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San Diego’s Most Inspiring Stories

The heart of our mission is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our communities. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some incredible artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with the incredible group below. Check out our favorite stories from across the Voyage family.

Cristina Hass

I am the CEO at Office Tax Services, a Bookkeeping & Tax Preparation firm in San Diego. Everything changed when I decided to move from my home country Brazil to San Diego in 2013. Both my daughter and son were living in the U.S., and they both decided to pursue their careers there. I felt like I had no option, but to make a change if I wanted to stay close to my family. At the age of 46, I decided to let go of everything I had built in Brazil. My company, a 15-year professional career in logistics and computer science, all my belongings, and even my own apartment. Needless to say, it was a challenging transition, specially learning another language at this age. But I have always loved to learn. I dedicated all my time to studying. Not only English, but I wanted to learn more. So, I decided to study accounting and tax preparation. Read more>>

Trae Dungy

I have always loved film. While in college I studied many aspects of the craft. Lack of diversity in the distribution industry and my love for the craft of filmmaking was my original inspiration. I love seeing and supporting young hungry artists. Having been a young inexperienced filmmaker myself, I understand the struggles and hustle of trying to get your artistic work positioned well. Where I find myself now is in a mix between art and business. As an artist being able to appreciate art but also as a businessman in the business of art. I chose to look at it from two different perspectives. The biggest detractors facing artists today are finding and connecting with the avenues to monetize their craft. I love to see people pushing boundaries, making strides and taking risks that make a greater difference. I’m inspired to share our united vision in this medium of art. I’m inspired by filmmakers who don’t have a whole lot to work with. Read more>>

Lorzel Waltner

When our youngest headed off to college, USD, I had been a stay at home mama and I knew I needed to jump back into the work force in some manner to help pay for his housing and living expenses. We had a few years previously pulled down a barn and repurposed the wood for our own home and so I felt I wanted to get into my own small business with repurpose and saving of old treasures in some way with that. I started small, in a booth at a local vintage shop. My farmhouse style of repurposing vintage and saving old farms pieces seemed to come on the scene at the same time as the Gaines had started their Fixer Upper Show for HGTV. Folks had fallen in love with the rustic farmhouse look and I had just so happened to have started my business with repurposing barn wood. It was truly blessed in the craziest way. Eventually, the small space grew into a larger space there at that store and then we grew once more to our own warehouse of 1,200 square feet. We opened it up for shopping only 4 days a month, this was due to us selling out in those four days of all we had brought in and needing time to go hunt up more pieces. Read more>>

Matthew Pierrelys

I was raised on both sides of the border Barrio Logan and Tijuana, Mexico, my father a Haitian immigrant turned citizen and my mother, a Tijuana native. My education was also divided in two, having my early years of education in San Diego and most of my junior and high school education done in Tijuana. The way I started is actually the story of a funny challenge that turned into a real professional career. In 2017, I was offered the opportunity to model for locally known brands in a sort of pro bono situation. I modeled their products and in exchange, I got free clothes/ items of my choosing. This was when I was a 17-year-old senior in high school with no money to buy new/cool clothes on my own yet so for me, that was a pretty sweet deal, although I was not sure of doing it because it was something I had ever done before. It was an overwhelming offer nonetheless. My friends from high school were the ones that encouraged me to pursue this and sort of challenged me to do it and see what happens from it, so ultimately I end up doing the photoshoots and modelling for them.  Read more>>

Kinsey O’Leary

While growing up, I was surrounded by many alternative and holistic healing practices. I always loved math and science in school, but was naturally drawn to art, nature, and spirituality too. At 17 years old I was in a violent and unhealthy relationship that left me with PTSD and general anxiety. I quickly found that alternative healing modalities brought me lasting relief and healing. In college, I studied chemistry and biochemistry with plans to go on to a PhD program or transition into medicine. After graduating from UC San Diego with my B.S. Biochemistry and Cell Biology, I felt pulled in many directions within science and medicine. I was fortunate enough to work in biomarker analysis post-grad and participate in many types of metabolomics research. Over time however, I felt drained and depleted by the reductionist view of general western medicine and began to diversify my learning and knowledge. Read more>>

