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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.

Suzanne Lanza

How did Blue Ladybug start? Well, it sort of started by accident. I modeled and acted from a long time and when my daughter was born I took a few years off to just be a mom. When she started kindergarten, I started to get a bit restless. And coincidentally a friend was starting a new company, Blisshaus, and asked me to help with her social media. Read more>>

Marisa Caichiolo

I have a degree in Art History, curatorial studies and Psychologist. I moved to LA from Argentina at the end of 1999, to work as an artist for Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures on movies like “Rugrats go Wild” and “The Wild Thornberrys Movie ” The animation world was my first introduction to the city of Los Angeles. Read more>>

Anne Marie Dubois

I have a degree in Bussines Management and after working for a couple of years in a investment company, and filling super unhappy an unfulfilled with what I was doing, In 2015 I took an Image Consulting course that change my life. After a week starting the course, I quit my job and started my entrepreneurial journey. Read more>>

Christine Chang

In 2007, I had moved back to California after spending just over a year in New York. It was my birthday and my mom generously gifted me an SLR camera. I COULD NOT PUT THAT THING DOWN. I photographed anything and everything! My photographer friend Conway showed me the basics of how to use it, and then I took photography classes at Santa Monica College. Read more>>

Emma Hall

We are a small non profit that began as a vision of how to connect people of faith to their community in a way that is active and loving- and we wanted that mission to be so clear that it was in the name. Every document, application and receipt comes stamped with the idea that we first formed around: “What does it mean to love our city?” Read more>>

Courtney DeLaVega

Prior to founding Neat Edit, I worked at a large ad agency and started noticing a shift in the post production industry. Agencies were starting to build post facilities in-house to better control budgets, timelines and creative; but the agency creative teams there still wanted to use out-of-agency talent and get the client experience they got from outside vendors. Read more>>

Horacio Rodriguez

I grew up in Los Angeles and starting at a young age went to a lot of museums and art shows. That exposure created a fascination with painting, illustration and sculpture. I was also a big movie, animation and comic book fan. As a kid I gave drawing and painting a try. Unfortunately I found out rather quickly that I had virtually no drawing skills. Read more>>

Carmen Dixon

I’ve worn a number of hats in my life. Raised by my mother and grandmother in Maryland, I was the first in my family to receive a college degree. And as a Yale University graduate with a B.A. in Economics, a steely work ethic, and expert listening ability, my career began in finance back east. Read more>>

Augustus Harper

I’ve wanted to be an artist as long as I can remember. When I was five years old, my mom took me to Lacma and started my adventure. It’s always been the dream that I worked for. But it’s pretty cool that I now find myself traveling the world doing the thing I love. Read more>>

Bruno Miotto

After I graduated from the University of Turin in Semiotic on a thesis project on Mulholland Drive, I worked as an art director in advertising for 3 years in Milan, Italy. That time allowed me to discover my passion for storytelling and films, so I decided to move to Los Angeles to study filmmaking at the NYFA. Read more>>

Djeneba Aduayom

I began my life as a performer. I was touring around the world as a back up dancer for artists. While doing this I lived in many places like Paris, where I am from, NY, Amsterdam, London and now LA. I also studied interior design when I was living in London. A few years back I sustained an injury on a tour and had to have a hip and knee surgery and this put a halt on my career very abruptly. Read more>>

Ami Hongo

I started my career in accounting, basically the polar opposite of the fashion world! I have always been fascinated by the fashion industry and was yearning for a creative outlet while working in the financial world. I knew breaking into the regular women’s wear market would be challenging as the market is so saturated, so I decided to target a niche market. Read more>>

Jillian Ferry

From a young age I knew that performing on stage is what felt right. My journey as a performer started when I began Irish Dancing at the age of five. I loved entertaining and bringing a spirit of celebration to every place I went. The electricity I felt when being in front of a crowd stayed with me. In high school I began to shift my focus from dancing to singing. Read more>>

Sophia Banks

I got my start as a celebrity stylist and quickly became involved in the fashion world – working with Priyanka Chopra, Kylie and Kendall Jenner, Shay Mitchell and so many other fabulous and wonderful individuals. Later I started my own fashion line, worn by international celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Katie Perry and Drew Barymore. Read more>>

Stacia Vinar, Sarah Whipple

Our story is pretty simple and straightforward, but inspired! We first met working at a renowned furniture store in West Hollywood called DIVA. We were two like-minded women who appreciated fine arts and design in similar ways with different backgrounds. Read more>>

Aleksa Mara

I studied Liberal Arts at the New School in New York City. Liberal Arts is an opportunity for someone who doesn’t know what they want to focus on, to explore various fields. I knew what I loved and what I didn’t, but I still graduated after 4 years not knowing what I wanted to “do.” I kind of felt like I wanted to do it all. Read more>>

Hayden Wheatley

I’ve been that weird kid that was always hustling and being ridiculous for a long time. Traded Pokemon cards on the playground in elementary school, bought and sold textbooks in high school, and even asked for a cash register for my 9th birthday (and used the heck out of that thing!). Read more>>

Cam Kashani

I am known as the “Godmother of Silicon Beach”. I am a highly sought after transformational and mindset Coach, an Expert Speaker with US State Department, 3 time founder, and single mom of twin boys. I’ve worked with 4000+ Entrepreneurs and 700+ startups and I’m on a mission to humanize business. Read more>>

Mianya Ong

My career has actually been pretty unconventional up until now. I grew up around LA, in Gardena to be exact, and attended the California Academy of Mathematics and Science (CAMS) instead of my local high school. We had robotics, as opposed to football. Math books with word problems, instead of numbers. Read more>>

