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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.

Heliya Alam

Growing up in Iran, in a family of physicians, I always felt like the odd one out. I would run around with our home video cam recorder and make short films and take on different characters. Since I was five years old, art has always been the core of my existent. I started playing instruments and singing at the age of five for seven years. While exploring the beauty of music, I discovered musical films and music videos; The combination of my two favorite things. I went through my teen years watching classical films and musicals with my father and using film and cinema as an escape from my reality. Read more>>

Patricia Fernández

I came to California from Spain when I was 14 years old with my family. I grew up traveling a lot with my family, wherever my father’s work took us. After we left the US, I stayed here to study painting at UCLA and then continue on to receive a MFA from CalArts. Although I miss living in new cities and other countries, it has been great to make LA my home. I never thought I would stay in one place for so long. I have lived and worked in Chinatown for over ten years now. Read more>>

Austine Maxfield

I’m originally from Chicago, I was a freelance makeup artist for the last 12 years and I really was burnt out and just kind of lost my passion for makeup and I wasn’t sure where to go from there or what my next calling would be, but it came about pretty organically because EverythingIcedd is more than just jewelry, it’s who I am as a person. My style is 100% casual most days and I love to dress it up and make it cute with the right accessories and just the right amount of sparkle, and I believe your jewelry can make anything look put together. You don’t have to be super glammed up to feel special. Everything, every day, every moment can have a little bit of glitter. Because it is something that is a reflection of you, everything I choose is hand-selected and a lot of thought goes into the pieces I feature on my site. Read more>>

Dr. Tiffany Gethers

I was born and raised on the south-side of Chicago. Since I was a young girl, I always had an appreciation and deep love for education and helping others. In school, I strived for excellence in my academic courses and extracurricular endeavors. In life, I set goals and worked hard to achieve them. I had dreams of becoming so many things throughout the years, but leading my own business and philanthropy were always the burning desires of my heart. I did not know what type of business, I just felt that starting my own was something that I was supposed to do. I started my professional career as a public relations practitioner. That was my first job after I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in 1999 in Public Relations. Read more>>

Malcolm Johnson

It wasn’t always my plan to be a photographer as a young kid growing up in Jamaica life had other plans for me. When I was 17, my brother called me one day and offered me the chance to come visit and live with him in California. I always wanted my life to be different and needed new settings so I decided to take his offer. There was definitely a culture shock when I first arrived in America. I had to learn how to live and communicate in a place so different from my home. It was a little difficult at first, but I adjusted pretty quickly. I bought my first camera a couple of months after being here in America, I truly bought it to take pictures of myself but I quickly developed a love for being behind the lens. Read more>>

Kwashee Totimeh

I began creating different events when I was high school. They mostly consisted of Parties and began to expand into different types of events as the years went by. During my last year of college, I created a traveling art gallery, “Digital Art Gallery Tour”. I used work study money to travel multiple cities like New York, Baltimore, Washington DC, Atlanta and Philadelphia. I found a passion in booking venues and creating a space for urban artists to showcase their work and guest to enjoy something outside of just partying every weekend. After that, I started to create more events, currently I work with others and curate an amazing wine-inspired day event called “Fine Wine Series (finewineseries.com). We have had sold-out events that pair R&B and a 3-hour open wine bar. I like to use different opportunities to create joy. I see moments of joy as one of the greatest forms of therapy. Read more>>

Poe

I am a lifelong artist. I have been singing, drawing, dancing, making videos, and more for as long as I can remember. I have always been intrigued by visuals, captivated by sound, and interested in the stranger, unexplained parts of life. This leads to what some have classified my “dark” or “grunge” type aesthetic. I am blessed and grateful to have had a childhood where I was able to freely explore my artistic hobbies and interests. My father is an extremely talented artist, and my mother grew up as a dancer and also taught me to embrace my intuition, which helped guide my artistic endeavors. I began attending a state university for a psychology degree before switching to a fine arts major and eventually transferring to MassArt in Boston. I didn’t finish school, but I did learn a lot and decided to keep learning new things on my own as I worked different jobs throughout the years. Read more>>

