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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.

Vanessa Viola

I’ve always had a thing for documenting life. My dad bought a camcorder when I was 8, that’s when I fell in love with being in front of and behind the scenes. Read More>>

Katrina Haley

I started my journey as an acupuncturist as a patient. I started seeing an acupuncturist for some issues I never had any resolution with western medicine. Read More>>

Dr. Stephanie Higashi

When we took over a pre-existing practice chiropractic office 17 years ago, we found that a high percentage of patients were suffering from complaints that were the result of side effects of multiple, often conflicting, medications from multiple doctors. Read More>>

Joseph Yang

After my Ph.D. program, I came USA and started my acupuncture career and help my clients to deal with their variety of medical conditions. Surprisingly with the traditional acupuncture, herbs, lifestyle changes and even psycho support, my clients are improved dramatically and overall very satisfied with my treatment, I am very happy with my business and hope to help more people in the local area. Read More>>

Eric Schmidt, LAc

I have a background in engineering and worked in the engineering field for about 9 years, At a certain point I realized that engineering was a fine job, but not my true calling. At the time, I was training Mantis-Style Kung Fu in the evenings. Read More>>

Annie Gigliotti

My journey began in Bali, like most epic stories. What brought me to Indonesia was originally a surf trip, however being a compassionate RN and yearning to connect with the community, I started volunteering at the local hospital. Read More>>

Alayna Magnan

During my tattoo apprenticeship, I met Paul, who was a tattoo artist crazy enough to let me practice on him. Over the years, we moved on to working in separate shops, started dating, fell in love, got married, and had a baby. Read More>>

Asher Gottesman

I am the son of a prominent rabbi, the youngest of five kids, with more than eight years between the second youngest and me. (My nickname was “Oops.”) We had a comfortable life growing up on the outskirts of Beverly Hills. Read More>>

Eric Cooper

I’ve had a passion for fitness since the age of 17 when my Mom bought my first barbell set. In 1983, I graduated from high school and moved on to college while working part-time at a woman’s shoe salon in Detroit. Read More>>

Regina F. Lark, Ph.D.

I like to call this story, “My Journey into Junk”. In 1999, I graduated with a History Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. For two years, I taught seven classes at 4 different colleges and universities in the greater Los Angeles area. Read More>>

Diane Collins

I moved to Los Angeles in 1995 at the age of 25 with dreams or “making it” as a dancer, model, performer and to leave the freezing cold winters in Boston. I was fortunate enough to work with My Gym Children’s Fitness Center to create a dance program for the franchise and work as an instructor at My Gym. Read More>>

 Debora Giannone

I remember I had my first film camera when I was 12. I loved taking black and white pictures and still do. I still own a film camera which I use for my own artistic expression. Read More>>

Chelsea Williams

Here are a few things about me: I love photography and filmmaking! I also love kids, animals, mangos and dancing. I love making people feel good about themselves in photographs. Read More>>

 Emily Tonkin

Emily created 30Fifteen with a vision to make women feel confident and comfortable while working out or playing sport. Emily trained as a professional dancer, but when her dance career came to an impromptu end, she turned her creativity to the fashion industry, graduating from FIDM, Los Angeles in June 2010. Read More>>

 Don Le

I wanted to innovate the wedding industry with non-cheesy wedding photos that make your jaws drop. Photos have to make you think and ponder about their personalities, where they came from, and who they will eventually become… together. Read More>>


I’m here to help you ignite the spark of your limitless power so you can start living a life you REALLY love. I’ve helped thousands of radiant, spiritually conscious people like YOU to transform on all kinds of different levels. Read More>>

Kevin Bansley

Growing up, I came from a very athletic family, but I personally struggled a lot with being overweight as a child. I dealt a bit with bullying, compared myself to others and at one point had self-confidence issues as a result. Read More>>

Tania Ranguelova

Our Vision: “Create a healthier society by connecting natural health practitioners to consumers so they can exchange services, share information and educate themselves on the benefits of alternative health care.” Read More>>

Gisella Ferreira

I started dancing when I was a little girl and my passion and love for dance lead me to me to train hard and practice daily. I started sharing through performance and teaching around age 10 and have been doing it ever since. Read More>>

Amy Robertson

I was working on renovating property in Maui in 2013 and 2014 while running a design blog. I’d leave for 2 to 3 months and then head back to LA for a month. I had a deep fascination with the maker world while dabbling in furniture myself. Read More>>

