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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.

Talia Spencer

My journey started when I was four years old, with MS paint. I drew pictures using the mouse of an old flower-power mac from the ’90s and fell in love with expressing my internal visions through art. When I was 17, I began writing novels, because really the act of drawing was only a way of expressing worlds & stories. Novels had more scope to me than painting. Read more>>

Shane Tanksley

The Strayngers were born not in a single moment, but rather throughout a certain period of my life. It is a concept that sprouted from the ashes of a toxic relationship that had consumed my life… my former band! Not only my band but also my former life in Sam Diego, the place where I was born & raised. After the breakup I knew it was time for a change, so I picked up everything & moved to Los Angeles. Read more>>

Celine Rosalie Zoppe

I was born in Cologne, Germany. I am half-Italian and partly Czech. When people ask me where I’m from, I usually tell them that I am a European smoothie. I grew up mainly in Cologne and Prague, watching my mom perform on stage since I was very young. A lot of my inspirations and my dreams originated in a little back corner of my mom’s theater watching the artists on stage. Read more>>

Jeremy McEathron

I was a painfully shy kid who preferred to hold “important meetings” with my stuffed animals, chill with actual animals or hang out with my Cabbage Patch Kids, Barclay and Zach rather than interact with others kids. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, so I had a lot of exposure to nature, and the forest on my grandparent’s property was a place for me to escape and create my own worlds. Read more>>

Kristin Schackmann

Originally a Midwest girl, I grew up an only child in Naperville, Il. I went to a private school kindergarten through 8th grade. There were only about 30 kids in my class each year for every grade. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time together. I hit my growth spurt early. I was always the tallest kid from elementary school through junior high. Read more>>

Carlos Felipe Silva

I’m a composer for film and tv currently based in Los Angeles, California. Music has always been part of my life. I was born in Caracas, Venezuela, where I started playing the violin since I was ten years old. I had the opportunity to have a classical training from a young age; performing with youth orchestras and string ensembles in my hometown. Read more>>

Jamie London Wollberg

I am a queer disabled transgender man. I was born in 1989 in New York City and raised together by my mom and dad just outside of the city in Scarsdale, NY. I was a “tomboy” from day one, and I was constantly emulating my father. I was raised with fraternal boy-girl twin siblings who are nearly five years younger than me. Our relationship has been challenging and at times in childhood, dark, but they are both guiding lights for me. Read more>>

Valentina Olarte

My career as an actress started “officially” when I was 16 years old back in Colombia, and I decided I wanted to go to school for acting. I had been part of a couple of plays here and there, went to a musical theatre academy for a couple of years but I had grown up more as a basketball player more than anything else. Read more>>

Yuanchen Jiang

I was born and raised in a coastal city in the northeast part of China (very close to Korea). I graduated from China Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing in 2012, majored in visual communication. There are about eight majors back then that students can pick to learn, such as Visual Communication, Digital Media, Product Design, Vehicle Design, Furniture Design, Jewelry Design, Photography. Read more>>

Ashley Lyle

I was born in Los Angeles, CA, and raised in Memphis, TN. I grew up singing and writing music as a kid before choosing college over being an artist. However, I couldn’t escape the love of music, so I decided to go into the business after graduating from Stanford University in 2013. I turned down a job offer in New York with an entertainment marketing company to intern for an artist management company in Los Angeles. Read more>>

Donovan Holden

After many years on the periphery, I started recording my music in 2013, with the intention of bringing my songs to market. I released my first album, An Ordinary Thing, in 2015, followed by Accepting All Prayers, in 2017, and now my latest, A Brighter Day, in June of this year. Read more>>

Justin Tyme

My story starts with a little queer, comic book-loving horror obsessed kid growing up in the middle of nowhere Maryland and certainly not a great place to be queer. I was different from the other kids and was certainly made aware of it. I knew I wanted to be a make-up artist since the first time I understood what make-up could do. Read more>>

Zach Oren

I moved to the US from Israel at the age of 10 and was raised in LA by a single mom. She loved photography and would let me play with her camera. Looking through her old Pentax allowed me to explore a new world while somehow feeling protected. Being an immigrant that spoke no English, who didn’t look “All American” (the meaning of that term has since changed), I didn’t see myself represented anywhere. Read more>>

Ebony Williams

I grew up in Anchorage, Alaska! That’s always a great place to start, huh? To get rid of any rumors, no it’s not winter 24/7, yes there’s a summer in Alaska, also no I didn’t own a pet polar bear. They’re only in the zoo. At 17 years old, I started my broadcasting career as a weather girl for Fox News. I knew absolutely nothing about being on television or running teleprompter. Read more>>

Tony DuBose aka DJ Draulikz

I was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, and I honestly feel it is the best place to grow up as a lover of music. We are in the Midwest and get a solid mix of every genre. We are also home to one of the largest music festivals in the world called SummerFest (12 stages, 11 days of music). My Dad introduced my twin brother and myself to music at an early age. Read more>>

Bianca Stam

I am a half Italian half Chinese girl, born in Chicago IL and raised in Hong Kong from a set of divorced parents and raised by my single mother. I actually grew up speaking five languages, because both sides of my family were not proficient in English whatsoever. It was an interesting upbringing, under lots of pressure because money was always an issue, but we made do with what we had. Read more>>

Fleece Kawasaki

My story begins as a boy in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn, NY, the second youngest of six others. Growing up, I’d always felt a sense of alienation from my peers. Hip-hop dominated the radio, and while I found some of it palatable it didn’t truly speak to me, music overall didn’t speak to me until one day I’d heard ‘Sliver’ by Nirvana. That song made me freak out. Read more>>

Rebecca Taylor

I think we’re all artists to some degree, I very much lean into my artistic passions and do whatever I need to do to support this lifestyle. It’s not easy, sometimes goes against the grain of what I was taught and challenges me to compromise, but in my heart of hearts, I know I’m on the right path. I am a chef, food stylist, and the owner of Souley Nourished. Read more>>

Diana Kwiatkowski

I grew up in New York City and always had a passion for art and creating new things. I went to college at the University at Albany, where I graduated with a bachelors degree in Psychology. After I graduated, I felt so lost and didn’t know what I wanted in life, so my sister and I decided to go on a Eurotrip to find ourselves. Read more>>

Dr. Mariel Schofield

I made a choice to stop playing volleyball. My experience in managing a chronic disease made me curious about how the human body functions and inspired me to pursue a career in the medical field. In undergrad, I studied human and exercise physiology, anatomy, chemistry, biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, nutrition, biomechanics, strength and conditioning, and sports medicine. Read more>>

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