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Hollywood’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 Hollywood’s gems below.

Alex Tobin and David Stokes

About a year and a half ago we were both looking to create something that was fun for us, while still being interesting to a consumer. We wanted to tell stories but we knew that most people preferred listening to stories instead of reading them. We figured that by creating a podcast. Read more>>

Julie Eckert

Growing up in suburban New Jersey there wasn’t a lot to do, so I spent a lot of my time drawing, painting, and customizing websites with design and code. All of my favorite classes in school were the creative ones. I couldn’t take a test to save my life, but making things came easy to me. Read more>>

Julian Dahl

A few years ago, I got a camera with the intent to record YouTube videos. When I got the camera, I started shooting photos around the house of random objects. It quickly became a hobby. I would shoot photos at home, around the neighborhood, at school, travelling. Read more>>

Ryan Greene

As a physician going through the various levels of training required to practice, I had grown increasingly frustrated trying to introduce long-lasting healthcare intervention for individuals who were seeking a plan that would allow them to achieve optimal health and wellness. Read more>>

Charlie Kane

I started writing and interviewing over ten years ago during a time when blogs were starting to populate, threatening print publications and caused them to fold rapidly. While blogs and digital magazines were rising, it introduced this new space for writers that became more about opinion, “curation,” new voices. Read more>>

Maysa Quy

Who I am today in the present moment stems from a very diverse background of different disciplines. Starting with music I feel that is something I inherited from my father. He was an artist-a sculptor, photographer, music junkie and vocalist and would always have oldies playing at the house. Read more>>

Jonathan Peter

My mom always tells me about how much I used to cry whenever the Teletubbies was not on TV. I would act along to what I saw happening on the TV screen and I would even start reciting lines to episodes that I had only watched a few times. My first performance was in 2005. Read more>>

Angie Hobin

About three years ago I was sitting with some acquaintances in a bar at a cast party for a play we had just closed. At a certain point in the night, the conversation took a (somewhat pretentious) turn, and they all began going around the table, taking turns describing what “exciting new projects”. Read more>>

Paul Lai

I came to the States as a voluntary immigrant from Hong Kong, China. I got to where I am today by the supports of those who surround me. My parents gave a headstart by bringing me into the finest educational system in the world and provided for me every step of the way. Read more>>

John Woodruff

I’ve loved horror (and movies) since I was little… mostly because my Mom would come get me out of bed late at night if there was a “scary” movie on and we would watch it together. They were conservative films, a Hitchcock film like The Birds, or an old Hammer or Universal production, but at the time. Read more>>

Leah Khambata

Born and raised in Mumbai, I always knew I wanted to be in the film industry ever since I was six years old – the age I saw “Titanic”, a film that struck deep chords within me, moving me to tears. I began to recognize the subtle power of film; if a film could move a child, it could be the catalyst for transforming lives. Read more>>

Ivan Copelli

Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, son of physicists, Ivan Copelli is a full-time drummer. He’s a self-taught musician, who fell in love with the drums after watching a Kiss concert with his mother in 1983, at the age of ten. His life and soul would never be the same after that night. Read more>>

Francois Bittar

I moved to Los Angeles after studying architecture in Chicago for three years. I always had a passion for making videos and creating content. After moving to LA, I fell in love with film making and decided to finish my bachelor’s degree in film. Throughout my years in film school, I continued working on my videos and continue spreading my comedy around. Read more>>

Michael Yip

My early professional life started as a fashion designer in New York. My works were featured in, now known as Vogue Runway, and Interview Magazine wrote a designer profile on me. After that, I was poached by artist Simon Birch to work on The 14th Factory. Read more>>

K. Broch

I grew up in West Michigan, where the usual expectation is to go to college, get a standard business degree, and then work a job you don’t necessarily love in order to build a future for a family. This often all happens in your 20’s. I always knew my path would not be the same as many. Read more>>

Chloe Temtchine

It all started when I was about six years old. My father used to bring me on Sundays to a Baptist church in Harlem, NY, where I would listen to hours and hours of incredible gospel music. One day, many years later, I found myself on stage performing the very songs I had been listening to for so long. Read more>>

Victor P. Corona

I’m a sociologist studying the culture of Los Angeles. Two years ago, my book about New York nightlife was published and I felt ready to start a new life in LA, a place that I have always been fascinated by. I packed up my apartment in Harlem and made the move. Read more>>

Veronica K.

