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East LA’s Hidden Gems

Every day we have a choice. We can support an up and coming podcaster, try a new family-run restaurant, join a boutique gym started by a local fitness champ or we could keep giving away our money to the handful of giants who already control so much of our commerce. Our daily decisions impact the kind world we live in; if we want a world where small businesses are growing and artists and creatives are thriving then we should support them with our time, money and attention. We’re proud to highlight inspiring creatives and entrepreneurs each week in Hidden Gems series.  Check out some of East LA’s gems below.

Kristina Paul

Growing up in New York, there were always different worlds to discover at each train stop; different music, food, new people, and languages…I was constantly observing…I would sit at the park, people watch, and imagine the homes people went to or wonder if they were in love. I romanticized the other, which is why I studied acting. After earning my associate’s degree at Kingsborough Community College, I attended NYU Tisch School of the Arts. My education allowed me to continue my study of other people’s thoughts and ways of life and inhabit them. While in college, I studied in Austria, Netherlands, and Italy and continued to travel after graduation. With the fall of Covid, I realized that life was bigger than my bubble in Brooklyn. I packed my suitcase, bought a one-way flight, got an Airbnb, and moved to LA. Read more>>

Stephen Richmond

I was working at a salon in New York when the pandemic started and everything closed. I didn’t see my clients for the duration of the lockdown, but when things started to open up, I was being asked more and more often to go to the clients’ houses to do their hair there. From listening to my client’s stories, I found that they still didn’t feel entirely comfortable going back to crowded salons, and even as the world started to ease back to normal, I was surprised that my clients continued to invite me to their homes. It turned out, they preferred the ease of the house-call system because they didn’t have to brave the traffic, transit, and crowded salon experience. I wanted to bring this confidence to more people, so I created FUZZ, a modern, mobile hairstyling company. Read more>>

Nadav Heyman

My path into dance and filmmaking, and art in general, is pretty unorthodox. I am originally a basketball player. That’s all I wanted to do my whole life is be a professional hooper. I played for the Israeli Junior National team and got recruited by a small university, but two years in, I could feel myself drifting toward new pursuits. I started writing. I started experimenting with a camera. And then when I was 21, I met a woman who invited me to join her dance company (Ate9 Dance Company based in LA) as a narrator and a soloist. Being a naive, cavalier kid, I accepted her offer and started dancing professionally, slowly transforming my body from a stiff athlete to a groovy mover (or at least I’d like to think so). It was also my foray into art and performance. I experienced what it’s like to conceptualize something, choreograph something, build something from the ground up. It became pretty clear to me that making art is the coolest thing ever, and it’s what I wanted to do. Read more>>

Michelle Malley

Iress began as Iris in 2011. With our name change came maturity and growth. Since then, the band has played all over Southern California, the US and has left their stamp on Los Angeles. Michelle and Michael have been in the band since day 1 but we’ve all been friends for years and the lineup we have today is truly magical. Read more>>

Louis Knight

I’ve been singing my whole life, started writing songs when I was 13/14. I ended up not going to college and pursuing music full-time. Then I went on American Idol in 2020 and performed an original called “Change” which I wrote about suicide prevention. I ended up coming in the top 7. Since then, have been continuing to write and release my own music and also write for other artists! Read more>>

Milla Press

I opened Girlxfriend because I wanted to create a shop that felt less intimidating for clients – more comforting and safe. All of our artists are female/femme/queer POC folk who specialize in their own unique, contemporary art styles. The goal was to create a space for clients to feel at ease and for POC/queer/female artists to grow. Read more>>

Hartley Lynn

It all started with my personal struggle to find swimsuits that fit and flattered my smaller bust size. After years of feeling self-conscious and spending countless dollars trying to find the perfect swimsuit, I had my “ah-ha” moment when I accidentally left my sticky bra on underneath my swimsuit and realized how comfortable and supportive it felt. From there, I began the journey of creating SABAL, a swimsuit line designed specifically for women with smaller busts. Read more>>

Jack Lewis

I began drawing and painting the house we would stay in, or immediate environment, every time we went on holiday as kids. It began with my grandfather – who was a painter – whom mentored me in painting in these early stages. I realized there was a small amount of talent there and an even larger passion for art, something which I felt I could nurture into a larger whole. My art teacher at high school had a reputation for not being very nice, but she took a liking to me and pushed me into painting and printmaking. I remember her being a huge influence and inspiration, cementing the idea that I wanted to pursue this subject further at art school once I graduated. Upon completing my final examinations at 18, I took an art foundation course at Chelsea College of Art & Design in London, a year of art making basically learning as many different skills as possible, before completing a Bachelor in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, specializing in painting. Read more>>

1 Comment

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    September 17, 2019 at 03:19

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