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.

T-Lost | Singer & Producer

I had been doing really poorly in school; I had been failing the majority of my classes. I was really afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get a job, and I figured that my best chance of being able to survive was making a hit song – which seems even less likely, in retrospect. However, it was very hard to accomplish that goal, with how bad my music was at the time. I was releasing dud after dud, and nothing really spoke to me. I considered quitting music many times, and generally I cited my worry of not being able to become a successful musician. Read more>>

Tomisin Oluwole | Artist and Linguist

I’m pursuing an artistic career because art and creativity is fundamental to who I am as a person. The urge and need to create is a feeling I have resonated with for as long as I can remember. And I’ve come to the point in my artistry as well as in my life where I feel like it’s my responsibility to share this gift in whatever capacity I can, to share my art. So, it’s sort of been a natural progression for me. Read more>>

The Spider Accomplice | Symphonic hard rock band

We both grew up with music as an integral part of our lives. So much so, that we realized it was built into our identities, and we knew we had to do what we loved. Read more>>

BENJII YANG | Platinum Music Producer

I’ve always tried to find the best way to touch many lives & being a creative made the most sense. Everything we have in our lives right now is a result of someones creativity & art. Art is impact, creativity is freedom. Creating something from nothing & bringing an artistic idea to reality to share with the world takes a certain amount of courage and that has always been cool to me. You never know who’s watching & who could be inspired by your work/vision. Read more>>

L. Duane Sevelin | International celebrity make up and hair artist

I pursued my artistic career because in high school I was in advanced science I wanted to be an oceanographer and a marine biologist advancing into high stakes mathematics I just could not comprehend and my guidance counselor said stick to the arts that is what I did not really knowing how I would proceed considering this is the 70s down in Tampa Florida where art was not really on the top of most peoples list I pursued modeling, art, dinner theatre and community theatre I finally got a small gig with Estée Lauder / Aramis as the traveling model spokes person for Devin The country cologne by Aramis. Read more>>

Emma Alley | Choreographer and Performer

Truthfully, my pursuit of an artistic career has never felt like a conscious choice. Rather, the need to create is a force within me that refuses to quit or be ignored — when I try to, my light dims. Creativity is also the way I am able to most authentically connect with others. In art, I’m able to discover and share nuances within my being that cannot be expressed through everyday language. Read more>>

Dolores Cruz | Author, poet, blogger and actor

Art is an expression of one’s soul. It is a passion embedded deeply inside each one of us. Whether the art is expressed through paint, music, dance, theatre, or any other form, what comes forth is the true self. My artist’s soul has had the opportunity to express itself and appreciate art all around me from the very beginning of my life. I grew up in a family of artists. My mother was a violinist who eventually had to set her violin aside to help keep the books for my dad’s business and raise me and my four siblings. Aside from my mother’s violin, we all expressed ourselves artistically in one or more ways through piano, guitar, drums, music composition, painting, ceramics, Mexican Folklorico dance, ballet, tap, jazz, choreography, theatre, poetry, and writing. Between my mother’s occasional practices on her violin when she had a few spare moments, my brother’s daily work on the piano and guitar, and the soundtrack of my ballet classes, all types of music, especially classical music, was everywhere. Read more>>

Clinton Roane | Writer, Actor, Singer, Creator

I pursued an artistic/creative career because it has always felt like the best place to truly use my voice. Growing up, the arts were always a safe space for me and where I truly felt like I could be myself. It lifted me up in times I needed light and inspired me in moments where I wanted to give up. Now, as a creator, I hope my work will inspire young Black boys like myself to shoot for their dreams. Read more>>

Jessica Antenorcruz | Narrative Designer & Aerialist

The short answer is, I couldn’t not. I have my BS in Forensic Biology and fully intended to spend my life analyzing DNA quietly until I had enough money to do the things I *actually* wanted to do. I worked in a lab processing drugs for a year, hated every second of it, and realized that I had chosen the path that was “safe” for myself. Mentally, I had hit a point where I could no longer do what I hated when there was so much else out there that I loved. I made less money in the aftermath of my decision to quit, and I never looked back. Read more>>

Paige Galdieri | Actor & Digital Marketer

Since before I could remember, I have always loved performing. Whether I was dragging my brother around in a wig or belting Taylor Swift in my bedroom, I knew I was going to do this for the rest of my life. Performing was an outlet for me to be myself and I was good at it. I was never really good at sports, so while the other kids were playing basketball, I was singing Wicked. Read more>>

Tanesha Brown | Tanesha / Licensed Esthetician and Self Love Guide

I pursued an artistic/creative career because it best suits my outgoing, funny, witty personality and lifestyle. I am a woman who developed the skin condition vitiligo as a child (5 years old) I had to endure lots of bullying of course, hyper self conscious and insecure but as I grew into finding beauty in my differences, I wanted to help others find the beauty in theirs. I first became a makeup artist and followed up by attaining my Esthetician license in 2011 and have been in the beauty industry since and I wouldn’t change my decision for anything. Now I am a full time entrepreneur who provides beauty services like makeup artistry, brow waxing, threading, tinting, microblading and sugaring while upselling everyone on the ultimate product- major self love and confidence, they deserve it. Read more>>

Pari Roehi | Trans activist, model, host & author

Ever since I could walk and talk I was dancing, singing and performing. I would cut up my mothers old curtains and fabrics, drape them over my self and do little fashion shows for family and friends. In school I participated with the yearly playback show and won 3 years in a row. In my final grade I wasn’t allow to participate anymore because the teachers wanted to give the other children a fair chance to win. A big bummer for me then but looking back I guess it was a big compliment. Every morning on my way to school I would run, close my eyes and reach my hands out high-fiving the bushes on the side of the sidewalk, acting like they were my fans and supporters. I always knew I would be doing something in the limelights and living and working in Hollywood would just be a matter of hard work and time. Read more>>

Martha Woldu | Martha Woldu | Actress + YouTuber

I was able to truly express myself through the arts. It opened up so much inside of me that had been previously closed and scared to share and open up. I had the tendency to fade into the background growing up and I didn’t have the confidence to really speak up and let myself be seen and heard. I was always really quiet and shy, afraid to let people in. I felt comfortable in my little bubble. But I knew that was led by fear and I wanted an outlet to stretch myself. Read more>>