Courtney Sahagun

It all started with planning my daughter’s first birthday party in 2019 with a guest list that included very few one-year-olds, all of my friends, and vast amounts of family. I have never been one to shy away from any opportunity to host a party, so I wanted to go all out. Needless to say, my daughter, Savannah (Savvy), deserved a first birthday party with the most extravagant dessert bar. This dessert bar included all the color coordinated candies, cupcakes, and of course, the fanciest of all cookies, french “macaroons”, because I thought they were aesthetically pleasing, not because I’ve actually eaten one before. Once I picked up the order from a bakery, I placed the box of goodies on my passenger car seat and continued my errands to pick up flowers from a friend of the family’s local flower farm. Upon arrival, I left my car door open (big mistake) and later discovered their farm dog, Skeeter, enjoys cookies too!. Read more>>

John McCullough

I grew up surfing and snowboarding on Long Island. After high school and through college I worked as an ocean rescue lifeguard in Atlantic Beach, NY. In 2016 I lived in New Zealand for 2 months working at a surf shop in exchange for a place to stay and food to eat. The owners and their community took me in and looked after me. I returned to the same community in 2017 and stayed for over 6 months working as a surf coach and doing ding repair. I returned to an unsound surf shop in NY where I had been in between NZ trips. I was the sales manager and ding repair guy there. That led me to an interest in shaping and building new boards. Then that led me to San Diego, where Joe Roper and his wife took me under their wing and let me work at their factory. I was there for 15 months until Covid came around and my time there was over. I then had the free time to start Monarch. Read more>>

Dean Sauer

Since the 8th grade, I knew that science was the road for me. I had too many unanswered questions and the encyclopedias that my parents purchased only created more questions. After graduating from San Diego State University with a degree in Biology I started working in a laboratory at Johnson and Johnson PRI. One of my duties was growing cell lines and this is where I learned to grow all different types of cells. I was also a co-author of two published scientific papers for this line of work. Little did I understand that a decade later this experience would be the basis of my current company, PyroFarms, where growing micro-algae is the foundation of the business. PyroFarms cultivates a bioluminescent microalgae (phytoplankton) that can generate its own natural light at night when moved. This is beautiful to witness and the main reason people purchase the micro-algae (which we call PyroDinos). But I love these little plankton for all they do for us the planet. Read more>>

Luciano Reyes

I was born in the Bronx, raised in Mahopac. I’m pretty new to the state of California, I was living in Harlem, NYC for 7 years. It’s always been a dream of mine, so I’m excited to be a part of your piece. My first experience with music started in elementary school, I played the trombone till 8th grade, joining the jazz band, marching band, and all-county band along the way. During the summer of 8th grade my friends started a rap group and wanted me to join (I was really bad). By the time high school started up I took all the music technology electives and by junior year I was rapping again. Still, not-so-good at rapping I would freestyle at parties, record music in my parent’s living room, and perform locally. Slowly coming out of my shell as a quiet kid who smiles all the time. After graduation, I attended Herkimer County Community College where I obtained my associate’s in Music Industry. I wanted to be a recording engineer but soon realized I was better built for the stage, I wanted to entertain. My buddy Jordan and I started an alternative/experimental hip-hop group, touring upstate New. York and releasing 3 EP’s. Read more>>

Janice Cheng

I graduated in Communications at SFU in 2019, and joined the start-up world immediately after, starting with gen z wellness brand Blume, and now at Pineapple. I always knew I had a love for community building, writing, and cool brands, so through that, I somehow found my way into Brand Marketing + Community Growth 2.5 years later. My work has always been borderless! I work remotely, but have connected and built friendships with people across the US and beyond. It’s probably the best part of what I do, getting to share different stories, support others growth, and bring like-minded people together. Sometimes, I’ll do a bit of copywriting for fun for other brands!. Read more>>

