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LA INSPIRING MAY 3

Downtown LA

B.E.D. Productions

Headed by Brittni M. Dixon and Emmanuel J. Davis, B.E.D.’s mission is to bring forth content and provide avenues of opportunity for talented creatives. B.E.D. Productions aim to produce ambitious high-quality projects highlighting various views and cultures through music, television, and film. B.E.D. Productions is currently developing a slate of projects featuring scripted and nonscripted television shows and films. Brittni, and Emmanuel, met in 2017 while working at another production company where Brittni was the Head of Content and Emmanuel was the Director of Development. They had the opportunity to work on projects like “Sprinter” now on Netflix and “Hold On” currently in select theaters. Brittni and Emmanuel had an instant connection and built the partnership known as B.E.D. Productions today. Brittni Dixon is the Head of Content and the B in B.E.D. Productions. Read more>>

Emanuel Hahn

When I was younger, a career in photography was not something I had ever thought of as possible. Growing up, everything seemed to gear me towards a professional corporate career – I specialized in economics in high school (it was that kind of school), majored in finance at NYU Stern, and got my first job working at a fintech startup in New York. Deep down, I always knew I was creative but I never had an outlet for it until I discovered photography in college. While traveling during study abroad, I learned how to use a DSLR for the first time and I never looked back. With my signing bonus at my first job, I bought a professional camera and started shooting portraits and weddings on the side for fun. I learned everything about photography from blogs and YouTube. So when I was able to pay off my student loans after two years of working at my fintech job, I knew I had to give photography a shot and gave my boss my two week’s notice. Read more>>

Sabrina (Bree) Stern

In 2016, I graduated from Nursing School and began working Full time as a bedside nurse in the hospital. I quickly began traveling the world utilizing my flexible schedule and time off. In 2017, I began traveling every other month and took a total of 11 cruises. I continued to travel in 2018 while learning about various cultures and destinations. In January 2019, I took a trip to Kenya that was very transformative. From there, I traveled every month totaling 14 countries in 2019. After much thought and planning, I launched my website whereisbree.com in the fall of 2019. My passion for travel had grown so much more since I became a nurse. In 2019, I began planning itineraries, booking travel and curating trips for my Instagram followers, coworkers, friends and family. Through traveling and my love for sharing my travels, Tranzit Nation was founded. Tranzit Nation curates group experiences for those who want to be “Always in Tranzit to a new Destination”. Read more>>

Kinyatta E. Gray

I launched my business called FlightsInStilettos, LLC, in 2018. FlightsInStilettos is a brand, business, and travel blog. My business’s premise is to empower and inspire women to put their best selves forward when traveling. Through my website, I sell travel-inspired accessories with a touch of glam, most notably are my FlightsInStilettos Glam Girl Beach Towels. I launched a beach towel line because I was dissatisfied with the beach towel selections on the market. This sparked the idea to design and sell beach towels with artwork depicting stylish women of color at the beach. On my website, I blog about travel experiences and travel style, and visitors can also book their travel on my website via FlightsInStilettos Travel. I’m also published author of three books and the host of an Instagram Live series called Girls Love Flights, Feelings and Fashion. Last, I’m also the Editor-In-Chief and Publisher of a new travel magazine also called FlightsInStilettos Magazine that launched in January 2021. Read more>>

Shanlee Johnson

I’ve always been drawn to fabrics and design in one way or another, whether it was clothing or creating a living space that feels personal and unique. Those interests led me to pursuing an Apparel Design degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. After I graduated, I attempted to start a womenswear brand but the timing wasn’t great. That was 20008 during the housing market crash. Stores had put buying on hold and after giving the brand a lot of time and energy, I realized that it wasn’t going to work. I fell back on my retail background and worked for designers Tory Burch and Catherine Malandrino until I opened my first brick and mortar store in Washington, DC in 2011. A children’s store called Little Birdies. Later in 2017, I added our children’s clothing line, Pineapple Sunshine. A bright and fun, beach inspired clothing line we wholesale to over 100 stores in the US and abroad. Read more>>

Nidhi Singh Rathore

For as long as I’ve known, I’ve been a designer. I was 12 when I started telling everyone around me that I want to grow up and be a designer. Although, I always felt conflicted when my work wasn’t able to bring value to others’ lives. As a young designer who graduated with a degree in visual communication, I knew a poster isn’t going to save the world, but I didn’t know what else would. For the past decade, I’ve been trying to find the right balance between design and thought in my work and have been able to construct a design practice based on my values, respect, and creativity. I believe I have come to this juncture, in my life, by questioning the purpose of my work, continually introspecting, and following my desire to support and create for people. I currently work at the intersection of research, data, and policy and have focused on crafting alternative research methodologies that support national policymakers, academics, and Angelenos. Read more>>

Madison Lin

I’ve wanted to be a filmmaker since I was eight years old. Pretty much as soon as I realized that, I began going to film programs like New York Film Academy’s summer program from the ages eight through twelve. When I was fourteen, I was accepted to a program at Cal-Arts where I studied for the summer, and my love for film making was reaffirmed, I knew it was what I wanted to dedicate my life to. When I was sixteen, I founded a production company in Oakland called Enigma Films. The goal of the company was to produce films while giving access to local filmmakers with no experience in film. Film is an art that has incredibly high fiscal barriers to entry and I felt like there were so many people in my community who would love film and be great filmmakers if they could gain access to equipment with no cost attached. The company opened its doors to high-school-age students with no-prior film experience. Read more>>

Kwame Baffour-Akowuah

I guess this passion for fashion began at an adolescent age. I never thought about dealing in fabrics and servicing the world. However, I was a church boy and a product of Ghanaian heritage. I was trained to be presentable at every given point and time by my family. In fact, every Sunday morning, I ironed everyone’s clothes in my home before church. A chore that I dreaded led me into a small business I love dearly. Well, after starting my business is where I remembered my great uncle, grandmother, and mother used to sew and do alterations for their clothing. It all started to make sense. I recall folding my mother’s dresses and helping her try on clothes, and critiquing the best style to wear was a part of my journey. I have been blessed to start my journey in styling and creating pieces for clients in their day-to-day needs or celebrities’ red carpet events. All it took was prayers, my life savings, and Instagram to begin. Read more>>

Juan “Spinning Cris” Blasco

My love of music goes WAAAY back. Born in Gary, Indiana in 1968. The youngest of four kids. I remember going with my sister Adriana to our neighbor’s garage with her bestie Deedee. Listening to everything from Funk to Motown. And then my sister Virginia would be listening to what I call Bubble Gum like artist from The Archies to Donny & Marie. And my brother Francisco would listen to the serious stuff like Neil Diamond to The Star Light Vocal Band. However, I was fascinated that not only music were on records & 8 tracks. Thanks to my Brother-In-Law Julio, he introduced me to Cheech & Chong & George Carlin. This will be crucial later. Growing up in Junior High/Middle School, I was that weird kid that went to the dances but didn’t really dance but was watching this DJ do his thing. It amazed me that with one song, he can bring people to the dance floor & with another song make everyone disappear. My Mom & Dad were SUPER supportive on whatever project I jumped into. Read more>>

