We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicole Pedraza and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Nicole, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I knew at a young age that I needed to work in a creative field. I never did well in a very structured environment, I needed the freedom to do things on a whim and go wherever my heart or my gut took me. While I have worked 9-5 jobs, I was left emotionally drained and with no time or inspiration to pursue my dreams… all of my time was committed to working towards someone else’s goals. I am hands on person who needs to constantly be creating to feel fulfilled, and sitting in front of a computer for 40+ hours a week wasn’t cutting it for me. Over time, I was able to find a weekend job that allowed me to pay my bills and was able to free up my week to work on whatever project I was doing at the time. Being my own boss was the only solution for me. Now, whenever I feel inspired to do something, whether it be music, woodworking, crafting etc. I am able to take that inspiration and run with it. It is very satisfying to be able to create something for others and I hope that I am able to influence other people to follow their dreams as well.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Being a creator hasn’t been the easiest path to take, but has definitely been the most rewarding. I realized at a young age that I never felt satisfied or fulfilled unless I was doing some form of art. I used to cut up jeans and sew them into little purses for me and my friends and would make skirts out of old t-shirts. I have always been inspired by music and have a passion for singing and writing. I have released music, started my own handmade art company and am currently working on launching a home decor brand, Hazeltine. As much as I enjoyed the financial security of working a “normal” job, I found that my mental health suffered and that by the time I got home I was too emotionally exhausted to work on my own projects. I know now that I would rather do what I love and be happy than to sacrifice myself for money. It has taken a long time for be to build up the self esteem and the courage that I needed to pursue my dreams, but I realized as long as I am true to myself and listen to the signs the universe gives me, I know I will succeed.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
First things first, head over to Nats in Sherman Oaks for the most delicious breakfast in the Valley. If it’s the second Sunday of the month, skip Nats and head over to the the flea market at the Rose Bowl for some shopping, breakfast burritos and tall boys. Although its a bit touristy, definitely check out the Venice boardwalk for some cool sites and a beach walk. Greystone Mansion is my hidden gem in Los Angeles, a massive beautiful mansion in Beverly Hills that lets you explore the grounds for free. (This is actually where I got engaged!) For nightlife a few of my favorites are: Mr. Furleys in Sherman Oaks, The Room Santa Monica, The Queensbury in DTLA, bar hopping on Main St., and definitely a night out at the Abbey. And of course Malibu for beautiful beaches (El Matador) and good eats…Neptune’s Net!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for my fiancé, Gregory. When I first moved to LA 11 years ago, all I had was $500 and a suitcase to my name. Not only did he help me find a job and a home, he also became a wonderful friend and partner who has always done everything he could to help me achieve my goals. We definitely bonded over our love for music and dreams of being professional musicians and it is because of him that I finally gained the courage to put myself out there and release my songs. He has always supported any endeavour I have pursued, most recently with the future launch of my handmade art company, Hazeltine. There is no doubt in my mind that if it wasn’t for him, I probably would have given up on myself within the first year and packed up back to Boston. Thanks Greg, this shout out is for you! Xoxo

Website: www.nikkipedraza.com

Instagram: @nikkipedraza

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/berklee2012

Other: Art Instagram: @thejulietcollections
COMING SOON: www.shophazeltine.com

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