There is a wealth of academic research that suggests that differences in risk appetite are at the heart of differences in career and business trajectories. We wanted to go beyond the theory and ask real people from the community about their perspectives and experiences with risk and risk taking.

Natalie Kirkland | Professional Dancer & Marketer

I believe taking *calculated* risks are important. Analyze the options plus the outcomes, and choose the path that offers the best value for you while leaving you still able to accept reality if the outcome isn’t exactly what you hoped for. It takes a more in depth analysis to forward think about the possible scenarios you could find yourself in, but it’s worth getting into the nitty gritty of where you project your mindset, well-being, finances, relationships, happiness, and the like will be for each possible reality of the future. For me, it’s about being calculated, optimizing opportunities, and believing in the long shot. We’ve all had our micro doses of risk and reward in life. However, people who we recognize as “successful” or “one of the greats” typically have more to lose simply because they’re playing with a bigger hand in the deck. I am no exception to the rule, and faced my own series of risks to get me to the place I am today: auditioning for professional cheer teams and risking failure and public rejection; quitting a job that was soul sucking with nothing lined up in the pipeline; and packing up my life from a city I adored to move to Los Angeles to pursue dance dreams. Read more>>

Lisa Agaran | Professional Artist, Instructor & Retreat Leader

For me, taking risks has really helped me to discover what ideas work and have proven to be successful in my business. As well as reveal ideas that looked good on paper, but may have completely missed the boat. I believe taking risks is an essential part of keep your business growing in the right direction and keeps it innovative. In my business, an idea or vision would come up that I felt really strongly about executing. The only way I could discover whether my following resonated with it or not was to go for it, produce it and then get it out there. Don’t get me wrong, I always did my homework and research before deciding to move forward in making that vision a reality. I can use my art retreats as a good example. It started out as a vision, then I researched venues as well as the logistics. Eventually, I got to a point where I had to green light it, put it up on my website and hope that people would start registering. If I never took the risk to try something completely new to me and entered through that door of uncertainty, I would have never realized the success of my art retreats. Read more>>

Liesel Plambeck | Artist and Designer

At my first job out of college, I remember talking with the creative director who was a friend of mine. We were talking about taking risks. I was afraid of quitting my job and going freelance. He told me that over the course of his career, he’s become somewhat addicted to taking risks in life. He craves the thrill. That each time, these opportunities always lead to something more exciting in life. Where I felt scared, he felt excited. He romanticized the unknown and through experience, has enough confidence to know things will always work out. When I took the leap of faith to quit my day job and start my own business in 2017, it was one of the biggest risks I’d ever taken. I felt scared of failing and insecure about my decision. Now looking back, I’m so glad I followed my intuition even when I didn’t have all the answers. The older I get, the more I feel I can recognize when to let this kind of intuition guide you. Read more>>

Joy Ubani | Brand + Marketing Manager, Mentor, and Founder of Pivot & Thrive

I distinctly remember returning to work after taking time off for my birthday in February 2018. Something about being away, celebrating my accomplishments, and being a state of reflection really solidified and intensified this recurring thought: It was time to leave my job. When I returned to work after that holiday, I switched on my work computer, typed and printed my letter of resignation, dating it for two months out. Whew. I didn’t have a secure job lined up, but I knew I’d reached what felt like my breaking point. It was time to pivot, and ready or not, I needed to take that risk and bet completely on myself. Two months later, I left my secure job as a high school counselor and took the risk of working for myself: focusing on building my brand portfolio, while freelancing with clients across an array of countries.  Risk taking is often presented as unwise because by taking a risk, we venture into uncertainty…And of course that is frightening! But, without risk there is no reward. I’ve learned that great, otherwise unforeseen opportunities, are usually the result of having taken greater risks. Read more>>

