To Top

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.

Julia Vericella

I am a slow painter and one day decided to submit my college photographs to an art show on a whim. I was accepted and suddenly had to pick up my camera again and create more pieces for the show. I find photography so freeing. I can take my camera and make art anywhere. I fell in love with photography, and now my favorite thing to do is experiment with new techniques. Read more>>

Kitiya Skye

After six years of working (and playing) in NYC, I decided to pull a complete 360 and move to Los Angeles to pursue the entertainment industry. I just fell out of love with advertising and life is too short not to spend your days doing something you love! I am now a full-time actress who pursues my new career with intense focus and determination. Read more>>

David Shreibman

When I got to LA, things happened fast. I met the choreographers that were working on everything and quickly started to make my mark in Hollywood. My first big job was like a dance double in the Dance franchise “STEP UP.” From there, things took off. From movies to commercials to TV I was working a ton and building relationships in the Industry dance scene while still competing and winning worldwide. Read more>>

Allison Winn Scotch

I got my start as a journalist and freelance magazine writer – in my late 20’s, I really dove into the magazine world, which at the time, was still very much thriving and in its prime. After a few years, that voice in your head that tells you that you should write a book steadily grew louder, and while still freelancing, I banged out my first manuscript… which took me about four years to finish! Read more>>

Bella Bronson

I started working on Bless It Bag a little over a year ago and launched December 15. Bless It Bag™ is in the process of becoming a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Our mission is to give people a simple way to help improve the homeless population’s quality of life. Bless It Bag™ is meant to be a helpful alternative to giving money which can oftentimes be harmful. One dollar per bag goes to a charity of the buyer’s choice chosen from our list of charities that deal with current issues. Read more>>

Eric Bravo

While I was creating this cartoon with Nickelodeon, I was simultaneously working on Google’s Self-Driving Car Project, now known as Waymo. I ended up leaving to travel and photograph the world and eventually settled in LA. Here, I got a job at Lionsgate because I wanted to educate myself in finance in the movie industry. Just last year, my brother and I created our own studio, Bravo Bros. Studio because I wanted to merge my love of animation and the arts together with my passion for business. Read more>>

Marc Dahm

A long, long time ago… I got excited about photography when I took an amazing photo of an old man in Costa Rica (I still have that shot). That single photo was the spark that ignited my passion for photography. I also took photos of the plethora of animals that country has to offer, but I was missing the sounds and motion of incredible moments like when I saw a flock of fifty or so scarlet macaws flying from one lush green rainforest tree to another. Read more>>

Christy Liu

While pursuing a degree at UCLA, I stumbled upon Scratch DJ Academy, a DJ school founded by Run DMC’s late Jam Master Jay. I was instantly intrigued by the place’s energy, so I decided to take a chance and enroll myself into the program. It didn’t take long before I fell in love with the art and culture of DJing. Being part of the academy didn’t only help me discover my passion for DJing, it also helped break the culture barriers I was constantly struggling with. Read more>>

Sandy K. López

I later began to nourish my professional endeavors of manifesting my feelings through art with lots of attention and lots of practice, and now I am honored to say that I can reflect my true visions into a tangible or conceptual piece. Whether that’d be through poetry, fine art prints, photographic editorials or in music, thanks to all the years that I dedicated in manifesting my own alluring expression. Read more>>

Murphy Perng

I pondered over the lack of resources for individuals seeking wine knowledge without having to undertake months of academic study. A year later, I established Matter Of Wine (MOW) to bring fun, educational wine events to Los Angeles. In the past year, MOW has delivered wine education to hundreds of curious event-goers through numerous curated wine events, as well as private experiences. Read more>>

Brittney Castro

When I decided to become a financial planner and attained my CFP credentials, I was ready to take on the world. I started in the grueling corporate life that was predominately male. I worked REALLY, REALLY hard, but something always felt slightly off to me. I was trained to talk AT people rather than WITH them. There was a blanketed “old-school” mentality in the whole industry. Read more>>

