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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.

Cherise Masukawa

My travel website “Cherise and Shine” was inspired by my own passion to travel with a full-time (and non-travel-related) job, and fueled by a desire to encourage young working professionals (especially within the USA) that globetrotting IS possible, whether you get four weeks paid vacation or a max of 10 days off a year. I believe that if you have an open mind to travel where opportunity takes you and are strategic about your plans. Read more>>

Amber Aki Huang

Since the move to Los Angeles, Aki Art has been gaining more and more traction at events and online. Aki Art now focuses on bringing happiness and a sense of wonder to everyday life. I’ve introduced a couple of mascot characters for my brand. The fan favorites are DeerCat, a cat and deer hybrid character, and Snoo, an elephant shrew whose only redeeming quality is his baking skill. Read more>>

Tracey Edmonds

After graduating from Stanford University, I began my career in music publishing and then started Yab Yum Records (which later became Edmonds Record Group), home of double platinum/Grammy nominated artist Jon B. who had several hits such as Someone to Love (feat. Babyface), They Don’t Know, and Are You Still Down? Read more>>

Linda Grasso

When I went to summer sleep-away camp, in the free time, other girls would pay tetherball and sit and talk. I’d be in the cabin sprawled on my bunk bed, writing letters to friends and relatives. So I guess it is no surprise that I would up being a journalist. I’ve worked in every medium. I started out as an on-air reporter and anchor for several news stations—including WNBC in New York and KTTV here in LA—and then I moved to E! Entertainment TV. Read more>>

Kota Paige

I love making music, creating clothes for the stage, designing my own sets and designing “event” experiences. You could say the “chandelier” was my spirit animal. I’ve always loved event and interior design, architecture, music, and fashion. You may ask: what does that have to do with balloons? Possibly nothing. I found balloons to be an intriguing medium. I began to explore their possibilities. Read more>>

Jacqueline Pinchuk

I thought it would be the perfect time for me to attempt a dream I had always desired. I have always wanted to be a writer, but with three under three, I wasn’t in a great position to start writing my novels. I felt like I could commit to a blog post though. My husband has experience with digital marketing and helped me launch my blog. Not only did this solidify that writing is one of my greatest passions, but it also gave me an outlet for all of my mommy joys and woes. Read more>>

Samantha Sellars

I learned that you can paint amazing hair tapestries without compromising the hair’s integrity. This absolutely fascinated me. Once my clientele had grown enough, I took a giant leap of faith and (with the love and support of my husband and son) opened For Love and Hair at Sola Salon Sherman Oaks, right down the road from the school that started my journey. Read more>>

Sabine Dodane

Both of my parents being artists, I was exposed to graphic designers, painters, sculptors, architects, and I ended up pursuing a career in branding and design. I was a package designer for most of my career, but I always yearned to shape what was INSIDE the package, not just what was on it. It was something that was always in the back of my head, nagging at me. Finally, in 2015, I set out to realize my dream and launched my own natural beauty line, Rêves de Sabine. Read more>>

Kamakshi Hart

The beauty of the live theatre experience is the potential to feel connected by those invisible threads that remind our souls that we are so much more alike than we are different. Our true stories awaken compassion, build empathy and celebrate resilience. This is what transforms us and ignites positive change in our world. Read more>>

Jessica I. Morales

My entire life, I was the fixer-upper, but this time, the sorrow fed my despair. I kept hearing the words, “don’t ever let go” and so I never quit on myself. I felt a nudging to go back to school. I knew there was something bigger than me working to put me on the path I was meant to be on. I knew I was in the valley and it was here that I was to make a choice, to be stagnant or to begin climbing out of it. It is where I learned many lessons for living a meaningful life. Read more>>

Lindsay Ravage and Kristin Engle

Tiny Spotlight is co-owned by mom friends and theatre enthusiasts, Lindsay Ravage and Kristin Engle. Lindsay earned her BA in theatre from USC and Kristin earned her BA in Theatre and Dance from the University of Texas Austin. We started Tiny Spotlight after feeling there was a lack of interesting and fun theatre classes in the Valley for their own kids. Read more>>

