission at VoyageLA is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of the LA’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool.  Check out LA’s rising stars below.

Nicole Anderson

I have loved photography all of my life! My grandma always had a camera in our faces and we used to hate it but she always insisted on capturing every little moment of our time together. When she passed away unexpectedly and I began to look through the thousands of photos she had I realized why she took so many. Life could be gone in a moment and photos are the greatest tangible memory! Read More>>

Hong Nguyen

After I graduated high school in 2000, I spent a few years in community college trying to figure out what I wanted to major in. I knew I had a creative side but I didn’t know what to apply it to. I’ve always liked art and design, so I took a few art classes, tried out architecture, and interior design but none of those subjects stuck with me. After a few years, I still couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do and like many of my peers, I felt lost so I took a break from college and started working an office job. Read More>>

Kevin Warn

As a kid, if you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would have not told you a photographer. I was heavily involved in the computer world and that is what I figured I was going to do for my career. But things changed. I started looking at things differently after my father Rod passed away my junior year of high school. Read More>>

Mavie Corral

I used to be part of a rap group named Da Paranormal. For our album covers and other marketing products we always had to do photo shoots and video shoots. Sometimes the graphic designers would take longer than expected or would cancel our appointments. It was at that moment that I decided to go back to school for graphics and multimedia. Read More>>

Giovanni Berdejo-Gallegos

My idea to become of a photographer was quite random, really. I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures of family, friends and the places that I have traveled too. I even took a film photography class in college but never thought about creating my business in photography. So the appreciation and the admiration for the art was there but never the business side of it. Read More>>

Ashley Concolino

I opened my studio in 2008 after working for a few local wedding photographers. My passion for photography started in high school when I was photographing and making scrapbooks for my then boyfriend, now husband of 8 years. I loved capturing a moment in time to have forever. Read More>>

David Frisch Sr.

Frisch & Sons, Inc. has been family owned and operated in Orange and Los Angeles Counties since 1994. In 1994, Frisch & Sons Inc. was one of the first swimming pool removal specialty companies in all of Orange & Los Angeles County. Today, with over 1,500+ successful swimming pool removals under our belt, we are recognized as the top company for swimming pool removal, concrete demolition, and landscape & hardscape removal and renovation. Read More>>

Michael Green

I started working in nurseries in 1978. I went to school for ornamental horticulture and received my contractor’s license in 1987. It was always a dream of mine to one day own my own nursery. Three years ago, I started Greenland Nursery. Read More>>

Sinork Agdere

When I was 14 years old, I became an apprentice to a renowned artisan and goldsmith in a small workshop in Grand Bazaar, Istanbul. With endless curiosity, I sat next to my mentor day in and out watching him work for nearly six months before I had my first chance to touch a piece of metal and start working on it. At that moment, I knew this was it… My curiosity had just turned in passion! Read More>>

Leora Kashani

Growing up, my parents signed me up for every athletic activity they heard of in our area. From basketball and soccer, to gymnastics and even roller hockey. By the time I got to high school, I became a three-sport athlete and I literally lived in nothing but uniformed workout clothing. To portray our team’s cohesiveness, we wore all the same things by all the same brands. Read More>>

Evan Toporek

In 1995, as a screen printing business in Atlanta, we were frustrated with the t-shirts that were readily available to print on. So, we set out to recreate the softness and simplicity of our favorite vintage tee for our own screen printing needs, and Alternative was born. We enjoyed designing clothing more than printing on it, so we sold off the printing business to focus full-time on building a great fashion brand. Read More>>

Alex Huynen

Jump Start Swimming was founded in 2014 by Caitlyn Verdugo and I. Jump Start Swimming started out providing swim lessons to swimmers at a backyard pool in Fountain Valley and we would send a few traveling instructors to home and community pools in the surrounding areas. It was a small business that basically ran out of our backyard. In 2015, we added an additional backyard pool in Huntington Beach. Read More>>

Christina Vecchi

I have always loved celebrating life moments – I was always that girl that would throw backyard tea parties, themed summer BBQs, fancy soiree’s, and basically anything I could coordinate and style. I have always been inspired by “pretty little things”. Yet, it was not until my junior year of college at the University of California, Irvine when my event journey began. I joined their Fashion Interest Group and within six months became their lead planner resulting in my presidency senior year. Read More>>

