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Hidden Gems: Local Businesses & Creatives You Should Know

Every day we have a choice. We can support an up and coming podcaster, try a new family-run restaurant, join a boutique gym started by a local fitness champ or we could keep giving away our money to the handful of giants who already control so much of our commerce. Our daily decisions impact the kind world we live in; if we want a world where small businesses are growing and artists and creatives are thriving then we should support them with our time, money and attention. We’re proud to highlight inspiring creatives and entrepreneurs each week in Hidden Gems series. Check out some of our latest local gem features below.

Cadence Lamb

My mom was a professional actor, singer, and dancer so I guess that’s where I started. I was lucky enough to grow up knowing that it’s possible to do that for a living and not be a movie star. To be a successful artist without making it to Broadway. She always told me it would be hard, never sugar-coated it, but she was proof I had from birth that it was possible. She was also my first teacher. I was singing before I could really talk, started taking dance at the age of 4, had my first role with lines when I was five, and wrote my first full song when I was 6. I kept all that up through high school, then went off to Illinois Wesleyan University to get my BFA in Acting and minors in Dance and Psychology. Actually, there were many moments in college I almost left my BFA program to pursue something else like Psychology or Religion. Not because I didn’t love my program and what I was learning. I just wanted to learn more, and do more. I’ve always had issues with overbooking myself because of this curiosity. Read more>>

Tayne Griffin

I was born in Newport Beach, California, and spent most of my growing-up years in Manhattan Beach. Back in those days, Manhattan Beach was still an old surfer town. On summer days, I woke up early, walked a LONG way to the beach, and spent the entire day on the sand with friends until the sun went down and sometimes longer. After I graduated high school, I went to a Northern California college and left after one semester. I knew it wasn’t for me but my parents insisted I go. I decided to take a trip to visit a good friend of mine who was living and modeling in Miami. I bought a ticket to spend a week with her and on the 7th day I called home and said I wasn’t coming back, please mail me my stuff. I spent the next year and a half working two jobs, one of which was running a VIP room in a South beach Miami bar. Man! I could write a book on just the crazy things I saw and participated in for that year and a half. Read more>>

Ella Martin

Crazy enough in the beginning hair wasn’t my dream job. I started my journey with hair by registering for one of the dual enrollment programs at East Valley Institute of Technology that allowed me to do a half-day of my required classes at Mesa High and the other half of my day starting in on my cosmetology program. At the time, I purely viewed this as a practical choice. Hair could always be a backup option and could help me pay my way through college (at the time the plan was Physical therapy school). A few weeks into hair school was when I realized I actually enjoyed doing hair and as the weeks went on it became clear this was my path. Once I felt the desire to make something of this career I decided to put all my effort into it. I started out doing as many photoshoots as I could, donating my time doing hair to collaborate with other creative individuals to in return have content to post to social media platforms. Read more>>

Crystal Nesfield

After graduating with my undergraduate degree in 2008, it was quite difficult for me to find a job. The first job I was offered was working in mental health at an entry-level position working with at-risk youth. I then started working in different rehab centers and with people struggling with serious mental illnesses. During this time, I became sober and began working on my own past trauma. I realized that working with people was something that I wanted to do. While working as a tech, I completed my Master’s Degree. I then completed my internship at Gentle Path at the Meadows, an inpatient unit in Wickenburg for men struggling with compulsive sexual behaviors. After completing my internship, I worked as a trauma therapist at Gentle Path and was trained in EMDR and Somatic Experiencing work. I was able to work intensively with people on trauma and addiction issues. Read more>>

