There are so many factors that affect how our lives turn out, but one of the most interesting is how our backgrounds give us unique strengths and perspectives that affect who we are as adults. We asked rising stars from the community to tell us about their background and upbringing and how they feel it’s impacted who they are today.

Marin Asano | Dancer/ performer

I am so excited and proud of myself to put myself out there internationally since I was young. I was really carious about everything. I liked to try the new things without being afraid. As I getting older, I realized that I gets harder sometime to explore new things like I was doing when I was young. Read more>>

Irving Ruan | Fiction writer, TV scribe, and engineer

I was born and raised in China and my family and I immigrated to Montana when I was about five-years-old. We moved around when I was young but we ultimately ended up settling down in San Diego. Read more>>

Dara Jones | Makeup Artist, Beauty Expert & Influencer

I am from the East Side of Detroit Michigan. My background and upbringing has had such a huge impact on who I am today because while Detroit taught me to hustle, my mother showed me how to be creative and expand. Read more>>

Max Michel, Jr. | Professional Action Pistol Shooter/ Firearm Industry Consultant and Instructor

I’m from New Orleans, LA and in the south, shooting is a way of life. My Father was always involved in firearms but mostly just casual range days once or twice a month. Read more>>

Rocky Perez | Actress, Writer, Producer

Hello! My name is Rocky Perez. I am a proud Dominican who grew up in South Florida in a small town called Coral Springs. I am 1 of 4 children and my parents are still happily married to this day. Read more>>

Andre Savage | Filmmaker & Entrepreneur

I grew up on the west side of Detroit, Michigan. My parents never wanted me to be influenced by some of the activities going on in our neighborhood. To keep me on the right path, they always made sure that I stayed busy – whether it was playing sports, going to church, or spending time with family. Read more>>

Marshall Watson | Vintage Nightlife Event Producer, DJ, Entertainer

I was born in Bakersfield, CA where I played the clarinet starting in 4th grade. From a very young age I was interested in music and performance. Whether listening to a record on my parent’s turntable or going to local concerts in town, there has always music in my life. Read more>>

Faith Ong | Concept Artist

I was born and raised in Singapore, been there all my life before I set foot here in LA! Growing up, I never quite felt like I fit in. I had a pretty hard time making friends at school and found myself making excuses to stay at home to either play video games or scribble in my sketchbook. Read more>>

Vita Rice | Artist and Poet

For the most part, I was raised in the rolling green hills of upstate New York to two down-to-earth, nature and music loving parents. From an early age my inherent creativity expressed itself, and I’m grateful that my parents were able to provide a space that was safe, encouraging, and supportive for my artistic interests to blossom. Read more>>

Katherine Kae” McSpadden | Artist & Voice Actress”

I was born in Luxembourg after my parents moved there because my dad had a job transfer. We lived there until I was nine years old and we moved to Geneva, which is an hour outside Chicago. Read more>>

Sreejith Nair | Producer, Writer, Director, Actor

I was born and raised in Forest Park, IL, a suburb of Chicago. My family is from Kerala, the southern-most state of India. Being born and raised in Chicago by a South Indian family has definitely given me a unique perspective on the world. Read more>>

Isabel Valencia | Musician, songwriter, producer, guitarist, bass player.

I was born in Medellín, Colombia. I grew up in that whole narco-violence era and can say that I am privileged to have survived it. Unfortunately, it is a shadow that still haunts Colombia, and yes, some fears come from time to time when part of my family still lives there, or when I go visit, even though it’s not as horrible as it was back in the day. Read more>>

Anna Korecká | Filmmaker

I’ve spent the first 18 years of my life living in the Czech Republic. Growing up as the youngest child of 5 at the edge of a city surrounded by forest gave me a much deeper connection to nature from the start. Read more>>

Drew Lake | Performer

I’m from Salinas, California, a smaller town on the Central Coast. I dont have any siblings, so as a kid I played a lot of pretend (and so, SO much dress up). My mom has always been a singer, and I grew up going to voice lessons with her, though I was far too shy to sing, at the time. Read more>>

April Richie | Writer / Author

I am from the Infamous Compton, California. One of the most well known cities in the country. I know it sounds like a bit much , but its true, I was raised on the east side of Compton and the neighborhood I was raised in, is as infamous as the city itself, because it was the home of Death Row Records. Read more>>

Rebecca McGlynn | Playwright, Lyricist, Composer & Performer

I was born the son of two wonderful parents. My mom has always been involved in the arts. She worked professionally as a painter and illustrator, and occupied her weekends bolstering the alto section of the church choir. Read more>>

Linda Kelly | Journalist, Author, Founder of Haight Street Voice magazine

I am “Linda from Orinda” … a beautiful small country-ish town just about 17 miles east of San Francisco. A creek ran through our half-acre property, and I was always out back playing with frogs and salamanders for hours. Read more>>

Jennifer Couvertier- Lee | Traveling Visual Alchemist & Hood Homeschooler

I’m from the birthplace of Hip Hop, The Yankees and the best Bacon, Egg & Cheese sandwiches money can buy. Also known as The Bronx, NYC. Growing up in such a dense and diverse neighborhood has definitely played a major role in who I am today. Read more>>

Nicolette von Kriegenbergh | Chainstitch Embroiderer

I’m from a little town called La Verne, but spent the majority of my adolescence in Pomona, Ca(the next city over). I have 3 younger siblings, parents who are still together, in love, and both being full time creatives in their own right (dad- a graphic designer/mom- a clothing designer). Read more>>

Kris Keys | Storyteller through watercolor art and design

I’m from Memphis Tennessee. I grew up in an all black neighborhood full of music, art, and I fortunately grew up with many of my grandparents still around. My two great grandmothers on my maternal side were very instrumental in my childhood development. Read more>>

Nadia Robertson | Ceramics

I am an emerging creative artist. Most of my works are experimental and continue to evolve. The common thread in my pieces make reference to Nature’s Intelligence. Read more>>

Nina Shyne Alviar | CTAA Certified International Coach, owner of Power FULL Emotional Eating and Empowerment

I began Coaching because I believe that challenges I overcome in life become the gift I can give others, to help them through it, too. It all started when I was a little child, my mom gave me cookies when I was sad. Read more>>

Perry Kurtz | Comedian

I grew up in Philadelphia with my mother and father and my brother. Unfortunately, my father stopped taking his insulin when he was 10 years old for his diabetes, and developed a very abusive personality that uses smack me around, even broke my nose a few times. Read more>>

Marc Fajardo | Actor/Dancer & Video Production Instructor

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, and even though Hollywood was just around the corner I never imagined myself to pursue acting. I can’t speak for all Angelenos but I know the one’s I grew up with wanted to escape from L.A. after graduating high school. Read more>>