Portraits of Hollywood


You matter. Your story matters. You don’t have to be a billionaire or pop star for your story to matter. We think it’s important to ask our neighbors and friends and people throughout the community to share their stories because if no one asks, far too many stories would go untold. The coffee shop around the corner and the artist next door have stories we can learn from, grow because of and be inspired by and we are so proud to be able to help make sure these stories are told each week. Below you’ll find inspiring stories from Hollywood and the surrounding areas.

Danielle Yu Perez

My biggest influences were art, travel, music, and cinema. I was mostly trained in painting, piano, and dance as a kid, but I loved getting my hands into many different mediums as an artist. After high school, I got accepted to Otis College of Art and Design and graduated with a BFA in Fashion Design. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and after college I co-founded a jewelry company with a friend called “The Gilded Fox”. It was a vintage inspired jewelry line and we were very hands on in the entire process, designing, sourcing and producing all the items. Read more>>

Jack Eustace

I started as an intern and quickly moved on to assist some of the top stylists and editors in NY. I took some time away from assisting to join the Albright Fashion Library and a stylist consultant, after a brief stint in Europe I moved to LA and began consulting with celebrity stylists (with a strong focus on celebrity rebranding) and with luxury companies based here in LA- doing marketing and design consultations. Read more>>

Odunayo Majekodunmi

I’m originally from New York. I was born in Nigeria but I’ve lived most of my Life in New York City and Schenectady. I moved to Los Angeles in 2006 to pursue an Acting Career. I moved with $60 in my bank account and determination to be an Actor. Like most, I went through a lot of Financial hardships, struggles and failures while chasing my Dream. Read more>>

Zara Oparaugo

L.A. African was established by, Zara Oparaugo, a 22 years old Nigerian-American with a VERY promising future. Two years ago, Zara set out to transform the way African millennials network. She has now successfully developed a platform that offers an array of opportunities for entrepreneurs and creatives to engage with like-minded individuals across the world and take their career to the next level. Read more>>

Isue Shin

I went to the New York State Summer School of the Arts the summer before my senior year of high school. Going out and shooting on a Bolex and cutting and piecing together the film by hand was the first time I felt like I had found something I never wanted to stop doing. During college, I did a handful of unpaid internships and moved to LA after graduating. Now I balance between directing and shooting my own work and assisting on other sets. Read more>>

Lina Engborg

My teacher directly let me know that I sang good at times, but also very “sour”, and she suggested I should try comedy instead. Drying my tears of disappointment, I actually realized that I had a lot to contribute to the art behind the scene, instead of ON it. I created my own shows and put myself on stage of course. But I did find out I was damn good at creating projects. Read more>>

Bea Cabrera

I survived as a freelance graphic designer and multimedia producer for a small one-stop studio, putting together bumpers and reels for nickelodeon, among other clients. My first accomplishments, still in school, were drawing awards and an insaciable need to borrow my dad’s both VCRs an edit on VHS tapes via the play-record-stop method I came up with. Read more>>

Franco Americano

Franco is a self-taught Jewish artist born in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. As soon as University graduation day arrived, he left California and set sails for Europe. Barcelona Spain would be the influence this young artist needed. One year later, his style would be defined and recognizable today as a “Franco Americano” painting. Barcelona would be his first gallery showing. Read more>>

Roberto Quinn

This sparked my interest in learning and testing all the tools that could help keep me connected to friends and family around the world. From social platforms like Friendster, LiveJournal, and Myspace to messengers like AIM, MSN, and ICQ, I was an early adopter and fan of them all. It wasn’t until college that I began to see a major transformation in communication tools like these, and a shift in how people were using them. Read more>>

Nick Crnko

I grew up playing music in Seattle and moved to Southern California in 2009. I studied drums at the University of Redlands about an hour from Los Angeles for four years and after a short stint in San Diego I moved to Silverlake in 2014. I’ve been playing drums for bands for five years. I’m currently drumming for three different bands, Harry Katz and the Pistachios, Dario Bronco, and for Ashley Keene. Read more>>

Alexey Staroselets

My life journey had started in Saint-Petersburg, Russia, where I was born in the late 80s. My father was an electronic engineer and a music lover – I remember myself at the age of 4 sitting on the floor, listening to my dad’s vinyl records of The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, gazing at these beautiful album covers and studying every inch of them. I was also publishing my own scrapbook magazine, writing and recording audio plays, printing business cards on a typewriter, and playing with other things. Read more>>