Erica Soul

Ten years ago, I had a miracle baby boy and I got married. My focus was on my family. I had put my writing skills and working on a book on hold. Fast forward to the year of 2020 when the pandemic hit. It made me realize that it’s my time to get back to me and do what makes me happy which is writing. And that is what I did I wrote a novel called “TWISTED SOUL”. Available on Amazon (Amazon books). “TWISTED SOUL” is a book about a young woman name Queen, who reconnects with a long-lost family member while hiding from an obsessed stalker. Queen faces the consequences of crossing a fine line between love, lust and deceit. She finds herself twisted in this intoxicating forbidden love. Queen soon realizes that playing with fire burns everyone who are closest to the flame. Read more>>

DaMone Arnold

I am from Landover, MD right outside of DC. I graduated from the prestigious Duke Ellington School of the Arts (Dave Chappell, Michelle Ndegeocello, LeMann Rucker). I started writing and producing when I was 15 years old. I moved to LA in 1989 and was signed to my first publishing deal two years later. That same year I was signed to a production company called The Groove Asylum which was founded by Tony Haynes and Laney Stewart. I was working in this stable of writer/producers which included Tricky Stewart, Sean Halll and Kuk Harrell. I then went on to partner with Oji Pierce (This is How We Do it). Through an introduction from Oji, I met and went on to Co-Produce Jamie Foxx first album. I have since produced and or written for artists like Miki Howard (Grammy-nominated album), Gerald Albright, Tyler Collins and many others. I then branched out and started doing music scores for TV and film along with music supervisor for TV/film. In the end of 2019, I served as the music supervisor on two feature films for BET called “ Angrily Ever After” and “Twas Chaos Before Christmas “ I recently produced and wrote songs for the upcoming TV show on UMC called “ Millennials”. Airing February 25th. Read more>>

Jordan Jeremiah

I have always loved to sing. Grew up singing in church every Sunday. In my early childhood my two older brothers, my sister and I were in a little quartet singing all gospel music. That dissipated within a few years as we gravitated towards excelling in athletics. But my true love for singing and dreams of becoming a pop star first took root around the age of 12 as my sister developed the Bieber fever and would blast his music all day long. At that young age, I felt like I could sing just like him and I thought that one day I would try out for American Idol. Growing up in a very religious and tight-knit family, our focus extracurricularly became sports. Fast forward to high school, as my athletic dreams subsided, music came back to the forefront of my mind. Instead of college, I wanted to pursue music, but my dad longed for me to get an education before going on any of those types of ventures. So I ended up going to Oregon State University and studying mechanical engineering. Read more>>

Morgan Walker

I’m was born and raised in New Orleans, LA this city made me who I am and biking saved my life. Before Covid or as we say in Nola Pre-Covid, my production company was flourishing throwing different concerts and events in the city, I felt all my hardships, trials and tribulations was finally paying off, then covid hit. Completely shut down from operating an event venue or producing festivals. I became extremely depressed not knowing the next steps in my life. Anxiety got the best of me until I discovered an outlet. BIKING! and an opportunity to work on a political campaign. that birthed my creation of Bike N Vote, a BikeRide that inform, register, and mobilize Gen Z and Millennial to vote during early voting for every local election and promote health in the community. So my pivot to working my passion project is full time and it’s very personal because opportunities presented itself from picking up a bike. In the last seven months, the Bike N Vote organization has worked and partnered with several political campaigns, more than six other nonprofits and organizations. Read more>>

Matt Graham

I used to look at maps while I sat in class in England and dream of going to the remote places on them, trying to ignore the sound of the rain outside, kind of like the narrator of Bruce Chatwin’s beautiful travel book, In Patagonia. That yearning for adventure was something I developed from an early age, partly thanks to the book, which my dad gave me. My journey started at a strict, conservative English school, the kind of place where they tried to factory farm people into being upstanding, Tory voting, middle-class conservative members of society, afraid of asking too many questions. In England, people love to define themselves by class, but I never wanted that kind of life for myself or to define myself in that way. I’d always found refuge in American movies and TV. The school I went to was filled with bullies, both pupils and teachers, and I had to find refuge from it somehow. All I wanted to do was have a life filled with adventure – and specifically, I fashioned this when I was 16 into a specific objective: to be a screenwriter in Hollywood like my hero Quentin Tarantino. His movies spoke to me in a profoundly emotional way that banished the cobwebs of where I was. Read more>>

Laquan Pegues

I’m never sure what to say when I’m asked to tell my story. I’m just a guy from this little city in South Carolina that you can’t even find on a map, Cheraw, living in Los Angeles. In all that I do, I try to inspire others. When I look at individuals that inspire me such as Pastor Sarah Jakes Roberts, Gabrielle Union, and Taraji P Henson, these all are women who’ve been through things but didn’t allow anything to stop them. They all used the very things that were against them to not only succeed but to lead others to follow their dreams and purpose. I want to lead, inspire, and give others a reason to not stop, no matter how big, scary, or traumatic the obstacles in front of them are. Read more>>

Gabrielle Hall

G Sparkl the creator of all things Sparkl! Gabrielle Iwalani Hall was born a fairy on September 28th, 1995. Raised on the fabulous islands of Kauai and Maui where she dreamed, wrote, created and imagined life beyond the sea. Determined to pursue her future in fashion she made the move to Los Angeles, California where she attended FIDM at seventeen. Her eager pursuit for knowledge, experience and growth landed her a job at Reverly Event Designers the best event design company in LA. The expression of my inner mind, body and soul. Love the life you live, Dream your own reality, & Sparkl with the confidence with in. I see in pastels of light blue, pink and lavender. Dreaming in the clouds, zero limits of expectation or restriction to what is possible. “Transforming the Ordinary into something Extraordinary” – G Welcome to Sparkl… TheFairy Couture lifestyle-fashion brand designed for the iridescent Fairy Princesses, Mermaids, and Unicorns of the universe. Read more>>

Micah Russell

Ever since I was five years old, I always knew that I wanted to be a model. I was born and raised in Texas and got scouted as a model at the age of five. I always had in the back of my head that that was what I would do when I get older. As I got into middle school, I start looking up requirements to be a model, then in 2017 I started taking it seriously. I use Instagram/influencer work to help bring awareness to me as a model & hopefully get scouted. Through that, I gained a large following on Instagram and sealed a few brand deals. After I graduated from Texas Tech University, I made the big move to LA in December 2019. Through the tough times of the pandemic, I still found a way to get signed to a high fashion modeling agency here in LA and a talent agency. My very first gig as a model was for fenty beauty! It has been a long and hard journey that I’m still going through, I’m still climbing up the ladder as a professional model, but I know all the struggles to get there will be worth it!. Read more>>