Yulia Kiselev

I was born and raised in Russia, and came to the US (Denver, CO) at the age of 21. Back in Russia I got my paralegal degree, and I knew that this was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Skin care, on the other hand, has always been my passion. I started the journey of becoming an esthetician and got my diploma right before coming to the US. Read More>>

Joe Rivera

Being a grandson to a professional dancer and a nightclub singer, music is in my blood. Growing up in south Los Angeles (Compton) there was not much for us to do during the summer breaks. I was lucky enough to have a group of friends in the neighborhood that loved to break dance and listen to music. I purchased a music mixer from a friend of mine and borrowed two turntables, one from my grandmother and the other from my Uncle Jesse and began mixing records and recording mixes for friends and family. Read More>>

Stacey Gamble

I was introduced to pole fitness by a client. She insisted that I would love the workout as well as the freedom she experienced from dance and movement. After my first class, I was hooked and addicted to the strength I was building as well as the dancer I was becoming. In 2011 my partner Christina and I opened Smoke & Mirrors Fitness, so we could share our passion with others. Read More>>

Spencer Christian

Ever since I can remember, I knew I was different than most kids. Not that I thought I was better, just different. While other kids were riding skateboards, joining sports and building forts, I was learning how to escape from a straitjacket (literally my dad got me a legit straitjacket for Christmas, one year), painting and pretending I was Kurt Cobain in my room. Read More>>

ORQUIDIA / Orchid RODRIGUEZ

Back in 2000 I was planning my wedding on a budget, so I needed to get some flowers and I was on a tight budget. I visited the Flower Market in Downtown LA. I walk in with just planning to getting some flowers (DIY). I came back home with a couple of flowers just to place on a vase. Everyone at the wedding love the way I arranged the flowers. Read More>>

Sam Avakian

I started doing wedding and event photography 1994, I start using digital cameras early 2001 since I am a programmer I start developing our green screen software the green genie www.thegreengenie.com I start doing green screen photo booth since it offered 8 backgrounds per event while most photo booth using either white or another background. I have been selling our green screen software worldwide, I don’t sell the program in California. Read More>>

Bastian Villarama

My hairdressing career started off as an answer to the question, “now that college hasn’t panned out, what am I gonna do with myself?” With a “let’s see what happens” attitude, I pursued a course in cosmetology following suit after my mom and sister. I barely finished the cosmetology course at a local junior college on Guam where I lived for over 20 years. Read More>>

Sasha Goldenberger

I originated from Washington, where I started in fashion design. Moving to LA in ’04 to obtained a degree in Visual Communications from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and now a current resident of Long Beach, CA. After a few years of merchandising, visuals, and wardrobe styling I found my new passion for hair styling. Now a licensed Cosmetologist and two years ago this last February I open private studio and boutique. Read More>>

Alex Linares

I was born in San Salvador, El Salvador. I was always a trouble maker growing up. I didn’t like school and many times I skipped school all together. At the age of 12 I started hanging out with the wrong crowd. Most of the kids I associated with were gang members, delinquents etc. Read More>>

Rob and Dianne McKenzie

Rob and Dianne both started hang gliding in 1974. Dianne was living in California and Rob was in Canada. They had not yet met. In 1979 Rob moved to California and soon afterwards met Dianne. Read More>>

Yesenia Davis

I started my career in high school 2006, signed up for a program called Tri Cities ROP for the cosmetology program using it as an elective for school. I’ve always loved styling hair never knowing I would turn my passion into a career. I was juggling high school and cosmetology course at the same time finally graduating in 2008. Read More>>

Beth Haney

I started Luxe Aesthetic Center in 2006 and we have become the most successful cosmetic dermatology practice in North Orange County because we practice evidence-based care and have the most experienced providers and staff. I started off working in Beverly Hills and eventually decided to open my own practice because I felt a responsibility to my home community to provide excellent care using FDA approved aesthetic treatments. In 2006 – 2008 there was a huge increase in the “medspas” and many people thought they could make big profits without providing high quality care. Read More>>

