We asked some of the city’s rising stars to reflect on what made a difference in their journey. We asked them to tell us about what they think the most important factor has been behind their success.

Jeff Black | Hollywood’s Favorite Magician

As a performer it is easy to forget that you are not just performing for yourself, but that there is this mysterious group of people sitting in the dark who are craving something from you. For me, the most important factor behind the success of my business is the relationship with my audience. Whether performing walk around magic at a wedding or on stage, the audience is everything. Read more>>

Yoni Coen | Cinematographer

Honestly, I think that simply learning to value myself and my work before anything else has been the biggest contributing factor in my success in this industry. I’m incredibly lucky to do what I love, and love what I do, and that in and of itself is a success. Read more>>

Nigel Huckle | Actor & Singer

Persistence. Whenever I’m in a Q&A with young performers, or if I meet people after a show, and they ask me for my advice, I always tell them: Be persistent. You have to open your own doors if you’re pursuing a career in the arts and creative industries, but you can and should always ask for help in opening them. I have never been shy about leaning on the people that I know, and who support my work in asking for guidance. Read more>>

Anahita (Ana) Kashefi | Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

One of the most important factors behind my success as a psychotherapist has been showing up authentically. In the field of psychotherapy, I believe one of the most important things that helps constitute change is the client-therapist relationship. The more you show up as yourself and the more authentic you are, you also allow the other person to show up as themselves and understand that it’s okay, and welcomed to be oneself. When I first started practicing, I felt that I needed to fit a mold of what a therapist should look like. I would hide parts of myself that weren’t part of the status quo, such as the fact that I’m also a musician and a creative. Read more>>

Sunset Shades | Indian Electronic Artist

Sunset Shades is my alias where I produce and perform indie – electronic music and it solely thrives on the factor of relatability. All the music I make in my studio is pretty much my expression of what plays in my head when I experience a pretty sunset. I feel like the most common feeling one gets while watching a sunset is the feeling of nostalgia. My music tries to make you feel a certain kind of nostalgia, the one where it doesn’t make you look back at your memories but makes you look forward to better beginnings. Read more>>

Danny Higs | Fashion & Portrait Photographer

There are a lot of different factors for my brand’s success in nyc. One of the more important factors is saying yes to opportunities that come up, even if you aren’t necessarily sure where they’ll lead. I remember, one of my first production gigs I was hired to take stills during a music video for Meek Mill. The only reason I got that job is because weeks ago I checked Instagram, and a photographer was looking for a last-minute assistant for a magazine shoot. I had 1 hour to show up to the studio and it was unpaid. Read more>>

Neelima Narayanan | Jeweler and Archivist/Art Book Publisher

My practice started as a meditative passion project, rather than with the intent to grow as much and as quickly as possible. I began selling my jewelry because, while wearing it, friends and strangers would ask how they could buy pieces of their own. Now, I devote one day a week to my practice, either to fulfill orders or experiment with new designs. Because I work alone and on such a small scale, I am able to work very closely with my clients to create something that they love and will be able to keep forever. I see jewelry as an extension of the body and as a mode of self-expression for the wearer. My clients seem to really appreciate that–I think that is how I have found my success. Read more>>

Mcklyn Valenciano | Fashion photographer and Model Agent/Scout

I am a firm believer in putting people first. As a fashion photographer, I value people, the relationships of my clients, models, agencies and creative team. I always try and deliver my best work to those that step in front of my camera and those who hire me for their vision/branding. I believe in authenticity, loyalty and try to bring a warmth and passion to my work. Read more>>

Yuki Katayama | Director of Operations at Hiromi Paper

People. As a small business, I feel that it is essential to nurture and cultivate human relationships, not just with clients and staff but in my case with papermakers, craftspeople, vendors, and shipping carriers that make sure that all aspects of the business run smoothly and with (relatively) no hiccups. We are fortunate to have a wonderful and supportive network of people that we have built close working relationships with over the years – a network that has been a helpful support system in navigating through the global pandemic. Read more>>

Eric German | Music and Entertainment Attorney

Passion for my clients, their goals and their business. The longer I do what I do, the more I realize that I do my best and most effective work, I need to believe in what I am representing. When I was a very young person booking concerts for my first job just out of college, my boss criticized me for putting too much energy into pushing bands that I personally liked on the potential talent buyers. Read more>>

Emily Tanaka | Artist – Muralist – Creative Collaborator

Work Ethic . . . Having a previous career in graphic design taught me how to create on demand, whether I was in the mood or not, working under pressure with tight deadlines. It gave me much experience pitching design ideas to clients and going through rounds of critiques and tweaks to satisfy their needs. The ability to keep my ego out of it and push myself to be open to critique and collaboration helps me greatly with my art business. This is especially true for commissioned mural projects. Read more>>

Dr. Michelle Lee | Board-certified Plastic Surgeon & Founder of PERK plastic surgery

The most important factor behind the success of PERK plastic surgery is the first-class experience we provide our clients from every member of our team. In addition to natural results, I think adding a personalized touch to each appointment––from the consultation to each follow-up visit––is key to an elevated aesthetic experience. All members of the team take their time listening to each client and their story; and as a result clients receive a treatment plan that actually works for them. Each regimen is tailored to the client’s lifestyle, specific goals and anatomy! Read more>>