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Downtown’s Hidden Gems

Every day we have a choice. We can support an up and coming podcaster, try a new family-run restaurant, join a boutique gym started by a local fitness champ or we could keep giving away our money to the handful of giants who already control so much of our commerce. Our daily decisions impact the kind world we live in; if we want a world where small businesses are growing and artists and creatives are thriving then we should support them with our time, money and attention. We’re proud to highlight inspiring creatives and entrepreneurs each week in Hidden Gems series.  Check out some of downtown’s gems below.

Moon McMillan

At a very young age, I fell deeply in love with writing and the art of filmmaking. I was a quiet child to say the least but my mind was always racing with different ideas and stories. I truly was in love with it and wanted to gain as much knowledge about the film industry as soon as I could. Read more>>

Jeff Pifher

I always knew music was my path. I begged my parents for a saxophone in first grade but I couldn’t even get my fingers around the keys because my hands were too small. My parents agreed to get me a saxophone if I still wanted to play when I entered the third grade. Read more>>

Megan Bre Camp

We are actively reviving the nourishing traditions of using local grass-fed and pasture raised animal fat to moisturize effectively and soothe skin irritations. Our tallow-based products contain unique and harmonious blends of organic, wildcrafted Absolutes and essential oils, local extra-virgin olive oil and local tallow from family farms. Read more>>

Jupiter Black

My father was a musician (pianist/singer) and my mom was his manager. I started singing at a young age and as I got older I developed a love for writing and the art of lyricism & Through that I discovered my own voice allowing me to transition into the artist I am today. It’s all a flow. Read more>>

Valeria Sweet

I’d have a creative career, but what was it going to be? Would I be an actress, singer, dancer, fashion designer? When I was little, Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was my biggest influence. I’d watch the episodes, create my own, and then act them out and direct my friends. Read more>>

Maricel Meneses

I have always been into fashion but never thought of it as a real career. It was just an interest of mine that I pursued for fun but did not think I would work in. I went to school for social work and growing up Filipino-American, my parents basically tried to embed in my mind that becoming a nurse was the only career I could go into. Read more>>

Steve Nuñez

Steve is a graduate of California State Polytechnic University Pomona with a double major in Business Marketing and International Business. He has worked in the marketing field for several years with numerous well-known companies and sports teams including: Chivas USA, Fox Sports, AEG, La Opinion, the Ontario Reign, the Anaheim Arsenal, and Castells and Asociados. Read more>>

Phoenix Washington

My career began in Atlanta, GA in 2015. Since then I have starred in dozens of leading roles in feature films, short films, web series, and a handful of Network Television shows like “Fatal Attraction”, “Your Worst Nightmare”, and Discovery ID’s “Murder Calls”. My background is in Theater. Read more>>

Rudy Sta Ana

I come from an area in the Philippines called “Pampanga”, which is basically the culinary capital of our country. From a young age, you’re taught to food prep and watch over the food. I may not be your traditional Chef, but I take pride in my unorthodox approach to cooking. I embrace my rawness and let my passion take the lead whenever I am in the kitchen. Read more>>

Leo Herrera

My mom immigrated to this country from El Salvador so that I could have the opportunity to live the American Dream. She always stressed the value of education and encouraged me to do something with my life to help others, especially fellow immigrants living in this country. Read more>>

Omid Semino and Elie Sabouhi

Our story is unique. It’s a story of a family business growing into three separate, successful jewelry brands, each with their own niche and expertise. Diamond Mansion, King of Jewelry and Ledodi; three blossoming companies under the same roof, roof meaning suite 710 in the International Jewelry Center nestled in the historic Jewelry District. Read more>>

JR Salas

I been drawing since I was eight. I got started by a coloring book. We grew up poor, so my mom didn’t have money to buy the ninja turtle toys I wanted… so instead she bought me a ninja turtle coloring book. And I colored it all, once I was done I still wanted to continue coloring so what I did was traced each page and recolored it, that’s how it all began. Read more>>

