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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.

Erin Fein

I started my project Psychic Twin almost a decade ago, on the heels of a painful divorce. It was difficult, to say the least because I was young, and there weren’t a lot of people that I could relate to in regards to such a heavy experience. I was living in the Midwest, where I am originally from at the time, and I found the courage to take the few thousand dollars that I had and moved to Brooklyn to pursue music in a more professional capacity. I had been in a touring band for some time previous to Psychic Twin, but I wanted badly, truly burned for the opportunity to break away from the all-male band that I had been working with and to be seen as an artist, a female artist, who could stand alone. It’s been a long journey. It has felt like an uphill battle to gain visibility as an artist. I moved from Brooklyn to LA and continue this journey. I wonder sometimes, have a lot of thoughts as to why the music industry has drawn me in so close, but yet feels so disconnected from who I am. It’s a jungle. Read more>>

Paige Hochstatter

I grew up in a very conservative suburb in the Midwest, playing sports. I didn’t see myself as much of a creative but found an intense passion for filmmaking in middle school when my friends and I began making music videos to various pop songs on YouTube. It was hardly a success of an endeavor, but I realized that I actually did have an eye for creating images and storytelling. I started honing in on this hunch by taking photography and film classes and continuing to shoot little film projects on my own. This led me to Columbia College Chicago where I majored in film and concentrated in cinematography. Here, my world completely opened. Finally, I was surrounded by like-minded creatives, a diverse and queer community, and a place to fully express myself. I dove deep into film classes, getting on sets as soon as I could, finding mentors, and working my way up. Cinematography clicked with me, and I found myself holding back corny smiles every time I was given the opportunity to shoot something. Read more>>

Angel Stella

I’ve always loved to draw, ever since I could remember. Practicing on backs of family photos, creating animations with sticky notepads, and doodling in class. Creating whatever came to mind and whatever I could see was my favorite way for me to escape life at home. When I was 12, I had finally saved up enough money over several years to purchase myself a Wacom Intuos4 tablet. That way, I could draw without making a mess or needing to ask for money to buy paint. I still use that tablet, to this day, from 2011, and it has gone through everything with me. I’m so shocked it still works after all these years, all these insane times, and absolutely grateful for how it has saved me to be able to express myself with my art. I don’t know where I’d be without my tablet. I am a very anxious person. I have always loved art, but it wasn’t something I anticipated to dedicate much of my time to beyond my hobby. I was enrolled at UC Berkeley (biology) and lived there for three years before moving back to LA as a result of COVID19. Once the pandemic meant a pause for my school, I decided to shift my focus onto my art once more. Read more>>

Humberto Leon

Wendy Leon opened the original Chifa in Lima, Peru in 1975. In 1977, we immigrated to Highland Park, California because she wanted to give her kids the American Dream. Through the years, Wendy stayed working in food, but never her own restaurant again. Her daughter Ricardina worked in Finance while her son Humberto pursued a career in fashion eventually starting Opening Ceremony. This year, we decided to open the modern version of Chifa in Eagle Rock, California with Wendy, Ricardina, Humberto and son-in-law John Liu who is the head Chef. Read more>>

Elizabeth Sanchez

I’m 29 years old and am the oldest of five kids. In my family, I’ve always been the go to person for everything. I feel like I carried that into all aspects of my life. Whether at work, with friends, family, or anywhere else I was always the person that would be able to guide you and get you an answer. I’ve been in sales and customer service for over ten years in different industries. I always tried to do what was best for my teams and clients in any position I held. I wanted to be able to help them at a higher level. That combined with my love for real estate led to the most logical choice of getting licensed and pursuing a career as a realtor. I believe especially in the Hispanic community homeownership is viewed as something difficult and unattainable. We have the will, but there is a lack of tools and resources made available to help show us the way. And even less conversations about how to use real estate as an investment tool. Real estate is a powerful tool that when leveraged correctly can help anyone achieve financial freedom. In our community, we are taught to work hard and avoid debt, but not enough about how to cultivate wealth. Read more>>

Cathryn Guzmán

Growing up in low-income areas, I felt I had two options: lose myself to the streets and become a product of my environment or submerge myself in art and create my own narrative. As a child, I painted and at just five years old I had an art piece placed in a gallery by my kindergarten teacher. My love for art transitioned into makeup, I loved watching my mother get ready before work or events. I was just a child so I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup but my mother would schedule days for me get my creativity out of my system and she would let me play with her makeup for hours. At just nine years old, I could apply a perfect winged liquid eyeliner. Fast forward to my high school days, I had always been advanced, taking all the AP classes, I was even placed in the International Baccalaureate program but there was this calling for me and in my heart, I knew it wasn’t with my academics. My calling was in NYC to create! To be apart of projects bigger than just myself. To contribute to society in a way that provoked emotion, a way that created confidence, a way that turned a fashion designer’s vision into reality… and I found that in hairstyling, the art of makeup and into the art of MAKING plant-based makeup. Read more>>

Evelyn Leigh

Muraling is a career I fell into after years of searching for an art form would suit me best. I always knew I was a maker, but I could never focus on one thing for long enough to really perfect the craft. Painting rooms has always been something I’ve done ever since I was a kid. Shortly after my son was born, a friend of mine saw a wallpaper that I painted in my apartment and asked if I could do something similar in her home. That mural took me a whole five days (in comparison, now it would take me one day) as I struggled to figure out how to do it. It’s still one of my favorite pieces, even after six years of this being my full-time career. After sharing that piece, my friend Casey Revkin, who’s always been a huge supporter of mine, asked me to paint her son’s bedroom and shortly after a set of Silver Lake stairs. After I completed the Swan Steps, the attention that they got on social media launched my business. Ever since then, I’ve been painting shapes and shades on vertical planes in homes and businesses across the country. It’s an incredible niche career but there’s never any shortage of white walls that could use a little excitement. Read more>>

Selena Leoni

I was born in a small town in northern Italy of mixed Italian-Chinese parentage. Since the age of three, I began spending my childhood back-and-forth between Italy and China and therefore had the privilege to experience the east and west cultures from a very young age. Growing up in two distinct cultures, I have always been curious about other cultures and religions and the motives why different people behave in the way they do. At first, I did not understand why human beings can have so many different perspectives and beliefs. However, by coming to see myself through other people’s eyes, I gradually learned to recognize the privileges and restrictions I had not realized I had. Due to my love for culture, art, and technology, after graduating from high school, I decided to continue my education at the City University of Hong Kong, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in New Media. This journey led me to a career in multimedia, where I worked as a Multimedia Content Producer for over three years, overseeing the development and production of three educational-based virtual reality projects that aim to enhance social inclusion and empathy in Hong Kong. Read more>>

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