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Inspiring Stories from The Valley

The heart of our mission at VoyageLA is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In recent weeks we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of West LA’s 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 Valley’s rising stars below.

Mandy Levin

As far as the desire for a clear path to grow my career and my business… I love math and a checklist. I love rules, do this, and you will get that. I wasted a lot of time and frustration believing there was a clear path, a road that a young actor gets on and if I stayed the course, I would move up the ladder to bigger and better parts. Read more>>

Morgan Danielle Day

I decided to start my own crystal jewelry business to help and share my passion with others. There are literally millions of crystals, and I’m constantly falling in love with a new one. One day, my best friend called me “Crystal Bae” and I thought “Yes, that’s me!” “Crystal Bae” is now the name of my business! Read more>>

Dre DiMura

I grew up in New Jersey. Both my parents were artists, so I was always encouraged from a young age. I started with painting and theater, I put up my own plays in the basement and developed a passion for writing when I was very young. There was always a guitar around and my mom showed me a few chords when I was little, but I didn’t start playing seriously until I was 12. Read more>>

Dani Stacy

When things don’t work out the way I planned, I have to remind myself that this is just another lesson and to push through. I try to learn from my struggles and celebrate my mini-successes even though it’s really tough to do sometimes. Read more>>

Shayne Eastin

It was about the theatre of it all for me. The performance. The storytelling. This was all very small, but incredibly important as far as being able to return to the stage and screen as an actor and a writer. About six years ago, I regularly started attending a playwriting workshop in Frogtown… and that’s really where I found my place. Read more>>

Resmine Atis

Dazzling colors and beautiful handicrafts of all kinds were everywhere all within this giant labyrinth. It was magical. I dreamed of bringing these gems to the United States to share the experience with everyone and began the journey in 2012. Read more>>

Martta Rebekka

Everyday I’m growing and fighting my own battles to be brave and bold. I recently got back from Finland, where I spent the last year while my visa process was going on. I got to spend time with my family and friends and recharge my batteries for the challenges that lie ahead. Read more>>

Victoria Gold

I have loved weddings ever since I was five years old and watched Father of The Bride for the first time. My whole life I wanted to be a part of the wedding world but I did not pursue it immediately. I went to Indiana University and studied Journalism. I found myself consistently opting to take the Photojournalism courses. I even studied abroad in Paris and took photography courses while I was there. Read more>>

Nefeli Makridou

I took every piece of advice and constructive criticism from my mentors and used it to improve and make myself proud. Right now, I am back home in Cyprus for a while, planning my big return to LA, as soon as I can, to continue doing what I love the most. Read more>>

Charlotte Makala

After taking several bites of the big apple, I had found my groove and managed to book shows off-broadway and witness my first American television debut on The First 48 as a Police Officer. My groove gave way to a hustle that stepped in the direction of Los Angeles. Read more>>

Alex Gonzales

A couple of years later, I was given the opportunity to Dj at the FitExpo LA for a fitness company called Piloxing. Since then, I’ve gotten to mix their music for their choreography routines in the US and International. In 2016, I was invited by Piloxing to Dj their FIBO event in Cologne, Germany and got to perform in front of thousands of people. Read more>>

Noor Molvi

I am one of those people that always knew exactly what they wanted to do. From age nine, I knew that I wanted to be a fashion designer. I interned with fashion companies and worked retail throughout high school and college with the goal of eventually owning my own business. Read more>>

Felipe Fraga

I started playing drums at the age of nine back home in Curitiba, Brazil. Soon after, I started learning classical percussion at the Music and Fine Arts School of Paraná and had the chance to perform with a variety of classical ensembles. In January 2001, I relocated to Chicago and spent the next 12 and a half years there. Read more>>

Karl Artis III

About eight years later, and I’m still dancing and more… I’ve branched out into teaching and choreography and have picked up additional skill sets like music production, DJing, modeling, and fitness to help support my efforts and grow as a well-rounded entertainer. Read more>>

Lucas DiFabbio

I’m a producer, I started making beats in 2009 on GarageBand and continued making beats through college where I started using a program called Reason. In 2014, I graduated from college and started taking music more seriously traveling to different events in Atlanta and Philly to attend beat battles. Read more>>

