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 Mid Wilshire’s gems below.
Jesus M Rodriguez
I grew up in Venezuela dreaming of becoming a storyteller in Hollywood. I announced my plans to my family when I was 12 and they smiled at me like I mentioned that I wanted a puppy or something. But I was determined. As soon as I finished my master’s degree in Biology (I studied Communications prior to that), I moved to Miami where, and in less than one year, I was working at the Discovery Networks Latin America as a writer-producer. That was 27 years ago and since then, I have worked as a director making commercials, music videos, several short films and one feature. But I have also worked -a lot- as a Creative Director and Marketer for entertaining brands that include Disney Channel, BET and the Oprah Winfrey Network. My exposure to the industry has been a roller coaster of amazing opportunities and some disappointments, where everything changes every month and people like me, with more than one talent, and with an accent that defines me more than my experience and my successes are looked like unicorns. Read more>>
I got my start simply by following my mom around when she would have gatherings. She was always the neighborhood “go to” house where you could go to have fun or grab a hot meal. She was and still is the life and light of any party. Growing up, she was really sick and doctors had given her less than 40% of a chance to live, so with that knowledge she chose to live life to the fullest rather than soak in sadness over the situation. To protect the rest of my family from freaking out, I was told to keep the information to myself and we were to act like everything was normal which lead to me needing to learn and function the way someone way above my age might. Her gatherings and events continued, and to the public eye her life remained the same the only thing that changed was in private I became the person cooking those hot meals people would pick up, or the person behind the drinks and party favors that kept the company lit. Those moments were bittersweet but I’m grateful for them now because it provided me with experience and skills you just can’t buy or learn in a book, which lead to my business KaylasKocktailz. Read more>>
Music was always a big part of life in my family. I grew up on a ranch in North Dakota and was mostly surrounded by old country music, the classics, and laugh when I say I didn’t hear a pop song until middle school. I had written quite a bit of music when I was 19 and 20, and after, had an opportunity to venture on a solo acoustic house concert tour. It was spring of 2018 and in an effort to network, I found myself in the midst of so many incredible people. Most of which I was honored to get to know on a more intimate level because of the venue (thank you Mike and Char Coyle). In response and because of the connections I had made, the fall of that year I had a meeting with will Hollis. Will is an incredible producer who is an insane talent on the keys and who happens to be the MD for the eagles. We had decided to work together and in 2019, I made the move to LA from a very small town in North Dakota. Read more>>
Today, I continue to be a full-time working actor, but also a struggling producer and a wannabe produced screenwriter. I’m originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I was already acting, mostly in theater and shooting worldwide TV commercials. Where did I get to where I am today? Well, it’s 2020 and I’ve been traveling the world since July. Yes, some of my friends ask me if I’m crazy. But I actually found 2020 to be the best year to travel. As many might know, most casting director’s offices have closed and we actors are all self-taping our auditions. So in July 1st, I left my apartment in West Hollywood, like many people who left LA, and I started a road trip through eight states, during three months, while writing a TV pilot and auditioning online. In October, I flew to Madrid, and I’m right now writing this from Warsaw, Poland. I will be in Barcelona for Christmas and new year’s. And I have a flight back to LA on January 12th, 2021. But who knows what the world will be like then and if I will in fact, get on that plane. I’m enjoying the present like never before while doing my craft remotely. Read more>>
Denica and I are two of four sisters: with children ranging the stages of child development – infant to 17 years old. As sisters and parents, we discuss how critical parenting is to the development of our children’s understanding of themselves and the world around them. We begin discussions around how we could help support other parents/caregivers in developing a family value system that is inclusive. We hoped to prepare them with the tools to advocate for themselves and others. With this in mind, we knew it would be important to share resources that would empower them and help share conversations around the “isms”. Read more>>