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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.

DeNeitra Burnett

After graduating from Howard University in Washington, D.C. I was uncertain about the direction of my professional life. I signed up for the LSAT and decided that I would take a shot at law school. Did I want to be a lawyer? Not really, but a few of my peers were following that path and I figured exploring the possibility would at least buy me more time to figure “it” out. Read more>>

Jamee Kyson

My story started out with a long stint in academia. After completing my B.S. in biology from the University of Michigan (U of M), I worked in a research lab there and helped discover the gene that, when mutated, leads to a rare form of mental retardation found in the Cayman Islands. Read more>>

Ramon Tumbucon

When I was around five or six years old, my parents told me that I haphazardly pulled dozens of CDs and vinyl records off the bookshelf of my dad’s meticulously organized collection, messing up the alphabetical and genre-sorted order. Read more>>

Haley Ringo

So imagine me, at 14, standing in the middle of the Newseum in Washington D.C. staring at all of the Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs on the walls and getting WAY too emotional in public. For me, this place was a discovery of new ideas, new cultures, and new perspectives. Read more>>

Dessy Di Lauro, Rick Pageot

With their library of original songs, Dessy provides sultry vocals that flawlessly encapsulate the spirit of Uptown’s early 20th Century cultural boom through the prohibition era yet offers a timeless approach that’s all her own. Serving as musical director and pianist/ accordionist, Ric’key is either playing the squeezebox or tickling the ivories with an affable buoyant stride that promotes the infectiously festive atmosphere of their concerts. Read more>>

Krimsey Ramsey

In 2015, I left my Petroleum Engineering career to move across the country and settle in Los Angeles. My mission was to help make plant-based foods more mainstream, flavorful, and accessible. During my first year in L.A., I experimented with with catering, cookbook writing, and pop-up events in hopes of one day opening my own restaurant. Read more>>

Erik Pampalone, Carolyn Pampalone

Naya opened in June 2008. What started as a side business became a passion for helping people. Naya has evolved over the last 10 years but has stayed true to the core beliefs. We are an eco-friendly day spa from the ground up. The materials we used to build out our furniture and fixtures is, as much as possible, recycled from the original building material. Read more>>

Sean Dylan Perry

My name is Sean Dylan Perry, (Yes I have three names). I am an actor, fashion enthusiast/designer and I am an advocate for change. I work to promote body positivity and self-love to create a more accepting society while also bringing awareness to the foster care system; how it could better serve the people in it and how it can reduce the number of kids in the system. Read more>>

Alexia Riner

I’ve always loved music since I was a child. I was singing before I could even talk and started taking piano lessons and studying classical music at a young age. Half of my family is Indian so I was always heavily influenced by Indian music and grew up watching Bollywood movies and singing Hindi songs! Read more>>

Josh Skinner

When I was 12 years old, I appeared on the television show, “The Byrds of Paradise,” which was filmed in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. I caught the acting bug and began dreaming of becoming a famous actor (my backup plan was to become an astronaut). I left Hawaii for Biola University and worked for Disney for 15 years, performing in and hosting shows. Read more>>

Lee Petropoulos

I am originally from Ann Arbor Michigan and I moved to LA when I was 20 years old and am currently 23 years old. I wanted to follow my passion that God put in my heart and which is still in my heart. At first my intention was not so strong and I wasn’t so confident in myself but my heart was ready to learn and grow into the person I am made to be through God. Read more>>

Raquel Vert

Raquel Vert AIA assoc. is the founding principal of Vert Architects .During the past 30 years she has practiced Architecture both independently and with firms los Angeles. Her unique design style was inspired by Frank Gehry and Thom Mayne, Morphosis, where she worked before establishing her own firm in 1998. Read more>>

Sarah Hadley

My father was a museum director and I grew up in the museum surrounded by incredible works of art by Michelangelo, Vermeer, Titian and John Singer Sargent. I was given a toy camera when I was 12 and when I was about 14 I took my first darkroom class and was hooked. Read more>>

Chanti Niven

Dramatic circumstances, a brush with death and three years of blindness ultimately led me to this career that I so love – helping people express their stories and messages in be captivating. I have had a lifelong passion for communication and have studied everything I can on the subject, but I learned more from trauma and tragedy than I could ever have learned in a classroom or in books. Read more>>

Tigran Mutafyan

I was born in Gumri, Armenia. The second city of Armenia that people call the city of Arts and Crafts. The most important thing I have learned from my dad was – “Do whatever you want, but learn the craft and achieve the art of it”. My choice of my future major landed on Math though. Read more>>