Oliver Ojeil

I grew up in war torn Beirut in the 80s and 90s during times of war, civil unrest and lost identity. I still remember very vividly the nights I slept on our bathroom floor, over a makeshift mattress, because it was the safest place when bombs started to fall. My summers in the mountains were serene and beautiful, surrounded by humble people and the beautiful Mediterranean nature. I went hiking and camping with friends all the time. I loved nature and loved having deep conversations with old people. Despite the war earlier in my childhood, I grew up surrounded by art and cinema and always dreamed of moving to Hollywood to make movies. My dad who was a camera operator and videographer used to take me with him on set where I stood by and watched in awe the entire filmmaking process unfold. I remember being wowed by the entire process and how a scene is put together by little fragments, one at a time. At home, Dad had some equipment but I guess I was too young to be trusted with, so the only tool I could get my hands on was a small tripod, whose mounting plate I used as my viewfinder to look through its hole in order to frame imaginary shots in my head where imaginary characters inhabited the space. Read more>>

East LA

Molly Meng

I’ve been a teacher, a host, a greeting card designer, a professional organizer, a collector and an artist. It took me ages to use the title “artist” in person or on my business card. I started with little pieces and lots of great connections. Friends with other businesses truly encouraged the life I lead today. Until the pandemic came along, I’d had my own art studio for 15 years, the most recent being in the Spring Arts Tower in DTLA. I worked on shows, personal work and taught classes in those studios. Now, while the art business has thankfully kept me busy, I do all of those things from a room in our home. I sell artwork on Instagram or my personal website and I teach workshops virtually. I feel very lucky to have a dedicated, supportive base of people who commission my work, as well as those who promote it, and to all those who actually engage in my artwork and my workshops. It’s all come a long way since the early days of being in my apartment in NYC, making one-of-a-kind greeting cards and selling them at a craft market. Read more>>

Kei Okumura

For the majority of its ten years history, my store Sugarbird Sweets + Teas has been almost entirely local and reliant on the restaurant and catering industry. I started at the South Pasadena Farmer’s market with our second child (six months) in tow to share my love for tea time and all things sweets to go along with the ritual. Sugarbird grew organically from renting kitchens at Pizza stores, coffee shops to keep costs low while we grew the catering business to individuals hosting brunches, baby/bridal showers and corporate breakfast events with our tea time menu offerings. This included tea sandwiches, mini scones and mini desserts to pair with our line of small-batch blended teas. We began wholesaling our scones and teas to cafes, restaurants and hotels, and continue to set up shop at farmer’s markets twice a week. Some of clients include Mendocino Farms for our ice tea, Viceroy Group, coffee shops like Broome Street General Store, Woodcat in Echo Park, Bricks and Scones for our scones. Read more>>

Savanah Alvarez

I started photography during my undergrad while studying in Santa Cruz where I focused my photography in emotions. Specifically ones that are hard to talk about such as PTSD, depression, anxiety and so on. I loved showcasing real raw emotions from people’s lives that weren’t “pretty” to talk about. That’s where I fell in love. Taking photos and telling stories through them. After I graduated, I came back home to East LA and ended up pregnant. During the time, I felt very lonely and wanted to capture this amazing time in my life so I took a lot of self-portraits. I also asked my boyfriend to travel with me to different places like Joshua Tree, Arizona, Nevada and all throughout California to getaway before the baby arrived. Of course, we took lots of photos and got all dressed up to be extra about it. I shot our maternity photos on my own. I deeply fell in love with the mixture of being in an adventure, going through a life adventure and landscapes. Read more>>

Adam Gascho

I was born in Johnstown Pennsylvania, in the Allegheny Mountains, into a Mennonite community. Most of my childhood was spent roaming the forests with my brother and attending religious activities. All through my life, I have been involved in the fine arts, music and obsessed with film. My parents moved to Indiana in 1997 where I starred in school plays at Bethany Christian School and got a taste for acting. I directed my first short film in 2002 while attending a Goshen College, a Mennonite college in Indiana, and then dropped out and moved to California. In California, I received my undergrad in film from San Francisco State University and master’s in film from Academy of Art University. At the Academy of Art, I met David Cepero my producing and writing partner. During my time in the Bay Area, I worked as a videographer and developed my technical filmmaking skills. In 2016, I moved to Santa Fe and was hired into the Art Dept of The Ballad of Buster Scruggs where I met Skyler Pinkerton, my editing partner and lead in Stray Dogs. Read more>>

Cicely Nelson

My formal movement career began at four when I entered my first dance class. I attended ballet school in Canada before a career as a ballet dancer in Europe, before focusing on music and pre-med in college. The somatic challenges of beginning violin at a later-than-usual age prompted me to further develop several aspects of my teenage movement practice; the alignment principles of Pilates, the calming current of Yoga, and the call to mindfulness that is meditation. In deepening these practices, I caught up my musical development in record time and began to pass on these empowering lessons to students after certifying as both a Pilates and Yoga Instructor. I’ve been fortunate to study with and teach alongside many great teacher trainers, physical therapists, Pilates elders, and movement pioneers via teaching, continuing education and certifications, and throughout my tenure as Director of Erika Bloom Pilates Los Angeles and head of teacher training for Erika Bloom Pilates New York. Read more>>

Hannah Barefoot

I’ve always loved performing, whether that be in my backyard putting on plays with my sisters as a kid (we would go door to door and sell tickets to our neighbors) or in high school onstage. That eventually led me to studying Theatre, Dance, and Vocal Performance at the University of Wyoming, where I really thrived and got a great education – and also burned out, not due to any fault of theirs, but due to my own lack of care I was giving to myself. I actually quit school after my Junior year and didn’t start acting again until six years later, when I was in Portland, Oregon, working at a berry farm. I couldn’t stay away from acting any longer, so I dove into classes there, began working, and fairly quickly earned my SAG card. Once I joined the union, I felt the pull to move to LA, so on my birthday in 2015, my family packed up our moving truck and made the move here. Read more>>

Mid Wilshire

Anthony Diaz

I started making focused visual art about six years ago, initially working in the drawing medium. Having been a creative kid drawing in the margins of my school notes, I developed a style intent on filling pages with optical black and white patterns. I have had the opportunity to display my pen and ink works in various galleries and have sold prints and other merchandise at local shows in the Los Angeles and surrounding areas. Once I had used these drawing methods to explore concepts such as perspective, depth and representation of movement, I was inspired to push my work into the video medium. I set out to explore the melding of analog video art with optical moire patterns, and thanks to a few initial collaborations with close peers in the DIY art community, I established my personal craft under the name Moire Bender. After hours of late night experimentation with a variety of classic psychedelic lightshow techniques, video mixing, and practical fx, I began doing visuals for shows in LA. I have provided lightshows for a variety of artists, events and spaces, and I continue to collaborate with local artists in different capacities, such as being a crew person for Stranger Liquids lightshow. Read more>>

Fardis Aghapour

Fardis Aghapour, professionally known as Taio Pain, is a British Iranian singer and songwriter. He started his career from 2012 and published more songs about different matters. Also, he arrested by Iran intelligent service in November 2014 for his political songs. Finally, he released after 29 months in March 2017. Recently he has published a new song about tract or football club in 2020. Read more>>