Analia Mendez

I was born to immigrant parents in the Northern California city of Modesto. As a teenager, my parents would encourage me to pursue my career dreams, but they were limited with resources and the information needed to set me up with a college bound education. After much perseverance and guidance from coaches and mentors, I decided to dedicate my life to helping others that were in my shoes. This is when I became first woman in my family to graduate from college with a BA in Psychology, then a Masters in Counseling. In 2003 I hit the ground running and began guiding and counseling college students with career choices and the required classes to achieve their goals. My passion for helping others achieve their ultimate career goals grew throughout the years and I became an expert in career and educational development. I also became a director five times, over a period of 22 years. Read more>>

Maruka Tarabay

I can’t say I always knew I wanted to become a designer but now, looking back, it makes sense I would choose this path. I grew up in Venezuela, experiencing three very different cultures. My mom was born in Germany but has Ukrainian and Russian roots, my dad is originally from Lebanon, and both families migrated to South America in the 1940s, where my siblings and I were born. All these cultures couldn’t be more different from one another, and being exposed to these disparate and diverse backgrounds influenced my identity. As a child, I also remember being especially affected by my surroundings, noticing buildings, interior spaces, shapes, and forms. Recognizing how the environment can influence your mood is a concept we can understand as adults, but when I think of the level of awareness I had as a child it makes sense I would choose to become an interior designer. Read more>>

Cole Brummond

My photo and video career began in the 8th grade. I saved up money from working all winter and summer long. Each day I would split and stack wood, mow fields, and take care of the property my grandma and I lived on. I grew up in central Oregon on a good size piece of property and cared for my close friends and family. After finally purchasing my first camera I met one of my life long friends Jesse. Jesse was already miles ahead with his career in content creating and he really inspired me to grow my love for creating visual art in the form of pictures and videos. Together we traveled the entire country with my father in a trailer. Each summer my dad, Jesse, and I would pack up our mountain bikes, camera equipment, and all the essential ingredients to make a mighty fine quesadilla, and we would venture off into unknown places where we searched for what brought us joy. It was through these experiences we had traveling the country with nothing but a trailer and some mountain bikes that I found my true passion. Read more>>

Rafael Mercedes

I was very unhappy with life in the military so I decided to get out. I made an exit plan which included selling 90% of my possessions & building my own off-grid van to travel/live out of. Thanks to a book (Designing Your Life, given to me by Reggie Mills at the Commit Foundation), I realized I didn’t want to go to college or contract overseas like every other veteran. I realized that my experience as an electrician directly related to van building. So, I decided to start helping friends with their van builds. I was blessed with the opportunity to apprentice at a well-established van building shop in Colorado for a few months. I came back to San Diego to be around the same community of service members & veterans I served with. Van life can allow for financial & physical freedom, which is a concern for a lot of service members. Read more>>

Kathryn E. Nuñez

Kathryn E. Nuñez, the founder of The Social Selling Agency, is a LinkedIn Marketing Expert and a Top Visibility Thought leader. She is an authority on sales and, has built a rapid-growing following of over 20,000 professionals. Kathryn is passionate about working with solopreneurs who are ready to be the subject matter experts in their niche. Her clients learn to attract leads on autopilot, increase their revenue, and become the person of influence in their market. Passionate about her work, Kathryn credits her success to mindset, drive, and tenacity. Favorite pastimes include cooking in the kitchen with “future chef” and son Jordin or traveling the world with her son Sebastian listening to him play his cello. Read more>>

Rebecca Garity Pinto

I started as a fitness instructor in college right here in San Diego. At first, it was because of the free gym membership. I stayed because I loved moving to music and the feeling of accomplishment when someone realized that they could do the exercise, complete the reps, get results and actually enjoy working out. I fell in love with teaching fitness and wanted to figure out how to make it my full-time career, but its a challenge to teach 40 hours a week or even make a decent living as a fitness instructor. So I started working for companies that were in the fitness vertical, providing education and producing events for fitness instructors like me. I spent a decade at San Diego based, IDEA Health & Fitness Association, ultimately running their event business unit, that produced the largest event in the US for fitness professionals. During that time I continued to teach fitness classes at 24 Hour Fitness as a popular instructor, and traveled during the weekends to other gyms to certify their instructors how to teach. Read more>>

