Artistic and creative careers are among the most rewarding, but they also come with unique challenges. We asked some of the city’s best creatives to tell us why they choose to pursue a creative career.

Sandra Santiago | Actress

I wanted to pursue an artistic career because I love to see people smile, and I enjoy entertaining people, and that makes me happy. Acting, singing, and dancing gives me life because it’s who I am. When I first started pursuing my artistic career, I thought it was egotistical, but I realized my purpose was to shed light and entertain people. Read more>>

Langa Masina | Cultural Activist

I have always been about people. I have always been about observing them, being connected to them, learning from them and influencing them. I have also always known that I have “something” to give to them. I haven’t always known what that would look like but realized at some point that I was not meant to be a preacher, politician or corporate person. I was always attracted to the world of music and entertainment in general so the journey in that direction happened organically over time. At some point I realized I didn’t have a choice but to make a career out of it. Read more>>

Hadrian Shawn Miguel | Artist, Designer & Writer

As a child, and a Queer boy, I had always been drawn to the Arts since I can remember, at age 5. My family encouraged this by letting me be whomever I wanted to be, and to pursue all my ideas & dreams, so as an adult it was an easy choice. For me, it’s all about expression, passion, inclusion, representation and community that informs and shapes my career & choices. Read more>>

Laísa Mara Dos Santos | Cinematographer & Assistant Camera

Since I was very young I always wanted to be part of every school theatre play, arts classes and all the creative activities. First was theatre, than music and now film. I grew up surrounded with some sort of art in my house. My mom is an artist, she draws and paints for as long as I can remember. Read more>>

Max Cohen (aka Mr. Max) | Singer/Guitarist/Songwriter

I chose to pursue an artistic career because art (music in particular) is what inspired me growing up. My favorite bands provided a lens through which to view the world, and the friends I made, the activities I participated in, the way I dressed and even the way I spoke were all influenced by the music I listened to. Read more>>

Gwendolyn Huerta | Artist, Illustrator & Designer

I chose to pursue an artistic path because it was the only path that made sense to me as a teenager. All my life, I think I’ve always been subconsciously attracted to creativity and all things visual. I’d definitely consider myself as a visual learner, because that was really the only way I could comprehend information as a child. I guess it makes sense as to why I chose this path. Read more>>

Elisa Jaramillo | Illustrator & Designer

I was that weird quiet kid always daydreaming and coming up with wild ideas. Drawing became a small hobby where I was able to bring the creations trapped in my head out into reality. Growing up, I was (and still am) a major nerd who loved playing video games and watching animations. I fell in love with these fantastical worlds and cast of characters which led me to wonder who the artists behind them were. Read more>>

Kaylee Garrett | Professional Concert and Portrait Photographer

Personally, I think I always knew that I just didn’t fit the nine-to-five job type. I didn’t know what kind of creative I would be until after I finally bought my first DSLR at eighteen. At nineteen, after shooting my first live concert for my close friends in PCL, I knew that being a concert/touring photographer was exactly what I was meant to do. Read more>>

Jayden T. Gillespie | Filmmaker

I really couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Filmmaking gives me so much life and the fact that I can make a career out of something that fills me with immense joy is merely a bonus. Read more>>

Kimberley Eddy | Ocean Artist

My path to becoming a working artist has been a circuitous one. I have always kept journals and sketchbooks since I was a child, and I have painted, on and off since I was about 15 years old. I ended up in university and received degrees in Anthropology, Psychology and then in Education. I worked as a teacher in Bermuda, and my favourite part was teaching kids about the beautiful coral reefs that surrounded the island. Read more>>

Abby Ramsay | Actress & Model

I just really wanted to do something I loved with my life. Or perhaps I really just didn’t want to feel stuck doing something I didn’t want to do with my life. I consider myself to be a creative person. I love telling stories and creating pictures and images and just sharing my passions with others. Making a living out of doing that is the ultimate goal. Read more>>

Dorothea Gloria | Performer, Writer, and Producer

I pursued an artistic career because I think it is my gift; my niche. I believe that everyone has something that comes naturally to them and mine is performing and creating theater. Whenever I do these two things, I never think of them as work. Time passes by so quickly when I’m in a rehearsal or whenever I’m writing a script. I feel my heart race and every cell in my body gets excited when I’m in the process of artistic work. Read more>>

Mal Kilby | Creative Designer

A creative career blossomed naturally for me. Since I was young I was always expressing myself through multiple forms of art and creative activities. I always knew that I wanted to use these talents to make a career for myself. Growing up in a small rural town, there were not many technology inspired opportunities. I always thought I’d pursue just strategic marketing and express myself that way. Read more>>