Jenna Gilmore

Before starting Your Social Statement, I had an online clothing store that was failing. Yep, I said it. I was failing and unhappy but I knew going back to 9-5 was not an option for me. By chance I found a business coach on Facebook, and something inside told me to reach out. Read more>>

Kate Savage

I was born in Sussex, England, and from the age of three was raised between the Hudson Valley and Greenwich Village, New York by two visual artists: my father was the painter W. Lee Savage and my mother is the photographer Sally Savage. I’ve always been a bit of a day-dreamer. Read more>>

Christopher Raymond

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. Both of my parents are musicians, so music was something I was constantly surrounded by while growing up. I began playing piano and drums at the age of 5. I then picked up guitar, bass and clarinet about 2 years later. Read more>>

Kiaundra Jackson

Born and raised in Compton, California, Kiaundra Jackson came from a city where poverty, drugs, and senseless gang violence was the norm. Her parents attempted to protect her from as much as possible but was unable to hide the negativity that was manifesting in their own household. Read more>>

Joubin Manoochehri

My wife and I are avid candle users and always have had one burning in the home. What we did not realize was that not all candles are great to inhale. We knew what we liked in a candle and so begun our candle making journey. We wanted to create a luxury candle that was clean burning, sustainable and vegan. Read more>>

Bryan Ricci

I grew up in rural Upstate New York and have always painted. I attended art school in New York and moved to LA after a visit in 2000. In 2010 received my MFA at Otis College of Art and Design. I’ve been working professionally and teaching art since. Read more>>

Chad Gerber

I began pursuing music at an early age studying classical guitar, forming bands, and sneaking into concerts in Billings Montana. I then started touring himself and performing around the US at the age of 17, then shortly thereafter moved to Los Angeles where I began working with R&B artist Aloe Blacc recording demos, EPs, and other various projects. Read more>>

Matthew Swanlund

After working for major, traditional law firms for 15 years, I felt it was time to venture out on my own. I wanted to pursue my own entrepreneurial interests by building a law firm that was focused on protecting and promoting creative businesses, artists, entertainers, designers and other creative professionals. Read more>>

Jeff Zisner

As a senior in high school, my student council was faced with having to redesign our yearly festival due to an abundance of security issues. I started researching and fixing the problems one by one and we ultimately had a fantastic festival. I then applied those skills to my first job out of high school as a security guard. Read more>>

Molly Levin

I grew up working in fashion, I was a buyer for by 22 years old. I got burnt out on retail and really wanted to take the next step. I started working for a top stylist, I have never worked so hard in my life. It was such amazing experience and I learned SO much. Read more>>

Peter Abraham

I came to UCLA so I could be as close as possible to Hollywood. I threw myself into the film business, even before I graduated, and eventually focused on producing TV commercials. I spent 20 years producing commercials, with some side ventures into making movies. Read more>>

Szilvia Campbell

I attended a vocational high school in Hungary (where I’m from) and received a degree on ‘How to Run and Operate Small and Medium size Businesses’. I did not attend collage but after high school I enrolled in a one year program at my alma mater & I got a high level degree in Foreign Trade Dealing. Read more>>

Lenka Wallace

I was born and raised in the Czech Republic. While I was in college, I visited the United States for the first time and fell in love with California. It was a short visit though, and soon I had to return to finish my Master’s program. Once I graduated, I moved to the US permanently. Read more>>

Marcos Sanchez, Luke Sanchez, Lex Sanchez

Paradise Saints is a pop/soul trio based out of Los Angeles, California. The group is composed of three brothers: Marcos (vocals), Luke (bass) and Lex (guitar). All three brothers have either created or participated in various musical projects but at the end of the day would always find themselves reuniting in the basement of their Colorado home to play and write music together. Read more>>

Ashley Frey

I was fortunate to discover Dr. Masaru Emoto’s book The Hidden Messages In Water which talks about Dr. Emoto’s water studies which demonstrated the powerful effects of placing our intentions towards water. Dr. Emoto took 2 bottles of water and wrote love on one and hate on the other. Read more>>

Peter Karas

Well, it started with a feeling I would get every time I enjoyed a movie; it’s like something inside of me would light up after I left a theater truly entertained. I’ll never forget the first movie I ever saw. My uncle and mom took me to see Junior, an Arnold Schwarzenegger film in which his character becomes…pregnant. Read more>>

D. Supreme Richardson

I came from Boston to LA under a contract as a solo artist and end up working with Universal Records after some 4 years in 1990 I left and started managing other artists as Supreme Entertainment about independents I left LA on family business and left my partner Hector to hold down operations in the branch office and came home back to Boston… Read more>>

Jill Mott

I’m Jill Mott, the founder of SheSquad LA. I started the group because it can be really tough to make new friends as an adult! It seemed like it was a lot easier when we were growing up and in college, when there were just automatically lots of like-minded people around us with common interests and similar things going on in our lives. Read more>>

Espree Devora

I always knew I was an entrepreneur, I just didn’t know that’s what it was called. Walking through Westwood Village where I grew up I would look at empty office spaces and daydream what businesses I would put in the vacant spots. These fantasies started at 7 years old so cartoon merch were some of my initial ideas. It’s hard to believe I even remember those daydreams. Read more>>

Joanna Honeyman

Art has always been a part of my life as far as I can remember. When I was five years old, I won a drawing contest at my school and I think it was a moment of awakening even way back then! Read more>>

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