Brennan Clarke

I have always been fascinated with creation whether it’s art, music or business. Why things are the way they are and the thought process behind them. When I first thought up the idea for what would become a seed-bearing lollipop, I loved that it didn’t exist, that a good material could bring people together and spark inspiration when they interacted with it. I have had many different ideas that lived in my head, but it took my wife Taylor to make them a reality. We want to create products that engage people and that they want to share with others. We believe customers deserve more from their products and we will continue to deliver those products to them. We have just begun!. Read more>>

George Esteban

My story began with a lie… In third grade, a fellow classmate approached me and said “I heard you play guitar”. Confidently, I said yes- even though I didn’t. He then added that he’d begun taking lessons and suggested that we jam sometime. Little did I know that was the formation of my first band. I immediately learned guitar from my dad, who taught me a few chords to a Beatles tune and by high school, I had already been corrupted and seduced heavily by Rock n’ Roll. Finding people to play music with was hard to come by in my small beach community so my project The Wine Club was contrived out of frustration. I bought a couple of microphones and learned to record myself using only my iPhone. I was able to self-release nearly 30 songs this way, playing all the instruments on the recordings. Now, what used to be a solo project is now a full band who’s started to build community playing Rock’ n Roll. Read more>>

Kassie O’Driscoll

In 2019, my family and I relocated to Northern Virginia and I used that opportunity to switch from Family Photography to Wedding Photography. With that came a huge need to build my portfolio. I stumbled my way through my first styled shoot in March of that year and realized that I not only love shooting weddings, but I really love connecting with other Creative Entrepreneurs! That’s when K. Layne Styled was born. The best part about all of it is that I was able to do with my best friend, Claire! She and I became quite the dynamic duo and loved the opportunity to hang out while building something together! By the end of the year, we’d organized a styled shoot nearly once a month and hosted the first annual Creatively Gathered shoot for over 100 photographers. Read more>>

Linda Caro

I am the owner of Little Hunnys Cakery located in Escondido, CA in the beautiful county of San Diego. I have been in business for 11 years and I am completely self-taught. I learn through trial and error, still til this day. My cake journey began about two years before I officially started my business. I started making cakes for family just as a treat. Then it turned into more detailed cakes for my kids’ birthdays. But my very first cake order came before I even decided to start a cake business. A friend of mine messaged me on Facebook and asked if I can make a cake and asked how much it would be. I just made up a price, and completed the cake. She and her family loved it! so I realized I had a hidden talent and I decided that I would start a cake business. Over the years, I have made so many different themes of cakes, some with lots of fondant, some with a very small amount. Some cakes were even carved to look like things other than cake! Today I specialize in smooth buttercream cakes with fondant detail and small fondant sculpting, I do make fondant covered cakes as well, although I don’t prefer them. In addition to my cake business, I also have online classes, in person classes, and I manufacture my own brand of edible glue. Read more>>

Teresa Ramirez Petroni

I am a Mixed Race Mexican-American born + raised in Southern California. Moving to San Francisco, CA when I was 25 years old from the only home I’ve known of Los Angeles/Orange County, Southern California—the deepest parts of my soul came alive and I began to learn about the healing arts as it felt like SF housed them all. It was in 2016 at the age of 29, when a dear friend gifted me a session with a Reiki Practitioner and I received my first “hands on” healing session. This session was gifted at a time when “the universe was blowing up my life” (aka my Saturn Return) as my anxiety from fast-paced start-up work life + diverting Burning Man SF night life caught up with me in every way. That gifted session turned into a 3 session intensive healing experience that broke me open to the potential of “going all in” on my healing process with a career + life change to the Holistic Healing Arts. Read more>>