Ellie Shoja

I’m not new to entrepreneurship. In fact, I started my first business when I was just 19 years old. When it comes to business, I don’t overthink things. I trust my gut and do what I feel I need to do. I’m of the mindset that I won’t really know if something is or is not going to work until I actually try it, so when I have an idea, I go all out and execute. If it works, great! If it doesn’t, that’s fine too, because now I know. Read more>>

Lloyd Foster

I got my first guitar when I was about 18 and started writing songs. I didn’t think I was much of a singer, but when I finally had at least three songs down, I started doing open mics around the city. That’s when I realized music was something that I was really passionate about. I got such a great response after my first open mic, I couldn’t wait to go home and write more songs! Read more>>

Shantall Prado

I believed that if I wasn’t around, my family would have more money. I felt like I didn’t belong. As I got older, I became incredibly passionate about our economic structure and how it creates unfair practices for the poor. I saw my pain mirrored within the labor rights movement because businesses valued making a profit over the workers’ well-being. In both instances, money was more valuable than life itself. Read more>>

Serena Poon

My philosophy for living an optimal healthy lifestyle is based on integrating nutritional and physical therapy, focused mindfulness and balancing the body’s support system. As my reach/following grew, I realized that it was time to take the leap of faith, put my fears and excuses aside, and start a product line so that I could share with this online community, that same goodness which I have been sharing with my personal community for many years. Read more>>

Adhiraj Hangal

Fun in fashion came from finding inspiration outside and then hunting for that perfect garment in store. I simply couldn’t find what I was looking for most of the time, which prompted me to begin my journey in the fashion industry. I aimed to create a lifestyle brand which consists of high-quality, long-lasting garments, with each piece reflecting a particular experience or mood I’ve encountered. And with that, Roses On Roses was born. Read more>>

Melissa Silva

I come from a long line of creative entrepreneurs in the Fashion and Beauty industry. One of my many influences was my grandmother. Back in the 1960’s and 70’s, she owned a small hair salon in San Francisco. Some of my fondest memories are of my grandparents visiting during the summer. My grandmother would always give my sister and I our annual haircuts outside in our courtyard. Read more>>

Josephine Atluri

Mine was far from a conventional path. It started off in the traditional sense – I graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Public Policy from the University of Chicago and took a job as a management consultant at Ernst and Young, LLP. I worked as a consultant for a couple of years and then decided to take a hiatus from the business world to pursue my passion for cooking. Read more>>

Chloe Jory

My career trajectory has shifted focus countless times in the nine years since, but it’s always involved writing. Today, I work as a writer, poet, and creative consultant in West LA. I’m a big believer in following one’s bliss- Joseph Campbell is my hero- and I like to define my own success by my ability to engage in work that lights me up. In addition to my own creative work, I specialize in editing, story consulting and copywriting for various clients with my primary focus being the Sun Valley Film Festival. Read more>>

Elana Lev, Laura Twersky, and Lindsay Rickel

Elana, Laura, and Lindsay met while working at the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA. Elana and Laura began by working as inpatient social workers, and Lindsay worked in the Partial Hospitalization Program. Through our work at these different levels of care, we became familiar with the resources for mental health services in the community. We quickly identified gaps in services that our patients so desperately needed. Read more>>

Antwuan Hill

Antwuan Hill aka ACE epitomizes integrity in his business partnerships and relationships. The proud son of a truck driver and factory worker, ACE learned very early in life the cost and fruit of true labor. ACE started his early career off as a real estate agent allowing him to fund his own car service business in 2007 procuring his own fleet of luxury vehicles. Read more>>

Lauryn Evarts Bosstick

The Skinny Confidential started nine years ago when I was attending San Diego State University full time, bartending & teaching Pure Barre & Pilates. I rushed a sorority & dropped out five seconds later when I saw what they were charging. They were charging money for women to be part of a community, & I realized there was an opportunity to do this same concept on the internet but do it without the cattiness or the money. Read more>>