Dani Savka

I feel like I’ve lived multiple timelines and lifetimes since I moved to L.A. six years ago! To make a very long story short, I grew up training as a hardcore classical ballet dancer. I started at three years old, and my mom put me in class to tire me out. I had way too much energy as a child and I couldn’t focus on anything… until she realized how zenned out I was coming out of ballet. That kicked off the next 23 (!!!!) years of my life: training at prestigious ballet schools. I moved out of my home at 16 to live with a host mom in the middle of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and train at this very rigorous ballet school called the Central PA Youth Ballet. It changed my dancing for the better although it was the hardest few years of my life; I lived in a duplex house with five other dancers, we ended up having a crazy landlord who was also one of our ballet teachers, and I danced 40+ hours a week with a schedule that permitted me to leave high school early everyday for training. Read more>>

Tatiana Orr

I moved to Los Angeles when I was 17 for college. It was far from my first choice and LA was not my ideal city to live in, but to my surprise ten years later it still holds a special place in my heart. I grew up in Sacramento by way of Brooklyn. My family is from New York, so I lived there for some years then moved to California. I always had so much pride in being a Brooklynite, so I never wanted to stay in California. My ultimate goal was to get back to New York so I could live the Carrie Bradshaw life I dreamed of. Growing up, I was a bit of an outcast a lot of people thought I was weird or strange. I was picked on and bullied at school, and even though I always stood up for myself, it affected the way I saw myself for a very long time. I have always been incredibly introverted, yet simultaneously a social butterfly. I was artistically inclined but still very focused on academics. The older I got the more it felt like I had to choose one or the other if I wanted to be successful, so I found myself giving up all the artistic activities I loved to focus on my grades and programs that were more serious. Read more>>

Jisoo Chung

I grew up in Seoul, South Korea until I moved to Los Angeles for my MFA Program at UCLA in 2017. After I graduated from college in Korea, I wanted to broaden my perspective and approach to art in a more diverse environment. Los Angeles was a perfect place for that. It was a place where people from different demographics intersect and where various communities share a unique sense of community. The support between fellow artists was also one of the huge factors that I settled down in LA. This openness and support influenced my attitude toward making art. I grew up in a very competitive environment in Seoul, and I unconsciously thought that there was a right and wrong way to make art. For about four years in LA, I began to feel more free producing work by not being afraid about other people’s judgments and more being able to focus on my own challenges within the work. I felt safer to make bad things or something that I haven’t tried, which always made a better result, paradoxically. Before I came to the U.S., I went to University in Seoul, majoring in Painting. Read more>>

Gene Wang

I actually never thought I would end up in Los Angeles. I grew up in Silicon Valley (literally, my elementary school playground faced the back of Apple HQ) and, when it came time for college, chose Berkeley over UCLA because I didn’t like red brick. I know—here I am now, a full decade later, wallowing in the irony, having just graduated from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film & Television, and with a fancy-shmancy MFA in Screenwriting no less. ‘Course there’s a part of me that loves to taunt, “Gene you idiot, you could’ve been ten years ahead already with this whole Hollywood career thing instead of starting over from scratch.” Fortunately, I’m happy to say I have just enough life experience now to know that isn’t true. Not by a long shot. My 22-year-old aspiring writer self probably would’ve thought I was hot sh*t. Cringe. Don’t get me wrong—there so many smart, sophisticated, creative 22-year-olds. I don’t think I would’ve been one of them. Read more>>

Orange County

Cyndi Galley

Ever since I was a little girl, I often dreamed of doing two things––interviewing people on-camera and being an editor for a fashion magazine. Once I found myself in the collegiate age, I was en route to University of Colorado in Boulder as a Communications Major. After being accepted into their program, I rerouted my educational goals to ministry, eventually receiving my Bachelor of Arts from Azusa Pacific University, going directly into Masters of Divinity studies, and receiving my Master’s Degree in 2000. Although my degree took me into full-time ministry, the journalistic side of me never remained quiet––so much so that almost twenty years later, I decided to take that leap of faith, publishing a fashion magazine, Fashioned, a then-digital-only magazine. We have since launched Teen Fashion Magazine for the young girl, Grades 6 – 9. If that wasn’t enough, we just launched my web talk show, A New Thing LIVE this past October, which now airs on YouTube and Facebook. And I am now in post-production of a video series I have produced with my business partner on empowering the single woman!. Read more>>

Laina Pruitt

Charcuterie boards have always been in my life. My mom was called the chairwoman of cheese, deemed by our neighborhood friends, and was creating beautiful “Grazing Boards” before it was cool. Growing up, I would always help her create boards for every social gathering, neighborhood block party, holidays, etc. So of course, I picked up the tradition with my girlfriends and would love to create elaborate boards for all of our girl’s nights! One night I wanted to challenge myself to create a grazing table. It by far is nothing close to the ones we do now, but we posted it on social media and it created a VERY talked about post including endless likes and comments of people asking if I can come do one for them. From there, I knew I could create a business doing something I love and that makes other people happy. We got busy, and a few months later, then Covid hit. Thankfully, we were not out of business and in fact we really started to gain momentum so I took a voluntary furlough from my flight attendant job which I am still on. Read more>>

Sau Cheng

We started Woofpak in a tiny kitchen, with a mixer, a stove, with a fluffy pup named Nikko with the belief that dogs deserve better. Better food cooked with fresh, simple all-natural ingredients and inspired by our favorite recipes. This is when Woofpak Pet Kitchen was born. In October 2019, we opened our first location that was merely 200 sq feet. We cooked our signature meal toppers on-site and many times, they have been mistaken for people’s food. There are now six recipes that are also complete & balanced diets for dogs. Thanksgiving Feast – A gourmet dish with Herb turkey, cranberries, pumpkin, and veggies. Shepherd’s Pie – A traditional dish with beef, veggies, and potatoes. Poke Bowl – Seared salmon, served with spinach and sweet potatoes over brown rice. California Bowl – Baja-styled turkey and potato with veggies and cheddar cheese. Chicken Carbonara – A rustic dish with Italian Herb Chicken, Orzo, Veggies, and Feta Cheese. Read more>>

Luna LaBelle

In 2019, after a year of working retail, I moved back home to LA with my parents where my mom, Maria, and I started Cousins Co. together. As a wardrobe stylist, my mom’s creativity and knack for fashion has always inspired me. Having spent my whole life standing in the middle of her closet, going through her jewelry and watching her piece together outfits that come together looking like art, we both felt it was time to put our minds together. We started Cousins Co. to bring our mutual appreciation for fashion to life with an individually curated vintage shop and personal styling service. As a mother/daughter duo, it’s our goal to bring more color into people’s lives and to both embody and highlight the far reaching importance of fashion. Read more>>