Maelynn Le

I live in San Francisco, CA, and I am currently a social media marketing manager for restaurants in the Bay Area, food photographer, and food travel blogger. I started food photography in 2019 because I really love food and photography is a great art to express my creativity. It’s one of those arts that you are never limited to and I love thinking outside the box on how I can create professional but still have fun and creative pictures. After I posted on Instagram all of my food adventures and photos, I started to grow on IG and I was surprised what I was able to do not only as a photographer, but the knowledge I gained from Instagram marketing as well. Because of that, not only I’m a food photographer, but I also run other Instagram accounts for other restaurants and businesses in the Bay Area as well and that’s how digital marketing started to become my job now that I love. On top of that because I’ve saved money, I have the luxury of traveling to other parts of the United States (hopefully explore other countries soon) to explore the food scenes in other states as well. Read more>>

Steve Eubanks

While I’m not a California native, SoCal has been my home for over 30 years. My wife and I came to California as a young couple, still figuring out what we wanted to do, and who we wanted to be, and our time here has shaped the way we answered those questions in more ways than we could have imagined. Since then we’ve grown, learned, raised a family and come to see Southern California as home. I’ve enjoyed building things for as long as I can remember. From Legos and Pinewood Derby cars in my childhood to metal and woodworking classes in high school, making things has been part of who I am since the beginning. Over the years I’ve built everything from furniture to classic cars, home renovations to custom golf clubs. The workshop is my happy place, and I’ll take almost any excuse to experiment with new tools and techniques and make interesting things. Read more>>

Brandy Meeks

I started in the industry in my 20’s working for someone whom I admire, I learned a lot about the business in all aspects. From there I worked in another industry, got married, had kids, and helped my ex-husband with his business. We divorced almost 6 years ago, and I needed a way to support myself and still be a full time mom so I started Element One Promotions! I knew that I knew the business and could do this around my kid’s schedules. Read more>>

Vanessa Gutierrez

We all have our personal insecurities, as a teenager one of the things that made me feel pretty was when I did my makeup and all my friends would comment on how nice it looked. I started practicing and practicing watching YouTube videos in 2010. It was more than just feeling pretty after that it was about the art the color contrast, the blending, face structure it was a passion. Making people feel Beauty and bringing out their confidence, their smile and being part of very meaningful moments in their life is one of the most amazing feelings In The world. Read more>>

Julianne Vallera

I was born in San Diego in the 1990s. Growing up I had struggles articulating some things due to autism (which was undiagnosed during my early years) and am very thankful for that in the context of the fact that I was integrated into regular classes. I enjoyed participating in activities such as theater. While eagerness does not equal talent, I participated for the sake of socializing. Developing epilepsy at the age of 16 definitely changed the course of my life and future career path: as epilepsy can disqualify people from getting a driver’s license. After graduating from Cathedral Catholic High School, I went on to Point Loma Nazarene University. After my first year I wound up meeting some awesome people majoring in writing, and so I decided to join the writing department and graduated with a degree in writing. After getting my university degree I was in a frustrating position because there were jobs I was qualified for that would only accept employment experience, so my time working on my school’s publications as a staff writer was dismissed in the application process. Read more>>

Yanjane Meneses García

I began practicing Sports Journalism in the city of Cali, Colombia in 2011 while still finishing my career in Social Communications – Journalism. I studied at the University Autónoma de Occidente and in the National Telecommunications Institute INSTEL, where I accomplished very important academic achievements. I specialized in Sports Journalism at the University of La Sabana in the city of Bogotá. My first work experiences took place in a medium called RCN Radio on the Antena 2 station. I was the first woman to join the sports team for some time; initially as a commercial voice, and later as a journalist covering soccer and other sports in the city of Cali, Colombia. I covered soccer news and stories with the mayor teams: América de Cali and Deportivo Cali in many stadiums around the country. Alternatively, I also wrote for the virtual newspaper El País de Cali as a blogger for the editorial “Tribuna para las Mujeres”. I also collaborated in sports programs on Sundays, such as: Por los Campos del Deporte at a national level, for the same radio station. Read more>>

