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West LA’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 West LA’s gems below.

Christine Kellogg-Darrin

The first time I got on stage, I thought I would throw up, pass out and possibly pee myself. But then once the scene started, it was like I felt this intense focus and energy carrying me somewhere completely unknown. For the rest of that day – and days afterward – I noticed random strangers were responding to me differently. I was suddenly taking in the world and interacting with it in an entirely different way. And that hooked me. Read more>>

Tobia Sempi

I started shooting music videos and experimental short films and eventually moved over to shooting commercials.
For the past couple of years, I’ve been trying to work more on narrative projects, and I am hoping I will be able to balance my work between long-form narrative projects and short-form commercials. Read more>>

Cole Medders

One of my favorite excursions was to Patagonia, where I spent four months traveling across Argentina and Chile with nothing but a backpack, a kayak, and a tent. During this time, I also climbed the two highest peaks in the western hemisphere, Denali and Aconcagua. Read more>>

Moana Schwertsik

With certifications in CranioSacral and Polarity Therapy, I learned techniques to ease pain and tensions deep in the connective tissue. My personal experience with these techniques has been phenomenal, my pain is actually gone. Now, as a Board Certified Polarity Practitioner, my intention is to support you in your journey to better health with result oriented bodywork. Read more>>

Tiffany Renee

I’m where I am today because even when no one believed in me, I always did. Allowing myself to trust my own process and never letting anyone’s opinion validate me is what kept me going. Modeling is only the beginning of my journey to success. I will use that platform so that I can stand into my own light and inspire other people to do the same. Read more>>

Jen Bilik

I started Knock Knock with the desire to write and design at the same time and to create products that had fun yet substantive editorial content in not-necessarily-book formats. The early 2000’s constituted a marketplace moment when there was very little voice-driven product; instead, newly ascendant big-box retailers were targeting a lowest common denominator. Read more>>

Katheryn Sanchez Ortiz

For me telling stories started as a game, as a child, creating characters that embarked imaginary adventures was my favorite hobby. Later on, I will discover one of the biggest treasures, my dad’s video camera. This finding took my ideas and stories to a different level. With it, I had the power to show those stories and reflect my ideas to others and for me, that was very powerful. Read more>>

Nakeyta Moore

Moving to LA was the best decision for my career. The talented minds and creatives that make this city flourish have opened doors and helped me expand while refining my brand. I can’t say if LA is the last stop for me, but finally, my nomadic spirit is at peace. Read more>>

LaSpeaks Volumes

It’s still quite unreal that I’m even at this point. If you asked me ten years ago, I would have never seen myself on stage, I would have never seen my words and work influencing and impacting people’s lives. I started off writing for myself, expressing feelings I felt I couldn’t reveal to my family. I used it as therapy. Read more>>

Venus Lau

Becoming a fitness & movement expert was so obviously my path, yet I didn’t see it coming till the middle of my career. But isn’t that always the powerful lessons in life? Simplicity and listening to your instinctive strengths. Read more>>

Han Lu

Everything starts with all the music videos I have watched when I was a kid. I can’t help but fall in love with this kind of media form, where you can make full use of moving images to present your emotion and imagination. It doesn’t have to be a complete story in music videos. Read more>>

Nicolas Borromeo

As a musician, I always like to push myself and explore new territories. That’s why two years ago, I made the decision to follow my childhood dream of composing music for films. That urge for pursuing by deepest vocation led me to move to Los Angeles two years ago. Read more>>

Christina Twomey

Artists face a lot of challenges, as there is a real reason why we hear the term ‘starving’ frequently. The time and expenses incurred in creating beautiful art is substantial, and for emerging artists without name recognition, it’s hard to break even, or make a profit at all. Art, for most, is a labor of love. Read more>>

Barry Schwartz

I make art because I can’t help it. However, as a creative entrepreneur, I have to please clients, and the goal, always, is to please us both, no small thing, but I believe that attitude helps me get more clients. Businesses thrive on repeat and referral clients – any business, not just art. Read more>>

Matthew Kenney

I’ve been devoting my life to plant-based cuisine for almost 18 years, and my entry point was during a time where hardly anyone was interested in pursuing this type of culinary experience. Vegan cuisine was just not prevalent in the restaurant industry from a trendy or upscale perspective the way it has begun to be today. Read more>>

Lisa Citore

I believe this is the next evolution for humanity. We’ve spent enough time trying to fit in. Rather than waste so much energy suppressing what makes us unique, we need to be finding ways to share our freaky genius with others. Because we all need each other’s gifts. I need yours. You need mine. Read more>>

Rachel Kapp

Launching my podcast, Learn Smarter; the Educational Therapy podcast was definitely a huge challenge. We were deeply passionate about this project but figuring out the technical issues of podcasting, how to structure episodes, creating a podcast website, and advertising it was overwhelming. It took us nine months from conception to launching! Read more>>

Yi Lin Zhao

No one expected that I would discover my love for theater when I was about 12 years old through musicals (it’s kind of embarrassing, but the first musical I watched was Cats), also because of my training in music, I became extremely fascinated by this form of art, and I somehow just knew it’s what I’m going to do in the future. Read more>>

Julian Javor

My flying is 100% volunteer, from operating expenses of the aircraft to my time involved with coordinating and flying the missions. To date, I have flow 104 animals to safety. Pilots n Paws has brought so much purpose to my life in aviation. Prior to working with Pilots n Paws, flying was very self-serving. Read more>>

Nicole Sciacca

I love helping people come alive in their own skin. Whether that is through the practice of slowing down and paying attention to their breath, moving their joints in a way that stimulates blood flow and articular resilience, building strength on their own terms, or just laughing at the hilarity of life on this planet. Read more>>

Jacob Patrick

I love that my artistic journey is an ever-changing organism that in times flows smoothly and in others can be rocky and extremely challenging. Through whatever it chooses to teach me, I am extremely grateful to have story be what consumes most of my life because I truly believe it can change the world. Read more>>

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