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Trailblazers: Tempe

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 Tempe that we hope you will check out, follow and support.

Erin Kong

My first involvement in the POC performance community was with New Carpa Collective. I had the opportunity to perform in staged readings and showcase my own personal poetry. Through my experiences with New Carpa Collective, and as a marginalized person living in Phoenix, I realized that the intersection of art and identity was something I wanted to passionately and creatively pursue for the rest of my life. Read more>>

Lauren N. Barelski

I asked the universe what I could do to make more money to support us. One day, I opened up a fortune cookie that read “Make your talents work like a charm” and suddenly the lightbulb turned on. I still had some old crystals from my previous jewelry making days so I got to work. To my surprise, my friends, family, and Instagram followers supported me right away. I’d sell out the minute I posted something online. It’s been. Read more>>

Shanita Patterson

I started my business Fit U Fab U Fitness and later started working for my Coach at AzBodybuilding in Tempe. I’ve been transforming individuals for several years and the joy of seeing their faces after they have crushed their Fitness goals is priceless. I love competing and I love what I do, creating Bad BAD BANGING.  Read more>>

Elizabeth Montgomery

My dream was always to become a journalist. My dad has won Emmy awards for his journalism and I wanted to work in the newsrooms he’d take me to as a child. While I was homeless, I interned at the Atlanta Voice Newspaper (my hometown) I made $25 a week and slept in my car in the parking lot some days. Read more>>

Kylee Eaton

For a while, I really doubted myself with my craft and decided it would be best for me to take a break. There is nothing wrong with taking a week off or even a month off to re-evaluate and take some time to yourself. Don’t compare yourself to other people’s journey is the most valuable piece of advice I can give, everyone is different. Read more>>

Heather Vines-Bright

When I was a young girl, like so many of us… I was a victim of bullying. This experience had a lasting impact on me and caused me to develop deep insecurities within myself. As I grew up, I tried hiding those insecurities with perfectionism and over achievement. My first attempt at hiding my insecurities led me to become an NFL Cheerleader. Read more>>

Amber Peterson

I was not always interested in fitness. About a year ago, I was dealing with personal issues such as the death of a friend, medical issues within a family, and a loss of a meaningful relationship. Eventually, these issues led me into extended periods of sadness. I felt as if I lost the essence of who I was and desperately needed to make a change. Read more>>

Tia Marie

I am one of two kids. We were raised by a single mom who worked her tail off. She sacrificed so much. We never had a lot growing up. In fact, some times it was touch and go to make ends meet. But there was never a lack of love. And the lessons both my brother and I learned from her, we would carry with us for the rest of our lives. Read more>>

Virginia Downing

I guess someone’s story always starts with what they first remember. I grew up in the Midwest, Kansas to be exact, and I remember my brother and I always doing something. We didn’t have much growing up but my mom knew how to maximize what little we had and never let my brother and I feel like we were missing anything. Read more>>

Vion Eubanks

I tried to mimic everything she did like any other little girl that looked up to their mother. I remember the first time she taught me to braid at the kitchen table on a mannequin head, I was five. At that moment, I knew this was what I wanted to do. All through school I did hair, it started with my family, neighbors, then classmates and eventually some of my teachers. Read more>>

Summer Horchem

I began to be interested in Fashion when I was in junior high school and watched Project Runway religiously. I said I wanted to be a fashion designer- however, after taking a home-ec class and having extreme frustration over sewing a simple pencil pouch, I figured maybe that wasn’t for me. I took an interest in the way I dressed, though. Read more>>

Delores Turnbow

I’m a late bloomer. I didn’t have the guts to quit my dead-end corporate job and go to beauty school until I was almost 30 years old. I started school in 2007, right before the market crashed. I avoided the sweeping corporate layoffs that followed, but also headed into a new career when everyone’s spending was at an all-time low. Read more>>

Alexis Noriega

The Crooked Feather as a full-time profession. Her favorite cosplay materials are feathers (duh!), foam, aluminum, and chiffon. She loves exploring new high tech ways to make fantasy a reality! She hopes to inspire young people to go into STEM fields with her creative mechanical wings. Read more>>


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