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South Bay’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 South Bay’s gems below.

Tarra Rose

I am the founder and creator of Rose Fitness. Rose Fitness offers virtual, live, and recorded fitness classes for all levels and body types. Classes offered include Barre, Yoga, Dance Cardio, Meditation and more! Dance and fitness has always been a passion in my life. I gained my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from the University of California, Irvine in 2015. Soon after, I used my creative skills to plan social and corporate events as well as weddings at a luxury resort located in Newport Beach. Along with this career, I became one of the founding members of the professional dance company, The Hubbard Collective, under the direction of Irishia Hubbard. I was also fortunate enough to gain my group fitness certification in Barre fitness which when COVID hit, and I lost my job in hospitality, became my new full-time career. It was then that I truly decided to fully pursue my passion for fitness and dance and create Rose Fitness. Within a global pandemic, I believe we all have struggled to find consistency and dedication to one particular thing. Read more>>

Shakoya Green

I remember this experience like it was yesterday: there was a lump in my throat and butterflies in my stomach as I was being told that I would be living with my grandmother whom I love dearly. I was going from place to place with my mom and at some point, I was diagnosed with scabies. I was seven years old when my grandmother made an extremely hard decision to call the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) due to my mother’s lack of parenting and substance abuse. I would worry and wonder when my mother would return after dropping me off and leaving me at my grandmother’s house for days. It was now coming to an end; we were going to have a place to call HOME. At that moment, the feeling of abandonment and loss of attachment set in… no mom or dad. Who would have thought a little girl that wanted to be a lawyer first encounter with a courtroom would be her own case in Edelman’s Children’s Court? Walking into the courtroom nervous, teary eyed, sick to my stomach, and hearing a judge order visits with my dad who also had been absent and inconsistent for so many years. Read more>>

Kalynn Fuller

I was born a storyteller. From preschool to high school, I danced through musical narratives, expressing every emotion. My storytelling format then moved to photography and spoken word poetry my senior year of high school. Proclaiming poetry then led me to writing my self-published book with my bestie in 2017. And when college began, I created a blog and turned my direction into sharing travel experiences, short stories, and my life reflections. It didn’t matter to me what facet the story was going into growing up. What did matter was that I was putting my life fodder into some kind of story showcase. A strong part of storytelling, I’m finding, is that it is also important to be inspired through storylistening. I can’t tell a good story without listening to a good one first. Whether this came through observing my uncle create art and home movies in Michigan or learning from my favorite creative writing teachers and professors in Wisconsin and Minnesota… These people have inspired me to continue to share a narrative no matter where my feet stand. Read more>>

Rachelle Stone

Searching for a purpose seemed to be my life’s overarching theme from a young age. It was a question that was always on my mind, often clouded by my own judgments of what it was supposed to look like. I was raised in Hialeah, Fl. Close enough to Miami to get into trouble and far enough to be less glamourous. I came from a pretty religious family, which taught me right from wrong, but also enhanced my ability to be my harshest critic. Hialeah is 94.7% Hispanic, which also made me stick out like a sore thumb but taught me to be strong and a little spicy. Design has always been a passion of mine, but it certainly took me some time to figure out that I loved it enough to make it a career. As a child, I loved watching home makeover and interior design shows. When it was time to start high school, I looked into attending DASH High School in the Design District in Miami. Unfortunately, their rigorous school hours mixed with one car for our entire household didn’t afford me the opportunity to attend. Read more>>

Ericka Kelly

I do a little bit of everything and have lived in a little bit of everywhere, but was raised in Scottsdale, AZ. Growing up as a minority, although privileged, I knew that there was so much more out there than the micro-aggressions of Arizona. I found dance as an outlet and spent most of my time in studios and on competitive teams. Throughout college at Arizona State and into adulthood, I held contracts with the NBA, NFL, The Disney company and more. As injury and age-progressed, I looked towards more rehabilitating practices which led to immersing myself in yoga and holistic therapies. I was teaching yoga and had been working in marketing for the Cannabis industry for a few years building campaigns and producing events when I made the decision to move to Oakland, CA. If you’ve spent any time in The Bay, you know how special it is, that is where I found my individuality yet strong understanding of the power of community. I began to miss being a quick drive away from my family and had been traveling to Southern California for my job. Read more>>

