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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.

Alexis Hill

I started making waistbeads and jewelry four years ago while I was in college. Once others got wind of it, they started to reach out about getting pieces made! I originally started out as “Accentuate You”, when the main focus was waistbeads and jewelry, then my interests and skills grew into candles, etc. I realized that the name “Accentuate You” kept me in a box, and that’s how Zealous Sun was born! Zealous Sun is all about shining your light, radiating vibrantly, and embracing your true self, all while taking care of yourself. I’ve had so much more success since changing the name and I know it’s just the beginning!. Read more>>

Annie Untalan

I fell in love with photography when I was 13 years old but I didn’t take it seriously till I was on the island of Kauai. I lived there for about seven years and my love of photography resurfaced again. I was able to work with the most amazing people and ventured all over the island. I am known for my Alter-ego projects. I used to work at MAC Cosmetics and loved to create. My friends always looked at magazines and Instagram and said why can I look like that? I thought to myself why should models have all the fun. Hence my Mojofotoco Alter-ego project was born. Me and my participant work together on a concept that works with both of us, as long as my client feels comfortable that’s what matters the most. My main focus to help my client feel comfortable, beautiful, strong and most of all have fun at the same time. I want them to unleash their inner lion, their inner diva, their inner alter-ego. Read more>>

Bettina Pittaluga

I’m a French-Uruguayan photographer living in Paris. I like to think that I photograph beauty. I find beauty in authenticity; of an emotion, an instant, the other, in what is most real. I studied sociology and also worked as a reporter. It’s therefore really second nature for me to compose with what is already present and existent. I am focused on giving a voice and visibility to those who are not or too little represented. It is very important to me to do everything to deconstruct this hegemony; I am committed to invoke all these fights until they are won. I was 14 when I was first introduced to photography. My uncle gave me his film camera and I instantly wanted to know how it worked. At that time, I was living in a small town in the south of France. Every week after school, I learnt how to develop my own black & white shots in a dark room that was made available by the local council. I started taking pictures 24/7, captured my family, my friends and anything really that caught my attention. Read more>>

Yagiz Oral

I am a film composer and orchestra conductor. Actually, I can say that my musical journey started a little later than my colleagues. I started playing the electric guitar when I was in high school. That’s when I started to express myself with music and put music at the center of my life. After gaining a lot of concert and recording experience with guitar, I joined a choir and was introduced to polyphonic music for the first time. From that point on, I wanted to be a much bigger part of the music. Since my childhood, movies and their music have deeply influenced me. That’s when I first realized that I could compose film music. I realized that I get goosebumps every time I watch a movie or see a movie scene taken to another dimension with the music itself. This energy is still the biggest motivation for my film composition. On the other hand, my conducting story is a little different. Read more>>

Christian Black

My interests have always revolved around physical health and social inequality; which is why I’m currently pursuing a Ph.D. exploring the intersectionality between brain chemistry, human behavior, and systemic racism. As you can imagine, this field of work connects you to a lot of people with interesting stories and unique experiences. Although it wasn’t easy to get to where I am now, I would have to say thanks to my sense of curiosity and “let’s go see what the fuss is about” attitude. It has taken me to places I wouldn’t have dreamed of. Read more>>

Chloe Hedden

I was born and raised in Utah’s wild red desert but have had the great fortune to call many amazing places around the world my home. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, I am as comfortable painting large oils as I am illustrating children’s books. In 2007, I won an International Creativity award in the category of commercial illustration for “The Peaceful Warrior.” My first children’s book, “The Illuminated Desert,” written by Terry Tempest Williams and published by the Canyonlands Natural History Association in 2008, won The Mountains and Plains Bookseller’s Award for Best Children’s Book. My paintings and sculptures can be found in numerous public and private collections around the world. As an artist, I look for the unseen patterns and hidden narratives that reveal the magnificence in all things. Robert Henri said, “Paint the spirit of the bird rather than its feathers.” There is a still point in every moment and to capture this essential luminescence is to acknowledge the ancient wisdom in all things. Read more>>

Nadira F

Photography has been part of my life since I was very young. I remember going around town using disposable cameras to capture the beautiful scenery presented in Rome. It all started off as a way to pass time, but then through the years I let the bountiful river of creativity float me through a variety of artistic endeavors. From photography to graphic design, to painting to sewing: I tried to do it all. Then, when I was around 13-14, I saved up enough money (babysitting for family friends and cleaning up my grandma’s yard) to buy my first camera. Nikon D3000. I remember giving the cashier all that money and thinking “this passion will be worth it in the end” and.. ironically, I am still hoping it will. Years and countless makeshift photoshoots later, I finally decided to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in photojournalism. The program allowed me to not only learn about the technical portion of cameras but it also taught me how to train my eye for details that I would not otherwise see. But that was not enough. Read more>>

Roger Arrieta

The Bleed Los Podcast is a podcast that came about from the blog Dodgersbeat. Dodgersbeat is one of the most successful Dodgers news sites on social media. A year ago, we started doing live post-game shows after the Dodgers playoff games. When this season started, we launched the Bleed Los Podcast. We all Bleed Los Angeles so that is how the name came about. We knew launching a Dodgers-related podcast would not be easy because, well there are a lot of them. How are we going to set ourselves apart? Everyone talks Dodgers and pretty much has the same takes. So for one, we wanted to show who our hosts are. The show is hosted by Alonso Sarinana and Juan Ramirez. Alonso worked in MLB for a number of years and continues to have connections with a number of baseball insiders. Juan is a filmmaker and natural storyteller along with being a passionate Dodger fan. I am the producer of the show and chime in on occasion as the voice in the sky. Read more>>

