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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.

Kevin Fong

I was born and raised in Hong Kong. Then I went to Berklee College of Music to continue my music studies in film scoring and Music production. After that I relocated to LA to pursue my passion of film music Well cultural differences has always been a thing. Getting involve and to know people around the city would be hard for an introvert like me. I am a music composer and producer. I mainly write music for films, TV, documentaries and multimedia. I also do music arrangement and production for my singer songwriter clients. I am really passionate about hardware synthesis and electronic music. Read more>>

Dr. Ellie Farahmand

My story is unconventional compared to my colleagues, as in my mind, I had checked all of my boxes. I went to school, prioritized being a mother and raised a family. Ultimately, I found myself asking, what am I doing? In answering that question, and in the midst of COVID, I chose now or never, and it was the best decision I have ever made. When most of my classmates established their own practices soon after dental school, I chose to work part-time while raising my family. I was in a wonderful practice as an Associate for 24 years, and in that “now or never” moment, I decided to honor my original dream of being an owner of my own practice. Read more>>

Amanda Pavillard

Of Course, it’s been a pretty crazy journey. I came out to Los Angeles for the summer when I was a sophomore in highschool. I was meant to be staying with my older sister for a few months to pursue acting, which is a huge dream of mine still now. I ended up graduating early from highschool and moving out to LA full time. It was a huge shock to everyone in my life, myself included. When you know, you know and I knew moving out to LA was going to change my life for the better. I met a lot of amazing friends after moving out here and many of them were on social media. Read more>>

Melanie Shaevel

I’ve had a love for interior design since I was a little girl! I vividly remember constantly changing my childhood bedroom around, always wanting to update it however I could. I knew for a very long time that this was the career path I wanted to take. I attended Boston University where I studied Public Relations, and in the summers would work for interior design firms. Eventually when I graduated I began working in interior design and received a certificate of Interior Design from UCLA Extension. It’s been almost ten years since I began working in the industry, and finally decided I was ready to start my own company. Read more>>

Alfredo Achar

I was born and raised in Mexico City, and ever since I can remember I have always been drawn to movies, art, capturing moments, designing, painting and really all things creative. I think I realized pretty early how much of a visual person I am and that really turned out to be the way I began communicating my feelings, thoughts and emotions. After finishing high school moved around for a bit exploring that same creative expression to understand what I wanted and who I am. Read more>>

Marut Manorat

Do you believe in destiny? I have never known that I will become what I am today. I was a music teacher, playing flute in the orchestra in Thailand my whole life. I was very happy with my music career but teaching and playing day by day, over and over for decades can sometimes get boring. One day I watched a TV show about a fortune teller who was very famous in the country. He said the person who was born in a day, month, and year like me would live abroad and do the spa business. Read more>>

Larissa Hadjio

After studying fine art at Central Saint Martins in London, I started my own accessory line of wearable high end leather sculptures. In the mid 2010s I moved to SF and created HADJIO, a ready to wear line for adults. That’s also how I met my MÄUS cofounder, Mika, who at the time collaborated with me on HADJIO. After the birth of my first child, my interests shifted from high end fashion to slower, sustainable design. I began to think about needs versus wants when it came to fashion, and found it difficult to get pieces that valued form as much as function, and sustainability as much as accessibility. Read more>>

Linda Hayslett

I lived and worked in New York City for many years working in fashion, initially. After working on the east coast, in 2003 I made a decision to move west and become an Angeleno. I planted roots in Los Angeles and started to absorb the west coast atmosphere. I worked at places like W Magazine, InStyle, Details and with a well known celebrity stylist who dressed celebrities such as Hillary Swank, Sandra Oh, Charlize Theron, Heather Graham and more in LA. Read more>>

Lorène Catala Boisvert

y dental clinic in Santa Monica was built during the Covid-19 pandemic. I spent a while sharing space with other dental practitioners. However, after 12 years, I decided to open my own suite. Back in July 2019 I found a place that was leasing. I had a clear vision about how we could transform this suite and take advantage of the beautiful wide windows to bring more natural light in. After talking to an architect and a contractor, I realized that this project would require a total make over. I was told it would take more time than originally expected. Instead of moving in Dec 1st, 2019: we ended up moving in a year later! Read more>>

Katie Salove

Growing up with a father in real estate, I was constantly surrounded by architects, designers and construction teams. Floorplans were the literature of choice in my childhood home, and from an early age I took interest in how these buildings would transform from a cavernous abyss into a restaurant, hotel or retail space. As a creative kid, I was enamored with the world of fashion. I loved picking out my clothes in the morning, accessorizing and playing dress up. When I was seven years old, my parents collaborated with an interior designer while building a new home for our growing family. Read more>>

