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Inspiring Stories from West LA

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 West LA’s rising stars below.

Jamiah Hargins

I founded an organization that hires re-entry citizens and veterans to build and maintain vegetable gardens on residential and commercial spaces. It began when I was expecting my daughter, and began thinking about what the city has available to feed her. Read more>>

Susanna Young

I have been a lover of stationery, cards, journal writing and all things paper for as long as I can remember. About five years ago I casually started making greeting cards for myself and my girlfriends, and then had that cliched Oprah ‘aha’ moment when I realized this is exactly what I’m meant to be doing. Read more>>

Paul Ameller

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an Astronomer. However, my parents pushed me to play a musical instrument from a young age; at six years old, I therefore picked up piano, which I hated. If anyone was to tell me music would become my calling in life, I wouldn’t have believed it. Read more>>

Batsheva Frankel

All through my childhood, I wanted to be an actor. I performed in community theatre throughout high school and then went to NYU’s drama school, where I realized that I also loved directing. With thoughts of becoming a film director, I started working as an assistant film editor at a trailer house in NY. Read more>>

Sharon Naim Ourian

While in law school, I worked part-time for a test preparation company called TestMasters, where I took on a multitude of responsibilities, from creating marketing materials to booking facilities for live classes, giving seminars about the program, hiring employees. Read more>>

Kaja Nelson

Growing up with a learning disability dismantled my confidence. When I moved out to LA in my late teens, I came without a sense of purpose or a clue what I was capable of. I was working at a pub in Santa Monica and my coworker was the first person to ever tell me I had something to offer in music, aside from my mom. Read more>>

Colleen Konowitz

My career as a makeup artist was planted as a small seed twelve years ago, but at that time I had no tools or trust to grow it into what it is today. In 2006 I had just moved to LA with my now-husband, Alex Konowitz. He was taking classes at the Los Angeles Film School. Read more>>

Dahvi Shira

I originally began my career in celebrity news, which was a dream coming out of college. Long before social media took over the world, being a celebrity journalist was quite the coveted career path. I worked at E! for two years, followed by People for four years. Read more>>

Annie Mitchell

As a small child, I would make paper doll scenes and tape them to my big sister’s door when she was out on dates because I missed her so much. Her being nine years my senior, she left home for good when I was ten and I felt my first heartbreak. The next few years were some of my hardest. Read more>>

Ajia Munns

I was created with a twin but born alone. Coming into the world was a miracle, born in Cleveland, OH. At the age of about eight, I began my superstardom on the stage at Prospect Elementary School doing plays and holiday productions. After spending my first nine years in Cleveland, I moved to Dallas with my siblings, mom and new stepdad. Read more>>

Mitali Perkins

When I was born, I made headlines: FATTEST BABY EVER BORN IN KOLKATA! I was huge, hardy, and healthy, especially compared to the smaller, thinner babies born in that city and throughout India. Maybe that’s why I’ve always wanted to do something to serve children with less privilege. But how did I land on writing fiction to fulfill that mission. Read more>>

Alexa Ayaz

It all started with a test in high school to determine what our career should be, and to me the only thing I felt that I was good at or made sense to me was music. It was my escape from reality sometimes. I felt like I never really fit in in high school, and this is where I felt I belonged in a sense. Read more>>

Cansu Ozyurek

My musical journey started when I was eight years old in Turkey. I spent my whole school life in conservatory and after graduating, I started working in this state theater orchestra as a violinist. My life was great but easy and I wasn’t completely satisfied. Read more>>

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