I grew up as a first-generation American in San Diego, and as many children of immigrants, there was sometimes a cultural boundary that kept me from making friends who understood me, especially since I was a mixed kid. Up until high school, I didn’t really fit in since I wasn’t “enough”. Read more>>

Deshawn Evans and Antwain Hayden

(Deshawn) The idea of our business was formed in 2012, when our investment in a friend’s mansion party didn’t go as planned and the people we assumed we were in business with, ran off with all of the profits that was supposed to be split among us. Read more>>

Yujie Tang

I started this path when I found my passion in editing in college. I was asked to create some video for school events and I found myself deeply attracted to it. Besides all the school projects, I also started creating some short videos on my own. After that, I decided to go to the next level. Read more>>

Ryan Perrings

My story began when I left New Mexico and moved to attend university in Las Vegas in 2004. At the age of 21, I started in the nightlife industry with Tao Las Vegas as a promoter bringing guests to the venue as a way to make an income while going to school. With the recession in full swing and an extremely competitive environment. Read more>>

Isadora Sartor

I have been a musician since I was ten years old, completely obsessed by artists such as Michael Jackson and Avril Lavigne. I didn’t know how I’d get there, I just knew since then that music was my passion and that I wanted to learn how to play the guitar. My mom was a bit skeptical about giving a ten-year-old an electric guitar but she finally gave in and got me one for my 10th birthday. Read more>>

Maxwele D’Angelo

Where do I begin? Well, I came to this country in October of 1988. My mom was very courageous to bring two young kids through the United States Mexico border. Oh yeah, we entered this country illegally back then for a shot at a better life. My mother and father the source of my drive and determination. Read more>>


I am an up and coming artist singer-songwriter I was born in LA but moved as a baby. I’m a young 27-year-old who grew up in the DMV area writing music from a very young age. Since I was young, I always knew I wanted to do music. Growing up I listened to every genre of music and to artists like Anita Baker. Read more>>

Jason Eksuzian

I grew up in Western Massachusetts and attended Bennington College in Vermont where I studied directing, Phish and pretending I understood Nietzsche. I got my start in film, television and theatrical production in New York City where I tried my hand at a number of jobs, mostly as a go-fer and general lackey. Read more>>

Joré Aaron

It’s a little wild to recall that when I was growing up in Los Angeles, I had imagined myself drifting far away from the city, to just somewhere “else.” Now I see myself being here for a long while, with a new sense of duty and inspiration. Yes, I am currently the cliché barista/actor, but my pathway to getting to this point is far from typical. Read more>>

Marco Antonio Parra

As far back as I can remember I have always wanted to be a performer. When I was a kid, Disney re-released BAMBI. The commercial boldly stated, “No one should grow up without Bambi.” After a few minutes of begging my mom to buy me the movie at the store, to no avail. Read more>>

Kristin West

I started my acting career acting as Fern in “Charlotte’s Web” in my community theater. In college, I committed to coming to Hollywood and pursuing a career in acting and producing. Today, I produce two talk shows, have acted in several TV shows and movies and I am developing great content for audiences worldwide. Read more>>

Balou Royal

I began creating at a young age to escape. It was/is my vessel to express myself through various emotions and experiences. I would write about what I saw or what I was going through in poetic form as early as elementary school. I think it was about the 3rd grade that I was first recognized for it. Read more>>

Philipp Zizow

The very first time I performed for an audience was when I was seven years old, and part of a musical ensemble. I played guitar back then, we performed a classic Spanish flamenco piece, and I fell in love with performing. I grew up with music, my parents and my younger sister all play instruments. Read more>>


I’ve been the bullied girl that now the internet calls KI The Virtual Popstar. Born in Tarrytown New York, always had an edgier yet romantic feel towards life and how I express my art, A complete pastor’s kid with extremely accepting and musically diverse parents. Read more>>

Jason Avalos

I got started by making ultimate Karate battles with Metallica playing and SNL skits with my friends in middle school. Because I had the camera, I was the “Director” of those vids, and we all acted in them. I worked with some of the best acting teachers in Hollywood during high school. Read more>>

Camden Toy

I grew up in a theatrical family. My father was a makeup artist and an actor. He studied with Bill Putch at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. Shirley Jones was one of his classmates. My father introduced me to the magic of transformational makeup when I was still in early grade school. Read more>>

Brandon Williams

It started in Providence, RI where had always been an artsy musician, classically trained to be a trumpet player, who always liked being different and what better way than to chose your on wardrobe truly and designing and making my own close. Then I would never have the problem of spotting my outfit out and about on some loser that isn’t as cool as me. Read more>>

Brandon Le

The younger me was a game head (loved video games) I got bored of it one day, got on YouTube came across a DIY video by this guy name KenAndrewDaily, I forgot what it was but I started watching a bunch of his other videos and got inspired, I sold my Xbox and got a sewing machine. Read more>>

Ashley Shepard

I’m from Atlanta GA I am 27-year-old. I have deal with a speech impediment in my life. In life, I was always shy that I was afraid to talk to people because of my speech. But my grandma Mary always believed in me she always told me that you are different from other people and God had you like that you are a pretty Lil girl you should be a model one day. Read more>>

Marza Panther

I started playing the cello when I was seven. It was much bigger than me so I made my mom carry it a lot of the time. I played very out of tune xmas carols, but I remember feeling calmed down by the vibrations. Music was a grounding influence on me back then. Read more>>

Bryant Castro

I’m born and raised in Buffalo, New York. Growing up, my favorite thing was doodling on things and clothing/shoes. I would walk around school and always pay attention to people’s outfits and sneakers, at that time I wasn’t sure why I was doing that. During class I would not pay attention to the class and I would zone. Read more>>

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