Audrey Kikos

After 15 years in Corporate America as a Vice President of Marketing and Client Solutions, having owned and managed a successful vacation home rental in Costa Rica, and coming from a family with real estate in our blood, I set my sights on real estate investing fulltime. My family has owned rentals, motels, and rehabbed homes all my life and I always felt a pull in that direction. In 2017, I invested in intensive training through Fortune Builders and gained the knowledge, tools, and confidence to launch my own company – Redhead Home Properties. Read more>>

Kasia Pilewicz

was born and raised in Chicago to a slightly foreign, slightly quirky upbringing – I’m proud to be a first generation American to immigrant parents from Poland! It colored my early years. I was definitely the creative, eccentric black sheep within my big family and also in my school growing up. I was extremely shy and introverted, but a huge observer of people and the human condition, which ultimately led me to my life calling as an actor, filmmaker and storyteller. I always felt like there was more out there in the world for me to do and see. I was tall and unique looking, and obsessed with fashion, so I was thrilled to get scouted and start modeling part time at 16 years old. Read more>>

Lyndsey Kuykendall

I started Midnight Reflections about 5 years ago. The holidays were coming up and I was frustrated because I could not find holiday wrapping paper that featured Black Santas or Angels. I wanted to wrap my little cousins gifts in paper that was reflective of her beautiful chocolate skin. When I couldn’t find it I decided to design my own and have it printed. I created 3 designs and had them printed. When I posted them on social media I got a ton of inquiries about purchasing some so I researched bulk printed and Midnight Reflections launched with its first three designs. In our first year we were mentioned in a ton of gift guides, Essence Online, and more. Read more>>

Royce Correa

I always tell people I began my creative journey even before I was in my mother’s womb. My parents are originally from Colombia, and came to LA with big hopes and dreams. I credit them for showing me the value of hard work and ambition. They ended up finding work at two of the big studios, so when I was born I felt like I was destined to pursue entertainment and the arts. I grew up in the Valley, and would find myself walking around the movie sets with my parents as a little kid. These early experiences really opened my mind and imagination. Read more>>

Ammon Mendes

I was born and raised a good part of my life in Brockton, Massachusetts, which is considered “the hood” by those there. II come from a family of immigrants whom of which hailed from the beautiful country of Cape Verde. Growing up, I had a great, fun childhood. My father is a musician from his home country and toured the world frequently when my brother and I were growing up. Thus, we became a bit closer to our mother who was the best mom out there. For years, there weren’t many issues in our childhood until around 06/07 where my brother and all his friends became victims of gun violence. Read more>>

Marijane Dicus

My journey into makeup started back in 2010. I knew I wanted to do something in beauty but hair always seemed so intimidating and I didn’t know what other options were out there. One day I was walking through the mall and saw they were opening a Sephora. Because I didn’t have any experience they wanted to place me as a cashier but I begged them for the opportunity to try makeup. Well, they took a chance on me! Honestly, it did not come naturally to me. I struggled but was determined. After about six months I decided I wanted to attend makeup school so I enrolled at Elegance International in Hollywood. There I had more time to learn fundamentals and build confidence in what I was doing. I took what I learned there and applied it to all the different face shapes, skin tones, and eye shapes that walked through the doors of Sephora. Read more>>

Teresa Foss

Born a little fashionista, I think my parents quickly realized I was definitely “different”. I was adopted as a baby into a Caucasian family. I’m Vietnamese & Polynesian so I already looked different than my older brothers who were my parent’s biological children. I was more sensitive, creative and not as studious as my siblings. My passion and flair for fashion and makeup developed from a very early age. Being a shy person growing up and moving frequently as an Air Force brat, it was difficult for me to adjust to so many different environments and new people. The one thing that stayed constant for me was the first visual impression that people had. Every time I moved to a new city and started at a new school, I always wanted to look my best and be memorable. My sense of style boosted my confidence to be unique and make new friends no matter where I lived. Looking my best allowed me to appear confident regardless of my timidness. Read more>>

Sakona Kong and Wakako Ichinose

We are Sakona and Waka, a designer duo working in the motion graphics industry. We met in 2006 with a common interest in art. Our journeys to the creative field started early on in our lives. For Waka, her mom was an oil painter so she was always surrounded by the craft. Naturally, she gained an interest and went to Art school. Her first job was in graphic design where she was working in the consumer electronics industry in Tokyo Japan. During this time, she was heavily inspired by music videos and wanted to somehow pursue a new career in it She wanted to go back to school and discovered Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Read more>>

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