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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.

Emily Lieng and Jacquelyn Lee

Like the perfect love story, Everdipity Events was a match made in heaven from the beginning. In 2015, I started my own wedding planning company called Everlasting Serendipity. To properly scale my business, I could not do it alone but I struggled to find the right assistant. I soon learned that a good friend of mine, Jacquelyn Lee, was starting to get into the wedding industry. She had the exact set of skills I was looking for. Immediately after I began working with Jacquelyn, I knew she would be more than an assistant. Instead, we decided to be partners. I focus on the planning and communication with the client and vendors; while Jacquelyn focuses on design and execution. Our passion for turning dreams into reality for happy couples formed this relationship. Read more>>

Kyu Hwang

On a random Friday night on a dance floor in Hollywood, I realized, “I might be able to make something like this.” I wasn’t being delusional or arrogant. I wasn’t drunk either though I had a couple of Jägerbombs. Looking back, I started music early at the age of five when I was dragged to my first violin lesson that lasted about seven years, followed by a decade long devotion to rock and roll music which fortified my passion for music as a guitarist, bassist, and a drummer with classical music background. Then I went to college where I continued playing in a couple of bands. I loved music so much, but it was just my favorite hobby. Read more>>

Tacha Fletcher

I grew up as the youngest child of a single parent Haitian-immigrant mother. I was often called to handle many of the adult affairs which led me to learn how to navigate systems very early on in my life. Many of the qualities of a Social Worker including advocacy, empathy, and compassion came naturally for me as a young girl. However, I did not have much exposure to the Social Work field so I never thought to myself ‘I want to be a Social Worker when I grow up’ until later on in my life. Read more>>

Jiaqi Ryan

In 2013, I was a college student in Ohio with an Economics degree. After my sophomore year, I realized that I don’t like economics at all, and art & design are what I love and want to do in the future. Since growing up, I’ve always been interested in and sensitive about colors, shapes, and typefaces (lettering). Read More>>

Noah Love

In 2010, I made the move to New York City where I currently live full time. If I’m being completely honest – outside of chasing a dream, I was running toward, what I consider a “new beginning”. It was my opportunity to recreate who I was and free myself of experiences and people who made me feel small. Part of moving to NYC was this massive dream to model and become this big name. I unknowingly moved to NYC in September – during Fashion Week – I landed on the 10th and booked a Carlos Campos show the following week – now to be clear, in this same week I managed to be scammed out of 300 dollars for a room I thought I was renting and the job I transferred with pushed my start date by month – so I essentially was broke – I only had 500 dollars when I got on my flight to NYC. Read more>>

David Garay

Creating Pirate was a constant evolution that dates back to 2014. We were a group of determined and educated men that wanted more. For not just ourselves, but those closest to us. One project and idea led to the next until ultimately Pirate was born. For the last couple of years, individuals on the team have been perfecting their crafts whether it be design, business, music, photography, marketing, etc. and turning around and bringing those learnings back to the brand where we’ve been able to build on those skill sets. Pirate is really a story of endurance. We’re building something for the long run of things. Read more>>

Kayla Cornelius

After high school, I was working at a consignment store and loved being able to trade in my clothes weekly, discovering designer brands I never heard of and being able to develop my personal style. The time had also come where I felt like I needed to see more and had to get out of Santa Barbara. So I moved to San Francisco at age 20 and finally settled on fashion as my major. There were lots of abrupt lessons I learned leaving my small town. I was ready to dive into the industry and the only way to start that journey was to work in retail. I worked all over the city and my eyes were widen to the possibilities of what my career would be. Read more>>

Teeya Skipper

I started as a kid. Just like many singers, I grew up singing in church, school, talent shows… However, I think what really shaped my gift was my writing. As a kid, I always struggled with loneliness and depression. I wanted connection…but I didn’t know how to connect outside of the arts. Journaling always helped me to acknowledge my feelings… I experienced a lot of rejection and just not belonging, so I would write to God about it. Asking him why he made me. Why was I here? Why wasn’t I special like everyone else? At the time, I didn’t know I had the very thing I thought I was missing… “Value!”. Read more>>

Ari Thurin

I was born in Long Island, New York. I am from Haitian decent. In 2007, I moved to New Jersey where I currently reside in. When I moved to New Jersey that’s when is started to find myself and become the woman I am today. My passions from the beginning have always been fashion, sports, Adidas and sneakers. That’s what a lot of people know me from. But fashion has always been a part of me. My parents are fashion designers, my parents are bridal designers who make custom bridal gowns. My sister is a fashion student at FIT. So my family has always been involved and I remember my dad going to L.A for fashion shows. When I was little, I remember always having a passion for fashion but never really pursuing anything of it. Read more>>

Bradford Ferguson

Coming from a family that grew up in the Caribbean, we didn’t have much but we made do. Everything I got where hand me downs so starting off with taking pictures, I started off with my uncle’s iPhone 4s. Knew it did the same thing as a camera so I said why not. I ended up buying attachable lenses for it so I can learn lenses before I get a camera. If anyone knew me before I took pictures, I was a Dancer and I still enjoy doing it till this day. Since I danced, I wanted to learn to make video and edit so I taught myself with my iPhone 4 as well an iPad I got for promotion in 8th grade. When all that happened, I started off with little editing apps and IMovie on the iPad. I was so determined to start really making videos of me dancing and my friends doing the same thing together. Read more>>

Char Edwards

My origin story is quite the ride. I started out by going to college at the Howard University with the desire to be an Orthopedic surgeon. I actually had no interest in fashion or modeling and some could say that I had no fashion sense at all when I first set foot on campus, Things quickly changed when photographers and brands started asking me to model for them and I ended up being in my first video with 2 Chainz. Read more>>

