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Mid Wilshire’s Hidden Gems

Every day we have a choice. We can support an up and coming podcaster, try a new family-run restaurant, join a boutique gym started by a local fitness champ or we could keep giving away our money to the handful of giants who already control so much of our commerce. Our daily decisions impact the kind world we live in; if we want a world where small businesses are growing and artists and creatives are thriving then we should support them with our time, money and attention. We’re proud to highlight inspiring creatives and entrepreneurs each week in Hidden Gems series.  Check out some of Mid Wilshire’s gems below.

Brett Bainer

I grew up in Central Connecticut and was belting it out before I could talk. At a very young age, I was heavily influenced by the sounds of Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, 90’s pop boy-band realness and Musical Theater. Although I studied Musical Theater at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, I’ve always explored the Soulful/R&B/Pop colors and textures of my voice. I’m super passionate about using my instrument and music to help people feel empowered, seen and validated in their human experience. Read more>>

Steven Boyd Wallace

I’ve struggled with mental health disorders as long as I can remember, but in terms of this interview, it all sort of began back in 2019. I was going through one of the worst depressions of my life and began struggling with suicidal thoughts in a way I never had.  Then came 2020…  The pandemic hit (among everything else last year brought us), and now my depression had some serious anxiety sprinkled on top. This was the first funfetti cupcake I did not enjoy.  Luckily, I had already been going to therapy and taking medication to get back to some semblance of “normal”, whatever that is, lol. Both of these things were instrumental in keeping me alive. But even more, I’m not sure I’d be here without the love of my life, Ally. Thank you for everything – ten billion emojis can’t express my gratitude for who you are and what you’ve done for me.  So I’ve pretty much always had a creative, entrepreneurial spirit. The words “hardly tomorrow” came to me one day as I was journaling, trying to focus on being present and not worrying about the future. “It’s hardly tomorrow, it’s hardly tomorrow, it’s hardly tomorrow”. I couldn’t get it out of my head once it was there. Read more>>

Stephanie Zamora McNeal

My love for the beauty and fashion industry started at a young age when I was “found” by a Model Search America recruiter and thrown on a runway catwalk at the age of 14. My tomboy athlete world was shook for good, and my passion for make-up became my world. I became a sales manager at 18 years old for a popular retailer, and while balancing school and modeling, I spent the following 18 years working my way up the ladder, achieving Regional Sales Manager for the west coast for a top 10 beauty company in the world. Developing executives and multi-million dollar businesses across the country became my specialty. Today, I am Director of Sales and Business Development for de Castellane Creative, flexing my marketing and leadership skills for a marketing agency and working with high-level leadership across some of the fastest-growing brands and companies in the U.S. Read more>>

Emily Spence

I was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and moved to LA three years ago. I was always an imaginative child who gravitated to the arts rather than academics or athletics. I should have known I was destined for this career after my 1st dance recital. I was four and decided I didn’t have enough stage makeup on. I snuck into my bag right before we hit the stage. To my mom’s surprise, I walked out on stage looking like a clown with my white tights covered in red lipstick and blush. As the years went on, I began designing costumes and helping everyone else with their hair and makeup. I was pursuing a future as a professional dancer when I had a change of heart. I hadn’t even thought about a career in cosmetology until my friends and family suggested it. It never occurred to me I could make a living doing something I thought was so fun. I attended a cosmetology school and obtained my license through an apprenticeship. Read more>>

Janice Alexander

My oldest son and I started the business Artistic Angels Corporation in 2011. We started selling artwork online through Amazon and eBay and we still sell on both platforms today (artisticangelscorporation). We now sell on my website In the beginning years of the business, we struggled to make a profit until we started drop-shipping our artwork and added jewelry and handbags to our inventory. Now we have over 1000 items for sale and we are selling items daily. I have started a two years project, which I will share more about that is called: Embrace Diversity in America Art Project and this project embraces what I so passionately believe in and that is peace and love between all cultures and peoples. The artwork shows the beauty of diversity in our nation. Read more>>

Samantha Telfair

Born and raised in New York City the decision to move to Los Angeles wasn’t an easy one. My entire family moved from NYC to Orlando, FL, I was reluctant at first but decided let me see what the south has to offer and I quickly realized I am not a Florida girl. I lasted less than two years in Florida before making my great escape to Los Angeles. I was started a new life on my own and when you work in fashion the top choices are NYC or LA. While I am a die hard New Yorker once you stop experiencing harsh winters, schlepping on trains and busses and start experiencing a more relaxed vibe its hard to turn back. So while Florida wasn’t the fit for a fashionista like myself LA seemed like a natural balance for big city opulence with a relaxed laid back attitude. 2018 I made my LA appearance. I have been a fashion stylist for over ten years; and I knew LA was full of designers, celebrities, high-end boutiques and everything else necessary to help revive my career. Soon after arriving, I realized that styling wasn’t the only goal. Read more>>

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