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Inspiring Stories from Pasadena

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 the 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 Pasadena’s rising stars below.

Ariana Zurita

I’ve struggled with loving myself for the majority of my life. I never felt good enough for anyone or anything. My weight and larger size put me in a category considered to be unappealing, unworthy, and unhealthy. So I did what most women do when they don’t feel physically good enough. I began to diet. Since my first diet as a teenager, I have tried almost everything. I cut carbs, went keto, went raw, cut out sugar, cut out fruit, extreme calorie cutting, intense exercise, fasted, juiced, tracked my food, and tracked my macros. Read more>>

Tongqi Lu

The idea to bravely become an individual furniture designer and start a city well-being care brand was happened in 2020 summer. The most anxious COVID time. My friends and I were lost in thought in a backyard of a broke house in Acadia, when suddenly a lemon fell to the ground, filling the air with a refreshing citrus scent. It felt like they had gotten a taste of sparkling water in a dry and hopeless desert. Picking up the lemon, one friend said it smelled like mud — a wholesome, natural mud scent. Read more>>

Matt Cockrell

I grew up in Memphis, Tn. From an early age, I loved music and art. In middle school, high school and my first round of college, I played music. In 2007, I earned a full scholarship to the University of Memphis to play French Horn as a music major. As much as I enjoyed music, that is when I quickly learned classical music was not the career goal for me. After only a few semesters in, I dropped out. Some friends got me into bowling, a far fetch from art and music, however, it created the avenue that lead me to where I am today. Read more>>

Mike O’Hora

I have always been someone who has enjoyed entertaining people. I decided to go for the big leagues back in 2018. I moved from NY to CA to pursue becoming an actor. As you may know, it is not an easy business to get into. So I decided I would take whatever route it took to make it. I started making Social Media videos for TikTok and Instagram, all comedy stuff and then one of my actor friends told me I should try doing Stand Up because that could also help with acting. I ended up doing that for about 2 years and auditioning on top of it, to what seemed like no avail. Read more>>

Diego Ramirez

Well, I was born in a small city called Upland, California. I was a very troubled kid with a voracious tenacity of wanting attention all the time. Like getting into trouble, running everywhere for no reason, dancing wildly across the recess playground, and so much more wild stuff. Yet I spent a lot of time daydreaming about other worlds than the test that was on my desk. I just loved daydreaming as a kid, I just became so infatuated with diving deep into my imagination in what it had to offer. Read more>>

Trisha Kwan

For over 20 years, I have always tried different diet programs to get myself healthy. I always kept failing because of social settings and surroundings. During college years, I gained a lot of weight and became more interested with taking care of my health and well-being. I took a nutrition class in college for fun to learn about foods and how our body works. I learned so many things about habits and how “diets” don’t work, but my problem was always trying to find what works for my lifestyle. Read more>>

Taryn Rothstein

It all started with a hashtag. Ten years ago, #pasadenacharm was originally on my personal Instagram that I started when my son was a baby. We would do these long stroller adventures through Pasadena, and I clocked that Pasadena was in the middle of a renaissance. There were so many new businesses popping up and I saw a gap–nobody on social media was featuring the exciting new happenings in the city. At the time, there were only a few accounts on Instagram that were Pasadena-specific, and Instagram itself was a new frontier–people considered it a personal space but not a marketing space. Read more>>

Dayana Rincon

Music has always been my first love. I was born in Venezuela, and my culture has had an incredible influence on who I am today. Both of my parents were very musical, and they encouraged my passion for singing. I joined the city choir almost as quickly as I started forming my first sentence. When I was nine years old, we had to leave Venezuela and move to the United States. It was scary arriving at a new school, not knowing the language, but we were lucky to be in a community that was incredibly welcoming. Read more>>

Malia Ewart

I’ve always been drawing for as long as I can remember. I think one of my oldest memories is coloring with crayons in pull-ups, next to watching the Brave Little Toaster nearly every waking moment. It’s something I just never stopped doing, and eventually as I got older, I poured more and more time into it. Growing up in Redding, CA, I didn’t really know any other kids with an interest in art, luckily for ne one of my cousins took notice and started lending me her art books. Read more>>

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