Shannon Horton

Wow. It would have to start as a child. If someone told me as a child that my career would be a blend of spiritual coaching, psychology, and sharing my gifts as a psychic medium, I probably would not have believed them. My journey starts when Jesus appeared to me in a dream at three years old. In that dream, Jesus told me “As long as you follow me, no harm will happen to you. What I mean by that, is to seek the truth I was trying to teach people, not a religion”. This has been my life: Seeking the truth Jesus was trying to teach. Through this journey, I discovered and developed my intuitive gifts. This spirit leads the path nudging and guiding me to help others. I was able to see and hear spirits at a young age and this continued as I grew. There are many interesting stories along the way, such as near-death experiences at birth, four years old, ten years old, and in 2006 including facing uncertainty and possible death with a rare illness in my teens. Read more>>

Alán Ramiro Manning

There I was catching my breath on the train after running through the halls with a bag full of coins. The train door closes and a full rush of chills envelopes me as a tear drops from my eye. It really worked. I made enough money to eat for two weeks selling my sketches on the streets of Barcelona. This is where “see the lines” began. Now let me take you to the beginning. I am a first-generation American born to an Austrian/Hungarian Father, John, and a Mexican Mother, Alba. The youngest of three, I was raised in the quaint suburbs of Temecula, California. There wasn’t much to do as a child other than ride bikes, create home movies, play with bugs, and sketch all day. Somewhere along the way, I lost the tenacious ability to draw. As I sit here to reflect on what may have caused this, I would be remiss to not share the pain our family experienced. Read more>>

Dave Clark

Dave Clark picked up a guitar at age 14 and hasn’t put it down since. His is a tale of two musical personalities. One is an acoustic singer/guitarist that performs classic rock favorites all over the State of Arizona. Two, an accomplished songwriter with a full-length album to his credit and a follow-up in the works. Originally from Cleveland, OH, Clark became interested in music early on, and his love for music always superseded all other hobbies. Performing in the local scene in Northeast Ohio, Clark played in several notable bands, including Dreamer, Auntie Social, Rough House, and Dia Pason, the latter releasing a full-length record in 1990. Clark left band life in 1992 with the release of his first solo single If You Only Knew. Read more>>

Alexandria Procida

Hello! I’m Alex and I’m a Functional Nutrition Health Coach, certified through the Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner program. Prior to my coaching experience, I spent 5 ½ years working as a registered nurse. During this time, I obtained my master’s degree in Nursing but decided to transition to a modality that empowers and enables those who want to live their healthiest life. Along with general health concerns, I specialize in helping clients with estrogen dominance and regaining their lost energy by using functional lab screenings and tuning into what their body needs to live a fulfilled, balanced life. I LOVE to be outside in the sun, work out, spend time with my husband, cook healthy delicious meals and learn about the human body to find the best ways to thrive every day. My aim is to help YOU take control of your life and make the best decisions for your health. Read more>>

Tommy Mello

Like many other business owners out there, I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon. I know what it means to work your ass off to get what you want. I ventured into different jobs when I was a kid from bussing tables and being a lifeguard, to trying to flip cars, until I finally started my garage door business. The truth is that growing up hearing my parents talking through bill issues is what motivated me to remove money from the equation, so I could spend quality time with friends and family without having to worry about it. It took hard work to build a $100M business with over 400 employees. But what matters at that end is that we all have to start somewhere. Being through all that gave me the motivation to help other business owners succeed just like I did. That’s why I’ve written the Home Service Millionaire book (and I am writing the second book now about recruiting), I’ve launched the biggest podcast in the contracting space – Home Service Expert Podcast, and I share all of my secrets online. Read more>>

Nicole Marchi

From a young age, I had always envisioned a life where I was helping people in some capacity, but unsure of what that path would look like. In my freshman year of college, I took a Criminal Justice class and fell in love with the class, and wanted to learn more about the Criminal Justice system as a whole. The more I learned the more I wanted to get involved and try to change things for the better. The aspect where I thought I would make the biggest impact would be going the Juvenile Justice route. I eventually graduated from NAU with my Criminal Justice and Sociology degree looking to pursue a career in Juvenile Justice. The job market was not great when I graduated, so it took a while to find something in the Criminal Justice field, let alone the Juvenile Justice area. I eventually took a job as an Adult Probation Case Manager In Denver, CO, working with Adults who were placed on probation, helping them get through their probation successfully. Read more>>