Danielle Dallas Roosa | Actor & Writer

I am drawn towards risk like a moth to a flame, or my favorite analogy – like a broken heart to an open bar. After graduating with a Communication major and interning at places such as NASA HQ, MTV, and The American Cancer Society, I chose the very risky decision to move to LA to pursue comedy and acting in LA. Sometimes I think back to this decision – WHY? Why on God’s green earth did you decide to do that?! Trade in a nice apartment and/or future in DC or NYC to go to LA to live on a living room floor? *Shakes head*. But then of course I did that. That was the only path I could have possibly chosen. I love risk. I love knowing that I am in charge of my destiny -that I made the conscious choice to trade in safety to follow the dream I’ve had since I was 3 years old. I think of risk as a math equation. If I’ve given up X(safety) then I must put in the work (y)…you know what, never mind. I hate math. What I’m trying to say is that risk is my job. Every day I’m aware of what I have given up to be living the life I am, and that makes me work even harder. My friends always say that I’m a workhorse. Danielle – you need more downtime. Read more>>

Dolly Ave | Storyteller

An artist should be open to taking risks. I made quite a few financial, creative, and business risks that brought me to where I am today. The only way to grow is to learn from your mistakes. There were key moments in my life that challenged me to leave my comfort zone. Moving to Chicago from Missouri, choosing to be an artist, making sacrifices that worked best for my circumstances. It’s all apart of your story. Read more>>

Sylvester Phillips | Photographer, Videographer & Graphic Design

No risk no reward, isn’t that what they say. Risk taking was the challenges That I needed in life to bring me where I am today. The process of learning something new is always the possibility of being in a situation that can jeopardizing. I’m appreciative of that because it taught me to push myself. Being an African American male Growing up in southern Maryland is like growing up in a crab bowl. If you don’t challenge yourself or take the necessary risk that need to be taking then you can’t expect to be in any type of position that’s worth passing down to Kids and There generations As well. Read more>>

Eric Joseph Leffler | Painter

Oddly enough I feel like I am very open to risk-taking in my life, yet I can get a little risk-averse in my practice. That seems completely backwards to me, but when I reflect on my life so far, from when I was a trouble-making teenager until now, I’ve done some pretty risky things that I don’t suppose many other people would have done. I’ll skip the details about the teenage mischief (I don’t know what the statute of limitations is on some of those “risks”), but I moved to Spain when I graduated from Indiana University, and within two months of living in Spain, I fell in love with a local girl out there who also took the crazy risk of falling in love with me. I stuck around Spain for 3 years, deciding to study an MFA in Painting, and scraping by on teaching/tutoring English classes to pay for rent, meals and beer/wine. I don’t know if it was out of financial desperation or just having a generally open-minded disposition, but I made a decision around that time that I was going to say “yes” to any and all opportunities that came my way. I knew that I was strong and resourceful enough to handle the bad stuff, and that the good stuff was going to make the bad more tolerable. Read more>>

Norvin Tu-Wang | Film Orchestrator/Copyist & DJ/EDM Producer

Risk means many things to me, growth, opportunities, and challenges. I must admit that it is always accompanied by some kind of fear, but I always think that this is an excellent opportunity for me to jump out of my comfort zone and learn new things. And I think those “risks” really make me who I am today. Every decision you made in life brings risks – I think the most valuable gain I get from these risks is not only the results but the process. Read more>>

Maple Lam | Author and Illustrator

I think risk taking is a natural part of life. Some take more risks than others; some take higher risks than others. Honestly, there is a right or wrong in the number of risks one takes – it all depends on the individual’s level of tolerance. The great news is, we can always assess the level of risks involved, consider the pro and cons, and develop a plan to balance the opportunities versus the risks. I was an event and exhibit designer in a design firm for seven years before switching over full-time as a freelance author and illustrator. The switch was a huge risk: freelancing means an unstable financial situation for a long period of time. To prepare for that, I made sure I was extremely financially responsible when I was working full-time. (Reading a few books on finance early on can go a long way.) I gave my company a one year notice prior to my planned departure so that I could help them hire and train the next designer for the transition. We parted in great terms, and I periodically freelance for the firm when help is needed. I enjoyed the time I worked as a designer, but I am also happy to make the switch to become an author and illustrator, for that’s where my passion resides. Read more>>

