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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.

Vanessa Richardson

I grew up around music, art and the entertainment industry (TV, feature film/movie and music video production), thanks to my father who has been a musician & singer, a visual artist and a film producer and editor. My family always supported the arts heavily and I grew up with a passion for art and strong appreciation for artists. Read more>>

Harris Martin

As a child, I would blast cassette tapes from the stereo in the living room. That little Sony stereo introduced me to extraordinary artists such as Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Aaliyah. I would always ride my bike to Eckerd’s and buy the latest R&B single on cassette. Read more>>

Charles Sherman

I find joy in each moment of artistic creativity. As I build and connect one slab of clay with another to make a sculpture, the creative process becomes an act of love. Art is not a noun. The essence of art is that it is a verb. It is a creative act of the holy trinity: materials, artist and Divine energy; each has its own direction and personality and all come together in the artwork. Read more>>

August McLaughlin

Like many people, my sex education growing up was limited and prohibitive. I remember learning a few good things about “male sexuality” but nothing positive whatsoever for gals. I left the classes feeling curious and frustrated. Because sex is such a stigmatized subject, I quickly found that asking questions didn’t lead to helpful or strengthening answers. Read more>>

Nikki Herrera

I got started essentially 17 years ago, when I started my personal training career, learning how to work with women specifically. Fast forward about 10 years ago, where I started developing a real connection to what I was doing and really investing into proper mentors honing in on what I was good at teaching (proper movements) and falling in love with the relational part of what I do. Read more>>

Madison Watkins

Thank you for having me, Voyage LA! I am Madison Watkins. I grew up in a small town in the state of Arkansas where following your dreams was something no one ever talked about. I remember hearing a quote when I was young that said “I didn’t see anyone’s life that I wanted growing up, so I had to dream of a life much bigger than I had ever seen.” Read more>>

Mike Essa

As a child, up until now even, I watched cartoons religiously. I was obsessed with Garfield comics and I would always have my folks buy sheets of onion paper for tracing. For a long time I would trace Garfield until I started to just draw him based off memory. Read more>>

Melissa Tasslo

I am a Peruvian-Spanish actress. I grew up in a small town in the south of Peru called Arequipa. I grew up with both cultures because my grandmother is from Spain so I consider myself Peruvian and Spanish. I love acting since I can remember but because there are not acting schools in my city I thought I wouldn’t be able to pursue it. Read more>>

Ralph Garman

Then, after over 18 years, KROQ-FM in Los Angeles, unceremoniously dumped me from the long running “Kevin & Bean Show”. Frankly, this shocked me, and outraged many of my long-time listeners. I was reaching over million listeners a day on KROQ-FM, and my long-running podcast, HOLLYWOOD BABBLE-ON, had reached more that 25 million listeners on SoundCloud alone. Read more>>

Marissa Rachel, Shanna Lisa

Marissa and I started making YouTube videos for fun several years ago. We were very inspired by Elle & Blair Fowler, who were two sisters who were popular on YouTube at the time. We liked the idea that it was something we could do together as sisters to spend time with each other. Read more>>

Jason Cho

I was born in Texas, but grew up all around the Midwest: Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, and now I live in California. I was bio pre-med once upon a time, but graduated with a degree in film studies and screenwriting from The Ohio State University. After graduation I spent a few months at home helping out with our family martial arts school. Read more>>

Sarah Ingram

Grassroots Yoga began in the Summer of 2015 really more as a hobby for me. I had a corporate 9-5 cubicle job at the time that I was very happy and comfortable at. I had a strong home yoga practice, and friends began asking if they could come over and follow along. Read more>>

Dale Edward Chung

In 2002, I quit my corporate 9 to 5 job to pursue music as a career because I didn’t want to die thinking “What If?”. Eventually I was hired by a band called Con Funk Shun. They had several hit records in the 70s and 80s and I grew up listening to them on the radio and watching them on American Bandstand, Soul Train and Solid Gold. Read more>>

Cynthia Tizcareno

I always had a passion for art, and I knew that I wanted a creative career. I decided to pursue a career in Graphic Design. I graduated from California State University, Northridge with a Bachelors degree in Art, emphasized in Graphic Design and a Bachelors degree in Psychology. Read more>>

Darwin Chang

Darwin came to Los Angeles straight from Tokyo. He moved to Japan after growing up in New Jersey and finding it lacking in things to do. He speaks Japanese and Korean fluently. Darwin has two passions in life: Acting and Travel. Read more>>

Scott Randolph

All I ever wanted to do was travel- I bought a house in Arizona in 2006 with dream of flipping it and traveling the world. The market crashed, I guess thats what I get for signing the papers on 06/06/06. I moved back to Los Angeles and started a business where I invented a workout towel with a velcro pocket. Read more>>

Nan Rae

My journey is one of sheer serendipity beginning with seeing Monet’s collection of wood block prints in his home in Giverny, France. I was so enchanted that the natural step as a western artist was to delve into the complex and intriguing world of Chinese Brush painting along with the refined Japanese Sumi-e style. Read more>>

Rita Earl Blackwell

An animal lover my whole life, I found a way to help homeless animals with my camera. I am both passionate about photography and animal welfare. I began photographing dogs for local los angeles shelters and rescue groups in hopes of helping them find forever homes. Read more>>

Shannon Ggem

I am so lucky, I came to Interior Design from the construction side. I supervised large remodels and became knowledgable about the critical path and sequencing that way. I saw clients suffering (and making bad decisions) because of the timing stress. Read more>>

Jordan Freda

This is a super condensed version of my journey that unfortunately lacks so many interesting details. I started my journey in digital media at a fairly young age. As a 16 year old I was playing with cameras and analog/digital editing programs teaching myself and pursuing my passion for directing. Read more>>

Leah Devora

I started all of fashion designer and as a graphic artist I’ve been a lot of things create a void in my life and I like to fuse everything all together I also did a lot of sculpture and work and multimedia installation before moving to LA from New York. Read more>>

Laura Berens

I’m originally from South Dakota and grew up in small-town America. I was always a competitive athlete and loved fitness, but in high school my focus was on singing and dancing. In 2003, I moved to LA to attend music school and pursue my singing career. Read more>>

Mary Farah

Growing up throughout California, I always loved writing and reading, especially magazines. As I grew up and we had the rise of the internet and bloggers, I’d always think it would be awesome to know what the heck a “blogger” is and how to do it. Fate intervened when I met my friend Jamie at a Christmas cookie exchange party in 2011. Read more>>

Ashley Foster

At a young age, I was always drawn to the metaphysical and magical side of life. I never grew out of it really. One day, I visited Psychic Eye bookshops in Sherman Oaks and got an amazing and enlightening tarot reading from Megan. In the reading, she had some amazing things to say about my future. Read more>>

Corinna Schutz

Like most, the first one happened in high school. But, unlike most, it wasn’t with the quarterback— it was with a camera. From the moment I watched my first photo develop in the darkroom, I was hopelessly hooked on photography. That love led me to amazing opportunities across the world— the Brooks Institute of Photography, high-end portrait studios, digital teching and more. Read more>>

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