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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.

Tessa B. & Shaina W.

After our own individual transformational births, we both felt the undeniable drive to become Doula’s officially. Within our own birth stories, we realized the importance of knowing your options, making empowered decisions and knowing that our bodies were created to birth. We started formama with the desire to partner with women through their most sacred journey. We know the importance of having a team that supports, empowers, and guides you through this season is invaluable and we wanted to be that to other mamas, Read more>>

HunOuk Park

Born in South Korea, I started playing the violin and piano at the age of six and spent my childhood in Russia and England in hopes of pursuing a career as a classical violinist. After graduating from the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music in London as a violin performance major, I traveled throughout the UK, Europe, and South Korea, performing concerts with some of the most talented musicians and developing a huge passion for orchestral and chamber music. Read more>>

Tayley Shewmaker

I was born and raised in a small town outside of Kansas City, Missouri where I started dancing at the age of four. I have the best parents I could ever ask for. They have always supported me and pushed me to my fullest potential. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. My mom knew she wanted to put me into dance classes and once she did, I never stopped. Once I took a couple of classes, my parents knew I meant to dance. There was a spark in me that everyone saw. Read more>>

Hunter Richling

When I was five, my family took a trip to Big Bear, where my father taught me how to draw blue birds. I haven’t put a pencil down since; though, nowadays, it’s usually an iPad pencil. Since then, I’ve added many notches to my artistic tool belt, but I get the most enjoyment drawing with charcoal, in a black & grey style that has influenced my professional career as a tattoo artist. When I was in high school, a friend of mine was starting an apprenticeship at a local shop. Read more>>

Rotem Alima

As a kid, I grew up in the countryside of Israel, Hollywood, and making movies seemed like they could exist only on a different planet. Luckily t I was always one of these kids that used to daydream and believed they could do anything – so I did. I started my career when I was 16, I produced a short movie for my high school assignment, and this movie got to a film festival; I was sure I had reached the top of the world, and the moon and Hollywood were waiting for me. Oh boy, I couldn’t be more wrong. Read more>>

Wanda Soileau

I was a dancer doing Dinner Theatre in Ohio and I always loved vintage shopping so I would shop during my days. I became friends with a shop owner who was having trouble selling vintage where he was. He gave me boxes of wonderful clothes and jewelry to sell and that’s how I started. I sold to store owners in LA and eventually opened my own store in Studio City. I sold at the PCC flea market as well as Rosebowl shop meet every month. Read more>>

Chance Nichols

I was born and raised in Nixa, Missouri. When I was three years old my grandpa showed me the movie The Mask starring Jim Carrey and after that, I became obsessed with trying to make people laugh the way I laughed at that movie. I played football and did theatre all throughout school and when I realized (pretty early on) that I was no great athlete, I decided a career in entertainment made the most sense. I did my first stand-up comedy open mic at age 18 the summer before freshman year of college. Read more>>

Scott Yahraus

After college, I began working in commercial real estate brokerage and then moved onto development. Within the next eight years, I had built and sold two businesses. I later went on to purchase multi-family assets for a large entity and transacted dozens of properties. When I burned out and it was time to move on, the company had amassed 75,000 multi-family units nationwide. At that time, I was approached to manage receivership cases at Receivership Specialists under my own flag. Read more>>

Marianna Trofimova

I started my fashion modeling career as well as fitness in Moscow Russia in high school and after graduation from the University of Humanities with a Bachelor of arts I moved to the USA to pursue my career and got to where I am now, doing much more than just modeling! Very happy for my achievements and success! I play in the movies, walk the red carpet, host events and even more. I opened a fitness club, I became an NPC bikini master and got a few more licenses in beauty and health services. Read more>>

Neeltarni Pratap

I feel like my life has been a little odd as out of everyone around me I was the only person who didn’t believe in myself. I had always been fascinated with acting as far back as I can remember but I didn’t pursue it from the beginning due to self-doubt and hesitations and a lot of other reasons but my parents always pushed me to do what I like. When I’d share my college and major choices with them they’d always tell me to focus on what I want to do and not what would work. Everyone but me had an unwavering belief in me. Read more>>


It seems apparent that I was predestined to be in music. I was actually born to my dad’s own music playing in the delivery room; an instrumental song of his called ‘Spring,’ which is pretty amazing given I was born in the spring. Then growing up, I used to listen to cassettes on my walkman religiously; mostly my dad’s album that he’d made just before I was born and bands he had been in. I am so fortunate in that my dad was and is truly a top-talent musician and I had someone right in front of me living the reality of pursuing music and watering that inspiration in me. Read more>>

Carrie Diaz

I’m disrupting what it means to get dressed. What we wear informs who we are and either hinders or supports our health, life and business. So I help people open their closet to unblock EVERYTHING with Outfit Psychic energy readings. The world believes clothing is superficial when it’s actually the strongest way we communicate to each other. It’s different, I know. Because we are so used to digesting clothing, fashion, style, whatever you call it separately from our physical health, our mental health, our business life. Read more>>

Kyle Wickware

I started singing when I was in middle school for musical theater and choir. After my senior year of high school in 2015 I transitioned from doing choir and theater to recording my own vocals. Halfway through my sophomore year of college at San Francisco State, I transferred to a Recording Arts Program at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo to begin my education in music outside of my own projects at home. After moving to Portland in 2018 to be closer to my brother and find a music scene, I continued my music education at Portland Community College in their music program from 2018 to 2019. Read more>>

Eejoon Choi

I’m an illustrator and designer based in Los Angeles. My family moved from Korea to America when I was just one year old. Because we spoke Korean at home, there was a bit of a language barrier at school. The easiest way for me to make friends was through shared interests such as TV shows, K-Pop, and video games. This naturally led me to become friends with the quiet kids that drew in the back of the classroom. Seeing my friends bring their imaginations to life inspired me to start drawing myself! Read more>>

Yasmine Wahab

Well, I started my career by accomplishing my biggest dream at the time – working in the entertainment/studio industry after graduating from college. I landed a job at Paramount Pictures working on marketing campaigns for some of the top releases in the non-theatrical arena then made my way to overseeing all theatrical marketing campaigns in Canada followed by working at Warner Bros where I managed marketing for home theatre releases. Read More>>

Rachael Gerstel

When I was a senior in High School my mother, Mary Jane, was diagnosed with Stage VI Ovarian Cancer. During my freshman year of college, I developed an eating disorder as a means to cope with the pressure of school, a need to be perfect, and to find control in the uncertainty of my mother’s health. She passed away my junior year. I went on to graduate from Point Park University with a BFA in Musical Theater and Dance, and moved to Los Angeles to further my career. Read More>>

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