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Mid-Wilshire Inspiration

The heart of our mission at VoyageLA is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of Mid-Wilshire’s (and K-Town, WeHo, Mid-City) finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool.  Check out the area’s rising stars below.

Katherine Vallera

Ever since I can remember, I dreamed of traveling the world, but everyone else told me it would be impossible to pursue as a career. So instead, I pursued the second most impossible career, enrolling in a music program to study instrumental performance. When it was time to graduate, I decided to stop listening to everyone else and start listening to my heart. So I accept a position to teach music in Bangkok. Concurrently, this happened during the early days of Facebook, not long after the “like” button was first introduced. Read more>>

Amber Wilson

After graduating college, I worked as the nightlife editor for a local magazine. Part of my responsibilities included writing about the latest restaurants, nightclubs and upscale events throughout Los Angeles. I enjoyed role tremendously, and it inspired me to eventually launch a blog that covered the culinary, nightlife and social landscape within L.A. and other travel destinations. Managing a blog is like running a marathon, rather than a sprint. It takes patience, commitment, self-discipline and a lot of perseverance. Read more>>

Sheena Walker

For over a decade while working in the beauty industry, I was on a mission to find the perfect long-lasting liquid lipstick. I had exposure to almost every brand you could imagine as a beauty store general manager, cosmetic department manager, buyer, account executive, and freelance makeup artist for multiple lines. Most brands didn’t offer them at the time, and the majority of liquids that were available would tend to dry out the lips, flake, or have limited color assortments. Read more>>

Courtney Rackley

I don’t remember not producing stuff: playdates, game nights, girl scouts, camp counselors, reunions, art shows, readings, parties, plays and then the minute I turned 15, I started working in management. My earliest memory of painting is in kindergarten. Initially, I wanted to be a cartoonist, but by the time I applied to college I was into writing and performing, I double majored at NYU in theatre and broadcast journalism including a minor in Photography. Read more>>

Yvonne Elmasri

I would have never gotten to where I am today if I had not failed miserably in my past… After owning my own financial company that was very successful, working for myself and making tons of money I was then overnight broke and humbled when the economy crashed in 2008. I lost everything including my pride. Now, I look back on all of that which would have been considered my “break down” period and I am so thankful it happened. Read more>>

Dr. Robert Joseph

Started residency in 1995. Finished in 1997. Began practicing in Beverly Hills in 1998. Saw the need to realize podiatry was actually treating the whole body. After developing minimal incision procedures, I realized the need for people to get back to work or exercise. Justin Norris was my trainer at the time and with him lost close to 75 pounds. When physical therapy was increasing in co-pay, I would discuss to Justin ways for people to workout without jumping on their joints. Read more>>

Stasha Washburn

I’ve had horrifically painful periods my whole menstruating life. I tried everything western medicine knew (some experimental stuff too), and nothing worked. I was a dancer and relied on my physical excellence daily. It was a really tough battle. After retiring from dancing, I taught fitness classes. Having bad periods during those times was excruciating. I wanted a career that didn’t depend on my ability to drug myself into standing up during my period. Read more>>

Justine Wentzell

As I mentioned, I’m a native Angeleno and grew up in Torrance. Funny enough, though I had traveled to many places around the world, it wasn’t until I moved to Nashville for a little bit, during and after law school, that I learned to really appreciate LA and where and how I grew up. I suppose you could say this about a lot of countries, but it always amazes me how different each part of our country can be, and the South is no exception. As much as I love the South for many reasons, it made me miss and appreciate the incredible degree of diversity I grew up with. Read more>>

Jing Niu

I made my first few films in high school with my rowdy friends- artsy films that used images like words in a poem. We’d stay up all night exploring with our camera. I love the process of birthing something fresh and powerful into the world with the people who speak my creative language. I used to produce a video for major magazine brands, but now I direct narrative films and music videos full-time. I have an undying passion for celluloid. Read more>>

Joe M. Han

I moved around a lot growing up, but a big part of my adolescences was spent in Centreville, Virginia. I knew some older kids who were going to college for dentistry because it was the ‘easiest in the medical field’ that would please their parents. So I thought I was going to become a dentist for a while. My family and I moved back to South Korea in 2008 after the market crashed. The experience was truly a culture shock because I grew up in the States for most of my life, despite being a Korean citizen. Read more>>

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