Madeleine Quinn | Actor

In high school, my speech teacher assigned us a task: we were given 6 categories of careers and instructed to categorize them by their necessity to society. The assignment felt impossible, how can you rank health workers versus farmers or educators versus artists? Everyone’s orders were different, but a pattern prevailed of placing the arts last. I couldn’t help resisting such a notion. Read more>>

James Elden | Theatre Producer, Director and Actor

It’s Hollywood. It’s a waiting game. You sit around waiting for the phone to ring. The audition comes. You wait to give your audition, and then you wait to hear if you book it, unless there’s a callback process, so you wait to hear back on the results of that. Let’s not even talk about being on avail, but even the job itself is a waiting game. Read more>>

Alex Vaz | Creator

Since college I’ve leaned towards things of a creative endeavor. While studying business I took fashion design classes at a local community college and that garnered my love for creativity and set me down the path I’m on today. Read more>>

Erin Hancock Haley Ives | Founders of Lucid Juliet, Women Owned Floral Studio

We both grew up as creative children, always doing some form of hands on art project or craft. We loved things like play dough, making potions out of backyard findings, treasure hunts, playing house, building legos, and using puffy paint with glitter whenever possible. As adults, the last thing we wanted to do was attend college, it just wasn’t for us. Read more>>

Rhea Raj | Artist, Songwriter, Producer, and Dancer

My mom taught classical Indian and Bollywood dance from home for over a decade. I grew up listening to music from around the world and started connecting to it through my body first. She encouraged me to explore all different forms of art until I fell in love with singing and making music. I come from a family and a culture where the arts aren’t always taken seriously as a profession but my parents always supported my development and passions. Read more>>

Stone Panunzio | Artist, Songwriter, & Producer

To be honest, I didn’t really have a choice. I fell in love with music, art, and the creative process at such a young age that I didn’t give myself a chance to even try to get good at anything else. I believe that if you want to succeed in the music/entertainment industry you have to forgo any notion of a plan-B. I have ambitious goals and aspirations; much to the chagrin of back-home friends and past-teachers. I would regret taking the road more often traveled (a “regular” job, per se) rather than sticking to my guns. Read more>>

Aaron Austin | Sound Technician & Musician

I chose this path because of my passion for sound and audio , my talent as a musician and technician, and my love of the craft. Read more>>

Gisela Prishker The Boudoir Chick | Portrait and Boudoir Photography

I honestly think art changed my life , I think while everyone was smoking ,drinking ,and girls going crazy for boys I felt in love with the dark room ,developing my own films and print those pictures was literally my biggest high ,I felt I love with photography from Avery young age u just knew I wanted to be a photographer to be exact I was only 14 when I Met my first love Photography . I honestly didn’t know I had a chance coming from a very small town without many opportunities but I packed and left to Miami where my career took off And I had never regret that ,I choose an artistic career Read more>>

Victoria MacCulloch | Actress & Writer

I’ve always been naturally curious, particularly when it comes to people and understanding their experience. I was lucky enough to be given the chance early on to explore acting and story telling. Creative expression became such a large part of who I am. Once I was introduced to an industry where my creativity could flourish, it basically just took off from there. Read more>>

REHMA | Singer, Songwriter

This is what came to me naturally. There was no guidebook on how to take on an artistic or creative career, it just felt like I was moving with the wind. I did what I loved and worked hard to get better at it, and it ultimately paid off. Read more>>

Abbie Renzema | Artist and CEO

I always dreamed of having a creative career but I struggled with self doubt for years. I think as artists we know when we have something that we just MUST do- I was definitely made to be an artist despite not being sure of myself. I finally reached a point where I decided to just really give it a go and I’m so fortunate that it worked out for me. I believe that with a dash of creative skill and determination that anyone else can do it too! Read more>>

Pat Branch | Writer, producer, director, & stand up comic

I’ve been a writer since I was a kid. I started out as a novelist, then discovered screenwriting, and then stand up comedy. All of them work together to bring me joy and what’s better than having a career doing something you love. Read more>>

Chris Gonzales | Podcast & Radio Host

Podcasting has been a passion of mine for quite a while now, and it is crazy to think that I’ve been hosting a show whether it be radio or podcasting since 2013. I chose podcasting because it is my escape from life and reality because I had nothing to worry about other than talking into a microphone. Some people use video games as an escape, or go out and have a few drinks with friends, or even just smoke to relax and take the edge off. Read more>>