Karrina Rotter

I feel like it’s a bit of a long story, so I will try to give the spark notes version. I moved down to Phoenix when I was 18 to go to Grand Canyon University. I moved from a really small town in Northern AZ named Williams, where I was born and raised. I had every intention of going into a career in business marketing. I graduated in 3 years with my bachelor’s degree in Marketing. A key part of my story happened around this time as well, I decided to also purchase a home in Scottsdale, in fact, I closed on the home the day before my graduation! After graduating I applied to hundreds of jobs all in the marketing categories, and nothing was sticking, I was feeling so low, so disappointed, and felt like a failure. Which is the complete opposite of how I felt when graduating, it was very discouraging. Read more>>

Lauren Castro

People always ask how I started my business and the honest truth is that I didn’t know it could exist until it found me. The hardest year I ever experienced in my teaching career had me, soul, searching for things that made me happy. I was visiting family when my friend posted on FB that her little studio was hosting a doormat painting class. I had the best night and signed up for another one! I was hooked. A couple of years later, my husband convinced me to give it a whirl. And so, Hammer & Stain Phoenix was born. I get to mix my love of teaching with my passion for crafting. It’s a place for people who need a break, a happy place, a getaway. It’s just the perfect place for anyone who is looking for relaxation and fun! Read more>>

Falah Saeedi

My love for art began at an early age. My mother was my biggest supporter, encouraging me to draw, buying me art supplies, and building my collection of magazines about Renaissance artists and their famous works. I would create studies of their paintings, sketching them on paper and showing them to my friends and teachers at school. It was my dream to be one of those Renaissance artists. During my intermediate school studies, I became fascinated by the works of Impressionist artists and would mimic their artistic style, drawing traditional scenes with beautiful old homes, landscapes, rivers, parks, and farms as well as archeological sites such as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. These works were fantastically appropriate for me to employ the Chiaroscuro technique that I had just learned at the time. Read more>>

Tori Hudson

Several years ago, I started to learn more about all of the harmful ingredients in the foods we commonly eat. I began experimenting with healthier ingredients in my desserts and that’s what started me on this path! As I learned more about ingredients and what was important to me, I realized that it was very difficult to find good-quality desserts at the store. For the last few years, I’ve sold my healthy treats through Etsy and through local businesses. When I’m making treats, it’s important to me that I’m using whole, real foods that are nourishing to my body! Read more>>

Harley Hope

Harley Hope was born in Paris, France, raised in Maryland, and studied fine arts at Baltimore’s Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and the Institute for American Universities in Aix-en-Provence, France (Le Centre d’Art et Culture). She started as an Art Director, Graphic Designer, and Illustrator in Honolulu and worked on major projects throughout the islands, moving back to the East Coast. Harley Hope is recognized for her work on award-winning advertising campaigns and influential art, acting, and modeling projects throughout New York City, Honolulu, Seattle, the Mid Atlantic, and London. In 2014, she left the world of advertising and started ROGUERIES, an ethically sourced esoteric line of handmade jewelry. Using recycled sterling silver, rose gold, copper, and precious stones to create modern pieces based on ancient designs. Read more>>

Donna Fuqua

I have enjoyed and collected various forms of humor for more than 40 years. Originally, my favorites were Looney Tunes cartoons, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, and The Dick Van Dyke Show, to name a few. Reader’s Digest, particularly Laughter is the Best Medicine, was and still is a favorite. In preparation for going west, I digitized much of my collection of humor and was inspired to do something with it. However, much of my collection was period-specific and no longer appropriate. Basically, I had to begin again.
I launched Laughter the Best Medicine LLC to provide various forms of comic relief to patients, caregivers, and medical staff. Product for anyone needing a reason to smile. Dr. Bernie Siegel, a surgeon, shares his many stories about how our mental approach to life wields great power in our physical wellness. My primary influencers are Patch Adams (his red nose is featured in all products), Robin Williams, Dr. Bernie Siegel, Dr. William Fry, and Dr. Robert Provine, to name a few. Read more>>