Dustin Conrad

I’m a very creative person who loves movement and loves helping people realize/achieve their greatness. I simply intertwined that with some resistance bands and a very unique exercise program was created 🙂 Read More>>

Chris Tucci

Hungry (Chris) started his personal training business in the Bronx back in 2007 while he was attending college, as a bit of an accident. While he was practicing tennis (he played D1 tennis) in a park, an older man approached him and asked for some sports specific training to help him improve his tennis game. Read More>>

Cricket Wardein

I made a major life shift in 2016 when I decided to say goodbye to a demanding, but cushy, corporate career to truly embrace my passion of operating Mighty Pilates. I went from managing a team of 675 people as the President of the West Coast of the largest privately held marketing agency in the world to managing less than 40 part-time stars. Read More>>

Laurie Lamson (and Jolé Morton)

We are two friends who met through a shared interest in personal growth and commitment to self-healing. Everyone is different and we have the utmost respect for each individual’s free will. Read More>>

 Wandenkolk Olivera (aka Mestre Preguica)

I grew up on the streets of Bahia. When I was 12 years old, I followed an older boy to a Capoeira class and was very intrigued by the art. In that class, I fortuitously met another student who introduced me to Mestre Bimba. Read More>>

Cory Jacoby

In 1980, we didn’t know the first thing about window treatments. We were simply two young kids who just got married, bought a condo that had window treatments and thought we were on our way… Read More>>

Alicia Spillias

Organic String Quartet began with myself and another violinist friend of mine while still in college over 10 years ago. We loved playing together and we both really liked the idea of forming a string quartet to play for weddings and events. Read More>>

Mik Milman

I am an LA native and studied photography locally at UCLA. After graduating I did a lot of traveling teaching English and doing nonprofit work. Afterwards, I returned to LA and began shooting professionally. Read More>>

 Michelle Brown

I was originally a graphic designer and I fell in love with Photography when I took some classes in college. After working behind a desk in graphic design and marketing for a few years, I realized that the life style of working a 9-5 job behind a desk wasn’t for me. Read More>>

Courtney Howerton

I’ve always loved eating and cooking, but never thought of food as more than just a hobby. I went to college for journalism and developed an interest in the fashion world. Read More>>

Doug Ellington

We started Photo-matica in San Francisco over 6 years ago. Doug was getting married and his wife-to-be suggested a photobooth for the wedding. Read More>>

Campbell Jeffrey Wilson

I’ve been playing and making music in some form all my life, but initially opted to go study English literature then Computing back in Scotland. A computer programming career brought me first to London, then to San Francisco over four years ago. Read More>>

Diane Leriche

Our story is a little bit of a love story. Almost 40 years ago we (Daniel and Diane Leriche) met & married in Paris (where Daniel is from). I was working as an Estate Manager for the beautiful Sylvia Krystal (French film star). Read More>>

Kerry Grimes

How did I become a girl geek? Well it was not a childhood dream to enter into the science of technology, I don’t think there are many girls at that time that carried that vision. Read More>>

Michael Lin

I work as a Developmental Kindergarten Teacher at a private school and throughout my time, I’ve come to realize how in the early years, many children don’t have much exposure to positive male role models. If they have nanny at home, it’s a female. Read More>>

Marcia Arranaga

I suppose it’s like most things in life, perfect timing. I invested in a vision that allowed me to provide both women and men with European Footwear that goes that extra mile like they do. Read More>>

Edison Victor de Mello, MD, PhD

The Center’s founder, Edison de Mello, MD, PhD, is a board certified Integrative Physician by the American Board of Integrative Medicine and a licensed psychotherapist by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. He practiced psychotherapy for 13 years before entering medical training and now practices and teaches evidenced- based integrative medicine. Read More>>

Laura Cavallo

I played sports most of my life and excelled on the lacrosse field at UC Berkeley but it wasn’t until my late 20’s that I decided to pursue a career in the health and wellness field. My desire and ambition to help others stemmed from my own personal struggles with pursuing a healthy life. Read More>>

Jared Hughes

A Canton, Ohio native, Jared Andrew Hughes began his dance career at the age of 14, break-dancing under the instruction of Bobby Blaze (of the IllStyle Rockers). Instantly enamored with all things dance, Jared swiftly added to his B-boy talents; learning Ballroom, Salsa, Argentine Tango, Contemporary, Modern, and Hip-Hop. Read More>>

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