Margo Tumashyk

I was born in Odessa, Ukraine, and immigrated to the US in summer 2015. My early life in Ukraine was mostly joyful because I was not thinking about any problems that grown-ups had and was living in a fun little bubble along with my friends and classmates. However, at the same time, I was raised by a single mother who constantly worked overtime to sustain the family. I had to witness her struggling and living on a very low budget. I found my own way to escape negative emotions by emerging into the art world that would allow me to preserve my childish light-heartedness. I moved to California the same year when I made the decision to dedicate myself to pursue an art career. At that time, I did not speak English and had to fully adapt to a new culture and lifestyle. Since childhood, I remained an open-minded person who’s always ready to learn more about new cultures and communicate with people who went through different experiences. As the result of countless hours of studying English and overcoming some of my fears, it took me two years to become a part of the new world I live in now. Despite making it sound easy, I myself went through social struggles such as fear to speak up that I’m still fighting today.  Read more>>

Jamielle Rankine-Kirlew

I was born on the beautiful island of Jamaica and raised by my mother and her three (3) sisters. Ever since I was a little girl, I would sit at the top of our mango tree in the backyard and daydream about made-up stories and this made belief glamourous life. I was fascinated with storytelling and inspired by watching my aunts start their day with a head tie on and the elements of the day before on their faces; then when the evening came they would dress up and it was like goddesses entered the room. I learned then how clothing can elevate a woman and her spirit. That lesson stayed with me, and as the years went by and I got older, I used fashion as a way of expressing and recreating myself. My family eventually migrated to the United States when I was 18 years old, and I began styling jobs as I was still in love with the wonders of a good outfit. I had a client who wanted a specific look that was impossible for me to find without designing it on my own, and the idea to begin sewing my own clothing began. I enrolled myself in a sewing class and learned the introductory of sewing. Read more>>

Chriselda Sonnier

I had went to a modeling class and one of the models there sent me a casting call to go to. It was the first casting call I’ve ever been to so I was super nervous but I went and ended up being casted for two designers and walked in a fashion show for the first time ever. From there, I started networking myself and making good connections with people that saw my potential, supported me and helped me get to where I am today. So basically, my career started because a model that was at the modeling class with me saw my potential pointed me in the right direction. Read more>>

Catherine Fernandez

Yes, so I actually have an extensive background in many different mediums of art. And about two and a half years ago, I started noticing clay earrings and it really sparked my interest. And so from that point on, I learned everything I could about making clay earrings. Fast forward to where I am now, I have done multiple pop-ups as well as collaborations with other artists. And have also broadened my jewelry line to include resin and mixed metal jewelry. I am currently working with a 3D printing artist to create custom clay cutters for general consumption. Read more>>

Sloane Keane

My story actually begins with my very first mentor, my first-grade teacher Miss Neff. When I started kindergarten, I was labeled a problem child. I kept receiving behavioral marks — I wasn’t listening, I couldn’t sit still, I was “teaching the class.” Every week, my mom would field yet another call about the havoc I was creating in the classroom. I met Miss Neff for the first time when she substituted for my kindergarten teacher. At the end of the day, she pulled my mom aside and said, “You know, I don’t think your daughter has a behavior problem. I think she’s bored.” One week later, I was moved into Miss Neff’s first grade class. The phone calls home stopped, my grades improved and I graduated high school early at age 17. Things have a way of coming full circle. After graduation, I went to school back east and started my career in sales and advertising before moving back to California — first LA, then home to Orange County. But it was mentorship that led me to where I am today. A series of difficult events that brought me home left me also feeling disconnected. Read more>>

Pasadena

AC Tatum

I started out writing music and rapping at John Muir High School in Pasadena, California. By the time I graduated, I had made a name for myself throughout the city, having put out songs on my own and having won multiple battle rap competitions throughout Southern California. By the time I was 22, I was doing music full time. I had a publishing deal and was writing music with the likes of Will Smith, Tatyana Ali, and others. The bad part about my initial experience in the music industry is that I signed a bad deal in which I gave up a lot of my publishing and other rights. By the time my deal had expired, I had enrolled in the local community college at PCC and was on my way back on an academic path. I had grown tired of the music industry and my terrible contractual situation. At PCC, I did really well in my studies earning honors in multiple subject studies. I then transferred to UCSB and did well there, graduating with a degree in Philosophy & Public Policy (cum laude). To cap off my academic career, I went on to Notre Dame Law School in South Bend, Indiana. After graduating law school, I worked for firms in New York City and Chicago, Illinois. Read more>>

Haniff Brown

I am a Founder and CEO, am a first-generation immigrant. I went to Williams College in MA where I graduated with a Mathematics and Psychology double major. After school, I worked in finance where I began my career as an investment banking analyst. Moreover, I focused solely on helping companies in the retail space which gave me a better appreciation for the industry, including the challenges and opportunities. After Investment Banking, I worked in Private Equity at an LA-based firm called Freeman Spogli. The firm is focused solely on investing in retail and consumer companies; and so I ended up spending almost nine years helping retailers and brands grow and scale their businesses before founding FIT:MATCH in early 2018. Read more>>

Rachel Andersen

When I was in high school, YouTube beauty gurus, like Jaclyn Hill and Manny MUA, were at their height of popularity. I first looked them up to learn how to do my own makeup and soon learned that I was actually pretty good at it. So right after high school, I enrolled in beauty school and received my cosmetology license. I started working in a salon, where I realized that salon life wasn’t for me. I had heard of a makeup school near me called Faces Etc of Minnesota and decided to try it out. I fell in love. It was the greatest program I had ever participated in. I immediately started working on anything I could get my hands on, film, fashion shows, photoshoots and personal clients. Shortly after, I started teaching at my alma mater, where my love for makeup artistry grew exponentially. After two years of working in the Minneapolis area, I decided to move to Los Angeles to further my craft. Since moving, I have worked on incredible projects, such as music videos and films and working for Lipsticknick at Pout Beauty Bar. Read more>>

Natalia Rousu

I moved to LA from Sao Paulo, Brazil at the age of 25. I moved here by myself for college, where I studied Acting. I have always loved the arts and like exploring as many medias of expression as possible. I went to school for visual arts in Brazil prior to pursuing my acting degree and still paint as a way of staying creative. I have been here for six years now, working as an actress and voice actress, as well as producing my own projects and painting on my free time. Read more>>

Renzo Suburbn

He started making music in college releasing a solo project Kabuki Punk and another project as the duo Josuburbn (w/ Jopippins) releasing a self-titled album. Renzo also contributes vocals and production as a member of the band DOTWAV Media. Having many of his tracks produced by himself or his contemporaries his DIY attitude expresses itself in every facet of his artistry. Read more>>

South Bay

Chantal Reyna

I started in the mortgage industry right out of school with a small brokerage in OC. The opportunity completely fell into my lap. I didn’t know anything about the business or that I would continue to do this for years to come. I quickly realized that real estate was an essential asset, especially in So Cal. At the time early 2000’s, loans were easy and real estate was booming. It was exciting. I bought my first house at 22. I didn’t realize at the time that our industry was cyclical or that we were in for a big shift. When 2008 hit, most banks closed their doors, getting loans done was super tough, I lost real estate. Learned a lot. I took a break from the business in 2010 and was asked to come back in 2013. Coming back was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The industry has completely changed and so has my mindset. It’s no longer about me but about my clients. I still believe real estate is an incredible asset and love helping buyers purchase their first home – especially if they don’t come from a family of homeownership. It’s a big deal. All of my clients come to me by referral. Either a real estate agent they’re working with or a past client I’ve helped. Read more>>