Kourtney Camm

I grew up in a town of 5,000 people in rural Wisconsin. I was very fortunate to have loving friends and family, go to a good high school, and live in a safe home. In high school, I was on the varsity cheer team, started modeling, and tried my hand at pageants – placing as a state finalist in Miss Wisconsin USA. From the outside, I seemed to be living my dream life, but inside I was struggling. I have always struggled with anxiety, and these struggles grew more severe as I got older. In high school, I started dating a guy that changed everything, and not in a good way. He was the captain of the football team, a great student, and seemed to be a good guy. But unfortunately, he was not a good guy. The first year of our relationship was fine, everything matched the “picture perfect” life I seemed to be living. Read more>>

John Bonner, Jr.

Grew up in Myrtle Beach, SC. Always loved listening to music. Really got into music around middle school. Started listening to bands’ albums in chronological order (such as The Beatles and Pink Floyd) One year, I received a  Squier Stratocaster for Christmas and started taking guitar lessons. Shortly after started writing and have continued since. Moved out to Arizona in February of 2015 and have been here since. First Gnarwhal Jrz (Jrz) show was on Jan. 2, 2017, at The Lost Leaf in downtown Phoenix. Ever since the Jrz have been playing local and regional acts from the Rebel Lounge to Deep Ellum Arts and Music Festival in Dallas. The Jrz have their debut album released sometime in early 2022. Read more>>

Emily Belleranti

When I was about 14, I developed a serious interest in movies, especially art house/world cinema and silent films. I also studied photography as a teenager. When I was about 15, I took a basic studio lighting class. I remember being skeptical at first because I wasn’t even aware that there was such a thing as “lighting” for movies. I think many people never even consider that anyone designs the lighting for a movie scene. But the class made a major impression on me. I was immediately drawn to the artistic contribution that lighting makes to a film, and I decided not long after that movie lighting was what I wanted to do for a career. It took me a while to figure out what career opportunities were even available in lighting. When I was 18, I took a basic grip and electric course which was offered by the (now defunct) IATSE 485 local, the Arizona union representing film technicians. Read more>>

Summer Doss

I grew up living near Baltimore, Maryland and from early childhood, I knew I wanted to be an artist. However, growing up in the D.C. area, ‘professional artist’ as a career path seemed more like a path to certain failure. Even though art has never left me, I struggled to figure out how it would fit into my life and was never fully content with the idea of relegating my art to a hobby. In high school, I was blessed to find a mentor in my homeroom teacher, Mrs. Carsley, who was also the head of the art department. As college applications loomed, she supported me in my art school aspirations. I struggled a lot with my mental health for most of my upbringing, and her classroom became my sanctuary. I painted in my free periods, during lunch breaks, and often for hours after school. Art was a catharsis for me, but my life was unbalanced. Read more>>

Dave Tonn

Who is Dave Tonn? I am a 38-year-old divorced father of 2 living in downtown Phoenix in the Garfield neighborhood. When I was a young man, I got married early at the age of 19 and started working as a Youth Pastor of a small church in north Scottsdale. My wife at the time and I made very little money and we struggled greatly as two young people with entry-level jobs and no college degrees. I transitioned over to sales at 22 years old as a front-line sales rep, needing to pay for diapers for our newborn baby. I listened to my trainer, my manager, and co-workers and performed well. I made double in my first year as a salesperson than I did working for a church. My life was changed. Another baby came shortly, and the money continued to flow in. However, so did an ego. I became obsessed with my performance and how much money I made, and neglected what truly mattered in my life. Read more>>

