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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.

Amber Wyche

I was born in Philadelphia and grew up with a strong sense of family and was taught the importance of a strong work ethic at a young age. I knew fashion was my calling, so at the age of 17, I moved to Los Angeles to study at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. During my time at FIDM, I began interning for a celebrity stylist where I worked my way up the ladder in the industry. My styling portfolio includes names such as Mary Mary, Christina Milian, and Niecy Nash. Read more>>

Cassidy Ratliff

My mother and father were pregnant with their second child and prayed God would bless them with a little baby girl. What my parents might not have anticipated for was such a headstrong, funny, confident little baby girl, who had no problem speaking her opinion. Looking back and pondering how Cassidy became Cassidy always brings me to the same conclusion. I was blessed with two parents who have been constant examples of what loving unconditionally looks like. Read more>>

Giselle Torres

I am a Mexican-American actress, singer/ songwriter, composer and dancer. I was born in NY and raised in Miami, FL where I started pursuing this career at age two in my mom’s theater company and ever since then, I knew this was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Growing up, I was in over 30 musical theater productions including community and regional theater. My whole life has always been performing and entertaining. Read more>>

Michelle Avery Konczyk

Most of my life has revolved around creating, it’s the only way I know. As a child, I would spend my time locked in my room making paper sculptures for my family or writing scripts and painting backdrops for plays with my friends. My art began to grow more seriously through the years as I reached high school. I was the student taking as many art classes as I could squeeze into my schedule. Read more>>

Josh Golombek

I sat up on my knees as two stagehands dressed in all black pushed Princess Jasmine and I around the stage on a rolling carpet. In the central valley of California, 5th grade Josh had caught the performing bug in his community theatre production of Aladdin. I fell in love with performing on this magic carpet in Visalia, California, and I’ve never stopped performing since. Read more>>

Vonzell Carter

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in the DC Metro area, as well as Georgia. I remember, as a kid, playing outside for hours on end, pretending to be my favorite Power Ranger or character in an anime, fighting against the powers of evil. To be honest, I was still doing that in my teens, when it didn’t seem as cool to do so. But I kept at it. I imagined worlds. I created characters and powers for those characters. I wrote their stories. Read more>>

Charli Wilson

Growing up, my grandmother was an amazing cook and at a young age, I spent many days in the kitchen with her and my mother. We made many different recipes, and everything was made from scratch and was made fresh. Spending time in the kitchen was sacred. It was a time to connect with family, share stories, and learn family recipes that had been passed down through generations. These were the moments that laid the foundation for my passion for cooking. Read more>>

Amber Alston

I started out helping my cousin who is a successful hairstylist in her workplace when I was 12 years old. She would show me how to make wigs and how to sew-in hair extensions. I caught on really well. So well that one day my mom asked me to do her hair. I sewed in my mom’s hair extensions and then her girlfriend asked me to do hers and before I could blink my eyes, I had a neighborhood clientele. By the age of 15, my front porch was set up as a hair salon. Read more>>

Kami Vanous

I am a professional photographer based in Littleton, Colorado. I live here with my amazing husband, our two gorgeous littles and one crazy-cute rescue mutt named Jake. I grew up by the ocean and still have saltwater running through my veins. I never feel more alive than when I’m on a boat or the beach. I love dogs, babies, music, coffee and creating beautiful things. Read more>>

Taylor Taylor

I was raised by a single-mother in Lansing, Michigan. I listened to a lot of John Mayer and Avril Lavigne growing up. They inspired me to ask my mom for guitar lessons. I started lessons when I was eight with a flamenco Brazilian jazz musician and got voice lessons shortly after. My first time performing was at one of the music lesson showcases and my mom heard that I really could sing. She then became my manager. Read more>>

Varun Agnihotri

I’m a singer/songwriter, guitarist and a producer. I was born and raised in Indore, a small city in central India. I’m a first-generation musician in my family. I was that one weird kid whose head would never be in what’s being taught in a class at school, rather I’d keep looking at the watch, waiting to go home and learn that next Hendrix guitar solo. My first memory involving music would be when I was around 6-7 years old. Read more>>

Johanna Mendoza

“Inspired by Jo” began with a text, a dream, a God-given vision. I remember my cousin and I would have very in-depth conversations via text at the time she was living in the bay and I was in LA working many jobs for different marketing companies. I remember saying to her “I want to Represent God, God’s love and hope for our future. I want to inspire young girls and women. To show them that when they stumble and feel they’ve failed, it’s not over. Read more>>

Bradley Nnadi

As an immigrant family from Nigeria, I started my journey in Virginia Beach, Virginia. At a young age (6) I was hit by a car which led me to be immobilized from the waist down. Life for me walking was close to impossible. Seeing the saddening reactions of my mother Christy Nnadi, drew me to take my rehab lessons seriously and work hard to feel the muscles in my lower body. Read more>>

Teresa Lebron

I am a native New Yorker who back in 1998 ish noticed the bicoastal lifestyle needed to change. By 2000, I moved out to LA taking my then Dance career in the Contemporary realm to full-time opportunity in film, television, and world travel. While on tour or breaks in between dance jobs, I often studied Yoga to help with body maintenance as well as getting a sense of grounding and feeding my spirit. Read more>>

David Schatanoff, Jr.

I moved to Los Angeles in 1997 from the small Central Pennsylvania town of Hollidaysburg where I was working as a movie theater projectionist. I had always loved the movies but had gravitated toward music through high school and eventually wound up studying classical music performance at the Mason Gross School of the Arts. While I was in school, I watched my first DTS Digital Audio movie in the theater; which was also my first THX Certified theater experience. Read more>>

Ramani Leah

I started out as a theatre student turned film student. I didn’t know much about filmmaking, nor did I think I had much to bring to the table. But I knew the acting community incredibly well. I became the “go-to” casting girl and eventually decided it might be the route to pursue. It took over a decade of climbing up the ladder/paying my dues, but it helped to create a foundation of knowledge and confidence in the room that I’m proud of. Read more>>

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