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Trailblazers: Downtown & Little Italy

The editorial team has a special attachment to our new series, The Trailblazers: Rewriting the Narrative, because so many of us feel that media portrayals of women have been too one dimensional. Today, women are doing incredible things in all fields – from science and technology to finance, law, business, athletics and more.  With the Trailblazers series, we hope to highlight and celebrate female role models, encourage more equal and just representation in the media, and help foster a more tight-knit community locally helping women find mentors, business partners, friends and more.

Below, you’ll find some incredible trailblazers from in and around Downtown & Little Italy that we hope you will check out, follow and support.

Suzanne Sinatra

I searched online for a vaginal ice pack, and I couldn’t find anything. I can buy a pet rock, but I can’t find an ice pack for my who-ha???? Pee’d off; I decided to make a solution for myself. However, when I shared with my friends what happened to me and my idea, they started sharing with me their own vaginal pain stories and that they could have used something like this. Read more>>

Camille Côté

I studied fashion design then learned by working in this area. I thought that the apparel industry was a bit saturated so I developed a hats line as a self-taught. By a manipulation mistake, on a lonely depressive night in my workshop, I created the Cropped Hat™, the first hat on the market with an integrated elastic who fits everyone. Read more>>


Art was always a part of my upbringing with the freedom from technology and the creative flow provided by my family. I started painting and writing as a means to deal with my depression as an adolescent. Burning poems I wrote in fear and faith. As I grew older, my love for the arts grew fonder. Read more>>

Tatsiana DeRosa

I also am very good at determining the right makeup style and technique that will be flattering for my client and make her look her absolute best. Doing makeup since 2006, I had a privilege to work for high end brands such as Dior, Chanel, and Yves Saint Laurent. During my employment with these companies I met and trained under many renowned celebrity makeup artists. Read more>>

Perla Chase

I decided to join the digital age and post my photo shoots on Instagram. After many recommendations from friends and supporters, I took a chance and launched my beauty and fashion blog, YourGirlChase.Com in 2017. Starting my blog opened many doors. I was invited to attend local events, collaborated with brands, and established a unique following with San Diego creatives and influencers. Read more>>

Jessie Medina

My experience of being the only woman in boardrooms and meetings led me to recognize the need for more women to have equal opportunities, to break glass-ceilings, and to connect and collaborate with other women.In 2017, my mom and I were talking about the need for women, especially women of color, to have access to education and see more representation in media, business, and corporate. Read more>>

Diamond Smith

As time went on, my young, indecisive mind took the thought of college completely out, until I connected with that same friend at a photo shoot where she handed me her camera and I fell in love. Instantly, I figured I can go get a degree but in Film (that was very random) then picked up a photography class and thought to myself “this is very slow”, so I then became self-taught so that eventually, I could turn my new found passion into a business. Read more>>

Breana Rensing

It definitely hasn’t been a smooth road there’s been struggles and hard times, but how else will we learn through certain situations and trials without having to overcome the obstacles. Honestly, one of my biggest struggles was myself. You need to believe in yourself and believe you are enough, not only in this aspect with your job or talent but day to day. Read more>>

Danijela Ripley

A native of Bosnia, I emigrated to the US as a refugee in 1993, during the civil war in my country. I was 13 years old. Having experienced war and growing up in poverty, I truly appreciate the luxuries and opportunities we have in the US! However, I didn’t feel at home here until I fell in love with San Diego upon a visit in 2002. I have called the city home ever since! Read more>>

Justine Nelson

My story really started back in 2008, when I received a phone call from my mom telling me that she was laid off. She and my dad were no longer going to support me financially through college and I had to figure it out on my own. I did what any other college student did and took out loan after loan. Read more>>

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