Dyanne Locati

My art career started in Portland, Oregon. I was interested in the arts, especially interior design. However, my art career headed in a different direction. After several years of various art classes, I was introduced to watercolor by an instructor, who just happened to be the President of the Watercolor Society of Oregon. WSO is an educational society that offers workshops and instructions from a wide variety of nationally known artists. My goal was to learn as much about being an artist and to explore all avenues of this fluid medium. I have been involved with art organizations for many years. Helped to form the Colored Pencil Society of America, and I served as a National officer and Director of International conventions and exhibits. Read more>>

Cecil Tso

My name is Cecil P. Tso. I’m originally from the Navajo Reservation but simultaneously grew up in Flagstaff, AZ. My journey in music started later than most. As a child I never had lessons, and I was already 19 when I first started dabbling. My first step was a demo copy of FL studios, and at that time I was sampling, and making Jazz loops. My family was surprisingly supportive of my desire to pursue music, and they invested in my first round of gear. Since then there’s been a lot of ups, and downs. Due to the fact that I was too stubborn to quit while I was ahead, I’ve become a small figure in my town’s music scene. I’ve also become an even smaller figure in the overall Southwest Hip-Hop community, and I’m here to stay. Read more>>

Bobby Zokaites

My name is Bobby Zokaites and I am a U.S.-based sculptor who engages the imagination through the creation of large-scale, colorful, interactive objects and spaces. I grew up in a small town in Southwest Virginia, in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains. When I was thirteen, I learned how to weld in an after-school robotics program and by fourteen, my brothers and I had helped build the addition to my parents’ house. From there, I took every art and engineering class my high school offered, then pursued my BFA at New York School’s College of Ceramics at Alfred University. Though I spent most of my time in the foundry and received a minor in art history, my most notable works from this period were paintings—explorations in “hacking” Roombas for art production. Asking “Can a Robot Make Art?” This work was featured in WIRED Magazine and acquired by the iRobot Corporation. Read more>>

Cindy Williams

My story began when I made the decision to leave my corporate Marketing career of 20 years at Barnes and Noble Bookstore. I had reached the peak of my career, and was going through a big case of burnout – I knew something needed to change. The plan was a year in the making – how would I pay my bills? What would I do? I laid out a careful plan and a strict budget and knew I would just know when the day came that I would give my notice. After my plans were carefully laid out, I woke up one morning and knew that was “the day”. I felt ready. I gave my notice and walked away after decades of a very rewarding and lucrative career. Once I left, I spoke to several friends in the rural farming community where I live about allowing me to purchase harvested produce and honey from them to sell at the local farmer’s market. Read more>>

Thomas Hamilton

I started my company back in the fall of 2015. It was based out of a small, one car garage, detached from the condominium I was renting. The space was so compact you could probably put your hands up, and touch each wall. No insulation, no heating or cooling, just a space to create and forget. It actually began by up-cycling used furniture. I would find, refinish, and resale small pieces of furniture on Facebook as a little side hustle to make some extra money while working in the optical field. From there I would get inquiries about small builds but was always too scared to take them on. I had zero building knowledge. Finally, after about the fifth inquiry I said heck, YouTube’s out there, plenty of material online, I said “why not?!” At last I took on my first actual build. It was a headboard with integrated lighting. I pushed my self to learn, design, and make this piece happen, all for about a $500 price tag. I took what extra money I had from past projects and bought the necessary tools, I spent countless hours making mistakes and creating this piece. Read more>>

Kailee Polus

I’ve always had a passion for the beauty industry. Ever since I was a little girl. My mom was in the management side of the salon industry, and I remember going to work with her and being mesmerized by the stylists working! In middle school, I was introduced to a program called EVIT; a trade school that high school students were able to attend and graduate with a career path. Low and behold they had a cosmetology program. I knew right then, at 13 years old, “I’m doing this”. I had to jump-start my high school classes just to stay on top of my normal credits, I did summer courses going into sophomore year, and took junior/senior classes as a sophomore. During junior and senior year, I attended my main school for the first half of the day, and EVIT for the second half… and then from there went straight to my job! Read more>>

