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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.

Bhi Bhiman

I started playing guitar around 7 or 8 but I didn’t take it seriously until I was about 13. I was playing in a baseball tournament and got injured badly enough that I was out for 6 months. During that time, I became obsessed w/ playing guitar and it’s been that way since. I didn’t start singing or writing music until I was about 17 or 18. I was in various bands and eventually focused on my solo career. I was lucky enough to have a manager who really believed in me and since working together, I’ve put out 4 albums, toured the world and collaborated with some of my heroes. Read more>>

Montserrat Espejel

My sister and I started with the idea of opening a makeup studio that would offer both makeup classes and cosmetic products for sale back in 2017. Background: We were inspired by a makeup school/store that we attended in 2014. My sister and I have both had a passion for applying makeup ever since we were young. When I was attending the makeup program, I was also going to school to work towards my Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA). I was saddened because I had to put the makeup program on hold because I was already handling a full-time job and a family (one husband and one son), however, my sister continued and earned her certification in makeup.  Read more>>

Julie Patel

From early on in her childhood, Julie had an interest in fashion and enjoyed altering her clothing to make it unique. Julie’s mom noticed her eye for creativity and gifted her a sewing machine that Julie taught herself how to sew on. Her work started off with patterns and draping and soon Julie learned how to pattern her own designs. After a few years of making things for herself, others took notice and began asking Julie to make things for them as well. Her business was born. Julkee’s name comes from Julie’s childhood nickname given to her by her dad. After Julie realized the opportunity to turn her shelves of unused saris into modern apparel that delivered on comfort and style, Julkee’s core offering of Reborn Saris was created. Read more>>

Gabe Rudner

Thanks so much for having me. I formed the boutique real estate firm LA Creative Realty in 2017 with a goal to focus on serving clients in creative industries. As a musician with a passion for investments I founded LA Creative Realty to be a trusted source of knowledge, relationships and expertise for a community that I felt was vastly underserved in the world of real estate. In my prior career as a musician I toured the world working with all sorts of creators and I saw first hand the value that the right space can have to a creator. I also saw how many in the real estate and investment industries do not understand the lifestyle, needs, and finances of creatives. Read more>>

Mike Theory

I got out of the Marines in 2009 to pursue music. I bought Dj equipment and began to throw shows for my group i was in called Audio Assassins. During this time i was going to Fullerton College for Sound Recording. I started to meet more people in the industry and began to book more shows. Around 2013 I released my first solo project and began to tour around the united states. My first Album was called Liquid Courage. This is the beginning of my clothing line. I started making merchandise for my tours and it just snowed ball from their. Read more>>

Victoria Mack

Being a Chicago native from the westside of the city growing up in poverty, I made the decision in 2011 to take a stand and do something about homelessness in cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis and New Orleans. Most of my life I have helped someone with life issues whether it was a family member, friend or a stranger. I’ve been involved in many community works over the years, I started out in my pre-teenage years at the age of 12 doing mission work with my childhood church Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church, helping out every 4th Saturday to feed the homeless with my family members. Read more>>

Monica Blair

I hate that saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” but it pretty much encapsulates my life. At 15, I left home and lived on my own, moving from place to place. After finishing high school, I put myself through college, working during the day and going to school at night. When I was 18, I upped and moved to Germany where I fell in love with Europe and a French musician named Thomas Lorioux. Life was good. And then, in my junior year, I had a massive stroke and had to be hospitalized. In the hospital, it was discovered that I had a rare brain disease called Moyamoya. Realizing the upward battle I was facing, I gave Thomas an out, but he didn’t take it and has been by my side ever since. He is my absolute rock. Read more>>

Samantha Hurtado

My mom was born in El Salvador and came to the US when she was a little girl. My father’s parents are from Mexico and he was born in East LA after they immigrated to the U.S.  I grew up in Montebello and East LA. After graduating from Schurr High School, I attended Pasadena City College and would take the bus every day to Pasadena from East LA. It was a lot! Then, during my last year at PCC, I got pregnant with my now nine-year-old daughter. Life had already been very difficult and it became even more so, as I was only twenty at the time and still living with my parents. Read more>>

Loren Escandon

I became an artist, pretty much forced by poverty and circumstances. I was born in Cali, Colombia, during the times when, unfortunately, the cartels were starting to change the way of living in my country. My mother, trying to keep me away from the despairing realities of my neighborhood, came home one day with the idea that I should audition for the National Ballet School, I was 8, and I had no idea what ballet was. Still, the school was designed in the image of the Cuban Ballet School, and the students spent their entire day on the campus.  Read more>>

Chrysten Cloud

When I was 7 my parents enrolled me in a mediation class called the Silva Mind Control Method. Learning how to meditate at a young age laid the groundwork for me to be aware of my breath, emotions and what was happening in my physical body. Being able to get to a meditative state at such an early age helped pave the way for the healing path upon which I would later embark. I had learned the importance of balance and how to watch my breath. I learned how to sit with uncomfortable feelings or emotions and watch where they might get stored in my body. Read more>>

Lexy LaRossa

I have been a crafter all of my life but I did not start crocheting until I was 18 years old. It started off as just starting a million different blankets, but never finishing any of them because they took so dang long and I was bored of the stitch I was doing after a couple rows. Then I started making matching outfits for my dog and I, that’s when I became hooked. Once I was hooked, no one ever saw me without yarn and a hook. Everyone joked around that I always had yarn in my bag working on whatever crazy project I was doing but the funny part is, they were right, I did have yarn in my bag.  Read more>>

Marko Alonso

Born and raised in Spain, I grew wanting to be either a war journalist or a doctor. I wasn’t very good at sitting down and staring at a book for more than 10 minutes so the path with more action and less sitting just made sense. My mom is from Finland so after high school I went and did the military service there, which similarly to Israel or South Korean is mandatory for men, though since I didn’t grew up there I went as a foreign volunteer. Read more>>

Brian Gonzalez

Sure thing, I was born in LA but I grew up in Van Nuys and over time I moved to Colorado and other places. I remember I was kind of floating around after high school. I was unsure of what I wanted to do or what I wanted to be. I had many odd jobs and I was taking random courses in community college to figure things out. I didn’t know I was a creative person but I had multiple creative interests that helped develop and focus my ideas. Read more>>

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