Erika Bardere

I started modeling a little over 10 years ago when I was selected to be in a runway fashion show at school. At the time it just seemed like something fun and new, but I wasn’t actively pursuing becoming a model yet. Since I was very little, I always imagined that I would go into professional acting and spent much of my school years in theater classes. For the first few years after that runway show, the friends I knew who were or wanted to be photographers would ask to shoot me for their portfolio, which I did as a favor to support them. Once there were a collection of images of me modeling, I started receiving Instagram messages from others that were asking to book me. From there, I fell into the world of modeling. I really enjoyed the energy of being on a set, so I started applying for as many gigs as I was able to. In 2019, I submitted myself to a modeling camp in New York that was ran by one of my favorite supermodels of all time, Coco Rocha. To my surprise, I woke up soon afterwards with a message on my Instagram from Coco herself, inviting me to come to stay at her home in New York and be one of her mentees.  Read more>>

Reid Clark

Reid Clark’s comedy has been described as dark, blue, and political, with elements of musicality and improvisation. In 10 years as a stand up comedian he has worked with Tone Bell, Andy Haynes, and Fortune Feimster and many more. Reid also has improv, sketch and writing experience and training at UCB, The People’s Improv Theatre and Washington Improv Theatre. He has directed, written and performed in music videos that were recognized by film festivals. Reid has been seen on Netflix and NBCU’s Discovery ID. Reid has been in the Cape Fear Comedy Festival, a three time finalist in Port City’s Top Comic and a finalist Funniest In South Texas Comedy Competition at Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club in San Antonio. Reid was a part of the Laugh Your Asheville Off Comedy Festival, Bay Area Black Comedy Festival, Memphis Comedy Festival, Harlem Comedy Festival, Gilda’s Laughfest and has performed in colleges and clubs around the country like Broadway Comedy Club, Stand Up New York, and Comedy Catch. Read more>>

Richard Kilwien

I grew up in a small town of about 2,000 residents in rural Northeast Texas. After graduating high school in 1983, I attended Texas Tech University and earned a bachelor’s degree in the summer of 1988. While I always loved following and participating in sports as a kid, it wasn’t until the summer prior to my final year of college that I merged my interest in writing and storytelling with sports by applying for a student job in the sports information office at Texas Tech. Over the last 35 years, I have been fortunate to have worked in athletic administration at eight different universities, a now-defunct athletic conference and two media companies. Presently, I serve as a Senior Associate Director of Athletics for External Operations at UC San Diego. Although my personal journey, like most people, began as a kid – especially growing up in such a small town environment – most of my significant influences came about once I determined my professional path. While in college, I didn’t take academics too seriously and did just enough to get by and earn a degree. I changed majors three times and was planning to graduate and become a coach. I spent more time in the recreation center playing basketball than in the classroom!. Read more>>

Madelyn Hadley

I’m from Seattle, Washington and grew up with a mother who loves to cook. My brothers organized a low pull-out shelf for me in the kitchen and filled it with tiny toy utensils and food stuffs and play dough. We often were all in the kitchen together, cooking and I could participate too. I was in the way of course! I’ve had a passion for flavor and creating foods (edible potions as I liked to call my experiments back in the day) for as long as I can remember. I also loved the time that good food created for my family. I really enjoyed the quality time at the dinner table and the family tradition of our century old sourdough waffles on Sunday. My interest in food’s direct effect on health started in high school and became even stronger in college. I went to UCSD and studied Public Health and Business. There I had the opportunity to work on research studies involving cooking and health education for youth as well as becoming a teaching assistant for Nutrition. After college I began working with a Naturopathic doctor who taught me a lot about food’s ability to heal the body. It was clear to me that a whole food plant-based diet is essential for optimal health. I worked as a plant based private chef for her patients as well as others in San Diego. Read more>>