Megan Wheeler

I started modeling as an amateur for a boutique in high school which led me to my first fashion show. It was a fun experience, but I stayed focused on school and was involved in a lot of other activities at the time. In college, I continued my extracurricular endeavors while getting my Bachelor in Psychology and modeled for friends or certain brands in the later years. Towards the end of my time there, I tried getting into new hobbies and was feeling stuck being in Mississippi. I reached out to people for insight because I have amazing friends who are so encouraging. They reminded me, before COVID, to take the time to travel and chase opportunities, I loved to think about when I was younger. Read more>>

Amelia Allen

I was born and raised in Calgary, Canada. I have been playing music for as long as I can remember and grew up in a very musical household with my dad always playing and writing songs on the piano and guitar. I wrote my first song on the piano at eight years old and I can still remember how to play it to this day. My musical roots are in songwriting, and growing up, it was always my dream to be able to make my love of music into my career – but for some reason, going into university I chose to pursue an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering while maintaining music as my hobby…I think I felt that trying to make it as a songwriter/performer was an unrealistic goal, and when I was really strong in math and physics it made more sense to follow that path. Read more>>

Zaire Michel of Dezaireable Accessories & ZaiDance (Guidance with Zai)

As far as Dezaireable Accessories is concerned, I thought about her in 2014. I am a creative all my life I have been doing things. I would color, get arts and craft supplies as a kid, I’d make outfits for my dolls and even myself as a child. I just love creating! My mom taught me how to crochet and sew. I would do it for fun and I ask a bunch of questions so I can learn and know. I like to call myself a Jasmine of all trades. In high school, I had the opportunity to take sewing classes at FIT. I noticed they had accessory classes but at the time, I really wanted to be a fashion designer and felt like these classes were a start to get me where I wanted to be. Self Doubt is the DEVIL CHILE! Anywho I took those classes on and off and then I wasn’t consistent and then went about my way back with dance and life. Read more>>

Craig Taubman

In 2013 Craig Taubman and his wife Louise purchased the Welch Presbyterian on the corner of 12th and Valencia in Downtown Los Angeles. The building, a historic landmark was originally built as the first home of Sinai Temple in 1909. Craig’s original plan was to create a fun destination location for great music, food and drink in downtown LA. After learning more about the community, he decided to pivot and create the non-profit Pico Union Project, dedicated to principle to love your neighbor as you wish to be loved. Read more>>

Sawyer Hurwitz

I always figured I’d be an artist of some sort, but for the longest time I bought into the narrative that I didn’t possess the skills. My hands weren’t steady enough. My mind wasn’t disciplined enough. I just didn’t have the raw talent. Whenever I would create, I saw the gap between my skills and my vision as an overwhelming divide. And as a result, I gave up on the idea of pursuing a career in fine arts. But art finds a way. Starting in high school, I got into collage. Since I didn’t believe anyone took collage seriously as an art form, it was easy for me to shirk pretension and focus on the fun of it. As I got more into it, collage became a form of meditation for me — a means of using free image association to process and organize my thoughts and feelings. Read more>>

Amina Seydi

I moved to LA about three years ago. I came down for the weekend with friends to shop and sightsee. I actually wanted to go to San Francisco but they talked me into coming to LA. While walking around Santee Alley, we decided to get pedicures. As we were walking, I saw this beautiful African fabric flying in the wind at a store. Once closer, I thought wow I hope they have someone in there who sews, and Lord if you really love me, let him be from Senegal. Simply because Senegalese are known to be some of the top drapers and tailors in the world. I’ve traveled and lived abroad so I was really hoping for a miracle on this one. Read more>>

