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South Bay 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 the South Bay that we hope you will check out, follow and support.

HELEN TAVETIAN

I have taught myself almost every technique I know, I started Siranush Designs as a sophomore in college and I sold my jewelry at the boutique shop I worked at and sold pieces to my friends and peers. Now, I sell online through Etsy and at craft fairs and markets around Los Angeles. I have a long way to go in terms of growing my brand but it is exciting to look back at the progress I have made. Read more>>

EMMA VAGNONE

I grew up in a creative household. My father was an architect who would be creating new sculptures and paintings in his make shift studio next to the living room. My mother was an interior designer, who also would paint, write and sketch during her free time. I remember painting and drawing as early as kindergarten. Read more>>

Meghan Mahowald

I performed in my first musical at the age of eight and from then on, I was hooked. I was always in rehearsal and auditioning for the next musical I could find. I knew at a really young age that I was born to entertain! I then went on to foster that passion and attend the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts with a major in Classical Voice and a minor in Musical Theatre. LACHSA was such a magical place where I learned that entertaining was my career path, not just a hobby. Read more>>

Nicole Woods

I started out with marketing burgers for Jack in the Box corporate in San Diego while I was finishing up my marketing degree in consumer behavior. From there, I moved to LA to start working in Film and Entertainment. I fell in love with it and have been working in it ever since. The best part about my path to where I am now is that I’ve worked on pretty much every side of the business – Read more>>

Melissa Buffaloe

My love of bringing an event together, creating unforgettable experiences, and sparkling joy in people is where my passion comes from. After “moonlighting” Blue Moon for five years, I took the leap and branched out on my own and became full time. Here I am living my dream and making my clients’ vision a reality. Read more>>

Kira Lingman

Playing guitar then became this cathartic and therapeutic experience that was all my own. I’d play along to all my heroes and build off the riffs that I loved or add chords to songs I felt were unfinished. Those early lessons were the foundation for how I write and play today. Read more>>

Melissa Okabe

Previously working in marketing has given me a creative edge and a finesse in visualizing and growing my personal brand. Teaching yoga has taught me patience, compassion and how to relate to a variety of different people of all ages and backgrounds, and to come from a place of service and love. Read more>>

Charity Hill

From creative direction to strategic execution, my live engagement experience spans two decades including the mediums of film, television, theater, location-based entertainment, festivals, themed attractions, haunts, award ceremonies, concerts, fashion shows, launches, sporting events, and publicity stunts. Read more>>

Sara Lander

I always knew I wanted to be creative but never could find an avenue to do so. I worked as a paralegal for five years before I decided to leave and follow my passion which, at the time, had become makeup. I worked as a freelance makeup artist for about two years as well as hustling side jobs. The makeup field is so competitive and some jobs paid very little so I was constantly stressed. Read more>>

Ania Piekarska

A couple of years later, my significant other and I went to Poland to shoot my sister’s wedding. That was a huge deal but also a very thrilling time and defining moment that helped me realized photography could be not only my hobby but also my job. Read more>>

Julita Galwa

I became an international student in El Camino community college in Torrance CA. My English was good back then, but attending college helped me gain confidence in speaking, reading, and writing. At the beginning of 2009, I lived with my host family (from the exchange culture program) and until this day I’m happy to call them my family here in the USA. Read more>>

Radiance Thompson

I am a single mother of two girls and they have undoubtedly made me the woman I am. I battled depression and anxiety during my last year of college while taking care of my girl. I was mentally, physically and emotionally overwhelmed and eventually I had a breakdown. Read more>>

Gina Calderone

I treat them as energetic disorders – hyperactive or deficient patterns or frequencies in the communication system of the body. These diagnoses are physical but there is an emotional and generational root. Once the root is found, I reconnect the core and rebuild the body using Pilates and Gyrotonic methods. I welcome complex and mystery patient cases. Read more>>

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