Nida Gazi

I started my journey over 12 years ago by working at Mac cosmetics in Orange County, I got an amazing opportunity to do makeup for Awards show such as BET Awards, OSCARS and MTV AWARDS. We worked on several fashions shows as well as Rupal’s drag race. Read More>>

Kevin Gaylor

9 years ago I was completing my bachelors in business management. The final project was to create a business, including a 5-10-year plan for success. I came to the conclusion that since I enjoyed Djing, being a musician (drummer), and had a passion for people and fun, I would start a DJ Company. After completing my class project and earning my bachelors in business management, I began Djing in local bars and any event that I could while starting out to gain exposure. Read More>>

Liz Huston

I’m an artist through and through. What this means to me in particular is that I have the heart of a poet, the mind of a surrealist, and the soul of a mystic. As a self-taught artist, I often joke that I took the long road. Learning how to make this surreal, symbolist art involved a long and winding path and my uncompromising dedication. Read More>>

Michelle Pinto

Living each day with excited anticipation, joy and appreciation is possible when you have the courage to push through self-imposed limitations and insecurities and follow your heart’s inner guidance system. That is how I live life now, but not always. My mission as a new business owner of Mystic Connections Healing and Enlightenment Center is to help people live abundantly, shine from within, and follow their path with light, love, health, and happiness. Read More>>

John Rose

Our company started a little over 5 years ago with only 1 twenty-six-foot truck and 2 movers. We have worked diligently to build this company together and grow to what we are now. The largest local moving company in Orange County. As well, we have recently opened up a new location in Eugene, Oregon. What I think makes us great is our staff. Read More>>

Michele Rusher

From the start, I was a go getter. I started off in the food and beverage business at the age of 16. At age 23, I gave birth to my daughter. Being a single mom, it was difficult to provide the life I wanted my daughter to have. I worked 4 jobs at a time just to keep food on the table. Read More>>

Jabe Amato

I started playing guitar and singing at a young age in southern California. I spent a lot of time in the restaurant service industry as a bartender and a manager while performing at private gigs on the side. After putting in a ton of time gigging, learning new songs and styles and just generally honing my skills, I was able to start my own business called Whyfret.net Read More>>

Brandon Wines

Winesdesign has been around since 2008. We started out doing poster, flyers, logos, and other graphic arts for high schools and small businesses in California. It was more of a hobby than a business. I was in high school at the time and took as many art classes as I could which turned me onto product design. Read More>>

Rose Forbes

I started working in restaurants when I was 14 years old. I grew up in Topanga Canyon and used to walk down the road to work almost every day after school. I always wanted to work and be responsible for myself from the time I was a little kid. Read More>>

Mike Lefebvre

It was 1982 when Pepperland opened that stores. 35 years ago. The name came off the B side of the yellow submarine album I originally used for A Beatles themed convention in 1977. Read More>>

Joe Dumatol

Mission Escape Games is an escape room that was originally founded and established in the New York City area in early 2014 and expanded to our first West Coast location in 2016. Through the rise and interest in Escape Rooms, Mission Escape Games decided to expand to Anaheim, CA to provide LA & Orange County with a new immersive entertainment experience. Today Mission Escape Games is nationally recognized as one of the nation’s premier escape entertainment providers and was also nominated for USA Today’s 10 Best Escape Rooms in the nation. Read More>>

Claudia Endler

I didn’t start out as a jewelry designer, but as a sociology business major I did love trying to understand people and culture and how everything is connected. I’ve always been fascinated by the human spirit and how we persevere through difficulty and change and it seemed to me that aesthetics is part of this. Beauty can lift us up, enhance our environment, make us feel good. It makes us happier and healthier. Read More>>

Austin Baffa

I have had a passion for visual storytelling since I was a kid, and throughout my youth I would take pictures and make short films with friends. When I transitioned from High School to University, I made a decision to study Cinema Arts at Vanguard University of Southern California, and there I was able to develop a foundation in the arts and in cinema that helped me gain direction for where I would want to go in the future. When I graduated from University in 2015, I moved to Northern California to spend a year working with and mentoring youth in Santa Cruz County, and while I was there I began to save up for the equipment I needed to help launch my freelance business. Read More>>

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