Arturo Fernandez

I was born in Orange County and raised in the Hawaiian Islands till I was about 14. At 14, my father expanded his construction business to the mainland and we settled down in Gilbert, AZ. I attended Mesquite Jr High & Mesquite High School. After high school, I attended college & worked part-time at my father’s construction business. After working for my father for a few years I eventually made the choice to pursue a career in construction management as I discovered that I had a passion for the business, management & construction aspects of my father’s business. I really enjoyed getting to travel the country working for my father. I feel great pride in being able to contribute to the communities that I have had the pleasure of building. As I continued to grow and continuously worked on bettering myself in my career, I had the opportunity to meet a wonderful soul, my wife. She has been one of my greatest supporters, contributes to my happiness & brings peace to my world. Read more>>

Sean Barry

Being a semi Phoenix native… I moved here at age 7 in 1972 and back then that was about as close to a native as most people came. I did what most of us did that didn’t go to college, I drifted from dead-end job to dead-end job. Then in 1989, I was lucky enough to land a tattooing apprenticeship under Mike Armstrong of Peter Tat2 fame at Blue Dragon at 3rd Avenue and McDowell. That was when downtown was where you went for seedy dive bars and underground punk rock shows. After my apprenticeship, I opened the Flagstaff branch of Blue Dragon and my brother Evan joined me in his own apprenticeship and we began tattooing together. In 1997, my first true wave of wanderlust hit me and I moved to Florida to work at Miami’s old shop, Tattoos by Lou. Evan returned to Phoenix to work and continue to learn under Mike. Read more>>

Megan Wilson

I am a rare Arizona native, born and raised in Tempe. Both of my parents were school teachers, my dad taught 6th-grade history/political science in Apache Junction and my mom taught students with visual impairments in Tempe. Our whole family was involved with volunteering at the Foundation for Blind Children because my older brother Chad had multiple disabilities including complete blindness. I volunteered my first summer there when I was 14 and thought I wanted to be a teacher. I started Community College at South Mountain with a soccer scholarship and after the first season was recruited to play in Portland Oregon for Warner Pacific where I met my Professor Dr. Fazio and immediately became more interested in Trauma therapies and understanding Human Behavior. Read more>>

Gina Johnson

My name is Hue-Gina Johnson but everyone knows me as Gina. I originated from Kingston, Jamaica to Los Angeles CA at the age of five. I was able to embark on the American dream from a young age. Growing up, I saw my family struggle in Jamaica and struggled in America. As I grew older there were a few people in my life I was motivated by. Through their strength, ambition, determination, and persistence, I saw their lives changed in ways I could only imagine. I knew I wanted to do the same and more for myself. I graduated from Arizona State University with a Degree in Health Sciences and went directly to the hospitals working with behavioral health adults and adolescents. I’ve always had a passion for helping others and wanting everyone to feel good about themselves. Many people struggle with their confidence and worry too much about how the world may perceive them. This was something I struggled with, especially through college. Read more>>

Mihaila Tuba and Nina Novakovic

This is our 19th year of hosting SerbFest here in Phoenix, AZ at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church. Mihaila Tuba moved to Arizona 9 years ago when her father, Fr Dragomir Tuba, became the new church priest. Nina Novakovic was born and raised here in Arizona, was baptized at St. Sava, and has gone there her whole life. The two of us have been involved in many organizations within the church, including teaching Sunday School, traditional folklore dancing, choir, and for the first year the SerbFest Committee as Co-Chairs of Marketing. Read more>>

Vida De Jesus

Humans are such odd creatures. Our responses to things are all based on multiple factors that look different for everyone. We have intersecting identities, experiences, and desires. Why should our pleasure be any different? VidaSexual is a response to my own need to be accountable for belief systems that inhibit our ability to be present for ourselves, our bodies, and our experiences. I am a Taurus, and I love the idea of our relationship to each other, the cosmos, and the varying degree of similar differences in our experiences. By nature, I believe strongly that we are all deserving of pleasure. We are pleased, or have pleasure lenses; some have just been put on shelves or tucked away in the attic for a little longer. We currently live in a society that values colonial belief systems, we were taught that we are not inherently deserving of pleasure, but instead, have to work to achieve some cookie-cutter definition of it. Read more>>