Abigail Keever

I started out as an exhausted and broke fashion design recent grad who wanted nothing more than to break every single rule I had just spent years learning. I spent a couple of years trying to figure out this strange business and along the way found my niche in comedy TV. Read more>>

Suzi Ibanez

I knew I have always wanted to do something creative as a job. I picked up a camera as a teenager and that is where my journey began. I have always loved fashion and knew I wanted to take photos that could be in magazines. I started taking photos of bloggers in Orlando, Florida. That is where I grew up. Read more>>

Arian Foster

Originally from Detroit, Michigan, I grew up an only child in a house full of single women, so shopping was such a bonding moment between my family and I. Every time I shopped with my Grammy, I was so in awe of learning how to bargain on a budget and how to scope quality pieces. Read more>>

Nick Yeast

In 2017, I took a solo trip to South Korea. I was so inspired that a little black boy from small town Kentucky has traveled to another country all on his own to learn about himself on a new level. During my time in South Korea, I stumbled across a fragrance making class. Read more>>

Adrienne LaShe

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA Inglewood to be exact. I started singing at the age of three, I come from musical family full of singers and musicians. My Aunt Renee was a Raelette, My great grandmother, grandmother and aunt had a gospel choir in the 60s and everyone plays an instrument. Read more>>

Jacklyn Sweet

My first “Big Girl Job” in LA was a commercial recruiter for a well known recruiting company. I was a recruiter for about a year and realized my Banana Republic collar shirts and pencils skirts that outfitted me while I sat inside my cubicle didn’t really excite me as I hoped it would. Read more>>

Melanin Bee

Love and Laughter family I am Melanin Bee Holistically HEALarious, I started my journey into comedy from birth. Since a child, I was naturally funny and could always make people laugh, I’ve always had the ability to tell story with a sense of humor. Growing up, I always wanted to be an actress, be famous and entertain people. Read more>>

Evey Solorio

Let’s rewind nine years ago when I was a makeup artist at a photography studio at the age of 18. I had a passion for photography and makeup so what better way to combine the two by doing what I loved while being mentored on how to take amazing photos. Read more>>

Yuna and Tida

I started playing the Sanshin when I was 11. At first I did it because I was forced to but the more I improved the more it started to grow on me. The songs stopped becoming boring sounds that made me fall asleep and I started appreciating how unique and interesting the pieces were. Fast forward to eight years later and thats when I met Yuna. Read more>>

Jiselle Kamppila

I became an artist the moment I felt a fire inside me. I became an artist when I couldn’t distinguish reality, felt fears of peers, grew ashamed of my existence. I developed a coping skill called “painting.” I spent my teenage years worshipping Patti Smith and Arthur Rimbaud, growing passion, and an ability to escape my reality. Read more>>

Jeremy Henry

My love for music began when I first heard Jimi Hendrix when I was 13 and I dove really heavy into classic rock and punk music. So my dad got me my first guitar not too long after that and I was infatuated. Later on, when I was about 19 in 2011, I was taking a Music composition and appreciation class in college and thats when I met my good friend Matt aka Dj Drebin. Read more>>

Daniel Miranda

When I received the pictures back, I presented them to her. She said “Danny, your pictures came out better than the guy I hired” from that moment on, my eye has been on a camera. Early 2015, I shot my niece’s IG pictures and posted a few. All of a sudden, people were requesting me to shoot them and even PAY me to do it. So, in the middle of 2016, we started DVMproductions. Read more>>

Dinora Salcedo

I’ve always had a love for movies that gradually developed over time. Growing up, films were very comforting to me. I didn’t have a lot of friends and always had trouble making them, so movies were always my escape from reality. I never felt lonely, or like I was missing out on anything because I somehow felt connected to these characters and their lives. It wasn’t unusual to watch 1-2, sometimes even 3-4 films on a regular day. It still isn’t. Read more>>

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