Aaron Mliner

At a very young age Aaron knew he was destined to entertain. Leaving his home town of Las Vegas, Nevada at just 20 years old he moved to Los Angeles. In 2011, Aaron co-created a show called “Palapalooza”, a widely popular live show in both the improv and stand-up comedy communities. Read more>>

Rhonda Kap

I was born in Toronto, Canada to parents who loved to draw and paint. The act of creating was valued in my home, therefor I considered my self an artist all my life. My family moved to Los Angeles when I was five years old my after father had passed away. Read more>>

Brandi Aguilar

I am a bonafide L.A. girl, born and raised in Los Angeles (in Santa Clarita). Because of being an Angeleno my entire life, it just makes sense I guess that I became an actress really really young. I guess it comes with the territory when you live in Los Angeles, that your kid, or a friend or family member’s kid, is a showbiz kid. Read more>>

Jackie MacDougall

When I was three years old, my 39-year-old mother died of breast cancer, leaving my dad to take care of my 10 older siblings and myself in the suburbs of Boston. That event alone created this strong idea in me that 39 was the deadline, that’s as long as I would live — being in my 40s wasn’t an option. Read more>>

Dalton Day

To start, I grew up north of Atlanta, GA in Forsyth county. For my entire life I was a gymnast and an athlete and when my family and I moved out to California I had a horrible skating accident that almost killed me. After that while I was recovering in the hospital my dad went out and bought me a guitar and I just took to it and never looked back. Read more>>

Sevag Mahserejian

My upbringing was infused with culture and art. Our house resembled an Armenian museum with its walls decorated and highlighted with paintings, the kitchen always erupting with new concoctions, and the living room alive with melodic tunes. Being immersed in art, in any one of its forms, was the norm. Read more>>

Diana Lundin

When I was laid off as a website editor in 2011, I was ready to step out into photography with all the equipment I possibly needed after acquiring it through the years for my hobby. One thing I didn’t have… a genre to specialize in. I didn’t want to do weddings… so I tried my hand at newborn, family, food and while it was all okay, it didn’t grab me. Read more>>

Jessica Katz

At an early age, I always knew I wanted to do something in entertainment. A native New Yorker, I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in Public Relations/Advertising and continued her higher education at UCF, where I obtained a Master of Arts in Communication while balancing full-time employment with the university. Read more>>

Nazim Chambi

I was born in North Africa, in a country called Algeria. When I was 10 years old, my life changed as I moved from Algeria to California. I lived with my aunt Zahia, who would always take me out to see live music. Whether it was Jazz, native peruvian music, and blues. Read more>>

Meg Dick

Being born into a world of filmmaking and acting, it felt like all I knew. It was all I knew for a while, besides the simple everyday human tasks of eating and walking and shitting. Acting feels as easy as shitting to me. Yeah, sometimes a little constipated but it always came out, whether I wanted it to or not. Read more>>

Svetlana Ghoukasyan

I was 13 years old when I first ran up to my mom and told her I want to be a hairstylist! She tried so hard to change my mind but began to see how much I loved it and was naturally talented with it. So as soon as I got my high school diploma I went straight to beauty school. Read more>>

Brenda Fisher

RSA Entertainment is a partnership of Brenda Fisher and Gina Nuccio. Brenda has a marketing background and Gina came from post production. They met on set while their kids (actors) were working on a film together. They soon realized that they were like minded in wanting to help other actors in the industry and became business partners in RSA Talent Management. Read more>>

Briana Biatto

My name is Briana Biatto and I’m the new Pop Fit Artist. I write my own music that promotes passion, drive, and an uplifting spirit while exercising the importance of a healthy living. My music aspires to ignite people’s drive and teach them how to love themselves. Read more>>

Jill MacLean

I got started as a Pole Dance student in Melbourne, Australia, at a studio called Pole Princess. I started taking classes and fell in love with Pole Dance! I was asked to teach shortly after and began training to be an instructor. I was working full-time in an advertising agency at the time but lost my job (during the recession) in 2007 so decided to really make something of myself in Pole Dance and Fitness. Read more>>

Kenneth Bank

I am a Viet Nam combat veteran who served in the Army almost 50 years ago. At the time I was drafted I was in college studying Structural Engineering at night, working for a Fortune 500 company designing their facilities as a space planner and draftsman, and feeding my soul by singing in a Doo Wop group that had started to become fairly successful by the the time of my induction into the Army. Read more>>

Cameron Radice

Growing up in Colorado, I was always the kid with a camera asking his friends and family to make movies and pose for photos. Something about the craft of story telling through a visual medium was always captivating to me. Read more>>

Kevin Hanjiev

My first interest in music production started in around 2004, when one of my cousins from Germany came to visit and spent an entire summer showing off Fl Studio (music production software) to my brother and I. Read more>>

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