Jacki Stanley

It all started when I was a kid while on vacation in San Francisco with my family. One morning at breakfast, my dad was telling us about the crazy dream he’d had the night before: God told him to invent a new kind of sneakers for kids, ones that you can paint with nail polish. He was told to name them Bobbi-Toads and to give back to a specific charity with the profits. This was already wild, especially since he’s a printer by trade, having absolutely no knowledge or interest in kids’ shoes, fashion, or nail polish. Then things got even crazier – when he returned to work at the print shop, there was an order for a new customer on his desk; it was for a place called Our Lady of the Angels, the charity from in his dream that he was told to help, one that he’d never heard of before then. At that moment, there was no doubt that this was something he was meant to do. He obtained the patent right away, and years later in 2012, when I graduated from college & he retired from his printing business, it was finally time to turn this dream into reality. With a lot of work, we figured out how to get the shoes made, and we came out with our original Bobbi-Toads Paintables. They’ve got “toes” embossed into the rubber cap and can be painted with nail polish, over & over again, just like your real nails. Read more>>

De’ Tray Wade

When I was bright-eyed & bushy-tailed 9-year-old watching the last half of the premiere episode of the very first season of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers at my grandmother’s home. I was immediately bitten by the acting bug. I wanted to be a Power Ranger! I remember being in the 4th grade and using recess as opportunity to reenact episodes – creating Power Rangers that didn’t exist so everyone who wanted could participate, and then getting lightly reprimanded for play fighting; SUCH a blast! From then on, I began to participate in any play or skit that I could. I specifically remember my first production being a classroom skit for the Thanksgiving Holiday – “Turkey Lurkey”. I was given my lines and after reading it only a couple of times (literally 2x) I had my lines memorized – I SHO NUFF could use THAT brain today! Class skits became school productions and community plays. I realized early on that in wanting to be a Power Ranger I was an Actor. I had found my passion. Not only had I fallen in love with the stage, I wanted to be on TV and in Film, and I would be. I got my first professional start by taking acting and modeling classes in my birth State of Iowa – yes, Iowa; and, yes, there are black people in Iowa. Read more>>

Sharmine Park

I was born in Manila, Philippines, but grew up and spent most of my life in Fukuoka, Japan. Having been an exchange student at San Diego State University years ago, I was determined to come back to California and experience life on this side of the world. I moved to Los Angeles in 2011 and opened up a small private ESL (English as a Second Language) school in Torrance the following year. I love South Bay, Los Angeles. It reminds me of attending the International Schools in Manila and Fukuoka, where everyone comes from different backgrounds with unique stories to share. The diversity in cultures I’m immersed in offers so many opportunities for me to learn something new every day – whether it be a type of cuisine I’ve never tried before, cultural art and monuments, or Spanish and other languages displayed all throughout the city. Here, I met and became good friends with people of mixed occupations, from simply sharing similar hobbies and interests to collaborating on a professional level. Read more>>

Carrie Mikuls

I am a Reiki Master and Yoga instructor. I love to teach! I teach Reiki, Yoga, meditation and dance. I am originally from a small mountain town called Idyllwild, Ca. I grew up surrounded by artists and interesting people and so much beauty and nature. My father was a professional blues musician and my mother a self-proclaimed hippie. Growing up, my world was filled with soul music and creativity. My parents always taught me to follow my dreams and connect to my authenticity. Their encouragement inspired me to learn and explore so many different things in my life. I started out as a professional dancer and choreographer. My choreography has toured all over the world and was nominated for an NAACP Theatre Award. In 2017, I was diagnosed with autoimmune disease and found myself chronically ill. My life was changed forever. I no longer had the energy and stamina to dance professionally or audition. On my path toward recovery I found energy healing. Read more>>

South LA

Alisa Walter

My blog “Chasing After Zion” was birthed from a broken place. In 2017 I found out that I would not be walking with my graduating class at Fisk University, and that caused me to slip into a depression. I decided that I needed to start writing again so I could express myself in a healthy manner and let go of what I had been feeling and dealing with. I created the blog and wasn’t expecting anyone to read it at all, I literally was using this outlet as a part of my healing process to get out of being depressed. I told a few people that I had started a blog, and based on the different topics I talked about people started passing the blog along to their friends. I didn’t know that what I was writing would touch so many people including the older generation. I was literally just talking about the things that I had learned and experienced through my relationship with God and the different circumstances I had overcome. I started sharing more personal experiences and what scriptures and passages gave me encouragement to keep pressing on and of course chase after zion. Read more>>

Maxie Bishop

I started my company Diamond Strands in the Spring of 2014. Initially, I wasn’t interested in running my own company. I was a Senior at Cal State Dominguez Hills University studying to become a Forensic Social Worker. My son’s father came to me with the idea of selling human hair extensions. He expressed that I would make a great businesswoman. The first year was the toughest. I was clueless to what it took to run a business (ex. sales, marketing, invoices, promotions, etc.). Once I got aquatinted with what it took to run a business, I gave it a shot and haven’t looked back. Fast forward to today (seven years later) Diamond Stands is a success small business. I’m still enamored by the concept of beauty and the joys that it brings to people of all ethnicities. Read more>>

Candice Mancilla

I started my business during the pandemic after my wedding had to be moved from the venue to the backyard of our home. I started buying Rustic and Shabby items to go with theme of the wedding and now offer more items to rent! As well as picnic set ups for any occasion! I honestly have loved celebrations since I was a child! My mom would decorate birthdays with so much detail that after every event, I would tell her we should start a “party business” lol And as I grew up, when I started making my own money, I loved celebrating family and friends with style and now here I am trying to bring my creativity to clients events and celebrations. Read more>>

Camila Senna

I’m a Brazilian born in Sao Paulo in 1994. I started sharing my life publicly with people nine years ago when social media took its first big steps. I never had the dream to become an influencia OR an actress at that time, I thought my destine was to be a journalist and share true stories with people, but life had a different plan for me. In a year, I gained 500k followers – and that was A LOT for that time. My life Took a 360º spin and I ended up making content for Instagram and YouTube for more than eight years as my full-time job. That brought me a lot of amazing opportunities, one of them related to Acting. I was invited to be a special guest at a friend’s play – and I absolutely loved it. What was supposed to be one night became two weeks and then became another play for two seasons. I just Felt different on stage, fulfilled, full of purpose, as if I was exactly where I was meant to be. Then and there, I realized I had to pursue Acting. I had already done a few workshops before, but I knew that if I wanted this for real this time, I had to give more to it. Read more>>

