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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.

Talya N. Coviello

I wanted to build an escape, I wanted a dream world so, I built myself one. There was nothing more satisfying than being able to create something from nothing. I began to thank every good and bad thing that has happened in my life that pushed me to find my calling. Read more>>

Lucas Preti

Ok, my path to become a cinematographer was pretty unorthodox: I come from Italy, and my entire family is both in extreme sports and in filmmaking. So I grew up with a camera as a toy and crazy climbing adventures as a “weekend family trip.” My grandfather used to load film projectors in the 50s, and both my dad and uncle are former world-class climbers so at five yrs old I was following them around the world while they were shooting climbing documentaries. Read more>>

Kerry Fenster

My vision/goal for the future is to continue to have music entertain, enrich and assist, in any way possible, the lives of those with or without developmental disabilities. Also, I hope the songs make the listener sing and dance! With my current band – the Dewey Decimal System – I aim to make this so! Read more>>

Richard and Nousha Raymond

When we got together, it was clear we would collaborate in making films. It’s so natural between us, everything is so much more honest. We opened our production company NouChi Productions in 2017, and our first production was “Souls of Totality,” a short film that I directed starring Tatiana Maslany and Tom Cullen. Read more>>

Megan Gallagher

Handwork DOES pay off and the universe is always working in your favor. I just know I was put on this earth to spread joy and help others. Life is such a gift and I’m just beyond grateful that I have the honor of sharing my story and helping teenagers. I worked so hard to create the space that I craved when I was growing up. Read more>>

Sahar Shafi

Looking back on everything that I did to get to where I’m at today, I feel very fortunate. I was in graduate and postgraduate programs for nine years of my life, during which I missed many life events with my family and friends. I had to sacrifice time away from those I loved to get to this point. Read more>>

Jacqueline Metcalfe and Ashley Ramstead

Over time our friendship grew strong, and we hit several milestones together. Not only did we graduate from our master’s program together, but we were there for each other on our wedding days, when we first became mothers (still guilty of swapping mom stories on the daily), and countless other special occasions as well as many ups and downs. Read more>>

Anlan Huang

Although I use a different medium, photography, or in a more exact expression, image, is centered in my art practices. This might originate from my interests in film camera when I was four. At that time what I had done was just playing with this special mechanical device. Read more>>

Shilpa Rajpara

When I first started NAYALI – my focus was simply to create a clothing line for active women D Cup & Up. Being a customer and designer in this market, I felt like I could solve the issue of ill-fitting garments that don’t perform or look terrible for busty women. But as the business went on, I felt compelled to solve two problems at once. Read more>>


My job is to bring people joy and inspire them. I’m a rock star. My bank account doesn’t know that I’m a rock star; but yes, I’m a literal, working, professional rock star. I sing and dance hip hop, EDM, rock, pop and Latin for a living. It’s my full-time job and primary source of income. Read more>>

Leigh Ware

I became quite clear that my calling was to build products supporting women to heal, and I knew it was time to leave Google. But still, it was SCARY to leave that security. I’m grateful for the friends and peers that reminded me of how capable I am and gave me the confidence to leap. Read more>>

Aniya Henry

I knew I always wanted to be in the fashion industry. I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to specialize in; however, I wasn’t interested in every aspect that involves fashion. From what goes on behind the scene, to being in front of the camera. I collectively do everything such as makeup, design/make clothes, being a photographer, etc. Read more>>

Meghan Nechrebecki

Throughout my career, I saw incredible gaps in the healthcare system, one of the largest being the lack of patient engagement and activation on how to navigate the U.S. healthcare system. I, therefore, started Health Care Transformation on the side envisioning video content and resources that support individuals. Read more>>

Galina Barskaya

After working for and musically directing a few local opera companies, I felt inspired to start my own opera company. I have always liked to do things my own way, plus, I felt that Russian opera was underrepresented on the local scene and I was longing to introduce it to local audiences. Read more>>

Mette Norkjaer

I hope to continue the conversation about female empowerment within the entertainment industry. BOOM! Studios is an incredible company to work for since there are so many diverse stories that exist within the comic book space, and at my company, we have the opportunity to bring these incredible stories to life. Read more>>

Jiaqi Wang

Moved to LA last year for a job that I thought it was a dream job. But it seems a full-time job was not really ideal for me. Slowly taking more freelance work during the night. This year I finally become a full-time freelancer chilling in sunny west- coast. And doing the work I want to do, explorating this city at the same time. Read more>>

Rain Chandra

I became interested in nutrition because I intuitively knew that what we put into our bodies was one of the most powerful acts we could do for our well being. I remember begging my parents to let me browse through a vitamin store that was on our drive home. Read more>>

Lucas Preti

My path to become a cinematographer was pretty unorthodox: I come from Italy, and my entire family is both in extreme sports and in filmmaking. So I grew up with a camera as a toy and crazy climbing adventures as a “weekend family trip.” Read more>>

