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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.

Dayane Habchi

A Lebanese American Model based in Boston. I am Currently working in Media and fashion domain. United states of America has opened for me a lot of opportunities that highlighted my roads and created a spaces to do whatever I like to do with no limits. I started with nothing but all I had was confidence and believe. Read more>>

Philip Folsom

I came from a classic heavy pre-trauma background; lots of poverty, single mom and failure. I joined the Army at 17 and came out of that with a load of PTSD and the need to reboot my life and purpose. Read more>>

Laura Hertz

I learned about the struggles of nonprofits to raise funds when I deferred my college acceptance to join Americorps NCCC – a full-time federal community service program that has been deemed the Domestic Peace Corps. During my time in AmeriCorps, I fed and clothed the hungry and homeless during the holidays at the Sacramento food bank. Read more>>

Joanna Vargas

I always say it was a winding road. I went to college thinking I wanted to do photography and moved to New York think that’s what I was going to do. However, as a little girl I was obsessed with products, makeup, beauty and when I realized that photography wasn’t’ the right thing for me, I went to aesthetic school because I thought I would be a makeup artist. Read more>>

Olivia Skuza

My co-founder and I are serial entrepreneurs dating back to our teenage years in Australia. Together, we started two companies prior to NuORDER and sold one of them, a media company in Australia, prior to moving to Los Angeles. In 2010, we were running a digital agency in Los Angeles for premium fashion brands when we came upon the idea for NuORDER. Read more>>

Eric Taylor

Both of my parents are entrepreneurs, mom is an oil painter and dad had rental properties. I grew up watching them both work from home. That was my idea of how you make money, you create something that people want to buy then you go sell it. Read more>>

Robert Illes

First of all, I’m first generation American, the child of immigrants. My dad was Hungarian, having emigrated to the USA in 1931 with his mother and brother. They joined relatives in the farming community of Porterville, California in the San Joaquin Valley. He enlisted in the Air Force at the beginning of World War II, and was assigned to England. There he met my mother, and they were married. Read more>>

Jenny Taitz, Psy.D., ABPP

LA CBT DBT, my private therapy practice, opened last year and my new book, How to be Single and Happy: Science-Based Strategies for Keeping your Sanity While Looking for a Soul Mate, was published this month. After spending more than a decade in New York City, I recently returned back to my hometown and am passionate about spreading hopeful messages rooted in science. Read more>>

Signa Machuca

When I was growing up, my family owned several small businesses. Both of my parents were entrepreneurial, creative and full of energy. I was fortunate to grow up around two people who were happily engaged in their projects and who bonded through their work. I knew that someday when the timing was right, I would follow in their footsteps. Read more>>

David Murray

In 2012, my partner and I were looking to diversify our portfolio professionally with a business model that would be meaningful and exciting over a long period of time. We identified a tremendous opportunity with the inception of Greenspire to “lower the cost of living in a sustainable way”. Read more>>

Celia Polyzou

Born & raised in a small town in Greece, moved to Los Angeles in 2012 to escape the economic crisis. After finishing my graduate studies at USC & UCLA, I decided to pursue a career in music business. Four years later, after striving to maintain a healthy & contributive lifestyle, it was time to exit the corporate world. Read more>>

Brian Masjedian

It all started when I was a sophomore in high school at age 16 (I’m now 21, a junior in college). My father was in the fabric industry at the time. Being the eldest of three brothers, it became increasingly apparent as time progressed that I needed to help ease some of the pressure for my family. Read more>>

Debra Gussin

At 12, I discovered a passion for music. When my mom took me to my first Broadway musical, and my sister took me to my first concert, the music took me to another universe altogether. Although my career would lead me on a journey through television production and the entertainment industry, music was always along for the ride. Read more>>

Shane Middleton

Shane Middleton – Barber/Stylist: 22 year professional. Shane Middleton has spent the last 22 years curating an experience different from of the traditional overcrowded salons and chain chop shops that tend to exist in most major cities. Read more>>

Sarah Jane Inwards

Minnesotan bred and Chicago educated at Northwestern University, I now live in Los Angeles, CA where I am a screenwriter. In 2017, I was awarded the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting for my screenplay, JELLYFISH SUMMER. Later that year, JELLYFISH SUMMER also made the Black List and the Hit List. Read more>>

Nick Mead

I saw a film called “Blow Up” early on and it was a great inspiration as to what to do with your life. David Hemmings basically being David Bailey. Then looking at the holy trinity of working class boys made good through fashion photography, Bailey, Duffy and Donovon, meant that poor working class boys like me could actually go and do something creatively that gave you some kind of voice. Read more>>

Nancy Lawrence

There have been certain key points in my life – quiet events – that influenced me to become an artist and then guided the direction my art would take. These seemingly small moments included my enchantment with a first grade peer’s drawing of a ship. Read more>>

Sean Gordon

Ever since I was a kid, I was enamored with art, detail, and presentation. Photography was something I always played with, even back in the film days. Oh, I’m so glad that’s a thing of the past! No more dropping off film to get developed with fingers crossed that the shots turned out somewhat decent. Read more>>

Hasmig a.k.a. Jasmine Boyajian

Every birthday growing up was a big celebration in my house. It didn’t matter if it was only with family, which meant at least 30 people, or if it was a 100 person sweet 16 birthday party! Life had to include a special birthday celebration for me. Every. Single. Year! Read more>>

Christopher McDonald

With almost two decades of experience, I bring to the table an extensive network of connections and opportunities for both individuals and brands. But it’s not just my network, but the actual relationships I build. Read more>>

Eboni Price

I started directing when I was about 16 years old. I had gotten accepted into a film camp (On The Set Film Camp-Birmingham, AL) and was asked to direct a scene for the short we were shooting. I instantly fell in love with the process and everyone called me a natural. I decided I wanted to recreate that feeling for the rest of my life and help bring stories to life. Read more>>

Kelsey Jones

I was diagnosed with basil cell skin cancer at the age of 19. I loved to be tan and spray tanned at every salon in LA. Everywhere i went i ended up looking orange. I decided to look up the ingredients in these spray tan solutions and discovered every spray tan solution brand was not organic and also contained either beta cerotine or beat extract. Read more>>

Nancy Spear

I didn’t grow up with technology. Joining the workforce after raising our kids, I was suddenly in front of a computer so I know the anxiety my clients feel. I started working at a computer software, gained confidence in front of the screen, and began helping the company’s clients with the basic techniques of the software. Read more>>

Hannah Wang

I’m originally from Sydney and always loved clothes and fashion. I’d spend all my pocket money on clothes and sometimes my rent money as well. I moved to LA in 2011 to travel and have an adventure, and it was then that I realised all my favourite designers were Australian and you couldn’t really get them in the US! Read more>>

Jo Anna Provencher

Being extremely fair skinned and frustrated that I couldn’t get a natural looking spray tan anywhere, and everywhere I went I was either orange, blotchy or streaky, I decided to do something about it. Read more>>

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