Shirin Raban | Ethnographic Documentary Filmmaker and Branding Design Educator

My youngest memories are of when my mom would leave me at home with a maid, some coloring books and lots of color pencils, magic markers, crayons and play doe. She was a university student and a teacher. For hours I sat and painted or made fruits and characters out of play doe and played with them by myself. Read more>>

Samita Nandy | Celebrity Studies Scholar and Actor

My goal is to give a voice and represent diverse women in the screen arts, so I pursued acting in addition to writing as a celebrity studies scholar. As I mentioned in my latest article on Stage 32, I did not pursue acting for fame. As an expert on celebrity culture and film stars, it made sense that my opinions would be more credible and grounded with practicing knowledge as an actor. More importantly, I just wanted to use my talent in performance art to tell human stories and express – not just impress. Read more>>

Eyeris Balam | Owner/Designer/Creator

I pursued an artistic career because I have passion for sewing. As a child, I used to sew clothes for my Barbie dolls. Read more>>

Flawless2Wavey | Rapper/Singer

Music wasn’t always my main creative outlet I initially wanted to be an author and write novels because I was a book worm as a kid. Growing up just watching music videos on 106 and park and seeing 50 cent , Bow Wow , Jay Z , and lil Wayne on my tv screen that’s what really spark an interest in music for me. My older brother and his friends use to make music back when we were living in Guatemala so I also was inspired by that as well. Read more>>

Chase Gallarza | Content Creator & Music Producer

Since my childhood I was always been the entertainer, the “center of attention”. Never directly pining for it, I had a knack for bringing excitement to the room. Creating extroverts out of introverts has always been a talent of mine, and throughout high school I learned that I could pair this with my talents in music. Read more>>

Nsimbi | Music Duo

It makes us feel alive !!! As a duo (Nsimbi), a creative career spells freedom for us! That expression and unlimited space to wear what you like, say what you feel plus celebrating culture, travel, and connecting with people from all over the world is amazing! Music has always been our friend, We believe in art that moves communities and that which moves oneself into introspection. Read more>>

Lea Anderson | Singer/Songwriter & Flutist

I pursued a creative career because music chose me. In my life, I have been presented with many opportunities, but it’s always brought me back to music. I’ve been fired 1,000 times. . . I’ve heard “no” a million times, , , but people always want to buy my CD. So I chose not to argue with the universe, and continue to be creative. Music is a universal force that brings people together. . . And I love being a part of that. When someone wants to hug me over something they heard me perform or I see them singing along to my record, I feel like I am making a contribution to the world. I want the world to be a better place because of my music. Read more>>

Adeline Um | Singer Songwriter

I started pursuing an artistic career because I believe that story telling is one of the most beautiful ways to connect with others. One of the most rewarding things that I have experienced in my time as a songwriter is being able to openly share my journey with others, which, in turn, allows for others to feel comfortable sharing their own journeys. As an anxious person, I often get really nervous expressing myself because my mind races with so many thoughts; music creates that safe space for sharing your feelings authentically and naturally. Read more>>

Richard Grob | Trailer’s editor

When I was a kid, they told me I have dysphasia ( a language disorder). I could speak but a lot as my friends. So I decided to draw instead to speak for showing what I have to said. Then my imagination evolved and I decided to work in the cinema industry. Read more>>

Kings | Pop Recording Artist

I chose to pursue a career in music because I genuinely believe it’s what I was put on this earth to do. I was 6 years old when I had my heart set on a life in the music industry and I’ve never looked back. Coming from a musical family, I was always around the arts and I started singing, dancing, and performing around age 3. I fell in love with songwriting at a very young age and knew that I would always be telling my stories through music. Even though I kept an open mind growing up, I never saw myself being in any other field of work. It has been a crazy ride so far, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Read more>>

John Ma’ae | Lead Singer & Rhythm Guitarist for The Pollen Collective

…for the love of music and the joy it brings. Read more>>

Katie Burton | Actress

I believe that we were all born to create. Art is universal and we’re able to tell stories in multiple ways. That’s why I find it fascinating no matter what medium you choose, you’re still going to make an impact on someone. Read more>>

Michelle Jader | Marketing Consultant Turned Professional Artist

For nearly 20 years I worked in the corporate world crafting marketing campaigns, leading teams, launching new products and driving business objectives. I owned my own marketing consulting business and had the fortune to partner with several Fortune 500 companies. And truth be told, I loved being a marketing consultant. I enjoyed the challenges and the rewards of the business world. However, I begin to realize that the moments I felt pure joy in this work was when I was able to collaborate with talented and creative artists within the industry. They sparked something within me. Read more>>