Jasmine Haver

I had a lifelong love of the film industry, classic Hollywood, old movies and history that began when I was quite young. My idols growing up were Lucille Ball, Judy Garland, Rita Hayworth, Audrey Hepburn, you know, the usuals for a budding Hollywood starlet. It was no surprise to anyone when I found my passion in acting, which I found in high school. Read more>>

Jackie Chow

I began entertaining the idea of working in music my sophomore year in college. Music had always been something very important and personal for me but I never considered it as a career. I didn’t have much experience at first, but I applied for a lot of internships, worked through the rest of school and ended up at Slush. Read more>>


I started singing when I was really really young, I remember teaching myself how to sing opera as a little kid and always crooning some kind of sad melody out the window while my dad drove. I always enjoyed the feeling of singing and the emotions I felt flowing through me as I sang. My mom is a Russian piano teacher so I learned how to play piano from a very young age but I didn’t connect to the instrument so I dropped it in middle school, I regret doing that. Read more>>

Addy Cahill and Lucas Abend

We never actually attended the same school, and we drifted in and out of each other’s lives. But when we both moved to Los Angeles in 2015 and 2016, we reconnected. Lucas was pursuing music, and I was just returning to writing music after not playing for a few years. He is so passionate and easy to work with- I was so inspired every time we collaborated, and so excited to be close with my old friend again. Read more>>

Francesca Hernandez

After all these years, hundreds of sessions later, there is always something new to learn. Whether that be camera techniques, color grading, or even how to maintain a social media presence. My business is forever evolving based on trends and my own creative mood, to be honest. It’s difficult to explain how I got where I am when, truthfully, I’m still trying to figure out where I’m going. Read more>>

Duain Richmond

I discovered my love for acting when I was introduced to Freddie Hendricks and the youth Ensemble of Atlanta (YEA) by a close friend in High school. I wasn’t fortunate enough to go to a magnet school so a group of us just got together and we created our own program. I decided to write my first play, MIND’S D.O.A and casted all my closest friends. Read more>>

Lanier McKinney

I come from a very talented family ranging from sports, dancers, musicians, recording artist, you name it. As a child, I was very curious and fearless about a lot of things, but one thing that stuck with me from middle school all through high school was the marching band. I started off playing snare drum than graduated to playing bass, tenor, symbols and quads. Read more>>

Vyana Novus-Magee

A week after giving birth in 2018, I almost died from a septic blood infection. The combination of giving birth and almost dying was naturally a major pivot point in my life. My capacity was so shifted that I had to get really clear with myself about what was most essential. I was dealing with severe depression, compounded with a history of intense trauma and Complex-PTSD. Read more>>

Nidhi Ghildayal

At the beginning of my graduate school career, I was lucky enough to begin doing some print work in the Midwest – my home state houses casting for some large companies like Target, Macy’s, etc. Eventually, my local agents started sending me out on commercial auditions. Without any prior training, I was…not good. I started taking some acting classes and like anything, with practice. Read more>>

Paulina Karpis

I came up with the idea for brunchwork when I was considering an MBA. I saw a mismatch between the value and the price of an MBA: half-a-million dollars including the opportunity cost of not working for two years. I felt uncomfortable going into debt and disempowered about my options. I set out to recreate the value of the MBA in a way that fits into my routine, at a fraction of the cost. Read more>>

Sam Migliazza

My family has always been huge into music, it’s been apart of my life since I was a child. My mother is a bass player in her family band and my grandfather, played mandolin. Once it was out that I had a passion for music and that I had a voice of my own, my whole family did everything but hold me back. They always said if you’re going to pursue your dreams, put everything you got into it and you’ll have success. They helped me realize that I needed to become an artist. Read more>>

Andy Kabamba

Music Manager/ A&R I came up in the music industry as a dancer-choreographer and stage director transitioned to an assistant for a musician to understand the background aspect of business and climbed up to management position by being hungry and productive persistent especially working with the likes of Birdman, Lil Wayne, Sean Paul reggae artist, Future, Drake, T-Pain and hit producers like Dre Moon, Metro Boomin and many more turned me into a coordinator that has moved mountains in this music business. Read more>>

Lorena Gordon

I set foot on my first professional set at the age of eighteen, and ever since then I was hooked. I was born and raised in Queens, New York. I knew film was what I was born to do after watching Titanic at the theater at the age of eight. I recall being in my seat and knowing I wanted to move an audience through moving pictures. After that, I grabbed the family camcorder and started making home movies and grabbed my cousins to act in them. Read more>>