Amy Luck

It started as a fun gig, then turned into a part-time job, and now we’re full-time! SWS Vintage started in May of 2020. SWS stands for “Something We Seek” because everyone is always seeking for the that special something. We carry a wide range of hand-picked vintage items, everything from vintage Chanel to made in USA vintage Levi’s. The idea behind SWS Vintage is that we focus on quality vintage. Personally, I’ve always been pretty keen on details, quality, and fabric. I wanted to bring only quality vintage pieces in great condition to the shop. Read more>>

Ellie Johnson

I have always had a creative mind for as long as I can remember. I started this journey by attending cosmetology school. I love doing hairstyles that are eye-catching & especially using different hair colors. After cosmetology school, I wanted to expand my mind more & after years of throwing my daughter’s birthday parities, I fell in love with decorating. Over the years, I would do parties for my family & friends. I also started decorating my church each season (fall, winter, spring, summer) & for our Pastor & Wife’s Anniversary. Doing these things has really helped me grow my business & helped me continue to think out the box because I love to be different & give my clients different ideas when they use my business. Read more>>

Adelina Suvagau

I am an award-winning documentary and TV Producer and Director with 30 years of experience in television, film and documentary production. When I started my career with the National Romanian TV Broadcasting Corporation in 1990 my country was just coming out of communism and totalitarianism and people were eager to start fresh. I had a major in business and a minor in literature and I always dreamed to work in television. Not having any previous experience in journalism or broadcasting, I needed to work hard to be appreciated. So, after five years I had completed multiple trainings with BBC, I was creating and hosting awarded TV shows and I was a loved TV personality in Romania. Eager to explore more opportunities I moved to Vancouver, Canada, with my husband and daughter and got into film production. After working a few years in various positions with the production crews, I decided to go back to school. I got a diploma in creative media and started a long collaboration with a local multicultural TV station for weekly Romanian TV show. Read more>>

Talya Adams

I began writing in high school, mostly poetry at the time. During undergrad, I double majored in Creative Writing and Theatre. My love for performance art took off from there, and afterward, I continued to study film in graduate school. I love all things story-related, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that my interest in photography spiked next. I love to capture people, places, and interactions during honest moments. Today, I balance my love of writing, photography, and film regularly. Through my YouTube channel, I’m able to satisfy my interest in creating content. Photography allows me to explore portraiture and photographic stories. I also satiate my love of words by writing on Medium at the moment. Read more>>

Cristian Lazo

It all started when I was 12 years old, two ladies came up to me and my little brother at a Walmart. They told us that we would be perfect for Disney and told us to come audition the next weekend. At 12 years old, I had a lot of responsibilities playing drums at my local church in Palmdale, California. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go to the audition, I begged my parents but they thought it would be best if I didn’t go. Ever since then, I have always wanted to become an Actor, I carried that dream along with me until I turned 18 years old and then I realized my dreams were unrealistic. I gave up on that dream for a year until the weirdest thing happened. At 19 years old, I was working at Ross not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. I was a store stocker so I would always restock items. One day this African American man came up to me and asked me if I was the store manager, I then replied and told him I wasn’t. He then shakes my hand and tells me my full name, “Cristian Miguel Herrera Lazo”, please note that my name tag only showed my first name. Read more>>

Ki’Arra Phillips

I’ve always been an entrepreneur since elementary school. I sold things like handmade jewelry, candy, snacks, cupcakes, cookies, and brownies. You name it! I’ve always had an obsession with lipgloss. I loved how confident it made me feel. I used to be so depressed and insecure about the way I looked but something about lipgloss made me feel the total opposite so I decided to make my own and sell it. With so much wasted money, research, trial and error. After about two years, I perfected an all-natural/ organic lipgloss! I started selling it locally and people loved it! I decided to launch my business online on July 7th, 2019. Since then, I’ve added a couple more things to the site like lipliners, lashes, and etc. My goal is having my customer’s confidence at its most HIGH! (Hint the brand name Royal Confidence) I struggled a lot with being insecure and not being confident in how I looked. I don’t want others to feel that way. Read more>>

Marie Freschl

I’ve always wanted to be in a field that contributes to change, no matter how small or big that change would be. My relationship with therapy and the idea of being a therapist was a soulmate-level match! As much as I hope to bring to the mental health world, I am constantly grateful for the role it has played in my life. When I started my journey, however, I was beginning to learn the flaws within the mental health system. I learned quickly that therapy, at least in America, was rarely beneficial for marginalized populations. Furthermore, the population of therapists were limited in diversity, often creating a divide. Understanding these limitations through both personal and professional endeavors, I wanted to cultivate a practice that focused on spaces that were safe for everyone. One where clinicians understood multicultural impacts, sexuality, gender fluidity, etc. I knew that doing it under someone else’s space would give me limited control in this. So my best friend and I decided to open our own practice. Read more>>

Tracy Cruz

I started singing at the age of two and performing when I was twelve years old. My mom and my grandmothers were both singers and performers and they inspired me to become a singer. I started joining numerous talent competitions as a teenager and took music classes from grade school to college. I released my debut EP “Illuminate Love” in 2005, first full-length album “Feel’osophy” in 2008 and sophomore album “Universoul Symphony” in 2011. In 2018, I released my trilogy which consisted of “H3artifacts”, “Art of Facts” (produced by Grammy-nominated producer Brandon Williams) and “Purple H3artifacts”. In 2020, I released my single “Your Love’s Everything” and on Friday, August 27, 2021, I released “Find A Way”. Read more>>

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