Claudia Hackl

As a teacher by heart, it was my desire to help other people to find their path earlier than I did. With that book, I was a Finalist at the Beverly Hills Book Award in 2018. From that moment on, one came after the other. See more in the Business Section. Read more>>

Madaline “Mad Linez” Riley

Feeling unauthentic has always been a struggle. Lying to myself as an artist makes me feel rotten and useless. There are so many contemporary influences trying to steer us off our path toward our truest self. It’s not easy to shake them and do your thing, but I’m always finding this to be the best solution. Read more>>

Marine Azria

The Piece Collective was inspired by a business I started years ago called GIFTology, which was a personalized gift shopping service. When Leran and I met, I often spoke about my passion for original gifts and the concept of giving! After all, giving is receiving and vice-versa. Read more>>

Julian Buckner

After two years of consulting, I realized that what I loved most was building businesses, and in particular, working with people to build strong and effective teams. So, I left and joined a startup called Showroom. Twelve months after I joined, the company went under. Read more>>

Anamaria Senior

As fate would have it, it was right about then that I got married and followed my husband to Los Angeles where he was about to begin grad school. We had visited the city together a few years prior and, somehow, it felt just right. After about two years of researching different business ideas. Read more>>

Monica Andino

We started Pam + Mo with a big dream, and $1,000. We saw a need for children in El Salvador (which is where our roots are) to have access to music and art as we did so freely growing up. We started w/ handbags and T-shirts, and today have added sweatshirts, and we are adding home products- Read more>>

Stephanie Kowal

I worked through my first intense job as an assistant to an Emmy-nominated composer while scoring my second feature film – and there is so much more to come! It continues to be a wild ride and I’m sure my story will look much different in just a few years, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world! Read more>>

Jake Loskutoff

Digging deeper though, on the micro level, there are TONS of challenges I face every day. The complexities of owning a business, staying on top of technological trends, being a solid role model in my community and being a good husband and friend, all boil down to time management and balance. Read more>>

Christine Perakis

I am a Business Growth Architect, combining my business growth, attorney and entrepreneurial expertise, with serving as a 100-ton Professional Boat Captain, speaker, bestselling author, to provide comprehensive 360° services to support entrepreneurs to grow multimillion dollar businesses across five continents. Read more>>

Albina Katsman

My best friend, Mariana, and I graduated college with Theatre degrees ready to take on the world of acting (auditions, class, etc.) Just around that time, people all over the world really started to embrace content creation and, in general, focusing on their own work. Read more>>

Sandi Hemmerlein

I grew up pretty sheltered in Central New York and always felt like I was missing out on… something. I just didn’t know what it was. Fortunately, I found an outlet for my creativity in writing—starting with crazy fictional short stories as a little girl and switching to journalism as a teenager. Read more>>

Danya Solomon

My journey started in the Bay Area. I was born into a creative family of health-food lovin’ festival carnies, artists and free spirits. My parents were caterers at the Renaissance Faire for over 15 years and we lived in our handmade thatched roof booth during the events which lasted into my early years. Read more>>

Lauren Mones

Fours years of experimentation led me to create Fermenting Fairy, a company that is committed to producing the highest quality, nature-driven probiotic foods, and beverages. The healing that I experienced needed to be shared with the world. So here we are! Read more>>

Casey Winchell Napolitano

Real Estate is my life. I am a real estate agent, investor, and designer. I am 31, a mom of two, and own three homes located in Calabasas, Sherman Oaks, and Kauai. I have sold hundreds of homes since I started working at Kennedy Wilson Beverly Hills 11 years ago. I was born and raised in Los Angeles. Read more>>

Tammy Infusino

Over the last decade, I have co-written hundreds of songs– a gold single for Belgian superstar Milow, a couple of KPOP hits, a ton of commercials. I have sung countless jingles, background vocals for Kanye West and Drake, voiced some cartoon characters, penned an animated short and a feature film. Read more>>

Nikki O’Neill

Sometimes being on a more narrow path can make you feel a bit lonely, or you start to second-guess if you’re doing the right thing. I used to worry about that in the past, but now I’m sticking to my vision and what I love. Audiences seem to be liking the songs a lot, whether I play with the band or alone. Read more>>

Cooper Bombadil, Javier Olmedo, Brandon Valerino, and Mike Gattshall

We all want the same end goal here: record music, play live shows around the world and help people with the music we make (while making a decent living ourselves off it). But the respect for each other is crucial because when you have four people so invested in something, that means they care a lot. Read more>>

Michael Woods

Annmarie is the spark in my life that coincided with renewed energy to create. Without my daughter, I fear I would have waited around until the ideal conditions were available for my work to be distributed. Even though these past few years have been difficult, her birth brought me a reason to continue on in this goal. Read more>>

Mia Sable Hays

My biggest personal struggle as an entrepreneur is the same as every motherbird’s – childcare. A few weeks before my launch events, our nanny unexpectedly gave notice, and I was devastated. Fortunately, my husband was able to take off work one day, and a former nanny who we are still close with was able to help us out as we scrambled to replace this pillar of our household operations. Read more>>