Becky Sanders

I definitely have it pretty great at this point, and I’ve had a lot of advantages. My parents have always been supportive of what I do, my friends are wonderful, my cat Mia is extremely supportive of my career, and even my apartment building’s cockroaches drop by to say an encouraging word. I think the biggest obstacle I had to overcome was becoming my own cheerleader. Read more>>

Christy Laurence

I had a successful career in digital marketing, social media, and direct response advertising for agencies and corporations, most recently finishing up as an Advertising Executive at Insurance Australia Group (IAG). The idea for Plann was born while I was illustrating and selling my artwork on Instagram, the account was doing so well, friends would ask ‘how’ I was able to do so. Read more>>

Rachel Dahlenburg

I’ve wanted to be an actor ever since I saw Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz when I was really little. My mom bought me a pair of ruby red slippers and I wanted to change my name to Dorothy! Growing up, I did theatre in school, but I never thought I could actually move to LA and become an actor. My dreams always seemed so out of reach. I don’t come from an artistic family, so pursuing art as a career seemed crazy and as I got older. Read more>>

Nicole Marks

I have worked with healthy individuals looking to get fit, toned, stronger, athletes training for their specific sport; speed, strength, technique, prenatal women, individuals pre and post gastric bypass surgery, individuals with hip, knee, and shoulder replacements, back, neck, shoulder, knee, ankle, etc… injuries, individuals post-cardiac surgery and various other surgeries and ailments. Read more>>

Fatima Elswify

I’m originally from Inglewood, CA. I’ve lived in West Covina, CA and currently in the Mid City area. I grew up striving to lead in the corporate world, climbing the ladder at some fortune 500 company. To accomplish this I studied Economics at Spelman College and landed a job at a big company post-graduation. I soon realized that there was no passion behind this pursuit of mine so I decided to quit. Read more>>

Tana Rose

I was raised in the outskirts of San Francisco and began classical training in piano and vocals by age five. Coming from a family of traditional business owners in real estate, it was a huge surprise to my family to see me write, compose, & produce full-length projects by the age of 13. During High School, I attended Singing and Acting classes at the school of John Robert Powers. Through their school. Read more>>

Melissa Dougherty

I’m originally from Brooklyn, NY, but grew up in Las Vegas and San Francisco. I began playing piano and guitar when I was seven years old and continued playing music with my friends in Las Vegas while I was in high school. My first band was with my good friend Ronnie Vannucci. I later went on to study guitar at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. Read more>>

Tommie Russell Jr.

Growing up in a small town like Saginaw, Texas you find that idle time is just as vast as the open land that made up most of our town. My parents did their best to keep me involved in as many extracurricular activities as possible. In their efforts to protect me from the formidable troubles that come with ample amounts of free time, I was able to dabble in every sport, talent, and club imaginable. Read more>>

Nadiya Geldenhuys

was born and raised in South Africa, Johannesburg. From a young age, I took acting lessons and soon got bit by the bug that would change my life forever(the acting bug, of course.) I always had a little voice telling me to dream big and go to the US to further my education in acting when the time was right. Read more>>

Fiora Boes

Silverlake Flea was started in the parking lot of my art gallery Ghettogloss about twelve years ago. I started it to facilitate the Independent Crafting Movement. Once that was up and running, I added Vintage to bring a more classic fleamarket feel to the vibe. It grew out of my then gallery parking lot and has been at the Micheltorena Street Elementary School for over ten years. Read more>>

Victor Heliodor

Finding good staff has been the hardest struggle! We have very strong models in town but to find a good agent is a challenge. Someone with all the qualities I’m looking for. It has to be someone who understands fashion, which model who is right for which client, someone who is organized, who can help me with social media and who is good on the phone. Having the right agent would take us to another level. Read more>>

Vicky Dalli

I am an actress and a lawyer, born and raised in Greece. I graduated from the Law School at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and while working as a lawyer, I was also studying acting at the Theatre of Changes in Athens. After I finished my studies, I got accepted by the famous Lee Strasberg Film and Theatre Institute in Hollywood and I continued to the Beverly Hills Playhouse acting school. Read more>>

Bella Trost

Whatever I found passion for in my life – dance, gymnastics, modelling, acting, music, writing, I never could do it just as a hobby. I practiced fanatically and I made all the effort to be among the bests. By the time I got to the university I was the member of the Hungarian National Team of Sports Aerobics, and I traveled around the world representing my country. Read more>>


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