We asked some brilliant folks from the community to talk to us about how they think about risk and the role risk has played in their lives and careers.

Juan D Mendoza | Multidisciplinary Artist

Since my early childhood I realized living the life is a big risk, I used be scared by the fact I needed to walk out from home for going to school and to be hit by a car over the street, I deal with a lot of anxiety when people around were drinking alcohol and getting in trouble, also feel very worried about my father and other family members smoking. I was always thinking in the worst scenarios and felling frustrated and so stressed. Later, I just noticed that weird voice that was always telling me everything could kill me, was gradually losing its power, then I realized am more mature and now I can say, the biggest risk in life is living. I had that mind-change close to my 35th birthday. It was 2018 when my father almost die because an oil well explosion at work and resulted seriously damaged and permanently disabled. That event changed our lives so far for everyone at home. Read more>>

Dwayne Savid | Dancer, choreographer, & fitness enthusiast

I’m a firm believer in no risk no reward. I feel like a lot of people feel like taking a risk is automatically taking a loss but I have a different mindset. I feel any time I’ve taken a risk I’ve always gained something be it a lesson or a blessing. For example taking my first heels class despite being a cismale. That’s STILL a risk to this very day I get told I won’t book if I keep dancing in heels and yet I just did a music video for Iggy Azalea IN MY HEELS. Read more>>

Emily Lerer | Director & Writer

What is art without risk? Certainly safe art has its place, but for me, I’m driven to push the collective conversation forward each chance I get. Art has the power to elicit love, rage, and the fervor to move societies. Whether moving to a new city with no money, jumping into a creative field traditionally dominated by men, or telling stories of struggles we don’t talk about, I thrive on taking risks in both my life and artistic endeavors. The most enjoyable stories are ones that shine light into dark crevices. My creativity often encompasses the personal, gritty, and vulnerable – stories of underdogs uncovering new perspectives and exposing their insecurities to an audience. For that reason, my short film Punch Drunk may be the most exposed piece of myself I’ve put into the world. Read more>>

Jacinta Clusellas | Composer, Guitarist, Singer-Songwriter

I think that without risk taking there is no growth! Looking back, the moments in which I took the bigger steps forward (both in my career and in my personal life) have always felt scary and involved some kind of a risk. Leaving my hometown Buenos Aires, Argentina to study at Berklee College of Music felt like the first big risk I took ten years ago. Today, I taught my first class as a new faculty member at Berklee, and it felt one more time like making a leap forward as well completing a cycle which began 10 years ago. As a composer, arranger and songwriter, becoming a good collaborator also involves risk taking. Trying new ideas, finding ways to communicate with your collaborators, trusting each other, and investing hours and hours of work in projects that are in their early development. Read more>>

Liv Heavenly | Recording Artist

I think risk taking is apart of everyday life no matter what you do! Whether it’s taking risk in your style, your job, taking risks in your relationships and stepping outside your comfort zone. Taking risk makes room for growth and new opportunities and advancement. I’ve taken many a risk when it’s come to my career. It was a risk to even decide to come out as an artist and put my music out there. It was a risk to sign with a new independent label. These risks plus so many more is the reason I’ve been able to grow and progress in my career. I’m definitely an advocate for being a risk taker. Read more>>

Sara Sedran | Actor

We always associate risk to danger, therefore to fear. If I were to make a decision, say that one choice was more out of the ordinary than the other, I’d probably go with the one I know will make me excited about life. Not necessarily knowing what I am doing isn’t something to be scared of. I don’t need to know. I don’t need to play safe. Perhaps not getting out of a comfort zone leads to a dull life, and I am a big believer that for every problem there’s a solution. I like to figure things out along the way. It keeps me on my toes and focused. This way of thinking led me to move across the Atlantic Ocean and to pursue one of the most unstable careers, in my opinion, that there are out there: acting. It has been an exciting journey so far. Read more>>