Dara Taylor | Film & Television Composer

I’m a rock climber, not a base jumper. I mean, literally I’m neither, but as far as risks go – while I greatly admire those who risk it all, live in their car and become the Tyler Perrys of the world – just about all of my risks in my career were calculated. I try to live in the “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” mentality and gather as many skills and connections along the way as I possibly can. Every year of my career has been the best year of my career so far and that’s all I can ask for in my opinion. My biggest pure “risk” was probably getting myself into a hundred + thousand dollars worth of student debt to go to grad school. Did I feel that what I learned was worth the exorbitant (getting more exorbitant with interest) price tag that I’m still paying? Probably not. Did I make connections that changed the course of my career and life? Yes. Exactly one – but one is all it took and it was far from immediate. From graduation on it might seem like every big step I’ve taken since has been a big risk from the outside (moving across the country without a job in hand, later leaving my full time apprenticeship to strike out on my own) but each risk was calculated. Read more>>

Lindsey Rei | Doula, Perinatal Educator, Student Midwife

“Leap and the net shall appear” I am a big believer in this quote and it has guided me well in my adult life and career. I have always been an intuitive person, but it wasn’t until about 5 years ago that I truly tuned deep into that intuition and actively listened to it. It took a massive mind shift. in 2016, I took a leap and invested in a clothing business, I left an unhappy marriage, and became a single working mom. It was scary as you know what! I had no savings, lots of debt, and questioned everything I was doing. But I did it and am so glad I did. That leap changed the trajectory of my life and I am so glad I LEAPT! Taking that big risk lead me to where I am now. I am happy. My life and work have a purpose. I am debt free. I own a successful birth business as a doula and perinatal educator and am currently in school to be a homebirth midwife. Read more>>

Piero F. Giunti | Photographer, Director, and Podcast Host

From being an athlete growing up, being one of the first to lead a school walkout against the Iraq war in the US, to being a musician, and now a filmmaker and photographer. When I hear “taking a risk” I automatically think of seeking discomfort. Coincidentally, my father reminded me recently that growing up, of all the kids from their circle of friends and family, I was the one who innately wanted to climb trees, try out various sports, and was encouraged to be curious. Without risk, I wouldn’t have met my musical heroes who are now clients and good friends, or gotten the courage to start my own podcast, Through Rebel Eyes, something that I had been wanting to do but hesitated to do so. Risk has also allowed me to sneak into concerts and take some amazing shots and have the epic stories they come with. Seeking discomfort and taking risks has been an inherent part of my life as it has molded not only my professional career but how I see and live life. Read more>>

Emily Wetzel | Artist

Risk taking is always a tough subject because a risk, in theory, can take away everything… or it can do the opposite, it can make everything all that you’ve ever wanted it to be. I have always felt that the biggest risk is not taking a risk at all. One of my favorite artists, Sue Tsai, recently did a piece that quotes, “you’ll always be haunted by your potential,” I truly believe that. My biggest risk that impacted my career positively was changing geographical locations. Leaving a smaller town and moving to a big city was the bes decision I ever made. Read more>>

Nikita Francois | Actor, Director, Writer

Risks play an essential part in one’s growth. I think you’ll find that most successful people created a foundation of hard work, determination, and risk-taking. Without risk, you’ll find it difficult to grow beyond your comfort zone. Furthermore, taking risks oftentimes opens up new doors of opportunity you may not have previously considered. Taking risks has been a major asset in my career thus far. From relocating to Los Angeles to creating content, without my desire to veer from the norm, I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed some of the most profoundly incredible experiences I’ve had in my life. I bookend most decisions with prayer and research, but I’ve always balanced that by being open to new possibilities. Read more>>

Melissa Tabares | Hairstylist

I think the word risk has a bad wrap. The implication is that you are making a decision that could end bad. I don’t look at things that way. I think you make a decision and it’s not wrong or right, it just is. So, With that being said, I think risk taking is essential for growth! I’ve for sure jumped on things and put myself in situations where you either sink or swim. Not saying that things don’t get hard or I might even freak out in the moment but in the end I’m proud that I swam. Read more>>

Jasmine Nicole Naziri | Entrepreneur, Director of Marketing & Pure Barre Instructor

