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Inspiring Stories from the OC

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 Orange County’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 the Orange County’s rising stars below.

Ally and Emily Helman

Ally and Emily started dancing as young children in Southern California and grew up to be professional ballerinas. They trained at the prestigious School of American Ballet in New York City and later went on to dance professionally with The New York City Ballet, Boston Ballet, Sarasota Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Due to the already incredibly low employment rate of the ballet world the pandemic is really taking a toll on the arts and its members. As a result, most companies are completely shut down and an incredible number of our countries greatest dancers are unemployed and moving back home. Ally and Emily returned home due to these circumstances, but that did not stop them from being the creative artists they are. Read more>>

Julie Simon

I am a fully alive dance artist. My story is spontaneous combustion of magical, unplanned, unexpected intersecting moments. I did not have the traditional dance beginnings. I was 20. I was a Journalism/English lit major at San Francisco State. It was 1989. I had a paper due and was out of typing paper. I grabbed my keys my wallet and ran out the door trying to get to Walgreens before they closed at midnight, as I rounded the corner, I heard music coming from a tiny hole in the wall on lower Haight St. called Nickie’s BBQ. I was super intrigued. Not yet being 21, I used the power of persuasion combined with a dimpled smile and talked my way in. The next thing I knew, I was on the dance floor moving my body in ways I never had, expressing myself in ways I didn’t know possible and was for maybe the first time in my 20 years completely alive. Read more>>

Charmaine Dalton

I grew up in a family of creatives and passionate people. Both my parents have been creative and positive inspirations for me from the very beginning. My mother has always been creative in every aspect of our lives, whether it was food, art and DIY projects, photography, event planning for parties, home decor, and so much more. She always incorporated creativity, exploration, and curiosity for the world for me and my siblings. My father is an award-winning international architect and he designed stunning buildings from shopping malls like Bella Terra and The Grove to resorts and amusement parks across the world. Read more>>

Gayathri Krishnan

My journey in music began at four years old when I started lessons in Carnatic Music, the classical South Indian music system. I was encouraged to perform in front of crowds, which helped me develop stage presence and confidence. At the same time, I was learning Carnatic music, I joined choral music in middle school, this is what sparked my passion to explore contemporary Western music styles. As a freshman in high school, I wanted to participate in the advanced choral group. One of my teachers told me I was unlikely to be selected since I was so young and I couldn’t really read music, at the time I was learning mostly by ear. I took it as a challenge, used my resources, and practiced. The results came, and I was selected. Read more>>

Dario Muciño

My culinary life started in Cuautitlan Izcalli, Mexico, my home town where I was raised by a ballet dancer and a professional musician. Later in life, I moved north to Queretaro City where I went to college to get my Culinary degree and set the foundation for my international journey. I traveled to Toronto, Canada for a summer to work in a kitchen at a place called Camp Pathfinder, a summer camp for children. While I was there, I meet many interesting people that opened the doors for understanding how small the world is and the little time we have to see it and feel it. After four months of intense labor and deep connection with the woods, I came back to Mexico where after a few interviews, I got the opportunity to get a one-year internship working in the kitchen at the Four Seasons Troon North in Scottsdale Arizona. Read more>>

Danielle Benavides

I come from humble beginnings. I grew up in Alta Loma, CA which is a suburb of San Bernardino County. Growing up, I always knew I was destined to be someone great. At a young age, I had big dreams and over time I felt like those dreams kept reaching out of grasp as life continued to throw curveballs. At the end of my senior year of high school, my mother who was a business owner let go of her business and my stepfather who had a career of 20 years was fired. They both had started abusing drugs and it quickly became evident that they were more focused on their selfish needs than the needs of their own children. I am 12 years older than my youngest sister, at the tender age of six she started to endure a childhood that I can’t even begin to describe without shedding tears. My parents lost their home as I was 20 and from there it really went downhill. Read more>>

Bianca-Sinead Sims

Bianca Sims is a native of Milan, Tennessee. She is a devoted wife, mother, published author, educator, a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc, by way of the Iota Upsilon chapter at Bethel University in McKenzie, TN, the owner and operator of the branding movement, Built for Greater, the director of Busy Bea’s Enrichment Center, and the Founder of The TogetHER network for moms. Bianca is grounded in her faith and an avid worshiper. She’s a member of Innovation Church of Memphis, under the leadership of Pastor Marron and Tori Thomas. Read more>>

Duke Dufresne

As a close family, we were looking for a business that we could start and run together. After evaluating various options, we let our love of beer guide us toward opening a small brewery, which we did in 2014. What we thought would just be a “hobby” rapidly grew into a full-time endeavor for my wife and I and our four sons. Since 2014, we’ve expanded five times and our small operation has turned into what we hope will be a successful enterprise for future generations of our family. Read more>>

Daniel Hendrick

I was born in Fontana, California April 23rd 1958, the son of an amateur philosopher / hard-working steelworker, and a mother, that simply put was extraordinary. I was the youngest of five children, two girls and three wild boys. We lived (all five of us) in a three-bedroom house with one bathroom, LOL (that always proved to be an interesting equation). We had a couple of acres of property, grew our own vegetables and raised cows and pigs to save money on our grocery bill, (which was substantial with five kids). We loved to sing, it’s in our DNA.. for years we would go to church, come home and our mother would make us the most delicious roast beef with mashed potatoes that one could ever hope for. (I’ll never forget the smell of that roast filling the house as we walked in, it almost gave me palpitations). Read more>>