Nicole Golliday-Kraal

Colee’s Treats & Eats started as a hobby, turned business in March of 2020. After a tough year prior and the loss of my granny (one of my biggest supporters), I decided that since I was always home baking and cooking for my family and friends, I should do something that would not only generate income but would be something that I could involve and pass down to my children in the future. I got up and asked my husband to ride with me to registrar’s office, not knowing anything about being a business owner, but God has definitely been making a way! Being in the kitchen has always been my stress relief and a way that I could express myself, being the foodie that I am! I love, love, love food!! Friends tell me that I should be a food blogger, and as big as a whale, with the amount of food that I eat! I began vending at small events and take them as they come. I am always looking for new opportunities and sharing my craft with others.  Read more>>

Pam Chotiswatdi, MPH

Professionally, I never considered a career in the cannabis space. As a consumer and advocate for legalization, I was not an active and vocal advocate for cannabis until I was studying for a master’s degree in public health. As a young person, I struggled with educational and career direction as I often flew just under the radar for anyone to pick up to mentor or offer intervention in opportunities. Looking back on my education and career choices, I flipped between health and education often running from any confrontation with bureaucracy. My first career was on a nursing track, I was a medical assistant after high school and encouraged by medical professionals to go to college. I decided to enroll later in life at age 25 at Fullerton community college, thinking I was going to become a registered nurse and on a path to be a midwife. I ran into issues within healthcare that would be covered with red tape and no administrative changes. I was discouraged with healthcare bureaucracy. After the initial few years of college, a professor encouraged me to work on campus at the Writing Center. Read more>>

Natasha Martin

I have always loved to create- painting, collage… but it wasn’t until Instagram came around that I fell in love with photography. In the early days of IG, when everything felt new and experimental, I started posting random styled scenes I’d make with things around me (just shot on my phone), and my passion and curiosity grew from there. Eventually, I invested in my first real camera and things progressed. A lot of trial and error, a lot of YouTube videos, a lot of questioning what the hell I was doing- but I couldn’t put the camera down and I’m glad I listened to the voice inside that told me to keep going. Read more>>

Miguel M. Fierro

I am an eccentric Latino story artist, writer, and director. In my free time, I enjoy creating animated content based on my upbringing. I also enjoy hanging out with my wife and kids at “home” because you know, pandemic. I grew up in Southern California during the 90’s. I was raised by a single mother and grandparents who immigrated from Mexico. My youth was spent traveling to Baja California, Mexico to visit family almost every other weekend. Growing up, I was exposed to many different cultures in Southern California. I personally was intrigued by the counterculture like skating, surfing, punk rock, DJ, hip hop, graffiti/ street art, etc. I was also drawn to the lowrider cars and the art movement and music that was embedded in the scene. I loved going to concerts in Los Angeles and hanging out at the beaches in Ensenada. I have gone on to graduate from CSUF’s animation program and have recently broken into the animation industry as a Production Assistant in the Story Department at Netflix Animation. Getting into the industry was not a walk in the park. As a person of color, I had to try even harder than most.  Read more>>

Cool Court

I’ve always loved socks with different graphics on them to the point that I didn’t own any plain white socks. After brainstorming for a long time about how I can get into the fashion industry without doing the same things as the rest of my family and friends, I decided to start a sock company. At the time, my main focus was on socks. Of course, I made tees and hoodies with my Logo on them but they were really for promotional purposes back then. It was a struggle coming up with a name for the business but my older sister, Maynard came through with it. “TWOTEN aka TWO FEET TEN TOES”. It was something we would always say as children. Before we were driving, if someone asked you how you’re going to get somewhere, we would say, ” On our TwoTen, two feet ten toes.” So when she said that name, I thought it was perfect and stuck with it! She has been my right hand throughout this whole process, couldn’t of done a lot without her. I call her my “Think Tank.” Read more>>

Jonathan Arthurs

At an early age, I always viewed photography as a family thing. It was Something intimate and personal. My father was the family photographer. He always had a camera on family trips, family gatherings, he had it with him any and everywhere. I just thought it was second nature to document people and events that you cared about. I would go with him to the photo lab to get photos developed and printed. When we got that white envelop back from the lab filled with all of those wonderful memories, I was so excited to see these colorful vivid images. I believe that is when I got bit by the photography bug. As I grew up, I was involved in a lot of things sports and music played a huge part of my adolescences. In middle school, my best friend (Omar Okoli) would collect and trade basketball cards. I believe I was drawn to the cards because of the amazing images that these photographers were capturing. When I was 13, I began doing house parties. Coming from a Caribbean Household (Belizean – Jamaican), music was a huge part of my life. On Sundays, we would listen to Bob Marley, Beenie Man and Andy Palacio. Read more>>

West LA

George Simonyan

Growing up, I was a curious kid who talked a lot and loved to get involved. I was also into oil painting and creating artwork. Hence, as I moved out for college, I fell in love with science and ended up choosing to apply to dental school. The way I viewed dentistry was the perfect cross-section between art and science. Furthermore, I could work with people every day and build personal connections with my future patients, all while helping improve their oral health. As I pursued more research throughout dental school, I found myself constantly listening to podcasts, reading more books and articles, and browsing the web trying to continuously improve my knowledge of the field. One day, I came across an article highlighting the beneficial effects of CBD Hemp Oil for overall oral health. At that time, I knew about Cannabidiol (“CBD”) and its benefits including treating inflammation, pain relief, and others but didn’t know that this translated to oral health benefits. After consulting with a few colleagues and professionals in the dental field, entrepreneurs in the field of holistic and CBD wellness, and over a year’s worth of research, planning, and hard work — OraBliss was born!. Read more>>

Kelvin Chu and Matt Oliver

I started my career at Interscope in 2004 in the A&R Administration Department and left at the top of 2016 as an A&R for Cherrytree/Interscope. I had a great run, success and memories. That year in 2016, I decided to take the entrepreneurial route. I started a company with a few partners and managed Grammy award-winning artists and some legends. In 2017, I was an Executive Producer and principal in the Inaugural Electronic Music Award Show. In 2018, I started over and created my own company Chu On Thi5 which with its sole purpose is to guide, nurture and manage up and coming talent such as Shawn Wasabi, Hollis and more. With an AAPI approach. I started 18Thirty2 with Matt Oliver in 2019. We saw opportunity to connect music and sports with the belief that a PR agency can not solely operate on just the traditional model anymore. We need to help market, consult and our clients in all facets in order for them to succeed. Read more>>

Renay Thomas

Whew Chile, where do I start… When I was about 19 or 20 my sister and I came up with this idea to open a clothing store that would have a day/night theme. When you walked in the store, it would be bright on one side of the store with all your daywear, work attire, brunch, etc. Then on the other side of the store, it would be dark with red or blue lights and this side would have your sexy lingerie and nightwear. Well, that Idea came and went. However, 10+ years later I was sitting in a clubhouse room when the idea resurfaced. I was in this clubhouse room talking with a few other ladies about self-love and confidence. I shared my story how as a teen, I was always seen as the tall skinny girl who was overlooked by boys (especially the ones I liked) and my confidence was at an all-time low. It was not until a few years back that I gained my confidence (but I still have my days). But, I believe God put this business back in the front of my mind for a reason. Read more>>