Trey Ford | Impresario – Publicist – Author

I believe that through taking risks our true vitality can be expressed. The word “risk” is often attached to the word “reward” and thus the absence of taking risks, must correlate to the absence of receiving rewards. The blocker is “fear”. In my career the biggest leaps in success took place after pressing past the fear of the unexpected. Security is a facade, stagnation is really just slow, unnoticeable death and decrease because one is either green and growing or brown and dying. The people with audacity are the ones who get to fully experience their gifts and give them to the world. Read more>>

DeMonta Whiting | Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Taking risks is a natural part of being a human that helps to ensure our survival. Every time we walk out the door, we are taking a risk. We risk falling and hurting ourselves, getting into a car accident, being victims of a crime, etc. However, under normal circumstances, the advantages of taking risks outweigh the disadvantages: we get to travel greater distances, meet new people, make more money, etc. Taking risks has benefited me greatly throughout my life as it has allowed me to live a life that I genuinely enjoy. By taking a risk and going back to school for my Master’s degree at the age of 35, not only do I now have a career that I love, but I make enough money to do the things that I want to do. By taking a risk and ending relationships with people who didn’t have my best interest in mind, I now have happy and healthy relationships with people who do. Read more>>

Hydia Baldwin | Owner of Vegan Sweet’s & Treat’s, LLC.

When I think of risks and how it may affect my career. I try my best to remember that nothing worth the while is possible without taking risks. I just decide if the is risk worth taking and will the risk have a beneficial outcome. From sales, to expanding my brand, or even something as simple as learning valuable information. None of what I just stated could even be possible unless I did not take the risk of putting my brand out there and quite frankly being a risk taker has affected my career for the better. Such as having an online vegan bakery that ships desserts. Read more>>

Shabam aka Shubham Parmar | singer-songwriter

Risk taking has basically taught me everything in life. It’s one of the reasons i am here in Los Angeles chasing my dreams. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth so i always had to earn everything which taught me how to value things like time and money. It eventually made me emotionally strong and gave me a completely different perspective to live life. It took me 6 years just to come to Los Angeles, those 6 years were the darkest years of my life and i used to question myself everyday ‘why is this so hard’? It didn’t make sense then but everything makes sense now. Taking that decision of not being an engineer/doctor and doing something that i really love to do made me who i am today. I was really lucky to have my family support me in all that chaos which helped me get through the tough times. I wouldn’t be here without them. They had to sacrifice a lot to just send me here and i can proudly say that now i am completely independent and taking care of myself. Read more>>

Monique Nicole Farley | Interior Architect, Strategist, & Makeup Artist

When I think about the word “risk” my mind automatically thinks about the opportunities. For many, the idea of “risk” focuses on the negatives and not the potential for positive opportunities. And looking back on my life, I can see how the older I got the more risk I took. Whether it was making changes within my career or the decision to relocate across country, there are risk involved in everything. The truth is you do not get to achieve your goals without taking some leap of faith risks. These leap of faith risks are where you allow God to do His best work. Read more>>

Enrique Torres | Wine Maker & Owner Diablo Paso Wines

I have always taken chances. I plunge into projects and believe in my feelings. Hard work, dedication, and consistency are three of the most important assets which have created a successful business and wines which I am proud to produce. Read more>>

Jon Narcisso | Custom & Bespoke Hat Maker

Risk, in my opinion, is one of the top three things you need as a creative. There has never been a moment during my process where I haven’t had to factor in taking a risk. From day one I have always had the bet on yourself mentality. So taking a risk was essentially my only option. As creators, it goes through our minds constantly how our work will be perceived by our audience. But staying true to yourself and being confident in what you create – things usually work out. Read more>>

Irene Clark-Perry | Video Creator & Maker of Handmade Body Products

Taking risk is the scariest thing EVER! There are so many unknowns in front it and ughh that just makes us feel so uneasy. However, when you really think about it we make choices every single day that consists of unknown outcomes already so what’s the difference right? How will we ever know if something will work out if we don’t take the risk and do the thing? There’s so much satisfaction in just trying. If it doesn’t work, don’t beat yourself up! Like any lesson in life, we learn how to fix it and try again, again and again until WE feel it’s right. After I quit my 9 to 5 job in 2017, (which to me was the scariest thing ever) I finally felt in control of my life. Us humans are so powerful and have the power to do it all. We get to create the beautiful life we want to live. Never forget that! Read more>>

