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The Valley’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 the Valley’s gems below.

Dr. Celeste Hamilton

I help stressed-out, high-achieving women, discover the benefits of putting their health and themselves first, so they can feel energized and start loving life again! There was a point in my life when I didn’t put myself or my health first and I suffered for it. I let my job “own” me and kept making excuses for a marriage which I knew deep down wasn’t serving me. Read more>>

Desiree Duffy

Desireé Duffy’s early career was in radio as a host, a producer and in promotions. She’s held several marketing and public relations roles in consumer goods, entertainment, and non-profit industries. Her most recent corporate position, prior to launching Black Château Enterprises, was as vice president of a digital marketing agency. Read more>>

Donovan Gibbs

My Name is Donovan Gibbs, I am 25 years old. I started dancing at the age of 12 in my parent’s dance studio in El Paso, TX, called Desert Eagle Productions Dance Studio. I graduated a year early from high school and took a year to figure out what I wanted to do for my future. Upon returning to school for my freshman year of college. Read more>>

Steven Shea

I grew up on a small island near Marathon in the Florida Keys. I first decided I wanted to get into the entertainment industry when I was 16, and immediately immersed myself in as much as I could in that remote space. I worked at a cable news station shooting live TV, managed a Blockbuster Video. Read more>>

Raven Trammell

I was born and raised in Holland, Michigan, a small town known for its Dutch heritage. My grandfather got me my first camera when I was a kid. I was off and on with it. But I’d say my love for visual storytelling took off in college. I was on scholarship and played basketball for four years. Read more>>

Breanna Anderson

I always had a passion for painting and art as a child. I enjoyed painting pictures at school and I would always paint pictures for my mother at home to let her know how much I loved her. Almost every morning, I used to watch my mother get ready for work. She always applied on her makeup so beautifully. I was immediately intrigued. Read more>>

Von Aizen

I had the idea of making music in 7th grade. It seemed like a far fetched dream but I wanted to pursue it. I would hone my craft throughout middle school/high school and in college. I actually took a break making music in my early 20’s to late 20’s. I was caught up going to school, working and partying. Read more>>

Brandon Dean Johnson

Brandon Dean Johnson, (“BigFoot”) is a native of North Carolina. He studied Graphic Design and Fine Arts at Elizabeth City State University where his involvement included joining the University’s football team and becoming a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. Soon after college, Brandon lived and traveled throughout Europe where he showcased his knowledge and skills in Art and Design. Read more>>

Janice Hollins

I started Mama Cinch after having four kids. I was addicted to buying yoga pants, they’re convenient, comfortable, and they make you aware of your body- in some cases aware in a negative, self-conscious type of way. After buying literally almost a hundred pairs, I decided to design some that address the physical make-up of a woman. Read more>>

Leslie Fuentes

I am a Multi-Media Designer raised in South Central, LA but born in Mexicali, Mexico. I have memories of my childhood from before we immigrated to Los Angeles in 1998, that heavily influenced my present-day passions. I first found out that I wanted to be some kind of creative when I was in pre-school in Mexicali. Read more>>

Tye Edwards

When I was younger, I would take my father’s Blackberry Pearl (one of the first cell phones capable of taking short videos) and chase the cats around the house, only to later dub over the audio with voices of what the cats might be thinking as I was terrorizing them. I would also participate in school theatre and performing arts programs. Read more>>

Christopher Carrillo

I grew up moving around a lot and finally settled in a little city with my family called Rancho Cucamonga. It became my home and where I made a lot of my current friends. I was always a misfit child, a sort of disruption in the classroom all through my school years and didn’t assimilate very well to a classroom setting. Read more>>

Kamini Natarajan

My musical journey started as a kid. My mother and grandmother both studied music and taught me from a young age. They would often say that I sang before I could speak 🙂 My grandmother was a great narrator and would often narrate stories from Hindi Scriptures and teach me devotional traditional songs called Bhajans and Kirtans. Read more>>

Bhavana Reddy

I am Bhavana Reddy, my professional journey began when I was in my mother’s womb as she travelled to Germany for my parents’ Kuchipudi Indian Classical Dance Tour. I would dance behind my parents and live in a world of music and dance since. I have not known myself in a life without dance. My parents toured the entire world between the 70’s. Read more>>