Derek Frank

I’ve been fortunate enough to play in touring bands with Dancing With The Stars, Aly & AJ, Victoria Justice, Mindi Abair, The Boneshakers, Shania Twain, Air Supply, Shakira, Daniel Powter, Gwen Stefani (my current gig), among many others. In between the touring, I’ve done a lot of studio work and played in countless independent/local bands around LA. Read more>>

Caitlyn Chen

I came to the U.S. in 2013 for college right after I graduated from high school. I did not know what I wanted to do so I chose a major that’s practical which I thought would provide me with a promising future. Time went by, and I did not think much if that was where my passion lies. Read more>>

Teresa La

When we look at success, it’s usually portrayed in a linear way — we always see the highlight reel. There are so many ups and downs — both daily, and over time, wins and losses but the exciting part is the process of navigating it until you finally get to where you want to be. Read more>>

Jimmy Love

I’m the kid that didn’t know who he was, his worth, or what he was capable of. I wish I could say that it’s all over, but I feel like it will be a never-ending process (praying it’s just gets easier). In Christ, I’ve learned more about who I am. All the strength I’ll ever need is in Him. Read more>>

Rachael Ferrera

I discovered meditation, yoga, energy work, and metaphysical healing. I was fascinated! I kept reading about this healing modality called Reiki, and every time I saw it in a book, it was like there was a little pull on my soul. It was calling me. I had to know more. I became certified as a Reiki practitioner, and it changed my life. Read more>>

Jayson Crothers

By the time I graduated I’d shot around 60 shorts and one really bad feature, but all of that experience was invaluable. I was getting ready to make the move to LA when I was accepted to AFI, so I spent my first two years in LA there, which was an incredible time. Read more>>

Paige Bridges

I used my creativity towards building a beautiful family. However, when my family moved on to their own lives, I decided to find my art again. Luckily, I wondered into a wonderful community of “my people” at the Barnsdale Junior Arts Center in Hollywood. Read more>>

Jesse Avila

Paladin Shield is a 3-piece indie rock band based in the outskirts of Los Angeles. The project first emerged in 2015 primarily as a chiptune band, using hacked Nintendos and Gameboys as instruments within their songs and live performances. Since then, they have evolved to adopt influences from other genres such as shoegaze. Read more>>

Favor Valentine

For several years I was an urban pop singer when I made an indie hit called ‘Run Back In Time.’ However, I recently crossed over to R&B where I recorded the song “Commander In Chief,” which remarks about a woman calling the shots in a relationship. I also finished an R&B/rap song called ‘Mad,’ which the Millennials are going to love and understand due to the edgy lyrics. Read more>>

Brennen Perry and Anna Tregurtha

The first eleven shows were curated, set up, lit, installed, and documented by myself. I had assistance from the artists, but all our shows are day-of affairs, meaning set-up and install all happened in about five hours or less! It was a huge help just to have one other person working with me once Anna joined “the team”. Read more>>

Dakota Adney

Film school is the easy part. There is a roadmap: a list of classes you must take, guest speakers to learn from, and a group of peers who are just as excited and ambitious as you are. The tough part is after school; it’s “every man for himself.” Everyone from school goes their own direction. Read more>>

Moira McFadden

In a visually driven world, I consider myself exceptionally lucky to be standing at the intersection where art meets activism; as the producer of two LGBTQ+ films, the current Development Coordinator at Outfest, and a non-binary identifying actor, I know first-hand the power of film to affect change. Read more>>

James Mullany

My passion for music started at a very young age from listening to the classics my parents played around the house. Some of these timeless artists included The Beatles, Earth Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, and many many more. While my mom initially tried forcing me into learning piano, my twelve-year-old self thought drums were a much cooler option. Read more>>

Addie Dobson

I founded Farish Productions in 2016. My company was named after my great aunt, Addie “Farish,” who was the first woman to work in a man’s job in Alabama. I wanted to implement her legacy and tenacious attitude into my video production company. Read more>>