Michael Tole

I was born and raised in Dallas, TX. Drawing preoccupied my mind from an early age, but I didn’t grow up in an “artsy” family. My parents were raised on farms in West Texas and moved to the city for economic advancement. My mother was a teacher, and my father worked for the Federal Reserve. My first exposure to art was in our 1956 Collier’s Encyclopedia. There, under “Art” were fading color reproductions of Botticelli, Rubens, Rembrandt, etc. Aside from the occasional field trip, I didn’t have regular access to museums until I could drive. And so, at 16, I became a regular at the Kimball Museum in Fort Worth, which has a remarkable collection, some of which I recognized from the encyclopedia. There I discovered modernist abstraction and Asian art. When I went to UT Austin, those forms completely replace European realism as my inspiration. Read more>>

Steven Deschenes

I created Robotica industries back in 2010. I originally started out painting robots on old vinyl records. I had a street art style and wanted to paint on something a bit more unconventional. I had an old stack of vinyl records and the rest is history. People seemed to really like them and they even landed on Instagram’s top 10 a few different times. I create fun little robots that inhabit the world of Robotica. I have had artwork featured in the Phoenix! Gallery show at Public Image on Roosevelt row. I also painted a wall mural for their First Friday event. That was a lot of fun. It’s always been a dream of mine to be a professional artist and I am grateful to finally have that opportunity. Currently, I am working on a graphic novel series featuring all the different characters of Robotica. It’s been a lot of fun writing and creating new and exciting storylines and art concepts. I am hoping in time to have Robotica Industries get picked up for a cartoon series. Read more>>

Caroline Jurie

I was in Dubai, working there when a friend suggested that I apply for the Mrs. Sri Lanka World contest in 2019. I didn’t set out with an ambition to win, but applied as I was excited to participate. It was when I won the contest that I realised that participating at Mrs.
World in Las Vegas was such a great opportunity. However, things got tough from the beginning. My visa was rejected three times. I thought I will.gjve it one more try and finally on my fourth attempt my visa was approved and I managed to make it to the Mrs. World in Las Vegas. It was a challenging experience because I had no sponsors and I had to do with what I had. I took with me four pairs of shoes I had, took a loan for my expenses and to hire a make up artist and got a design student to do my final outfit for the pageant with material I could afford. All in all it was a journey I made with whatever resources I had. Read more>>

Felicia Rials

A Philadelphia native brings her east coast vibes to the west coast. I grew up in a salon environment my entire life. My grandmother was a stylist, mom grandpa a barber and my mom as well. After living in Scottsdale AZ for over 13 years & her grandma ( also her biggest supporter passed away) she located to Los Angeles. Felicia refused to settle for mediocre, she wanted to do this for her grandma. She had the privilege to assist a celebrity hairstylist, in salon and on outside jobs as well. This is where she learned how to create that effortless natural look with invisible layers, creating texture and movement that every girl wants. From Malibu beach hair to red carpet looks, Felicia can do it all. Read more>>

Aaliayah French

I curated by brand during thee most trying time of my life — COVID19. Born and raised in East Harlem, New York, I had an innate love and fascination for the fashion industry and the glamorous lifestyle that accompanied it. I spent my young years playing dress up as if it were an extreme sport and found thrills in styling myself at the early age of 9 and reading Vogue Magazines as a pass-time. I immersed myself in learning about the basics of design, style, major fashion houses and studied the trailblazers who made history. Once college rolled around I made sure to work in retail, intern at fashion firms and familiarize myself with the industry through work experiences. Each one teaching me valuable skills and preparing me for my future. Read more>>

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