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Trailblazers in East LA

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 Trailblazersseries, 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 East LA that we hope you will check out, follow and support.

Anita Vuong

It has been seven years into the industry and I currently work full time in the fashion industry in knitwear product development and import production but in the last few years, I started to feel like my life was on autopilot and I yearned for change and for something that I could feel deeply connected to as I was seeking to live my life more intently. Read more>>

Kiara Ray Bernal

Instead of simply writing down a list, I wrote them all different in their own unique ways in funky lettering but on a separate chalkboard I attempted to elegantly write the word “menu.” My mom and family were so impressed and to be honest so was I. It did take me a few tries to get it exactly how I liked it and wanted it to be, but it was worth it. Read more>>

Lauren Oppelt

People understand who characters are based on what they look like. When people dress up for Halloween, they are honoring the work of the ‘Vanity’ departments. That holds gravity. It means something to the actors and to the people who see these characters and identify with them. Read more>>

Arielle Ackerman

I started out working in retail – from malls to small businesses and found that I really loved the feel and interactions that a small business can provide. There’s something really special about the ways you can meet and interact with people in a smaller shop – it’s more personal I feel. For the people shopping and for me, too. A lot of friendships have been forged just from people coming in to pick up a t-shirt and sticking around for a chat. Read more>>

Brenda Flores-Preciado

At the age of 13, I started experimenting on my own hair, I have always been drawn to art and the creative side of life. At first, I didn’t have too much support because the career of a cosmetologist in my area wasn’t so luxurious, and my moms biggest concern was will I really be able to make a living of this career. Soon enough, I started doing research and investigating what school I wanted to attend. Read more>>

Amy Leverton

Oki-ni was primarily casualwear and denim so I quickly learned that side of the fashion business and loved it. In 2004, we collaborated with British brand, Duffer St George and created a special jean made from Cone Denim (Cone was America’s longest-running denim mills, it closed last year) and it was on a trip to the denim mill in North Carolina, learning about the process of making denim that really struck a cord with me. Read more>>

Jen Griswold

I had no idea what an influencer was or even what a hashtag was. My first post ended up being reposted and everything sort of spiraled from there. When I first started, I wasn’t sure what my “niche” was – I tried a few things before finally finding my own Instagram style (and it ironically ended up being style. Read more>>

Emma Barker

I have helped bands with album covers, worked with entrepreneurs on new fabric design and developed storyboards for independent films. In terms of the future, I plan to be working in film or animation as a storyboard artist and one day. I aspire to work on projects that not only tell humorous stories but are also thought-provoking and meaningful to all audiences. Read more>>

Krystal Thompson

When I was 13 years old, I made a photograph of a friend who was grieving the loss of his father, and the medium has been opening itself to me ever since. I am fortunate enough to have come from a family that could afford to send me to a good college, so in 2008, I left Tennessee to pursue a degree in Photography from Columbia College Chicago. Read more>>

Amy Tam and Andres Fuentes

Andres & I are the owners of Cake Girl; an allergy friendly one baker bakeshop where all the baked goods are free from eggs, dairy, gluten, nuts, and everything is vegan as well. Andres grew in Boyle Heights and I grew up in El Sereno. Read more>>

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