Karla Silva

I’ve been making costumes for more than ten years now, but I’ve been into fashion and design since I was a child. I started out working on embroidering table napkins with my grandmother when I was five or six, and then I moved on to designing and sewing couture gowns for my Barbie dolls. I was a very ambitious little kid, and I constantly talked about wanting to be a superhuman seamstress-writer-doctor-ballerina. Read more>>

Katie Ludden

Singing and music have always been big parts of my life and a source of great comfort through its various seasons. I grew up singing in groups and choirs, but after college, I was left in a place with no real outlet for it anymore. I also got married and became a mom of three in the years immediately following graduating, so my time was understandably taken by other very good things. Read more>>

Arthur Mogilevski

I actually started off in sales and marketing. I was working for a remodeling company and had different odd jobs out of college that entailed going door-to-door and setting up appointments. That experience taught me about adjusting to different environments and making people feel comfortable. Those early years really gave me a lot of tools on how to connect with people. Read more>>

Jingjing Cao

I’ve always loved to draw and paint ever since then. I was soon inspired to be a visual development artist in the game industry after our purchase of an old PC. I spent countless time on PC games exploring the parallel universe. Eventually, it had lead me to pursue design and illustration as a profession. I’m eager to create characters with a story for my next favorite game. Read more>>

Genna Rosenberg

Among my proudest achievements was having created their employee and corporate giving program, JAKKS Cares, under which I directed over $60 million in toy donations over the 12 years I was there, and solidified my long-standing relationships with Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, Operation Smile, The Toy Industry Foundation, Women in Toys and Los Angeles Community Leaders. Read more>>

Jill Fleishmann

After moving to the Valley in 2001, I became a SAHM. I have an art & business background, graduated from FIT in NY and worked in the fashion business. After a brief stint in the music business managing an old friend’s career, I randomly entered the KCRW pie contest. Although I did not win, I became obsessed with making pies. Read more>>

Rachel Burnstein

I was learning how to properly weave in Chicago, and I fell back in love. I immediately changed my major from Fashion to Textiles and became immersed in weaving, sewing, and sculpture. After a few years in Chicago, I decided to move to Oakland to study at CCA with master weaver, Lia Cook. While enrolled in the textiles program at CCA, I started weaving on their TC-1 computer loom and began creating woven sculptures and installations. Read more>>

Joshua Walker

I discovered my talent and passion for acting and other arts in college, and that was when the spark was lit. Upon moving to Los Angeles four years ago, I created The Social Renaissance Project with my good friend Avery Archie, a media production company that creates video content dedicated to raising awareness on societal issues in America. I have always been a champion of the people. I know what its like to be mistreated for being who I am. Read more>>

Tracy Lefebvre

I wanted to fill that gap by creating a line of products designed specifically for women; one that meets the needs of the modern female cannabis consumer and that reflects their feminine tastes but also pays homage to the classic designs of the sixties, and to the women who began the fight against the stigma of cannabis use. Read more>>

Roberto Carlos Zea

I grew up in a small cave in Los Angeles, near the La Brea tar pits; there I was exposed to painting from ancestral art left on our walls. Growing up I learned hunting skills, and how blood looks when it spills; such life lessons I apply to my art on a ritual daily. As an artist, I may still paint walls alike my descendants, but I prefer canvas and mixing my paint from within my man cave. Read more>>

Amber Krzys

Dance was my escape. It was the place I felt the most whole, free and alive. If a classmate picked on me, or a guy dumped me, or the cool kids shut me out, I could find refuge in movement. My passion ignited, and I was clear I was destined for Broadway! Little did I know the pain that would accompany that path. The pursuit of my dream brought with it an obsessive desire to be perfect— Read more>>

Shivin Grover

Director and Creative Producer would be the best way to describe myself. My films revolve around human struggles set in visually stylized worlds, created to take the audience on a cinematic journey. Born into a blessed family in Mumbai, India, I have been drawn to the entertainment industry since my early childhood. I spent my early adolescence on film and TV sets as a child actor and quickly found my fascination with this industry. Read more>>

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