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Inspiring East LA Stories

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 East 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 East LA’s rising stars below.

Akvile DeFazio

I was born in Lithuania, emigrated to Toronto during the Cold War, and have been moving west non-stop until I landed in SoCal, where I have truly called home for the last decade. I have a BS in Exercise Science as I pursued work to be a physical therapist, but realized after graduation that it’s not what I wanted to do and always felt a desire to work in something more creative as I jumped on every marketing related task at the clinics I worked for. I officially began working in online marketing 13 years ago, starting off in Seattle doing ecommerce for an outdoor/sports gear and apparel company called evo, then moved to a pet health insurance startup where I learned how to online advertising and built our campaigns from the ground up. Next, I moved to Long Beach where I worked remotely for a global marketing conference and publication company as a marketing manager. Read more>>

Khari Rhynes

I started making music at the age of eight. My mother is a singer, so I have been around music my entire life. I remember always liking music, but I didn’t really take it seriously until I got a guitar. I wanted to be a rapper when I was about 7, but everything changed when I heard good Charlotte. I was enamored by the rebellious sound they produced. I became obsessed with being a rebel even though I had nothing to rebel against. I wanted to play guitar loud and fast and didn’t really have a taste for tone or anything other than mainstream pop-punk ahaha. However, my mind was altered once again at around the age of 12. This was the first time I had heard Jimi Hendrix! To see someone who looked like me up there doing his thing was the greatest gift I could have ever asked for at that time. I remember my dad showing me his music at Barnes and Noble and me instantly getting obsessed with his ability to control his instrument. More importantly, his ability to express his emotion through his guitar playing. Read more>>

Brenda Heredia

I am the owner of Quherencia. I was born in Mexico City and I immigrated to the United States back in 2014 when I was 15 years old. I currently go to Cal State Fullerton, and I am pursuing a double major in Business Marketing and Spanish, along with a Translation Certificate. I am a first-generation, low-income woman passionate about the advocacy and liberation of marginalized communities. The transition between living in Mexico and moving to the United States has affected my personal development and mental health, but ever since I opened my shop I have been going through a process of healing, blooming, and self-embracement. Quherencia provides me with hope, love, support from my community, and it makes me feel seen and capable of achieving my dreams. I started my shop in November 2020. Prior to Quherencia I co-owned another shop which unfortunately had to be closed, but it did provide me with a great insight which I continued implementing on Quherencia. I started making beaded jewelry such as bracelets, rings, earrings, anklets, and necklaces, which later on turned to be made by my mom. I also have stickers, paracord bracelets, and wire-rings made by my dad. Read more>> 

Ayu Logan

I was born in Japan and grew up in New Zealand. My parents and I would sometimes travel to Japan to visit my mum’s side of the family and I think being mixed-race and having both of these cultures present in my life had a really strong influence on who I am today. I was always taught to see things from more than one perspective and to consider diverse points of view. At the same time, I think I felt like I didn’t fit into either country which I had roots in so I was straddling this in-between space as to what I considered home and belonging; this has become something that I like to explore in the stories I tell. At university, I studied Film, Television and Media studies and Spanish and then spent some years working as an English teacher in Japan and Mexico. I loved meeting new people and helping them to communicate in a new language and I think these skills have transferred well into what I do now. While in Mexico, I also had the opportunity to intern at VICE Media, and my passion for filmmaking and journalism was reignited. Read more>>

Omotola

I was attracted to music super young – as early as four, I can remember. I grew up on the music in my house, lots of rnb and Nigerian music – all that bumping bass and me running my hands over the felt of the four foot tall speakers at my parent’s first house with the green shag carpet (lol). I took a journey from there to pop boy bands and pop bubble-gummy mega stars around the time I was nine and got heavily into alternative, then indie music and haven’t looked back since. A couple of life detours including declining a college acceptance letter and taking two years off for service to others have lead me to Los Angeles, where I’d hope to be for a long time. You can imagine a bunch of uncertainty and despair in between, but it’s true what they say, you follow your passions and you don’t regret a thing. There’s been a lot of joy on this journey of mine too – so much. Read more>>

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