Elaine Nguyen and Ali Arena

We would love to discuss how we became the business partners and the best friends we are today! While working at a private clinic, our friendship and knowledge as speech language pathologists grew. We knew we wanted something more and began meeting monthly to discuss our entrepreneurial aspirations. We often ate at JINYA ramen bar in Santa Monica, for anyone who hasn’t been, it is highly recommended. Read more>>

Art Streiber

About two years later, my grandfather sold me and my brother a Canon AE-1 and a 50mm lens for $8. I took black and white pictures at school and developed, proofed and printed them in my grandfather’s darkroom. By my junior and senior year at Harvard School, I was the photo editor of the yearbook and the newspaper and worked at a small camera store in Pacific Palisades called Harrington’s Camera. Read more>>

Bob Eager

Started doing performance shows featuring abstract poetry and strange subject matter. Developed a following after doing a bit about dealing with difficult people using a Potato. It is called the Potato Confrontation. Then started writing for obscure journals such as Stray Branch Literary Magazine, Vision with Voices, Oddball Magazine, Tuck Magazine, Indiana Voice Journal and other publications like the defunct Los Angeles publication Scissors and Spackle. Read more>>

Lorien Haynes

I came to LA in 2009 from London with my 7-year-old daughter and two suitcases. Her dad, my ex, had the lead in a new TV show and he wasn’t going to get back to London to see her. We came out for a month. Nine years later we are still here. She needed her dad. It was the right thing to do. I had been made redundant by the BBC magazine Eve – I was their celebrity editor. Read more>>

Gary Villarreal

Creativity has always been a part of my life. I had brothers that drew, a father that loved music, a mother that cooked up a storm and a sister that burned rugs with her dance moves. All of their passions subconsciously fueled my mind as a child. I grew up in a small town called Bryan, Texas and moved out to Los Angeles to become a Concept Artist almost three years ago. Read more>>

Nina Klein

I took drawing classes at a great art institute close to where I lived. I felt really lucky to have training from incredible artists such as Jeremy Lipking, Glen Orbik, and Richard Morris. During my youth, I received a lot of positive feedback about my ability to draw and paint which encouraged me to pursue a career of it. So in my early twenties, I started to hone in and ardently develop my body of work. Read more>>

Teyhou Smyth

Learning about human behavior and the motives that cause people to act in one way or another has always been a keen interest of mine, thus encouraging me to complete my first degree in psychology from the University of Southern California and following on with a Masters in Sociology from the University of London. I have always had an insatiable curiosity towards hearing what people have to say and learn more about the deeper meaning to the unresolved issues that lie within. Read more>>

Jordi Phi

To learn singing, dancing, and acting surrounded by black and brown students and teachers is something I have never been able to experience quite the same. It was a special kind of magic that set the stage for my journey in the arts. I continued my education at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and that was a whole other world within itself. Read more>>


I started as a small child in love with movement, with rhythm, and with character. I’m still that child, but along the way I lived in NYC, Chicago, and LA, directed a feature, experienced deep physical and emotional pain, unlocked my ability to make music, found my chosen family, and started letting out the artist that had been beaten into a corner by intellectualism, control, and self-judgment. Read more>>

Shivani Honwad

Not knowing what to do with my life at that point, my father convinced me to go to business school to learn some practical skills while I figured out what career path was right for me. My parents not so secretly held out hope that I’d still find my way back to the medical field. Thanks to a nice scholarship, I attended the Stern School of Business at New York University. Read more>>

Sophie Nik

Three years into being a therapist I realized I could help more people and on a larger scale by simply changing my title to “coach” or “mentor.” I quit my job which I was incredibly unhappy at, broke up with my boyfriend, and decided to go to Europe for two weeks – if I was going to transform my life I was going to do it right. Initially, I started out as a Health and Wellness Coach then transitioned into lifestyle, business, and self-love. Read more>>

More in slider