I’ve had many influential mentors over the years and throughout my life. These individuals include my parents, grandparents, former bosses, and artists I’ve collaborated with on various projects. They all have one common denominator, one that has been instilled in me, that has shaped and molded who I am as a woman, and as a person. That common denominator was to never be afraid to fail, to always give maximum effort, to understand that when one door closes another will open, that failure is only truly a failure when you don’t learn a lesson from it. Taking calculated risks has played an enormous role in my professional development. Whether that is challenging myself to start my own businesses from scratch, to physically pushing myself to compete with many women to become a Pure Barre instructor, to be brave enough to participate in beauty and talent competitions in front of thousands, and to putting in endless hours to achieve my dream of completing multiple graduate school degrees. Read more>>

Patricia Manley | Helping Immigrant Women To Shine From Within

I have seen risks as an opportunities throughout my life. From the very moment I decided to quit my job, sell all my things and moving to another country completely on my own with not network, friends and not knowledge of the language, to start my own business in a field that not a lot of people understand and lately taking again the decision of moving to another country. Risk has allowed me to grow as a person and to have the most amazing experiences that I could ever imagine. And I truly believe life is a place full of opportunities sometimes hidden behind risks and it’s our mission to take them and go for them to have an extraordinary life. Read more>>

Ronny Rose | Filmmaker / Photographer

To honestly answer any question about risk, I think first and foremost one has to look at our cultural relationship to failure. I believe most of us are taught from a young age to look at failures with a feeling of permanence. As if to fail means some implicit thing about who you are, rather than failures sometimes being an element of process. It’s this fear of being a “failure” that stops most people from trying to do the things they quietly aspire to. I know it’s a fear I constantly have to grapple with. In the end though, I owe everything I have in my life today to the willingness to take risks, fall down, and do it all over again. Read more>>

Ellie Michel | Makeup and Hair Artist

I believe that if you want to reach your fullest potential in this life, you must be willing to take risks. The first biggest risk I took was at 15, when I moved from my dad’s household, to my moms. If I didn’t make that conscious decision, my life would be completely different. The second biggest risk I took was moving to LA by myself at the age of 28. I moved here for my career in makeup and hair artistry. Read more>>

Erika Vikander | Professional Snowboarder/ Freeride World Tour Athlete

Risk taking is an every day part of my life and career in a much more literal way than most. As a professional snowboarder I am constantly pushing myself and taking risks is part of the process of evolving as an athlete. Risk has become such a foundational part of my life both physically and mentally. Trying to strike a balance of what risks to take and when to hold back has been a crucial part of my success. When we are young and eager to prove ourselves, you take a lot more risk without truly thinking of the outcome. In my sport not thinking about the outcome could potentially get you killed, so walking the line between “you shouldn’t be doing this,” and “I’VE GOT THIS” is imperative to survival. At the end of the day all of the risks i’ve taken have proved to me that I was ready to take that action, and level up in my life, and without them I wouldn’t have opened all of the doors down the line that have lead me to where I am today. Read more>>

Rebecca Kessin | Sound Designer

I truly didn’t think of myself as a person who took a lot of risks. But looking back, maybe not! In the moment, a lot of the biggest decisions in my life were not something I saw as a risk. I viewed them as chances – opportunities to explore, to try, to learn. In early 2004 I was preparing to graduate from SUNY New Paltz with a BA in Theatre Arts. The logical move would have been to return home to Long Island and try to start working in shops, calling in to IATSE, and earning my way into the NYC workforce. But I had become intrigued by sound design my last year at New Paltz – and the program only offered one class (no shade meant – it was a very new discipline academically). I had learned all I could learn there, so I started looking at graduate programs instead. Things moved quickly, and August found me packing my car up and driving 3000 miles from home, ready to start my MFA at CalArts. It wasn’t until I dropped my dad (and cross country driving companion) off at the airport that I realized I didn’t know anyone for the length of a continent, and I cried all the way back to campus. I really hadn’t thought far enough along to be scared – the reward so outweighed the risk that I hadn’t seen the risk at all. Read more>>