JS Robbins

I’m now wrapping up my first year of Pepperdine’s doctoral program in psychology and am incredibly grateful for the twists and turns that the last few years have taken me on. It’s been an interesting and unpredictable ride, but it’s been so worth it. Read more>>

Pernille Marcheschi

I sold everything I owned and took off with only my camera, laptop, and a suitcase to chase my dream and the city I had fallen in love with. For the first time, I felt like I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. Ever since I have been working and traveling around the world, but I always find myself coming back to Los Angeles. Read more>>

Jessica Dorsey

I am fortunate to live in LA, one of the fashion capitals of the world, where everything I could ever need in terms of materials and manufacturers is at my fingertips. I learned as much as I could through online courses, Youtube, books, and podcasts. Read more>>

Amanda Caloia

EverWild wouldn’t have been in my future had it not been for my free-range childhood. I spent from sun-up to sun-down playing in the woods, on the farm, and in the cornfields that surrounded my home in central New York. Read more>>

Carol Wilson

I became an acting coach and talent manager. Coaching is my passion. Onset, privately, class or masterclass I love it all. I get to meet children and teens from all over the world and work on some amazing shows and movies. I love building careers and guiding my clients to navigate what is a tough career choice, but one that chooses you rather than you choosing it. Read more>>

Lee Broda

Starting out as an actress, I realized that creating my own opportunities was going to be an essential part of my growth in Hollywood. After school I started working in casting, to learn more about behind the camera. For two years I cast different features and shorts until I meet with a producer at a casting session I was running and started to work for him. Read more>>

Yannick “Thurz” Koffi

Born Yannick Koffi and better known as Thurz, I started my career as half of the rap duo U-N-I, who released three albums, received accolades from Billboard, XXL, and The Source, and were named Best LA Breakout Artist at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards. Read more>>

Cali Gilbert

Writing and photography became my outlet for my grief, and I ended up publishing four books over the next 12 months. I created a series and entitled it, IT’S SIMPLY. The first three books were a combination of my writing and photography and focused on the San Francisco Bay Area. Read more>>

Joline and Celine Nehoray

We believed in not only the concept and idea but ultimately believed in our relationship, trust, ambition, strength, and passion to make this happen. You could have a million dollar idea but not a million dollar mindset (or business partner, etc.) and you’d hit a wall. Read more>>

Nicholas Tramontin

Moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the arts and quickly found myself broke and in need of a job which landed me and Porsche performance shop. Using my passion for cars and people, I quickly found success in trading cars and building custom vehicles. Read more>>

Meg Haywood Sullivan

The clock is ticking, and I’m fed up just like the rest of you. As a member of the Explorers Club with over a decade’s worth of experience in the ever male-dominated environmental & photography worlds, I have dedicated my life to telling stories about our planet and how – together – we can save it. Read more>>

Kim Meckwood

We’ve all been there… We just finished shopping, and now we’re faced with the burden of getting all of those groceries home, from the cart to the car and again from the car to your home! I knew there had to be a better way, so I came up with the idea for Click & Carry. Read more>>

Brad Raider

Overall, my journey as a filmmaker, theatre artist, and meditation teacher has evolved over the years into a deep fascination with consciousness expansion and its practical integration with daily life and creativity. The opportunity to share that work has truly been a gift. Read more>>

Dane Lawing

I am amazed and incredibly grateful at the myriad experiences I have had and the fantastic places my career has taken me thus far. I now live in Santa Monica, California with my wife, and Chihuahua. My oldest daughter is in the animation program at CalArts, and my younger daughter is attending a top art High School in Jacksonville, Florida. Read more>>

Francois and Severine Buschaud

Open every Day from 8 am to 10 pm, Crème de la Crepe menu offers a tantalizing array of French, Italian, and Californian cuisines that will tickle your taste buds. From Breakfast to Dinner you can taste our mouthwatering authentic dishes, famous crepes, and carefully chosen French wine and beer selections. Read more>>

Ashley Norris

I always loved to sing, and I was in chamber choirs singing mostly classical music through my school years, I think this was really helpful in training my voice, with control, dynamics, blending and such. I was always pretty timid when it came to performing, and it took a while to gain confidence in that. Read more>>

Joel Einhorn

My biggest turning point in my life was in 2008. While training for an Ironman in Prague, I was in a horrible bicycle crash. I left the hospital with a compound dislocation of my collarbone and a severe concussion that left me unable to sleep from dizziness. Western medicine could only do so much for me. Read more>>

Alicia Rius

Alicia Rius is a Spanish photographer born in a small town in Catalonia on the North East portion of Spain. As a teenager, Alicia was influenced by her father and aunt, both avid photographers. She would often find herself watching her father develop film in his darkroom and along the way became influenced by the beautiful images she saw created. Read more>>

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