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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.

Lina Alvarez

I was born in Medellin, Colombia and moved to the states when I was 18. Even though my parents were both lawyers they expressed a deep passion for Art and Culture. Growing up my mom was an art collector/dealer and I believe this is why I was drawn to art since I can remember. Read More>>

Lauren Faretta

I opened this studio because I wanted to improve the happiness in myself and in others. I was not a trainer, life coach or even a business owner. I was and still am an aspiring artist. Read More>>

Cary Williams

The Too Pretty brand was created out of my experience in a male dominated sport: Boxing. As a fighter I was told often that I was Too Pretty to be a boxer. Read More>>

Steven & Jennifer Lieberman

I am from New York and my wife is from Miami. We both have extensive restaurant experience and decided to open our own pub in Santa Monica in 2009. It was a tough time in that year but the mixture of Craft Beer (my passion) and chef driven Farm to Table Food ( me and the wife), we were able to cut out a nice business for ourselves, Even though we are near tourist central in Santa Monica, we are the locals spot. Read More>>

Mike Bocek

I became a fan of music initially through pop and hip hop when I lived in the Bay Area as a kid. High school gave me an introduction to rock & roll, and by college I was delving deeper into the original artists from back in the day that influenced and shaped the music of present day. Read More>>

Wyvetta Taylor

I got started doing makeup because I was unemployed after college. No one wanted to hire an English major so I had a lot of free time. One day while I was on the internet I saw an ad for a makeup school. Read More>>

Maycon Carvalho

Maycon Carvalho is a black belt third degree who found his way to opening his own gym MC Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Club by taking the long and winding road to get there. He moved from city to city, pursuing his dream of teaching BJJ and rolling with his students until he ended up exactly where he wanted to be – in beautiful, sunny, Southern California. Read More>>

Karen Michelle

The Karen Michelle brand began 5 years ago and has evolved into a full line of original women’s clothing and gifts that began with the creation of Destiny Candle. Read More>>

Christian Castro Antolin

I grew up in Mexico, as kid I was always involved in art. I graduated from Guadalajara’s University in Jalisco where I studied graphic design. Read More>>

Jessica Berry

I am originally from Canada and moved to Los Angeles in 2004. Prior to moving, I worked as a University Lecturer teaching business courses at Western University in London, Ontario. Read More>>

CC Consalvo

When I began to cook holistically, it was out of a crisis actually to help my terminally ill mother. When her doctors mentioned if she stays away from processed foods perhaps that would make a difference and prolong her life. Read More>>

Nicki Backlar

The history of DIG Childhood Center dates back to the 1990s, when a group of like-minded parents began a collaboration with a local in-home daycare to provide a unique—at the time—child care program: healthy food and snacks for children in a daycare setting. Read More>>

Kaori Suzuki

Kaori Suzuki graduated from Japan’s premiere art institution, Nihon University, with a degree in photography. Read More>>

Ilia and Velly Tosheff

Velly and Ilia Tosheff are husband-and-wife international performing piano duo artists, originally from Bulgaria. Their professional piano duo career began in 1997. Read More>>

Tyler Chase

I’ve been a photographer and storyteller my entire life. I feel so lucky that my hobby has turned into my profession. I strive to capture those raw moments of genuine emotion for my clients to cherish forever. Read More>>

Jud Yaker

I’ve been tooling around on my own cars for many years. About 10 years ago I noticed the headlight lenses on my older model Mustang were yellowing. I began thinking about how I could remedy the issue without purchasing new headlight assemblies. Read More>>

Valery Goldes

As a classically trained pianist I performed with the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta, played at Microsoft for Bill Gates and toured Europe and the US. After my music education at the Juilliard School in New York I moved to California to pursue my dream as a singer-songwriter. Read More>>

Fren Asken

I own Asken Guitars in Los Angeles. I do guitar repair and restoration, as well as hand build guitars. I grew up in a musical family in Connecticut, and have always been mechanically, as well as musically inclined. Read More>>

David Tishbi

For many years now, I’ve had a deep passion for jewelry and how to make this luxury item accessible to everyone. I’m glad to have the opportunity to share my story, and the core beliefs held by myself and the entire team at David Tishbi Jewelry. Read More>>

Nick Romero

My idea for The Ave started in the Spring of 2009 as I was visiting Chicago and got a custom shirt made at “Strange Cargo”, a cool t-shirt shop over near Wrigley Field. After getting a shirt made and walking into a bar and getting compliments on it, I knew that was what I wanted to do with my own spin on it. Read More>>

Uzo Ejikeme

I was born in Nigeria. I lived in Spain for 4 years then I moved to NY where I met my wife and business partner. We moved to LA and started our clothing company. Read More>>

Leslie Gallagher

I started this company after I took my recently deceased boss’s German shepherd to a groomer for a bath and when I picked her up she was paralyzed. The groomer had ruptured a disc in her back (and of course lied and told me they had done nothing to cause my dog’s complete paralysis!). Read More>>

Yasmine Verberckt

I obviously wasn’t always a hypnotherapist. I am born and raised in Belgium and I initially had a conventional career in hotel management for many years. Working many many many hours all around the world and I literally ended up working myself into exhaustion and illness. Read More>>

Michele Sommerlath

I had a store for many years in Paris where I specialized in 18th and 19th century antiques and then I switched to Art Deco for 10 more. When I came to the United States to visit a friend I fell in love with Venice because it reminded me of Morocco where I grew up. Read More>>

