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

Kalissa Krejcik

I started cooking in my teens and quickly realized I had a knack for it. I would test recipes and offer cookies and sweets to friends and they would beg me to make more. I quickly started playing with savory dishes and enjoyed that more after feeling like I could explore and be more creative with savory foods. Read more>>

Ayesha Sehra

I started getting asked how I built my influence online and leveraged that into building a sustainable and thriving business in the online space. I have always worked for myself and loved the idea of being my own boss, creating my day. Read more>>

Carson Meyer

I started mixing organic ingredients from my kitchen pantry and created what is now the C & The Moon Malibu Made Body Scrub. In 2016 I moved back to Malibu and became a certified Birth Doula. I split my time between acting, birth work, and building my environmentally conscious skincare line C & The Moon. Read more>>

Lindsay Thomson

A few years ago, my best friend Kim and I were hanging out in the park flying kites and drinking beers when I blurted out something like, “do you want to start a women’s speaker series with me?” We bought the domain for Women Catalysts right then and there. Read more>>

Andrea Valdespino

Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be an artist. Specifically, when I was little, I would say a book author and illustrator. My Father and sisters were/are all very creative. I drew and dreamed about creative things my whole life. I went to the Art Institute of Los Angeles for college looking to peruse and education in illustration, but ultimately took classes in animation and graphic design. I received my degree in animation and media arts. After college, I freelanced as an illustrator, showed at as many LA art shows that I could get into and had a day job as a graphic artist. Read more>>

Danielle Pascente

My goal was to be able to reach more people than just those I train in Los Angeles. I’m creating workouts for people to do on the go, with little to no equipment. The workouts are tough but so convenient! And who doesn’t like feeling like a total badass when they workout? Read more>>

Sheryl Benjy

I started painting professionally 5 years ago. It has helped me heal in so many ways. Now I help others through my artwork. I try to incorporate positive energy and images in my art. I started doing body paintings that I call Body Soul Art in 2016. Read more>>

Harriet Fraser

I started film session work in the summer of 2009 and have been involved with 30 movies and other film/TV/video game recording projects and entered the Los Angeles Mater Chorale in their 2010/11 season and still sing with them. I do oratorio work and also have a trio with clarinet and piano (the European Concert Trio). Read more>>

Niki Nakayama

After finishing culinary school, I began my career at Takao restaurant in Brentwood, working under the guidance of chef Takao Izumida. From there, I worked for three years in Japan at a relative’s ryokan and trained under chef Masa Sato in the art of kaiseki. Read more>>

Hannah Skvarla

We started brainstorming ways to give back, and one of the first things we decided on was that whatever we did, we wanted to ensure it wasn’t limited by geography. In 2013, we created The Little Market as an online platform to share handmade goods with a wider audience so that the talented. Read more>>

Nicole Miyuki Santo

In 2013, Nicole Miyuki took the leap from employed graphic designer to freelance lettering and watercolor artist. She began lettering after her 9-5 job because she needed an outlet and a way to decompress from her long day. Read more>>

Yuko Ebina

Coming from a family of artists, art and design have always come naturally to me. My mother, aunt, and grandmother were artists, my grandfather an architect, and my great aunt, a jeweler. I’ve always been fascinated with jewelry ever since I can remember. Read more>>


Fashion has been interwoven in my fabric since childhood. From humble beginnings to realizing a dream, the fashion ethic in me has grown leaps and bounds, much like the aging of a red wine. This journey has been a great learning lesson which I wouldn’t trade for anything at all. Read more>>

Caley Alyssa Joyner

With how you feel in your body and how you feel in your heart. That’s what drew me to yoga from the world of finance & private banking: the practice helped me to be more compassionate with myself and to listen to my body. Read more>>

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