Rish and Kanish

The easiest thing about working together, for us, is that we’ve had many years of experience to work out all the kinks. We are brothers–Rish is 22 months younger than Kanish (our mom always says 22 months, never two years, because it seems much closer). A lifetime of brotherhood means a lifetime of practicing the tenets of a good working relationship: a mutual respect for each other’s skills, an understanding of each other’s working habits, and even a respect for each other’s space. Because of this relationship, which has been shaped and honed over decades, there are no more fights. No, really. There are disagreements, but always in pursuit of some greater idea. Our relationship, clad in irons twenty years forged, is the unbreakable foundation of our professional co-existence. Read more>>

Yoonha Verse

Even though my love for music has always been there, I never saw it as a realistic option and ended up following the traditional path to success. You know, studying hard for good grades to go to a good college then working hard to climb up the corporate ladder. So after attending Princeton, I moved to San Francisco and worked as a digital marketer for a few years. The creative side of marketing was interesting in the beginning, but I couldn’t stop feeling lost and empty inside as time passed. Then one day, my friend and I decided to learn how to produce music together. It was purely for fun in the first year, but we got more serious about it and ended up forming a duo to start releasing music. Read more>>

Sara Blackmore

Well, I started playing instruments before singing. My mother always had me playing some sort of instrument no matter if I liked it or not lol. I played the Alto Saxophone and the piano. Getting more and more familiar with the piano, I decided I got the hang of this let me twist it up with singing at age seven. My mother put me in the Children’s Choirs Of Maryland program and I loved singing ever since. I audition for Disney channel shortly after my 9th birthday… Then in my early 20’s audition for “The Voice”. After that, it’s been a none stop process to taking action in my singing career. I’m 27 years old and have been blessed with a gift and I plan to use it to my full potential. It’s a way for me to celebrate. I love singing, I love connecting. Read more>>

Micah Cyrus

I grew up in View Park which borders Baldwin Hills and the Slauson/Crenshaw area of LA. I went to predominately black schools in elementary and middle school before going off to boarding school for high school. Afterwards, I attended USC, where I was destined to learn as much as I could from the School of Cinematic Arts in order to pursue a career in film and tv. I initially thought I wanted to be a producer because I didn’t know if I had the chops to become a writer — better yet, one who could be paid to turn out scripts. I graduated in the height of the housing crisis so jobs were far and few between. Read more>>

Rocky Pamphile

33 years old young black man that attended Virginia state university and received more education from Long Island University in the later years of my life… After dropping out of college, I started a new journey as an artist. Then I signed to Birdman and Lil Wayne label “young money cash money billionaires. After a deal gone bad, I left the entertainment industry to focus on my personal private life. Then I started managing local acts in the city then I met Jamie Foxx and became a temp pr for his team and then I started doing more celebrity Work based on recommendations… Pkentertainment 17 was my first company name then we evolved to R. & D. Entertainment Agency. From Farrah Abraham, Paris Hilton, Cardi B, Amara La Negra, Alexis Skyy to even Diddy reached out to us to handle some of their business. Read more>>

Maria (Marilola) Torres

I always knew I wanted to help others. As a child born in Central (Mexico) who ran through the border at age five to reach the American Dream, I always had a sense of responsibility to extend a hand to others because others had helped me. I was raised by immigrant parents, my father with the salary of a dishwasher and my mother with the salary of a factory worker, and supported by amazing sisters of which three are older and three are younger than me. We lived in very impoverish conditions and with very limited resources however we knew that if someone needed help, it was our duty to help them. I knew I wanted to learn about psychology at a young age and began exceeding in my educational endeavors. I began attending community college while in high school and graduated from undergraduate with honors. Read more>>

Kay Dowdell

Creativity is at my core and “fashion”, as vague as it is, happens to be the most exciting form for me. Growing up, my mom was the most fashion-forward person I knew, her style was and still is awing. She definitely laid the foundation for my love of clothing. I remember making my first pair of jeans, I was about 11, and it was the highlight ending of sewing lessons I had been taking. That year I received my first sewing machine and I’ve been dabbling ever since. Fast forward to college, I realize menswear is my true calling and contributing to this industry is where I’ll be fulfilled, it’s where I’d be happiest. I want to help men look and feel good while exploring my passion for wardrobe. Read more>>

Aidan Nelson

I am 22 years old born and raised in San Diego. I got my first job mechanic shop at 14 years old then by the age of 16, got my second job and worked all throughout high school, moving to LA at 18. I moved to LA because I had two options both included moving away from San Diego for business and personal related concerns. I was forced to decide on a coin flip whether I would move to LA or New York. After leaving San Diego, I moved in with a group of friends to Crenshaw and Washington area in LA. I was transferred from a restaurant San Diego to a restaurant in Beverly Hills where I became a maître d’. Read more>>

Andre Damar

I started off writing poetry for my friends in the fourth grade so they could give it to the girl they liked with hopes of reciprocation, 90 percent success rate. In middle school, I attempted to perform Slum Village’s song “Selfish” but bombed. In High School, I started freestyling with some friends during the smoke sessions or during lunch and shit like that. One of my friends suggested that I start writing things down, so I did. Made my first couple of songs with the help of a friend of mine who was making beats on the garage band. Read more>>

Vivian Lau

I was always fascinated with cinematography from a young age, but never thought I would pursue it as a career. When I was in high school, I ran a pretty popular Tumblr blog where I made tons of content – gifsets and photosets and photo edits. This didn’t seem like it would ever amount to anything useful but these years were actually super formative in developing my artistic eye for color, composition, balance and thematic visuals. Read more>>

Chingya Weng

I have always had a passion for art and design. Painting was always a way for me to express myself and often served me better than words. In college, I studied Visual Communication Design, and

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