Ming Ng | Brow doctor & Artist

Risks can be seen as opportunities. And opportunities gets you moving forward – good or bad. Either way, you are moving forward and progressing in life. I get excited every time taking a risk because I know I am growing and I will come out to be someone more than before. Leaving my corporate job (stability and a steady paycheck) 4 years ago to start my own business was the biggest risk I took in life so far. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. Read more>>

Avery Klein | Photographer

Risk has played one of the biggest roles in my life.  I moved from a small up-and-coming city, Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Los Angeles. I had a fear of not being good enough, especially when surrounded by some of the world’s most creative people. There was financial risk, failure, mistakes, and judgment. Risk and change are incredibly difficult but have always brought me the opportunities I desire. Like most Angelenos, I’m extremely driven by challenges. I know I’m more uncomfortable by being idle and watching opportunities rush past me than to go after something regardless of what happens. Risk-taking is a paradigm shift that elevates my life and career. I strive to have no expectations, be transparent and vulnerable, live every day authentically, and stay determined. Read more>>

Danielle Foley | Development Project Manager

My whole life I always found excitement in experimenting and learning things first-handed. I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t take risks – from getting married at the age of 23 to the love of my life from Ireland, to quitting my job after having a baby and starting my own business. You can say that risk taking is a huge part of who I’ve become! However – you have to fully commit and believe in yourself to take risks and succeed. I love this quote by Winston Churchill – “Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision”. It is so easy to doubt yourself when you are stepping out of your comfort zone, but you have to fully commit and believe in yourself and trust in the people around you. The decision to start a business 4 months postpartum took a lot of courage, but I couldn’t have done it without the legwork I did and the relationships that I built. Most of all, you have to believe in yourself through the comfortable and uncomfortable times. You have to take these risks in life to grow and in the end, that’s what we’re all looking for. Read more>>

Kyle Pahlow | Director Of Photography

I’ve carried a Bob Primes, ASC quote in my wallet for many years, “Unless you’re risking a mistake your just repeating yourself; you’re not adding anything to the universe and you’re not growing. If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” Risks come in so many forms, some are educated and others are taken with nothing more than a hope that the decision you’re making is the right one. Sometimes taking a risk can work in your favor, and other times it blows up in your face. The good thing about the latter is that you learn and don’t ever forget. Everything from hiring a new person on your crew, saying yes to a job, saying no to a job, turning off all the lights except one, the list goes on. All of these things are risks that may or may not pan out. The uncertainty is what excites me and gives me life. Read more>>

Mixedgreens (Emma Berliner & Amanda Scharf) | Queer Publisher

Mixedgreens has been the brainchild of risk-taking and experimentation since 2014. Our collaboration began in Emma’s garage/art studio when we were designing small palm tree diorama sets for a web-series. So, you could say our vision comes from taking really big things and making them fit in the palm of your hand. You could also say, our vision comes from each other. We always start with an idea or question we truly care about and a healthy dose of curiosity. For us, if we haven’t done it before, we’re all in. We are very lucky to be in a collaboration where we can take risks, make mistakes, and finish each other’s sentences. It’s something we don’t take for granted! In many ways, not knowing how a project will turn out is the most exciting part of creating. From the outset, as a publishing model, mixedgreens wanted to tell stories and explore formats that we felt were overlooked or misrepresented by larger cultural distributors. For us, giving time and attention to lesbian and queer voices is a way of disrupting stagnant narratives. Read more>>

Anthony Mejia | Father, Entrepreneur, Fashion Designer

Not many extraordinary things are birthed from a comfort zone. Deciding to go to college or not, choosing where you’re going to live to give yourself the best opportunities, all the way to taking the leap and leaving an established job to launch your own business- risk taking is what makes it all so exciting and worth it. I landed (what I thought to be) my dream job out of college. I was working for one of the largest athletic apparel companies in the world and was excited to get there and leave my mark. Create dope clothes, work with some amazing creatives and start climbing the corporate ladder. I got there and it wasn’t at all what I expected. I spent all of my time entering data, sourcing materials, and grabbing way more coffee than someone not working as a barista should. I quickly realized that I wasn’t anywhere near my dream job. After 2 years, I made the decision that the allure of a job title and having a certain company’s name on my business card was not worth the emptiness of feeling unhappy and unfulfilled. I left the position at the company’s headquarters on the east coast to return to my hometown of Pasadena in hopes of greener pastures. Read more>>