Milaena

Since I started playing piano at the age of four, music has been my greatest passion, and I can’t envision my life without it. I come from a musical family – my father, a recording artist based in Los Angeles, has played cello on albums by renowned artists including but not limited to Michael Jackson, Black Eyed Peas, Gloria Trevi, and Michael Bublé as well as on numerous soundtracks and live productions. As a child, alongside drawing musical passion from my father’s playing, I was often sung Argentinian tunes to by my Italian-Argentine mother and grandfather, all from which my love for music initially sparked. My parents taught me the fundamentals of keyboard-playing for a year before I began private lessons away from home. At the age of eight, I sang on an educational CD for the Ventura County School District and began studying under the instruction of Dr. Stewart Gordon, who is on the faculty at the University of Southern California. Dr. Gordon was a pupil of the renowned pianist Adele Marcus, Walter Gieseking, Olga Samaroff, and Cecile Genhart, and therefore an authority on various schools/styles of music that I have been so fortunate to familiarize myself with as his student. Read more>>

Luis Soto and Charlie Lee

We started the company in 2017 making websites for life coaches, and since then we’ve been growing our skillset and expanding. Our goal has always been to help people have financial freedom from their jobs. Building a website was just something we were good at and that most people need to start a business these days. Now we still do that, but we’ve expanded our skillset to include more aspects that help people launch like product development, marketing, social media, and brand design. Read more>>

Mandana Bolourchi

I was born in Iran and raised between Tehran, Dubai & Los Angeles. Since I was a child, I had a keen eye for details. My fondness for the arts began by me always sketching various buildings, landscapes, and outfits for my dolls and I later became a concert pianist at the age of 11. I got art inspiration from all the traveling at a young age. Being immersed in various cultures stirred this inner craving of bringing each special part of those cultures into my home. I would incorporate certain elements from trips to recreate a sense of each place but with an extra touch of femininity, glamour, elegance, and a distinct striking feature of each country visited into our residences. This passion then led me to take on a few large design projects which directed me into the world of interior design. I must say so many things in my childhood really shaped me to the person who I am today. About a year ago, I wanted a big change and decided to move full-time from Dubai to Los Angeles. Read more>>

Zachary Murdock

As a child, I was exposed to the magic of stories. From both my parents being writers to attending Waldorf schools, my early years were fertile ground for my imagination to blossom. When I was 11, I became painfully aware of how much suffering there is in the world. This awareness exposed an extreme split from my childhood of magic and left me devastated. My devastation became a catalyst for my furious desire to create and connect. The theme of all of my work (starting at age 12 when I wrote and recorded my first album to now, 34 and running an art collective) is to shake people awake out of the mundane, reminding us all that everything is sacred and indefinable. I have been writing and performing my own music since the age of 11 and deepening my journey as a musical artist as well as a creative producer and entrepreneur across many artistic disciplines. Each piece of art I make seems to spawn a world unto itself. Each song begs greater visions through collaboration from murals to magazines, films to books, fashion to tech. An attempt to fully circumambulate each idea until it has nothing left to say. Read more>>

Jhonuelle (JMYTH) Hollins

I come from a very musical family, started playing drums (pre-kindergarten)for my family and church…I won the Louis Armstrong jazz award as a freshman in high school. Started producing on my brother’s keyboard sequencers ended up mastering the Korg Triton and produced multiple hits for artists such as Milton Hollins Dejur, In-q, Jeff Jericho(Cairo), Noah King, Billy Racxx & Lil Gotit to name a few. Read more>>

Leila Shamtobi

As a kid, I love drinking with a straw and always wanted to have my straw company (as random as it sounds). However, I didn’t get the push I needed until my sophomore year of college when I took an environmental studies class and learned about the threat of plastic pollution. When I realized that plastic poses imminent harm to our environment, I decided that something needed to be done. I have a two-year-old nephew Cyrus who I constantly think about and realized the world I’m going to leave for him might be polluted, which did not sit well with me. I decided to look at consumables that are used every day such as a straw and wanted to find a way to make it better. The alternatives that were given such as paper straws suck literally. However, plastic straws while they’re efficient are extremely harmful for our environment and aquatic life. That’s where I decided to come in and make the ultimate drinking experience while respecting the environment. Read more>>

Sunta Moon

SUNTA MOON AND MUSIC Sunta Moon has been a singer since she was young and through her childhood she had been in choirs and in musicals. But as she started to grow up, she gave up on one of her biggest dreams as she thought it could never sustain her. She then reencountered music when she was in University and she went to study a bit of musical composition and performance arts as part of an exchange program in the University of Sydney. She used to doubt her talent a lot, as she thought she always needed to be better or do better, but eventually as Covid came along, she started to use her voice more and understand that her power was in her voice- whether it was singing, talking or writing. This is Sunta Moon’s first release and it is a huge achievement as she finally gave her dreams and herself a shot at something that she loves, which is Music and Song Writing. Sunta Moon seeks to inspire others to live their biggest dreams and to use their voices in whichever ways they want to. She wants to help others to be able to fully express themselves through their own unique and divine ways. SUNTA MOON IN GENERAL Sunta Moon is 25 years old, from Mexico City. Read more>>

Madeline McMillin

I started ballet lessons at the age of three in Plano, Texas. I continued to pursue ballet from that point on, commuting all over the Dallas-Fort Worth area to receive diverse training. I spent two years at the renowned Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Downtown Dallas where I was exposed to a whole new way of moving and experiencing dance. At Booker T. I learned to hone my technique in modern dance and embrace my individualism. Those formative experiences with like-minded, free-spirited classmates shaped the person I am today and taught me confidence. At the age of 16, I had determined that I needed to complete my dance training at a school affiliated with a ballet company in order to pursue my dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer. I was accepted into the Professional Division of Pacific Northwest Ballet after attending the summer course in 2014. I completed high school remotely while training intensely in Seattle for two years. My first experiences those years rehearsing and performing with a professional company were very much a sink or swim situation of catching up and adapting to the specific skills of dancing in a Corps de Ballet. Read more>>

Steven Soria

My story really starts with my grandfather and his brother who apprenticed at a saddlery shop in Santa Barbara, California after returning from WWII. Before long, they set up their own saddlery and leather-repair shop. My Great Uncle Fred was the artisan and was renowned for hand-tooling Western saddles while my Grandfather Bernard was more of the businessman. I like to think I combine their two talents. My father inherited the shop and he and my mother, Alinda, ran it together pretty much right out of high school. My sisters and I grew up in the shop. My parents were 70’s arts n’ crafts hippies so, from a young age, I was always participating in some kind of “making” activity. As a youth, I was very interested in mechanics and spent most of my high school years in auto-shop restoring a 1969 Chevy pickup. We all figured I’d end up a mechanic, but when my grandfather offered to co-pay my tuition if I wanted to try college, I decided to give it a shot. I tried art classes at Santa Barbara City College and suddenly, I found my thing. Read more>>

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