Andrew Kuhlman

Recycle My Machine was founded on the idea that it’s possible to both help the environment and run a successful business at the same time. Andrew Kuhlman started the idea for his company back in 2012 when he read an article about how electronic waste in the United States was regularly being shipped overseas to developing countries, where residents and children were being exposed to high levels of lead and carcinogens as e-waste literally piled up in streets and polluted their environment. Read More>>

Susan Vishmid

I am a professional ballet dancer. I began studying ballet at age four at Westside School of Ballet in Santa Monica. I continued my professional training at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School, San Francisco Ballet School and The Rock School in Philadelphia and eventually began performing with the Pennsylvania Ballet by age 16. Read More>>

Brad Keimach

Beach Yoga with Brad started as a fortunate accident! I was teaching at a studio near the beach, and one Sunday, I walked in to teach my regular Sunday class, and the manager looked at me, and said, “Ooops, I forgot to tell you: your room is being used for a special event, and your class is cancelled today!” Read More>>

Deborah Perez

I was in college trying to decide what to do with my life. I had always loved dance. I was home on spring break when I heard an ad on the radio from a local ballroom dance school looking for instructors. Read More>>

Hana Doustar

My interest in Eastern Medicine extends for probably my whole life. My family is from Israel and Iran, where ancient remedies still exist in our day to day health practices. Read More>>

Lesley Logan

I discovered Pilates when I was living in Costa Mesa, CA. I fell in love with it during my first class. I never felt so connected to my body and so alive after a workout! I changed my work schedule to allow me to go to class every day. Read More>>

Renay compere

Hi! This my bio. Written by someone else as I am not great at talking about myself! Lol. Renay Compere is a long time fitness enthusiast who has tried every workout in LA over the past 20 years. Read More>>

 ANDREW KEEGAN

That’s a loaded question; I probably need to write a book to tell the full story! In regards to my recent work as Co-Founder at Full Circle Venice, the story begins in 2014 when I stepped into the Rose Temple, which is now our home on the corner of Hampton and Rose. Read More>>

Dylan Conrad

Growing up, I always struggled with my weight. I would exercise as hard as I could twice, sometimes three times a day. Initially, I would lose a ton of weight, but it was only a matter of time before I was injured, burnt out, or both. Read More>>

 Martina Fogt

I started Bebe PT 10 years ago as I saw a rising demand in care for the pregnant and postpartum client. As a physical therapist I felt this service was much needed in a well undeserved demographic. Read More>>

Ashlee Carignan

I come from an athletic background, including playing competitive soccer through college to a dedicated life in gyms and fitness classes. My Pilates career started 10 years ago when I completed an intense certification program of the Ivan Dahl Method. Read More>>

Tonya Ruddick

It has been a winding road! I never could have anticipated how the dots would connect.I grew up in a small town in Iowa. Early on in my life I experienced a lot of trauma- my father passed away unexpectedly when I was seven years old. Read More>>

Mischa Pouyavand

I started Levitate LA with the intention of spreading compassion amongst Los Angelenos, and hopefully the world. I would see street-people (homeless) sleeping in the parking lot where I worked as a graphic designer in Venice and it hurt my heart to know that no one cared enough to do something about it. Read More>>

Sarah & Carrie Leifer & Jacobsen

We opened our doors 10 years ago this month! We were working at a local studio together and discovered we both wanted to open our own Pilates studio – a place where everyone felt comfortable to come and workout, no matter what shape or size. Read More>>

Kate Judge

Before owning Dogwood, I worked for over 25 years in the Corporate World as an Executive Assistant to Top Management. All my office friends had dogs & we shared our dog pictures & stories with each other every day. Read More>>

Siliana Gaspard

I always enjoyed cooking as a child but went another direction career-wise as I grew up. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized that I had a true passion for cooking and enrolled in culinary school. Read More>>

Matt Rez

Los Angeles based celebrity hair colorist Matt Rez specializes in all techniques of hair coloring including the art of balayage. His everlasting passion for painting and the art of hair color led him to cosmetology school in Portland, Oregon. Read More>>

Rochelle Gallenson

Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture has been part of my life since I was fifteen years old. I had a shoulder injury and I wasn’t having any success with conventional therapy. Read More>>

Chris Bailey

I started off at Vidal Sassoon in London, England. I came to Los Angeles in 1984 and worked in Beverly Hills. Read More>>

Justin Mashouf

I come from a television and film background. I’ve been living in LA for 9 years working as a freelance producer and editor for TV. Read More>>

Kayla Ramirez

I always loved photography. During high school, people always told me photography wasn’t a realistic career. Read More>>

Dr. Steve Sudell Jr.

Hey, I’m Steve. I have a beautiful wife, Lindsay, two great dogs, and live in sunny Venice, CA. I’ve been a Crossfit competitor for the past 4 years, and work with high intensity athletes on their mobility, prehab, and post-injury physical therapy. Read More>>

Matthias Classen

In 2012 my brother Simon and I came to Los Angeles. We loved it here. The weather the people the city. Everything was great. We also loved the food but we missed our most favorite street food from our hometown Berlin. The Döner. The history of the Döner is interesting. We call it a Turkish German fusion food. Read More>>

Natasha Case

My background is in architecture and design, and I wanted to find a way to make the field more fun and accessible… thus, add value. I came up with using food as the medium, and I called it ‘Farchitecture = Food + Architecture.’ I met the co-founder in 2009 right after the recession hit, and we started baking cookies, and making ice cream from scratch; we named the combinations after inspiring architects and design movements. Read More>>

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