Stephen Gillikin | Actor & Teaching Artist

On a daily scale, my relationship with risk is normally about mitigating it. The easiest way to mitigate risk is with routines. Even simple things like brushing teeth, locking doors, wearing a seat belt, can all be easily performed without much thought as to what they’re actually preventing. My general goal is to try to create a life that can handle risk and/or at least be a person who can. My larger-scale relationship with risk is much different. I’ve made a lot of personal and professional choices that could certainly be assessed as high risk. However, whether it be something that results in failure or reward, those are both end products. My broad focus is on whatever the process. If you know what you’re doing, and you love it, then do it. It’s not about finding success or failure, it’s about having a purpose and a process in which you can believe. Read more>>

Madeline Weibel | Painter and Instructor

I feel like artists that take the most risks often turn out the most successful. There is something about living in the moment and ignoring potential consequences of tomorrow that might protect an artist from the crippling self doubt and fear of failure that come with the job. Though I am not necessarily one of these artists, risk has played a huge role in my life. Turning from a life of convention to one of instability and constant questioning is a risk and part of most creative journeys. It certainly was part of mine. Read more>>

Sinbad Kazakian | Fine Art Commercial Photographer

Taking a risk is one of the most important things you will do in your life. And the fear of failure is its little sibling that always tags along. Without risk there is no success. And without fear of failure there is no risk. I always say, fear is freedom. Once you are aware of it and embrace it in your life you will never hesitate taking that risk. My family and I immigrated to United States from Russia in 1973. We came here without knowing anyone, and with three hundred dollars in my Dads pocket. We were dropped off in a parking lot of an Armenian church at one o’clock in the morning, and that was it. And here I am. Read more>>

Kate Krieger | Actress and Screenwriter

I read something recently that said, “No risk, no story.” I agree with that sentiment wholeheartedly. When I think about the most memorable, most rewarding experiences I’ve had, they ALL required a risk. More often than not, it felt like an emotional risk more than anything. I recall having tremendous fear around shooting my pilot, DELIVERY GIRL, so much so that I often felt crippled by self doubt and the subsequent meltdowns. Yet, there was this kernel of faith inside me that said, “you’re allowed to be afraid, you’re allowed to not know what the results will be, or how it will all shake out, but you gotta show up anyway, because if you don’t — if you allow the fear to paralyze you — you’ll never know what could have been.” And had I backed out, I would’ve regretted it enormously. Lo and behold, shooting DELIVERY GIRL turned out to be a deeply rewarding experience, and the cherry on top was that it got into the Sundance Film Festival. Read more>>

Corey Jones | Private Jeweler

If you have a goal. Every decision you make leading up to that goal should be a progression towards achieving the goal in mind. I believe in living life with little regret as possible. I would rather try and fail miserably at something than to continuously wonder if I could have done it or not. Risks have been major factors in my life. When I started working as an apprentice in the Jewelry district in downtown Los Angeles. The owner told me explicitly “if this is not what you really want to do, you should quit and go do something else, because you are not going to make that much money starting off.” I was naïve and full of confidence that I could start creating 3-D design at a very high level sooner than the given time frame he had given me… It took me 6 months to become fully versed with the software I was using. I was concerned about the money, learning the skill was more important than money at that time, I could have walked away to go earn more money, but the opportunity for the apprenticeship would not be there when I decided to give it another shot, Read more>>

Sarai Speer | Hairstylist/Educator/Mentor

Without big risks are no big rewards! Now, before you stop reading and put this down, let me explain myself.

