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Pasadena’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 Pasadena’s gems below.

Linda Eckerbom Cole

I was working and living in Guine Bissau, Angola, Mozambique and Uganda. I spent many years in the development and humanitarian fields, and starting this organization ultimately comes from those years of experience. What really drove me to start a non-profit was a great deal of frustration – seeing failed interventions, short-term thinking. Read more>>

Emeroy Bernardo

Before I started my company, Vision Paradox, I did tutorials on YouTube. I saw the opportunity in building an audience in teaching people how to breakdance and then leading them to an online course. What no one tells you is the insane amount of work you need to do to make it work it takes to make something like do well. I found myself in a rabbit hole of learning about SEO, Facebook ads, funnels, and email marketing. Read more>>

Michelle Marie

I am a bilingual professional voice actress, lyricist and singer, originally hailing from Oregon, but moved to Los Angeles to pursue my dreams, dreams that started at a very young age. When I was three, my parents took me to see my very first musical and while watching it, I knew I wanted to be an actress. Even though I grew up in a small town, the love and support of the arts was huge. Read more>>

Emily Norcia

I like to think of myself as a serial creative. I’ve got my hands in a little bit of everything! Originally though, I was born in Florida (the actual sunshine state) where I fell in love with every aspect of theatre, acting and performance, which I decided to get my degree in at the University of Florida. Then right after graduation, I packed my bags and moved three thousand miles away to Los Angeles. Read more>>

Chris Loos

I’ve loved music ever since I can remember. Once my dreams of playing in the NBA didn’t come true, I realized that I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. While I love music, I can’t sing, rap, or make beats very well. I play with the turntables but definitely can’t call myself a DJ. Then one day, I was at my aunt’s house in Pasadena after flunking out of Citrus college when my cousin told me about telecommunications classes at Pasadena City College. Read more>>

Kat Jones

I guess you can say I was one of those Leslie Knope types; I knew early on in my life what I wanted to do. I graduated with a degree in communications and knew I wanted to work in entertainment, so Los Angeles was the place for me to plant my roots. Upon moving here in 2007, I hit the ground running, landing my first gig out of college at Marvel. I was hyper aware of how lucky I was to have landed at such a renowned place. Read more>>

Sophia Nguessan

I was visiting my hometown, Arlington VA, with my kids for a week, I broke my foot towards the end of my trip and decided to stay around family until I was fully healed before getting back on a flight to LA with the kids. Although I was around family, it was challenging getting around on crutches with my kids – let alone being at home all day with them. Read more>>

Ian Robbins

I started to play the guitar when I was 12 years old. I wanted to be in the Beatles (not a very realistic goal, but a goal nonetheless). I was very motivated to improve and even after realizing my goal was not especially likely, I decided to write my own music and start my own band.  I started a band with my friends when I was 13. Our voices hadn’t quite made it through puberty yet so our vocals were shall we say, squeaky. We played a lot of Doors covers and called ourselves “The Seeds”.  Read more>>

Kelly Smith

Without strength, determination, and support from loved ones, I wouldn’t have made it to where I am today. These factors helped me realize my true talent and how fruitful my ideas could become. I started Vibrant Dolls in 2019 with the mindset that there must be plenty of other plus size women who, like me, struggle to find clothes that fir our unique physique. I quickly noticed how few options we really had when it came to plus size clothing. Read more>>

Nagham Wehbe

I moved here 12 years ago from Lebanon. I am a storyteller, a creative consultant, and a media researcher. I studied Radio, Television, and Film at Cal State Fullerton and recently graduated with my Master’s Degree in Communication Management from University of Southern California. As a creative consultant, I facilitate creative workshops and classes. I also work with clients on the execution of their creative ideas. Read more>>

Parker Fredlund

Polyfaction began shortly after becoming a father for the first time. I remember pushing my daughter in her stroller when she was about seven months old and sketching some shapes on my phone. I created a simple extruded circle shape, which I realized would make a great necklace pendant. My daughter was holding a toy of hers, and on it featured three distinct shapes, which I realized were also easily seen in my company name. Read more>>

Beda Spindola

Born in Torrance, CA, raised in the small town of Duarte, I knew I always wanted to be a singer. Starting as early as elementary school and joining the choir to continuing that trend up until joining the Citrus Singers of Citrus College (Glendora), I pursued that dream and sought guidance from Los Angeles’ best. After leaving a secure job in LA for an opportunity with Disney Cruise Line for a stint, I found myself out of work. Read more>>

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