Maria Wilson and Bethany Vee

I’m Maria Wilson and I am one half of Lady Farts Comedy, Bethany Vee is the other half, the stinkier half if you ask me. Bethany and I met five years ago performing in a sketch comedy group every Sunday with a new original live comedy show at Second City Hollywood. Read more>>

Tavares Smith

I initially had no idea or interest in living in Los Angeles. I was in the Army and ended up being stationed in Barstow CA, drove down to LA for a military detail and loved it. I never knew what I wanted to do in LA, but knew that I wanted to be there. I’m still trying to figure it all out as the scene changes out here and factors. Read more>>

Valerie Lynn

My name is Valerie Lynn, and I’m just a girl from New Jersey, who fell in love with Asia. If you are my friend you know my love of all things Asian, especially Southeast Asia. My Asian journey started at university and continues to be a large part of my life today. I have been living overseas for 25 years – Japan. Read more>>

Christina Lutfi

I help run my family business, my mom owns gas stations I have been helping her. For the past five years. Prior to that, I became a medical ultrasound tech, and prior to that I graduated FIDM and worked in fashion for several years. Tech wasn’t my background, A year ago, ( Feb of 2018) I was in my office trying to order lunch. Read more>>

Will Heck

Growing up in a musical family, I tried my best to steer away from making music. I played basketball, danced, and did everything to avoid it. At the age of 19, I decided to try it out with some friends from Grambling State University in Louisiana. My friends and I had a group called “RTTG” (Rookies to the Game) and needless to say that it was a fun experience. Read more>>

Trevor Doyle

Shortly after I returned from the Gulf War I received my honorable discharge from the Army I wanted to distance myself from that life, I was accepted at the University of Idaho as a Cultural Anthropology student thus began my lifelong fascination and quest to learn more about the world and its amazing diverse cultures. Read more>>

Bren Coombs

I grew up in Fort Worth, Texas and was always involved in visual art growing up. I also dabbled in theatre and choir, but my main passions were art, science, and working with kids. I initially started undergrad as pre-med and I intended to become a neonatologist. I ended up learning about Child Life. Read more>>

Simona Grace

Moms in Office is on a mission to strengthen the political voice of all moms and help elect women with children to public office. Our organization supports mothers running for office at all levels of government through fundraising and endorsements, while our parenting blog provides information for moms who desire to stay. Read more>>

Lebaron Murray

Damn, where do I even begin lol…..Born and raised in the city of Chicago, where I was lucky to realize my talents at an early age. I have an older cousin who I used to naturally copy everything he did because I thought that man was the coolest thing since sliced bread. He did art then so with me looking up to him. Read more>>

Sherry Jones

My story begins nine years ago with my career as a preschool teacher which was the introduction to the world of children, pregnancy, and birth. It was my love of children and desire to gain as many tools as possible to further support the families I worked with through school. That led me to pursue children and prenatal yoga which led to birth work. Read more>>

Hayward Crawford

I am a Filmmaker & Content Producer from Michigan. I work during the day at Verve Talent & Literary Agency and currently reside in Los Angeles, California. I have been creating and working in the video/media field since 2007 and working professionally in the film industry since 2013. Read more>>

Courtney Ellzey

I was going through a divorce with a ten-month-old little girl and a 16-year-old son. I told myself that it was precisely the time to put every ounce of my creative being into building something that was larger than myself. It was time to set an example for my children that out of tragedy, something magnificent and positive can come from it. Read more>>

Grimy Ghost

We found the tape for Kathy Lee Gifford’s “Rock ‘n’ Tot’s Cafe: A Christmas ‘Giff’” at the 99 Cents Store. It was an unsuccessful Christmas ripoff of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse that was so bad that we knew we had to re-edit it. We started out just sending each other re-edits of this one video. Then we were asked to make a video. Read more>>

Celia Garcia and Olga Martinez

I’ve always loved to sew. I loved making my own clothes and after I had kids I loved making clothes for my kids. My daughters would always get compliments on their clothes, their costumes and I started to get requests from people asking me to make them unique pieces as well. Read more>>

Sokhean Chea

I’ve owned a camera for as long as I could remember but it didn’t really become a big part of me till I graduated from university and moved back home. I was struggling to find an engineering job. I sent out many resumes and went on tons of interviews. Read more>>

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