Where you grew up and your background can often have surprising  effects on our lives and careers.  We’ve asked folks from the community to tell us about how their background has affected them.

Laura Fajin Riveiro | Illustrator & Upcycler

I am originally from Galicia, a region in northwestern Spain. In 2012 my adventurous personality led me to move to Sweden for five years and then, in 2019, to the US to pursue a graduate degree in Illustration Practice from The Maryland Institute College of Art. My sisters and I were raised by a very independent and adventurous mother who loves learning new languages, meeting people from other cultures and who cares very deeply about the environment. Of course, we were very lucky to be raised in a family who has access to farming and many of the products we consumed came directly from the land. My mother always encouraged me to get out of my confort zone, learn from others and experience things on my own, so that’s what I’ve trying to do ever since I was a teenager. Read more>>

Ran Craycraft | Managing Partner, Wildebeest

I love this question and think about it a lot, actually. I believe where and how someone was raised has a huge impact on their adult life and career. For me, I was born and raised in Appalachia, on the Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia border just outside a little town called Portsmouth. It wasn’t always small and wasn’t always rusty, but when I was coming up, there were only stories of how great things used to be, but all I could see around me were empty, crumbling facades and struggling families. I moved away for college to Cincinnati and it opened my eyes to how kids from other cities were raised. Read more>>

Steve Higgs | Artist Manager at Emagen Entertainment Group & CCO / Head 0f A&R at Preach Records

Born and Raised in Compton, Ca. I grew up on Central and Rosecrans. Watching both of my parents work multiple jobs showed be the meaning of hard work.. I Moved out of Compton to the Los Angeles area when I was a teenager to attend Washington Prep High School where I played Varsity baseball all four years. Was then drafted by the Detriot Tigers to their minor league system. Played the for about a year before giving up baseball due to the death of my grandmother, I lost love for the game. After no longer playing baseball I went to Cal State Northridge to continue my education, majoring in Sociology to because a Police Detective. Around 2005 a friend of mine started an Artist Management company (Emagen Entertainment Group) and gave me the opportunity to be involved. Read more>>

Christian Andre Campos | Actor & Author

Both of my parents migrated to the U.S. from Guatemala in the 80’s to pursue a better life. I was born and raised in Koreatown, Los Angeles. My parents did not know English yet, so naturally when I was born in 1987, they only spoke to me in Spanish. When I began elementary school I immediately struggled in school since everything was in English. I am eternally grateful to my parents for having taught me Spanish as my first language, because today I am bilingual and have shot many national commercials in both markets. My background and culture is something that I will always be proud of and represent for the rest of my life. Read more>>

Jacqueline Pitman | CEO of Pitman Casting Inc and PartyPit Productions Inc. Executive Producer and Casting Director in Reality Television

Im originally from Matawan, NJ. moved here right after to high school with $127 in my pocket to put myself through school …lolol I was a foster kid from 7 to 18 years old…so huge risk taker though I wasn’t rich and had no possessions to lose…I had my life to lose if I didnt succeed. Read more>>

Esha More | Actress & Producer

I come from a hard-working, dedicated, and a spirited family in India. I was born and raised there until I was 10. Then my parents, my sister, and I immigrated to the US. In the beginning I found it hard to understand the new world but as time went on, I found myself becoming more “American” than “Indian”. However, my family in India would always ground me and expose to the rest of the world which made me feel more of an “Indian American”. Soon, I realized that the terms “American” and “Indian” were just that, terms. I felt that my experiences couldn’t be explained through geography but rather through the people around me, who came from all parts of the world. This idea that we’re all individuals with absolutely unique experiences and all we can do to understand each other, is listen made me who I am today. I try to incorporate all that into my acting, storytelling, and everyday life. Read more>>

Dennis Neal | Actor, Director, Producer, Coach

I’m from New York City, most specifically Harlem. I grew up in a housing development originally owned by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, who built The Riverton in Harlem because they would not allow Blacks to live in their showcase development, Stuyvesant Town in lower Manhattan. I grew up surrounded by talented and successful adults. Positive examples were set from the onset. My peers were students, athletes, and entertainers. We were expected to excel. Our mentors were ALL overachievers in their own right, so doing your best was expected. I have had a multitude of “jobs” which have all contributed to my career as a performing artist. I act, direct, produce, and coach. Read more>>