Jeana de Arakal

At a glance, you would think that my eclectic collection of careers points to someone who isn’t quite sure what they want to do in life. However, if you look past the job titles you can easily see the common thread to my work, my job is to bring people together and build communities. The job titles and companies have changed over the years, from creating events for a major publication in Orange County to supporting bars and restaurants in Sydney, Australia. From VIP Services Manager to Experiential Producer. No matter the continent, company, or role, I have found that my true passion lies in creating unique opportunities that bring people together and strengthens communities. Read more>>

Dejan Tubic

I was born in Bosnia in 1990. I moved to Germany at the age of eight, and then to the US at the age of eight. Starting in my teen years, I started to training in all styles of dance, but with a heavy focus on Hip Hop and Jazz Funk. After graduation High School, I moved to L.A. to pursue a career in dance and choreography. By the time I was 20 years old, my YouTube videos started going viral. This gave me a platform to share my work to people all over the world. I started dancing, teaching and setting choreography all over the world working with some incredible artists and dancers. Now at 30, My focus is on traveling and teaching. I am currently touring with an amazing dance convention called Dance Makers, and I continually teach at various workshops around the world. Read more>>

Danny Knapp

I’ve been enamored by the power of music since I was very young. It has always held a special kind of magic for me. Growing up in Phoenix and later Flagstaff, Arizona, I played a couple of different instruments in school (cello and clarinet), but the first time I saw a local 4-piece rock band at age 14, I knew without a doubt that I wanted to be a bass guitarist. I played my first professional gig as a musician at age 16. After graduating early from high school at 17, I jumped straight into playing in original and cover bands and taking odd jobs in order to make ends meet. I moved to back to Phoenix for more opportunity, and over a few years, several of the bands I was involved with were pretty successful. Read more>>

Alex Deligiannis

If we’re going back to the start, I give it up to my dad. He had five boys, of which I’m the oldest, and he raised us primarily on his own. He was a teacher, and how he made it all work is still a mystery to me, except that he sacrificed a lot. Everything he did was in service of giving his kids the best life he could. I leaned heavily into art early on, from music to making stuff out of cardboard to drawing and painting, and he always supported it however he could. On any given Saturday morning, we’d drive down Tustin Ave. and slide into Aaron Bros or Standard Brands, and he’d browse the store while I searched for some new pens, airbrush paints, pastels, or whatever. I’d show him what I found, and he’d always say, “get them.” Read more>>

Kat Vacharabul

It all started as a little girl helping my grandma in her kitchen, my grandma came from Thailand to America in the 80’s she was a chef in Thailand and wanted to provide great food to the community so she opened up her own restaurant she started with Chinese cuisine and slow incorporated Thai dishes and brought authentic Thai cuisine to Long Beach. As a small child, I grew up in the kitchen, my grandmother instilled the passion I have today for the food industry at the young age of eight. All my life, I wanted to be as passionate as she was and be able to provide great food to the same community. I became a young mother at age 18 so I knew I had to work hard to be able to provide for my son and become a good role model. Read more>>

Gina Kegel

My journey to my role as a healer and coach is the culmination of two paths of dis-ease: fibromyalgia with migraines and my haunted house. Both came to a crisis point about three years ago, forcing me to explore healing options that come from within. My issues with health began as a child, with Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS). The primary symptom was, as the name suggests, unending exhaustion, bursts of childlike energy tempered by the constant need to rest, mysterious sore throats, and general body pain. Migraines began around the same time, causing me to miss school, spending hours alone in the dark. Read more>>

Amanda De Oliveira

When I was a baby in Brazil, I had trouble walking (I would only walk on my tippy toes). On examining me, half as a joke and half as a prescription, an orthopedist advised my mom to enroll me in ballet classes. I was two at the time I started dancing and haven’t stopped since. I am definitely not shy but have always had an introverted side. When I was little, ballet therefore became a safe space for me to process and express myself. I was always drawn by the music, motivated by the challenge and ultimately fell in love with it because of the freedom I felt when speaking with my body. I loved that I could tell a story or convey a feeling in such a powerful way without even saying a word, and it was universally understood. Read more>>

Marissa Tuer

I grew up a social butterfly and wanting to be best friends with everyone. I remember my Dad asking me one day in elementary school, “Marissa, how many friends do you have?” and I quickly answered as a matter of fact in my little girl’s voice, “Fifty”. To this day, my Dad still gets a chuckle out of it, as I jokingly remind him that now I have thousands of “friends” thru the power of social media. As I’ve grown up, I’ve had different groups of friends from all of the areas of my life… from school, all of the random jobs I’ve had, bible study, the gym, you name it. But I realized something was missing, and I wanted to create a space to blend all of the circles, bring everyone together and have a good time. Read more>>

2 Comments

  1. Samantha Sands

    June 7, 2019 at 16:45

    Hi,

    I have an inspiring story of a woman winning highest honors within her organization after facing trials and tribulations. Where can I submit this story for review?

    Thanks!

  2. ebeni gppgle siksin

    September 17, 2019 at 07:30

    kodestede sana bol bol vururlar

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