Brian Austin | Writer, Director, Artist

In art, risk is everything. When I’m creating, every step, every decision is a risk at first. Whether it is putting pen to paper with a new idea, or adding the final touches, each decision is risky and can change the outcome of the work. As the process continues, the risks become more hazardous and the decisions more difficult, but hopefully all for the benefit of the finished piece. I feel like life is no different. Every day risks need to be taken to learn and to grow toward my true self. Read more>>

Gavin Heaney | Singer Songwriter/ Surfer

Taking risk is the moment when you commit to your idea and decide to make it real. It is the moment of liftoff when the wheels leave the ground. It is always uncertain and it requires faith in your vision and determination to see it realized. Every time I commit to recording a song, I am taking this risk. Before I even hit record, I’ve already spent many hours crafting and building my vision. It is only through committing to recording that I can bring the song to life, and there is no guarantee I will succeed. I have to have enough faith and determination to see it through to the other side, no matter how many obstacles arise. Committing to an entire album is an even bigger risk because it usually requires years of follow through. As in surfing, sometimes you don’t know you can make a wave until you risk it and commit to seeing it through. The result can be the biggest thrill of your life and the greatest reward. When your insane gamble pays off, you feel like the only person on earth who’s truly alive. It’s rare air. Read more>>

Roman Slavinsky | Educator and Parent

I have taken risks in my life and career which have cumulatively led me to the path that I am on today. I firmly believe that you should always be comfortable with being uncomfortable. The first notable risk in my career was leaving a position working with LAUSD, teaching science at Walter Reed Middle School. I saw the value of one-on-one instruction, which was unrealistic in the public-school setting. As such, I resigned from the district and turned my part-time tutoring hustle into a full-fledged business. A+ Tutoring offers tutoring services, test preparation and college counseling. However, with the widespread effect that COVID-19 had on our “in-home” teaching model, we have adapted and repositioned ourselves to meet the needs of our clients and community. To help our students grow and develop a broad range of competencies and skills, A+ Tutoring was forced to pivot online and create in-person “learning pods”. Read more>>

Anna Miles | Director, Theater Artist, and Founding Artistic Director of Beating of Wings | An Artist Collective

More often the conversations are smaller in nature, boiling down to the minutiae of our individual and collective anxieties: it comes out in our marketing conversations, when we’re trying to label our events. Will enough potential audience members still be drawn in if we let a project exist in a new genre all it’s own, if we call something a “New Moon Celebration,” or do we have to call it something more familiar, like a “cabaret” or a “concert”? Should I take out the part about this play’s condemnation of white male oppression in the fundraising letter I’m sending to my less-Liberal family members? It comes out in our rehearsals, as we balance along the fine line of boldly and radically revealing ourselves (physically, artistically, mentally, and emotionally), and keeping our selves and our psyches safe, manifesting in questions like: is any storytelling value we gain from having this actor reveal personal trauma or reveal parts of their body worth the personal cost to that actor. Read more>>

Promise Harvey | Life Coach

I think of risk like a spice — it adds fun, it adds enjoyment. Too much of it and it’s overpowering to your experience. If you’re not careful it can be something your ego constantly fights against. It’s only natural to want to stay safe and in your comfort zone, to stay with what’s familiar to you, what’s predictable, but taking risks is completely essential when you run your own business. I constantly take risks in my work, and I might even be considered a bit impulsive, but it’s that side of me that has allowed me to be successful doing what I do. 2 years after starting my business, I decided to try being a digital nomad, because I finally had a job that didn’t require me to be in one place, and it ended up being more cost effective for me to travel than to live in Los Angeles full time. I got on a plane to Paris, and ever since then it’s been very rewarding. That was a big decision though — it was definitely risky, but it also ended up helping me support my business even more. Read more>>