Ricci Bester Adams

This was the birth of this blog and the different projects I have. To help other parents, no matter what situation you in, just be that awesome parent. I cover everything from food to organization to cocktails. Also to show parents, you aren’t the only one going through it all. Read more>>

Ramond Takhsh

I wanted to do something more here in Southern California –to help educate the world about our people and its rich history/identity (both the best of times and the worst of times), and to build a sense of community in our people here in Southern California through social events, public outreach, education and so on. Read more>>

Gary Thomas

It was my high school choir director, Craig McGaughey, who encouraged me to take private voice lessons and study on a collegiate level. I received my bachelor’s degree in Theater Arts from Eastern Michigan University, and shortly after graduation, I decided to move to the west coast to pursue my dreams in entertainment. Read more>>

Morrisa Jeanine Elliott

It is beautiful now that I look back because I was able to apply my motto of “writing is a lifestyle” to write myself sane into better mental places and imagine better situations for myself in this new environment. Overall following your true purpose was never told to be easy. Read more>>

Partha Unnava

My team and I saw an opportunity to impact healthcare by going directly to consumers, and to provide cutting edge products that can not only bring preventative care to the masses but do it in a cool and culturally relevant way that makes the care feel good to the consumer, both physically and emotionally. Read more>>

Stephen Spencer

I started specifically in music production and composition with an early background in visual arts. Once I arrived in California, I had a strong urge to create more visual art. I started exploring that side of my creative expression and ended up starting an art collective – Block & Dough. Read more>>

Ifeyinwa Eze

You can’t have a business without investment. I invested so much time and products into my business. I kept promoting my client’s pictures, and my friends would also help me promote all over social media. When I came to college, my business expanded even more. Read more>>

Andy Vargas

Recording many Spanish mixes helped get the attention of Carlos Santana and led to an audition which landed me a position with the band on the Supernatural world tour 20 years ago. I have been the lead vocalist for several years now, learning from so many amazing musicians both in the band and through musical collaborations with artists like Patti Label. Read more>>

Sharona Nomder

Being a strong woman can intimidate other people, it took me some time to understand that it doesn’t belong to me. I don’t need to decrease or to shut any of my qualities or my personality to make someone else like me better. I am who I am. Read more>>

Rocio Gonzalez

My goal is to help the community feel connected, to feel rejuvenated, heal with foods, inspire them with positive words, and with movement. I am passionate about changing the dynamics of the Central Valley, we should have healthier options to choose from. We shouldn’t have to drive to bigger cities to be exposed to more healthier options. Read more>>

Monica Vallero

Her sensitivity, intuition, and experience, brought her to have a lot of success with her clients all around the world, in English and in Italian. So now she makes magic not just on screen but in real life too, shattering all the fears and blocks that prevents us from getting a healthy and happy life we all deserve. Read more>>

Harley Wallen

I think as a director I’ve become most known for being an actors director… As an actor, I really enjoy transforming and really becoming my character. I’m very proud of my team, I work very hard, and I keep a high pace, and they are doing an incredible job hustling to keep us rocking!! Read more>>

Terrence (TTGOTIT) Terrell

I’ve always had a performing arts background from elementary school. But in 2010, I was studying Accounting at Southern Illinois University, and my best friend (Prince Pierre) and I thought it would be a great idea to upload a video online of us rapping over Gucci Mane’s “Freaky Girl” beat. Read more>>

Liz Melton

I am the creator of The Intelligent Influencer. I encourage entrepreneurs to run efficient businesses so that they can do what they do best–create. I started this service to assist creatives and as a creative outlet for myself. My focus is on optimizing productivity. Read more>>

Renee Kester

Today, one year later at age 26, I am completely back to dancing without having lost any flexibility. I am grateful to still be traveling the world performing, teaching, and choreographing doing what I love. Throughout this difficult journey and recovery. Read more>>

Joshua Lehmer and Paul Meza

We met while working as medics in an ambulance. Joshua reminisces, “Long days spent working in a stressful environment in close quarters with the same person… you’ll quickly find out if there are similar values and goals.” Paul adds, “Fortunately, we both knew from Day one that being co-workers were a good thing.” Read more>>

