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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.

Jessica Baptiste

I started Hell Notes for Beauty in the Spring of 2010 as a way to release my creative urges, especially writing. I’ve always been drawn to words, it’s etymology and ability to invoke different emotions and the imagination by way of stories. Read more>>

Marla Ivanna Encinas and Valentina Inurreta

As sisters, we, Marla and Valentina, came together and put our talents and knowledge to work and decided to open our first flagship store in San Diego. It all started with our resort wear brand, Valmare Collection, inspired by the effortless but chic look of caftans and kimonos. Read more>>

Jazbleidy Cadavid Beltran

I am a young Colombian who has been a journey full of changes and unexpected experiences all my life, I came to this country more than 1 year ago as most people, with a bag full of hopes and dreams, was never in my plans to reach this country, while at school. Read more>>

Ayesha Ophelia

The Girlfriend Manifesto began in the midst of a lot of personal turmoil in my life. My Mom was very ill, I was changing careers and my marriage was in the process of changing. I knew I needed connection with women. It has always been the most healing force in my life. Read more>>


Alysse Asaro

My life was “Instagram perfect.” I had a successful career, a dreamy husband, a cute golden retriever and was living in one of the most incredible cities in the U.S. Except when I looked in the mirror I hated what I saw reflecting back at me. The truth: I was 40 pounds overweight, my marriage was lacking emotional & physical intimacy. Read more>>

Amanda Van Schaik

I was gifted it and from there, I started photographing family, friends, animals and landscapes; basically anything that I could see in front of me. Weddings were so far out of my reach at that point, that it didn’t even enter my into my scope for quite a long time. Read more>>

Lauren Robinson

I started Rock + Revival after not being able to find what I was looking for at vintage and secondhand shops in my area. Jeans and a t-shirt – that’s the uniform! My husband and I collected the coolest tees we could find and our customers ended up loving them. Read more>>

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