Mary Bowerman

My coordinating career began when a close friend of mine entrusted me with executing her daughter’s extravagant Italian wedding! Having only minimal floral design experience at the time, I was hesitant, but with her trust and encouragement I took on the challenge. I loved every single minute of it!!! It changed me and my understanding of how many moving parts there are to a wedding. I knew from that day forward, the wedding industry was for me and I never looked back! My career and my heart were broke open after that first wedding in my life! Twenty-six years and over hundreds of weddings later, I have committed myself to making Elements of Style the ultimate event production studio. Together with my team, I have expanded and perfected our services to reflect the personal and unique experience we provide. To us, our clients are not just “another name on the calendar”. From the moment we first communicate I am immediately filled with excitement and am ecstatic to start brainstorming and creating with my couples! I spend time getting to know them- their dreams, visions, concerns, and needs. Read more>>

Ariana “Ari” Hidalgo

My parents met in San Diego in the late 70’s. My amazing Mama hailing from Argentina & Papa from Costa Rica. They fell in love, married and had me. My journey commenced. A journey that involved constant moving, back and forth from Argentina. The moving allowed me to be nomadic in spirit, to absorb the cultures and adapt quickly. My ability to culturally shift only expanded my depth. It helped shape me as a self taught jewelry artist, chef & creative. As a youth, I began collecting coins, rocks & crystals from many places. I was enthralled by these pieces. When I was in San Diego as a child, I spent hours at the University Club library, filling my mind with National Geographic photos & delicious chef prepared food! The perks of my dad working there. Those were the moments I have committed to memory, they are deeply rooted to my very existence. Read more>>

Sabrina Kinsella

I am a native to San Diego, born and raised! I’ve had a love and passion for photography from a young age. I always remember having my camera on me no matter where I went, literally never left the house without it. In high school, I would take at least 2,000 photos every weekend. I actually never did take a photography class, I wasn’t allowed. I know it sounds crazy….a little back story, I was raised by my grandparents. They wanted my sisters and I to all be nurses; so, taking anything that wasn’t working toward that career path was out of the question. I did actually go on to college and I received my nursing license but I never quit taking photos. Looking back, deep down…I knew that I was always meant to be a photographer. It sounds so cheesy but I could literally feel it in my bones. For years I just took photos of everyday life, friends and family. I bought my first”good” camera at 19 when I decided to finally get more serious with my photography. Read more>>

Jordan Brown

From a young age, I have always kept two very important qualities within my heart, which are helping others and smiling often. During my childhood, I moved quite a bit and lived in a very small town of 2,000 people in the Midwest. I faced several challenges growing up; however, despite the difficulties, I have always maintained a positive mindset and strong work ethic. I channel this energy into my passions, which includes dentistry, modeling, and cheerleading. When I graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2015 with my Bachelor’s of Science in Applied Science, I ended up taking an unusual path. Usually, people will focus on a 9-5 career or they will take the entrepreneurial route. I basically decided to take both. As a college athlete, I strongly believe the mindset prepped me to take both paths. Not only did I strive in academics and athletics, but also I held multiple jobs with leadership positions. I would have early morning workouts, class, clinicals, exams, practices, games and held two to three side jobs to provide for myself and fulfill my ambitious heart. It is all attitude, mindset, time management and work ethic that has kept me moving forward along my path. Read more>>

Elizabeth (Liz) Garcia

Born and raised in San Diego. I went to Kearny High School and left after tenth grade. When I turned sixteen, I began working full time doing medical billing and that is where I sort of saw myself staying. I would make that my career for the next decade. After eventually losing my corporate job, I went to beauty school on the advice of my mom who believed my passion for self-care could turn into a fulfilling career for me. Beauty school absolutely changed my life. I never in a million years thought I would be waxing for a living, but here I am and more importantly I truly love what I do. The COVID pandemic led to me deciding to pursue waxing and start my own business. Read more>>

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