I’ve always lived a loud life. But not always for the right reasons. For years, when I was in my addiction, I lived “out loud” to distract from the fact that I was an addict, that I was depressed, I was sad, that I was afraid, that I hated myself. I was the funny girl, the life of the party, the crazy one, the one who was up for anything at any time. But I was masking. Masking my trauma, insecurities, and addictions. For more than 3 decades I lived with secrets. I was an alcoholic, drug addict, and anorexic and bulimic. I was constantly performing so that I didn’t have to deal with the mess that was my life. Read more>>

Greg Arch | Camera & Steadicam Operator

I probably think about risk more than most people I know, but to be a freelance film crew worker is to be consumed by weighing risks. It’s part of everything, from each project accepted or declined to trying to schedule much-needed time off knowing as soon as you do you’ll get called to work on something awesome. When I moved to LA I didn’t know anybody, myself included, so I had to be riskier in my work choices, saying yes to anything because I never knew what I’d learn from it, who I’d meet, where it might lead, and I never had an idea when another opportunity might come along. With all that still being true more than seven years later, the risks are the same they just have more weight to them as there are more opportunities competing for my time and I have more responsibilities. Read more>>

Kat Fedosova | Professional dancer/choreographer/fashion designer

Taking the risk is necessary if you want to grow as a person. It’s important to practice taking risks from a young age, so you don’t get comfortable in life and get settle for less. My first risk was when I came to America at the age of 18. This was a huge risk for a young lady from Russia but I followed my heart. I knew that I would have the freedom to be the creative I was born to be in America and be able to express my creativity through dance and fashion in ways that I could not in Voronezh where I was born. Read more>>

Xiaoqi Zhou | Independent artist: ‘Soulgood Kid’ / Music Producer&Mixer

I think of risks as stepping out of my comfort zone, embracing new opportunities in life and discover higher personal value. For me I took my biggest risk at grade 12 that altered my life and career once after getting accepted by the college I planned to go to I suddenly had a realization of the true passion I’ve always had for music, so I tried to apply for a bunch of music collages without knowing if I would get in or not but urge made me felt this is something that has to be done. I was accepted by Musicians Institute eventually and at that moment I had my epiphany of the new definition of taking risks. It wasn’t easy for an 18-year-old moving from China to a foreign country without anyone’s assistance, but I was able to manifest my real passion and vision through the process so I’m very grateful for taking the necessary risks and facing the unknown. Read more>>

Soul Mobb Inc. Hip-Hop Group | Hip-Hop Group from Riverside, California

We find that risks forces the individual to do better than they would have without it. Having something to lose makes you want to work 10 times harder. For us, the risk of failing and not living up to the expectations people have set for us is what drives us to do better and be better than we think we could be. Read more>>

Axl Colt | Music Artist

Risks are the career. Simply making the decision of starting a path in any artistic environment is a big risk. We all feel the need to express ourselves with art. Anybody who invests the time and energy into any form of art will eventually end up producing a piece that communicates an idea. Which is why it so hard to make a living out of a skill that everybody can develop. I think there are people that make risk part of their lives on a daily basis. Every decision represents a risk. Even the tiniest choices that may seem harmless to our near future open a door and close another one constantly. I’ve learned that once you adapt to this way of thinking that’s exactly when you start achieving the results that you were expecting in the first place. Read more>>

Phil Penman | Photographer

Everything! You have to be willing to take risks or you will never standout in the crowd. In 1994 I visited New York City on holiday with my parents and fell in love with the place. I set myself a goal ! To be working as a professional photographer based in New York City. I spent the next 6 years doing everything I could to get here. In 2000 I flew to Los Angeles to start my new job as a photographer for a news agent and 6 months later I was setting up there New York bureau. I’ve now been here working 20 years and still love everyday. Read more>>

Rachael Mayer | Fiber Artist

I think I’m rather risk-averse. I love plans and thinking out every outcome to every single decision. It can be really hard for me to let go and just let things happen. I like to be in control. As anyone / everyone knows, this isn’t how life works. I’ve told myself for many years that I just need a moment of bravery. That bravery can be hard to find. It can feel like fear of the unknown will just completely overwhelm you. But that one moment can then set you down a path that you couldn’t have even imagined for yourself. Read more>>

Arisq | Recording Artist

The way I think about risk is that it is absolutely inevitable. In my life risks have been the main character in my story in such a way that if I hadn’t taken any risks I wouldn’t have moved from the east coast to the west, I wouldn’t be as far along as I am in music. No risk no story. Read more>>