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Pasadena Trailblazers

The editorial team has a special attachment to our new series, The Trailblazers: Rewriting the Narrative, because so many of us feel that media portrayals of women have been too one dimensional. Today, women are doing incredible things in all fields – from science and technology to finance, law, business, athletics and more.  With the Trailblazers series, we hope to highlight and celebrate female role models, encourage more equal and just representation in the media, and help foster a more tight-knit community locally helping women find mentors, business partners, friends and more.

Below, you’ll find some incredible trailblazers from in and around Pasadena that we hope you will check out, follow and support.

Samara Kelly

For the sake of my family’s collective sanity, my mom enrolled me in proper dance classes at age four. After a few years of practice, I found myself training at the Miami City Ballet. It was probably after my first performance in “The Nutcracker” that I became completely enchanted with being on stage. I loved the whole process – collaborating with others and creating something from nothing. I began training in local theatre workshops. Read more>>


I have always loved dance — in fact, I can recall from my childhood days that I would choreograph or dance along with the music videos in the ’90s. I also really loved performing and I never cared about what people had to say. As I got older, my love for dance and performing grew even more and I became a lot more passionate. Read more>>


Growing up in a small desert town, it was always a goal of mine to get out and move to Southern California. I studied hard in high school and enjoyed chemistry. Luckily, I was able to get into the University of California, Irvine, majoring at first in chemical engineering. Read more>>

Tammy Nguyen

My career as a chef began when I graduated from culinary school in 2012. I started working in the catering industry for a couple of years until I realized that’s not what I wanted to do. I wanted to live a healthier lifestyle and I wanted to help others do so as well. So, immediately decided to change paths and I got my Holistic Nutrition Certification and started my own healthy meal delivery service, Eat Fit Society. Read more>>

DeJonae Shaw

It probably sounds cliche, but I started the Greater Empire Pageants due to my humble beginnings. I’m the eldest of eight and have a twin sister. When my twin and I were eight years old, we moved with our Aunt, due to our mother’s drug addiction and substance abuse. Sadly, my twin sister started to use drugs as well five years ago, and that has been the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with in life so far. Read more>>

Tiffany Barden

It was just something I became accustomed to… always busy, always something right in front of me. Although I loved being busy all the time, I always had the desire to be my own boss and do something that both challenged and fulfilled me, though it never seemed like I had free time to really explore. Read more>>

Chona Navarro

The voices in my head said I wasn’t thinking straight; that I was being irresponsible and stupid. But I ached for more. It kept me up at night. Along with guilt. Guilt for feeling dissatisfied with the life I had. Guilt for feeling that being a mom wasn’t purposeful enough. For years, I lived this way. Doing the only thing I knew how to do to cope: Burying my feelings and sinking deeper into a hole. Read more>>

Cheryl Twu

After spending a year getting my nails done on the west side of LA where all of the “Instagrammable” and modern spots live, I decided that it was time that someone brought a fun, fresh, unique, and colorful nail shop to our very own Pasadena, and that is how Yunikon Nail Bar came into fruition. “Yunikon” comes from the Japanese word for “unicorn”, Read more>>

Annalisa G. Dunker

Living and working on my music in Los Angeles has been an incredible experience, I love this place and its energy. I have never felt at home in Barcelona in ten years, while I immediately felt at home here, even if I moved to LA less than a year ago. This place is very stimulating and people are always there to encourage you and support you. Read more>>

Elaine Lou Cartas

Using my experience as a former grassroots organizer and nonprofit fundraiser, I became an Assertive Business and Career Coach, speaker and #1 Amazon best selling author. In just 21 months, I have helped women of color create their dream career through authentic relationships both online and offline. Read more>>

Lilian Hsyu

I didn’t start off with an intention to become a wedding + event planner – I didn’t watch J.Lo in The Wedding Planner and fall in love with the profession or anything like that. I graduated from UCLA with a degree in Sociology, and for a little while, I thought that I was going to continue my education + career in Education. Read more>>

Ashley Sere

I realized challenges occurred when I faced different opinions in comparison to my views about the restaurant. I was also questioned a lot about going out very often, but it was a lot of self-realization and self-confidence about how I really am as a person and communication to my followers. For example, some of my pictures are not eaten on the same day. Read more>>

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