Alexis Sissac

I’ve lived in California my whole life. I grew up in Long Beach, California where my entire existence consisted of school and dance. I danced from the age of 4 to 19 and my entire universe revolved around dance. It was my one true love. Then, I went to Loyola Marymount University where I majored in Psychology and minored in Theatre Arts and Dance and while dance always stayed close to my heart, I fell in love with theatre and it ignited a passion in me that I had not felt in a while. College made me into the confident, introspective, and well-rounded woman I am today and I am forever grateful for those four years. College is also where I fell in love with YouTube but I was always too afraid to start a channel, even though I wanted to so badly because I felt like people would not understand it or they would think I was odd for filming my life. However, the year 2020 taught me that life is way too short to worry about what someone else might or might not think about you. I started my channel and it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Read more>>

Gabe Gordon

From humble beginnings as a nine table barbeque and craft beer bar in the beachside town of Seal Beach, Beachwood now with multiple locations across Southern California, was a pioneer in the craft beer and gastro pub movement. In a food and drink scene obsessed with what’s hyped and what’s next, Beachwood sparked a movement. Gabe Gordon, Beachwood’s owner, had a strong hand in bringing quality southern food to Southern California and spreading the word about local craft beer at a time when big macro brands dominated the market. Dissatisfied working for someone else Gordon decided to follow his background as a chef in fine dining and open his own place. “I wanted to open a little five-table restaurant and change the menu daily. Nobody was into it. So I had to rethink the direction”. While originally from Northern California, Gordon’s food was influenced heavily by Southern cuisine, he notes that “it’s our country’s distinctly native food culture. So with that in mind and lease in hand he opened the doors to Beachwood BBQ. That was almost 15 years ago. Beyond Barbeque, Gordon knew he wanted to elevate his beverage program. Read more>>

Sandy Grigsby

I was born in Switzerland to a Swiss mother and a Black American father. We relocated to California when I was one year old, where I grew up. My mother was a traditional Swiss woman, she cooked, cleaned, worked, and was very submissive to her husband. My father was retired from the Air Force, worked in technology as an engineer, and was incredibly intelligent yet unbelievably strict. Growing up, he controlled much of what I did, the extracurricular the activities I participated in, who my friends were, what I watched. Life was so controlled that by the time I was 16, I searched for an escape. I ended up winning a scholarship to study a year abroad in Germany, an escape from my life only permitted by the exclusivity of what I had accomplished winning the prestigious scholarship. That’s when I finally experienced freedom. Life was incredible and I dreaded returning home to the totalitarian environment. Upon return home, my dad was even more domineering, so I planned another escape and was accepted into another program to study abroad in Argentina. Read more>>

Marla Diann

My passion as a young girl was writing poems, journaling, and dreaming about my adult life as a well-known writer, speaker, innovator, and inspirationalist. Writing came easy for me. I soon learned that was my art. It’s where I would find my solace. I didn’t understand what all that meant then; just that it felt natural to me to express my thoughts and feelings through writing. I grew up in an artistic family and learned to love the arts, personal growth, and culture. I graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in PR, Journalism eager to impact the world with my love of writing, creativity and people. Two years outside of college on one serendipitous day in 1986, I met someone in the entertainment industry that changed the trajectory of my life – I found my purpose and passion that led to an incredibly fun and highly creative 22-year career as an entertainment publicist living the dream life. My daily work required me to position my celebrity, visual, and performing artist clients in the spotlight. I loved it! I was the girl behind the scenes being the creative strategist for my clients. Read more>>

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