Lucas Miranda

So after finishing High School, I decided to do my BFA In Radio and TV broadcasting. During college, I started working at the University as a Studio Assistant doing jobs like Camera operator, Switcher Operator, Audio mixer, Editing, so that’s how I discovered that I really love being behind the scenes. Read more>>

Arthur Moore

I didn’t wanna die with accomplishing anything. I started doing stand up then moved to LA. I’ve worked every job including PA for many TV movies and music videos and learned a lot. I attended The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, after graduating I’ve been full time. I’ve been in LA five years now….. Read more>>

Andre Forrest

I created a dance team with the university and with my team, won a state-wide competition. I also worked for a couple of local magazines, one fashion and one general interest, as a photographer and photo editor. I moved to Los Angeles in 2015 in which I attended New York Film Academy. Read more>>

Alexa Pellerin

I think it’s about finding a balance and not stressing over things we can’t control. I took a break from acting over the course of the last year and a half, but I am getting back into it now and am also proud to say that I booked my first SAG commercial which is running on TV now and I will be shooting my first feature film in June. Read more>>

Sandra Gutierrez

Sandra Gutierrez is a Colombian actress who has been gracing the American screen since 2016. Having graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy with a BFA in theater, she quickly set out to make her mark in Hollywood. Read more>>

Jesse Lomeli

Started a company when I was 19 with friends, we played backyard parties. Then I went to work for a big company. After that, did catering for two years. Decided that wasn’t for me. So I started my company six years ago. I have been able to support my wife and five children. Read more>>

Camilo Castro

I developed my love for the arts later in life. I was pursuing an Engineering degree while taking Computer Graphic classes here and there. I decided to take one of their drawings; drawing for engineering. It was there when something started clicking for me, even though it was quite technical. Read more>>

Bridget Stokes

I knew I wanted to direct a film in my first semester of college. Throughout my childhood I was drawn to theatre, the visual arts and writing over and over again, but it wasn’t until I took an “Intro to Modern Culture & Media” course that I realized I could bring my passion for stories and drama and art together as a film director. Read more>>

Marsha Stonecipher

When I started working with Emmett I was the bookkeeper then sales and now I’m the owner. I love my job; I love the customers. Everyone has a story some good some bad some happy some sad, but we do our best to help out whatever the situation is. Read more>>

Kat Manos

I’ve been a music fan for as long as I can remember and started regularly going to concerts when I was 15 years old in 2005. In high school, I had a pretty popular blog where I wrote about all my concert adventures and aspired to be some sort of writer and published author. Read more>>

Cassandra Lane

As the managing editor of L.A. Parent since 2017, my career, real life, and passions have merged to create a perfect day career. I get to work with a ton of L.A.-based writers and edit and write stories that have to do with parenting, education, and culture in this beautiful and complex city. Read more>>

Emily Andrade

Styling soon led to other ventures such as selling vintage wholesale to local shops in the Silverlake area — an effort that turned into co-founding a vintage pop-up called Boa & Silk. Boa & Silk brought me to wonderful vintage and craft markets across SoCal, and I fell in love with the sense of community — Read more>>

Kenna Hummer

I’ve always known I wanted to be in the beauty industry. When I was younger, I’d visit my sister at the salon she worked at (she’s a hairstylist) and I always LOVED the energy.  I started looking, and found a beautiful little studio with a great view of the hillside and Channel Islands. I’ve been here for about a month, and have gotten nothing but positive responses from my clients! Read more>>

Aathira Rajeev

My heart was, however, in dance and the arts. I continued to dance in my university and got promoted to dance club president, all the while without my knowing. I got selected in one of Bollywood’s biggest reality dance shows. I told them, and they were happy yet cautious, barely allowing me to rehearse. Read more>>

Alison Mann

As a wife, I continue to seek personal growth to help myself evolve along with our relationship. As a mother, I know now what it means to be selfless, that perfection is just a word and to cut myself some slack. As an entrepreneur, I try to create positivity and change where I think I can make a difference. Read more>>

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