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Rising Stars of Downtown & Little Italy

The heart of our mission at the SD Voyager is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of the San Diego’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 inspiring stories from Downtown & Little Italy below.

Shant Nicholas Salkhorian

The passion I have for filmmaking started when I was a child. I was born in Hollywood, CA, to Armenian immigrants. Growing up, I loved watching Charlie Chaplin films. I had these old VHS tapes of classic Charlie Chaplin films. I would watch them for hours. Chaplin could make me laugh and cry without saying a word in his films and I thought that was magical. This is when I decided that filmmaking was for me. As I grew older, I would make short films with my friends using an old camcorder that my cousin would let me borrow. It didn’t matter what the story was in the films, as long as the videos had humor and could find a way to make the viewer laugh. Read more>>

Katie Bray

I began my career in Finance during the Great Recession, fresh out of college with a business degree. I certainly had a knack for numbers and loved the organization and predictability they offered. I deeply enjoyed the travel industry and soaked up so much rich learning while in this role. I left that position eight years later as the Director of Finance. Through that experience, I knew that I could help many entrepreneurs with the skills I had created in finance, HR, administration and leadership. Read more>>

Jocelyn Toliver

“Just like the sun causes you to sweat without thinking about it, crystals cause you to heal without thinking about it” – Jocelyn Toliver, CEO Lovely Life Jewelry Company Founded in October 2018 in Encinitas, California, and has recently made its way home to San Diego, California. This company was inspired by a trip around the world. I walked into a bead and crystal shop in Encinitas and had one goal in mind. To make a necklace that would travel with me to Thailand, Indonesia, and the Maldives. It was suggested that to ease my nerves, I should incorporate crystals. This all happened in May 2018. Fast forward to October 2018, and I decided that the necklace I created helped me so much that I had to share the love and joy. Read  more>>

Samantha Razoky

I fondly remember my mother having a beautiful mink coat (I wouldn’t buy real fur!) that I would steal out of her closet at the age of three, so I could walk around the house with it dragging behind me because I was imaging I was a princess. I always had a penchant for luxury, at even such a young age. As I grew that taste evolved, I would buy Vogue just to admire advertisements from large fashion houses. I always was intrigued by the clothes, the models, and the photoshoots. Growing up in a city allowed me to explore this fascination. Style was my passion. Art was my creativity. But I found that the two blended quite easily. My outfits were truly an expression of art, and I took pride in whatever I wore. Read more>>

Melissa Padilla

Melissa is a multidisciplinary artist originally from Tijuana, Baja California. Her artistic development includes: graphic design, photography, drawing, theater, ballet, jazz and contemporary dance. Melissa graduated with honorable mention from the Professional Dance School of Mazatlan, directed by the Delfos Dance Company. She is currently a registered teacher of the CONTINUUM training system founded by scenic artist Omar Carrum; with this system Melissa has taught various workshops throughout Mexico and abroad. Melissa also is the Co-founder and co-director of the contemporary theater collective Teatro de León alongside Colombian artist José Luis Sánchez. They have received grants for artistic support such as International Circulation Mincultura 2017 and Apromac 2017 to present their work RITA in various festivals throughout Mexico, Colombia, and France. Read more>>

Alonso Moreno

I would like to talk about my musical journey as a road of passion and fortunate events. Why this way? Because there has been a total passion and love for music since I started my journey, that has been pushing me always to keep moving forward. If I sum up my life as a child/teenager, I could describe it in three words: school and soccer. There was just a little time for anything else like music. However, I always had a strong connection with music since I can remember, I partly get it from my dad who’s a great non-professional guitar player and singer. Long story short, I was afraid of singing in front of people and it was until I was 18 yrs old that I took the courage to sing in front of a little audience of 10 in a karaoke place in Tijuana and that’s when the fun began. That same night I was fortunate to come across professional singer and well-known radio host. Read more>>

Jazmin Cornejo

Ever since I can remember, I never took the traditional path to life and always wanted to push the boundaries a little bit. Whether that being my curfew growing up – sorry mom – or dropping out of public high school to go to an art school. Limits were meant to be broken in my book! My parents taught me the entrepreneurial spirit at an early age which was a blessing and a curse. I quickly learned what a flexible schedule was like, taking long weekends to camp, and that I’m not made to take orders from a boss. My mom always told me to follow my passion and I could do anything I set my mind too. Unfortunately, my dad passed away a few years ago from early-onset Alzheimers. I learned so much from him being sick most importantly, then he taught me to celebrate every day like it’s your last and pushed me to see the world he wasn’t able to. Read more>>

Luisa Jackson

I have a master’s degree from Pepperdine University. I graduated with honors in Business Management Administration & Entrepreneurship. I spent ten years of my life working for the largest supplier of rocket engines for NASA. I supported the Space Shuttle Program and also, the program that replaced the Space Shuttle. In this capacity, I worked as a project scheduler and also, supported their Strategy Organization in various roles and Finance. I was also part of their Executive Leadership Program. I am a certified Kundalini yoga teacher. I also have a certification for Energy Healing and Holistic Treatments from The Lion Heart Institute in Los Angeles. I have dedicated ten years of my life to study Shamanism and healing rituals in South America. Read more>>

Spencer Couture

I am originally from Boulder, Colorado and my artistic path began as a young child in grade school. Being the youngest of four, I always looked up to my older brother who introduced me to hip hop and graffiti in the second grade. Inspired by the vast styles and color combinations of graffiti and street art, I would spend most of my childhood tagging and drawing; trying to emulate my love for the talent I would see in allies and abandoned buildings. Starting off as a self-taught Graffiti Artist, spray paint became my favorite medium. As my passion for art grew, so did my affinity for other mediums such as acrylic and resin. Read more>>

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