Maricela Bernal

My journey began when my husband and I decided I would leave my career in the public accounting industry to become a stay at home mom for our daughter. I have always enjoyed being in the kitchen whether it was with family creating traditional dishes or baking. I decided that I wanted to share my creativity and desserts to other families to enjoy in their own environment. Whether it was to celebrate a birthday, new baby on the way or simply a special occasion. In the summer of 2019, Lil’M Baked Goods opened for business. I was inspired by our daughter that teaches me new things everyday. Her name is Emma and we gave her the nickname of her Lil’M. She is my little assistant and sometimes tastes tester. Read more>>

Lea Anderson

I hate saying that I’ve been singing all of my life because that’s what everyone says, but it’s true. I’ve always been trying to sing the sounds I hear around me. Which I know now is what they call a “producer’s ear” I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in South Carolina. South Carolina is where I learned how to read music, where I joined my first band, and where I first embarked on a career in Musical Theatre: which took me on my own little world tour. I loved being a singer/actor/dancer— I just felt I would be better off singing and telling my own stories. I knew I would help more people that way. Read more>>

Alessandra Bergamin

I moved to California in 2016 to undertake a Master of Journalism program at the University of California, Berkeley. I was already working in the media industry in my hometown of Melbourne, Australia but felt professionally stuck. Despite many years of largely unpaid internships and a few magazine stints, I didn’t feel that I had the skills, contacts, or confidence to pursue and publish the kinds of stories I wanted to report on — big features, investigative pieces, and ambitious projects with a focus on human rights and environmental justice. Read more>>

Turt Franklin

I started Destroyalldenim on March 29th, 2020. I found inspiration to start this business the first time I met a now close friend/little brother @rudysrage in Los Angeles. He is a young videographer who motivated and inspired me to focus on my craft. I was based in Phoenix, AZ but noticed that I was receiving lots of LA engagements. I soon started traveling to LA 4x a month hosting pop up shops in my hotel rooms and networking all over Fairfax & Melrose and Hollywood. Three months in I find myself selling Denim to Dee Santiago, Lil Housephone, ASAP Josh and other notable IG influencers. I was also featured as a vendor in Detroit, MI at an event called Midtown Market and also plan on being a vendor at Kobey’s swap meet in San Diego, CA. Read more>>

Ignacio Val

I was born in La Paz Bolivia, where I was raised and lived involved in the musical world since an early age. At age thirteen, I began taking singing, guitar and dancing lessons. A few years later, I felt more confident with my musical skills and began to make small concerts for my family and friends at different small venues. Determined to establish an international career, I moved to Los Angeles, California, where I began attending “Musicians Institute.” It is there where I get inspired to create and produced my own sound and started writing songs based on my own personal experiences. I faced the challenges and obstacles of the music industry and managed to overcome them thanks through hard work and constancy. Read more>>

Akasha Rec

I was born and raised in LA but my roots are from Gujarat, India. I went to India in 2013 for my cousin’s wedding and was inspired by the beauty hidden in my culture and I didn’t wanna lose that part of me. Growing up in Los Angeles, I felt like I wasn’t deeply connected to my roots and wanted to find a way to express that side of me through my own art of fashion. I feel like I’m breaking boundaries and empowering women to feel confident in their own skin. I started learning how to sow in 2013 and I have been growing since then. Read more>>

LP Giobbi

I started taking piano lessons in second grade and truly lucked out by getting a teacher that fostered creativity above all else. There were days we played the inside of her piano and the bongos or just danced. That fed my love of music all the way through college where I graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Jazz Piano Performance. I was playing a solo jazz piano gig at a dive bar in SF right after college and was approached by Peter Franco who engineered and produced for Daft Punk. He told me he was putting together an all-female electronic band in LA and asked if I wanted to join. Even though I didn’t know a synthesizer from a Xylophone, I made the plunge and spent the next few years in a garage learning sound design and synthesis (the first synths I touched were the Moog Voyagers from the Daft Punk Pyramid tour!) and how to produce. Read more>>

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