Nicole Momaney | Artist

For me, risk is everything. Takings risks is how we expand out of the environmental and societal bubbles we are born into to find our true selves. It’s a process that starts out small, think childhood, when perhaps we simply opted to tread outside of the boundaries our parents set for us. When I was young I loved venturing out into the swampy woods behind my house, further than I’m sure my parents would have approved, or climbing trees higher than was safe. We had 2 huge pine trees in my front yard that were basically ladders. It was irresistible. I spent a good amount of time up there looking out over the neighborhood. The rewards were obvious to me and far outweighed the skinned knees, bug bites and muddy clothes. Taking risks is normalized for children and teens. At that age we are expected to push boundaries but at some point, when we reach society’s perception of adulthood, risk taking is frowned upon or avoided altogether in most instances. When progress stops people become stagnant. Physically, we are composed of about 60% water. Read more>>

Dalon Holland | Actor, Entertainer, Creator

I think of risk as something that can be equally beneficial or harmful, and that life itself is level a of risk everyday. As a whole, risk is pretty much unavoidable so why not take some by choice? The statement, “high risk, high reward” is absolutely true. Some people would call my career path risky, but it’s a risk I am willing to take because I love acting, and creating. There’s a high risk, high reward scenario here and that’s risk my time, energy, and ‘stable’ opportunities, with the reward for being able to make a living doing something that’s called to me since childhood. Other than in my career path, I have chosen to take mild risk in the stock market as of a few years ago. That choice in my life has been a great example of the duality of risk. Read more>>

Kimia Arya | Fashion Designer

My whole life has been one big risk after another. I took the risk to move to Los Angeles 11 years ago, during the recession, to pursue a better life for myself and for my family. I took the risk to quit my “‘stable” banker job to pursue my dreams and to start my business in one of the most competitive and subjective industries, with zero experience or connections. I took the risk to be vulnerable with myself and with my community during Covid-19 when I launched my daily Instagram live show highlighting the importance of mental health awareness and my own previous struggles with mental health. The biggest risk of all was the risk I took on myself, and by believing wholeheartedly in my vision and in my talents. Taking risks has played a major role in every aspect of my life, but it has also been the MOST rewarding because it leaped me to the levels of success that I have today. My mother always taught me to “Regret what you didn’t do, not what you did” and that constantly instills me with the courage I need to make any determination. In turn, I have gathered many life experiences, which have helped me to better execute my next decision and/or calculated risks. Read more>>

Edie Beaucage | Painter & Video Artist

Every artist I know takes risks in one way or another. Otherwise, we would not be inventing anything new. As artists, our quest is to find another interpretation of what it means to be human. Every generation has new ideas, and art movements are born out of this quest. For a few years now, I’ve noticed there is a new and active form of collective risk-taking in figurative painting. It takes on the general appearance of easy and relaxed images that present us engaged in casual pleasure. The term New Casualism, I found in an article written by Sharon Butler in the Brooklyn Rail in 2011 called “Abstract Painting: The new Casualists” seems best to represent this new way of painting. It could be called The Relaxists or Cool Easyism. We could vote on that but for now let’s call it Casualism – a preexisting, yet unnamed, way of living. It is apparent in our already casual lifestyles. I just found a new page that appeared on Wikipedia since last June when I looked for references on Casualism. This page clearly addressed Casualism in abstract art. How great a coincidence, I guess Casualism is happening then in both painting realms: abstraction, and figuration. Read more>>

Paige Turner-Uribe | Artist, Painter

I spent a lot of time drawing as a child, and knew at an early age that I wanted to be an artist. The first paintings I recall seeing were southwestern paintings and black velvet paintings which I found fascinating. I didn’t have a huge exposure to art history as a young child, but once I started to learn about it later in school, I was hooked. Art made sense to me and the challenge and commitment suited my temperament. Though I’ve had misgivings over the years because of the precarious nature of surviving, it’s just something I have to do. As a woman, I feel that I owe it to my female relatives who had artistic tendencies, but didn’t have the same opportunities to pursue it that I’ve had because of the era they lived in. I also hope that my daughters learn about resilience and dedication from seeing me persevere. Read more>>

Jul Kohler | Actress, Filmmaker, Dancer and VO Artist

I was born and raised in Berlin, Germany. I moved to the states about 13 years ago, and am now a dual citizen of the US and Germany. At age 17, while still in college I secretly submitted myself to the Theaterschool in Amsterdam, now known as The Academy of Theatre and Dance, I received an invitation in the mail to audition for them for their 4-year program. Now I had to tell my parents, that I’m going to take the train to Amsterdam over the weekend, to audition for them. My parents were furious, but I was very stubborn. So I went, by myself, knowing that this is what I need to do. And I made it through to the call back two weeks later, and then was offered a scholarship. Of course, no one in my family was happy about this, that I would drop out of college, and move to Amsterdam by myself for 4 years. But this was my dream, my path. My second life-changing risk took me years to take action on it. I listened to the outside more than to my inside. At age 21 I visited LA for three months, dreaming of living and working here. But that time I listened to my parents and friends and my fears to not move here. Read more>>

Nonna Gleyzer | Celebrity Pilates Instructor

I consider risk taking to be the equivalent of courage — it’s about having the confidence to go after what you want, and knowing in your heart that you will succeed. Unlike other pilates instructors, who typically go on to work for another studio or gym after getting their certification, I knew there was a calling for me to help people directly. Rather than working for someone else and copying their teaching style, I strived to be a “free bird” and focus on my own exercises and techniques. So, as soon as I became certified, I opened my own business. While becoming a business owner was incredibly daunting, I wouldn’t trade the rewards of my practice for the world. Read more>>

Nica Ware | Creative

The idea of risk-taking is relative to your own personal situation. Risk to me feels pretty comfortable, I really don’t feel afraid of stepping out of my comfort zone, and I enjoy that bit of discomfort from being in a new place, having interesting experiences, and learning new things. I have traveled with just a backpack through 27 different countries as of now with no prior planning and a lust for the unknown. When I wasn’t traveling, I was guiding horse trail rides through intense terrains in a few different places around the world, every day was an exciting adventure. Living on dimes and yet having the time of my life, it didn’t feel risky at the time, though many people questioned my lifestyle; so it didn’t feel to “risky” to just dive head first into my passion for art and solely rely on making my own income, landing on a path that is more familiar to people. When COVID turned us upside down, I felt straightened out. I let my artistic intuition lead the way and I just started drawing, going back to my graphic design degree I’d earned before I began traveling. Read more>>

Ama Romp | Set Designer + Illustrator

I believe risk is what takes you from your comfort zone daily routine practices, a place you feel safe because you know everything + everyone like the back of your hand and yet you yearn for more. As a creative, I tend to get bored very easily especially if I am working a common desk job or a 9-5. I realized at one dead end job- the only person guilty of keeping me bored and unhinged would be myself. Thats when I recommend to all creatives to start their risk taking practices, the moment you feel undervalued, and completely bored. Risks have absolutely played a huge role in my career. I was working at. prop house just short of 5 years as a set designer, marketer, blog writer, website maintenance… the list goes on. I was taken major advantage of and slowly my creativity was stripped from me. Working around the clock for a company I cared so much about with no true appreciation or even zero credits for my extreme creative work. I found myself in a deep hole and realized, I dug this hole. I could have left when ever I felt like it but for some reason I stayed with no benefits for me. Read more>>

Joe Davidson | Artist, Sculpture

I’m not sure if I would explain it in terms of risk, as much as explaining it in terms of pursuits. I have been making sculpture for over 25 years now, but for me the term ‘sculpture’ only refers to things are three dimensional. My body of work consists of multiple avenues, crossroads, and dead ends. It’s more like a web of ideas than straight line from one idea to the next. Maybe it’s an impatience, mercurial personality, or a deep seated terror at being defined by one thing, but I’ve never been able to stay focused on one body of work for years at a time. That’s definitely risky when the market side of art making desires consistency. However, I think there are consistent threads in my process and interests, even if the final products at first glance can seem wildly diverse. Instead of defining a certain choice of action as taking a risk, I may define it as taking an opportunity to learn and grow. Read more>>