In our experience, most folks, including ourselves don’t have enough of an understanding of risk and the role it plays in our lives and careers and so we have made a concerted effort as a team to have conversations about risk with our interviewees. We’ve shared some highlights below.

Marlon Martinez: Bassist, Composer & Music Director of Marlonius Jazz Orchestra

Risk opens the door to innovation. Risk shines a light on personality. Risk reveals the path to success. In my life and career, whether in practicality or in art, I have taken risks to further my craft, to define my artistic vision, and to know what matters most to me in life. Risk requires courage and patience. Sometimes I’m able to see what challenges lie ahead, and sometimes I won’t know until I get there. I have to be willing to accept the challenges, and use them to do something on the spot. Read more>>

Emily Menendez: Freelance Artist

“Just being an artist is a risk.” I kept those thoughts with me since high school, thinking whether I should pursue a career as an artist. Though no matter how high the risk, there’s nothing stopping me from preparing myself for that long journey I was willing to take. In early 2020, after losing my last job as an art teacher to covid I took a risk to go ahead and start doing commissions as my primary source of income. Read more>>

YuA: Pop & Classical Violinist and Violin Instructor

My entire musical career so far has been a series of risks. Some of them were totally worth it and some were definitely not, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My first risks were taken with the help of my parents. I began taking violin lessons at the age of 8, which is typically considered quite old to start the instrument. Read more>>

Shannan E. Johnson: Script Consultant

Simply put: No risks, no gains. I’ve been taking risks since I was 22 years old. I’m a firm believer that everyday I wake up is an opportunity to change: Change my perspective, Change my attitude, Change my goals, Change my career. And I’ve done that several times, which has led me to become the CEO of the first black-owned script consultant agency in the entertainment industry. Read more>>

Juan Abad: Owner/Video Producer of PlanetOther Films

If you were to ask someone I know personally how I dealt with risk in the past, they would tell you I’m one of the most risk-averse people you’ll ever meet. I’ve spent most of my life avoiding opportunities simply over the fear of failure, rejection, and success.  Read more>>

Lap Ngo: Just a guy who likes to make stuff

I think risk is relative. I also attribute risk to decision making. That being said, I am generally a risk averse person. I will do my best to do a risk/reward analysis and decide from there. Will this hurt me? Will this hurt my family? Physically? Emotionally? Mentally? Monetarily? What are the benefits? How far will the negative ripples spread? Are the benefits worth the negatives? Focus on what I believe will happen, while still being open to what might happen. Read more>>

Angiie Bee: Creative Artist

Risk taking is a necessity for me in my everyday life and career wise, for several reasons. My main reason being: I will never truly know what the outcome of something will be, unless I take the risk and see for myself. I also may never get out of my comfort zone if I don’t take risks sometimes. I’m a creative, I make music, so realistically speaking where would I really be if I DIDN’T take risks?  Read more>>

Cara Harman: Food and Lifestyle Photographer

Risk has always been a scary word for me. Growing up, I was never the biggest risk-taker. I was fearful of branching out, and so paralyzed of failing that I never even tried to do most things in the first place. I’ve always felt very safe staying in the “familiar.” College was no different. I only chose classes I wanted to take, avoiding options that looked too difficult or different from what I wanted to shoot at that time. Read more>>

Masho Margishvili: Designer & Artist

Taking risks always come with a feeling of adventure and a restless inner voice that is difficult to ignore. Reasonable ventures encourage fast change and transformation that is needed for me to move forward. In 2013 I watched a documentary about Vietnam on National Geographic’s channel. I was instantly drone to the country, ran to my room, sent my Portfolio to the design internship position I liked, and soon after I was on my way to Hanoi. Read more>>

Scott Naar: Director & Screenwriter

Risk is really the crux of my entire career as a filmmaker as it is with many people. Choosing the path of filmmaking or choosing to pursue a career in the entertainment industry and the arts in general is a risk in of itself. Before I wanted to be a filmmaker, I wanted to be a musician, so from the age of 13 all the way up until now, I have always, at least this is how I feel, been destined for a risk heavy career that is in the vein of “all or nothing”, because that’s what you have to give a career in the arts, you have to give all of what you’ve got, so there is no room for a “plan B” or a contingency. Read more>>

Ashley LaRae: Actress & Producer

The hardest part about taking a risk is the unknown. I’d like to think when I am taking a risk, I am finding myself in perfect balance of the unknown and the confidence in my ability. Many people say there is no reward without big risk, but there is a huge difference in risk and being reckless. When I am assessing a risk, I make an effort to decide if the intended outcome still aligns with my goals, values, and beliefs. I have found the most growth comes from the unknown and when I push myself out of my comfort zone, I accomplish more than I ever could imagine. Read more>>

cynthia penna: art curator

In Italy I have pursued a whole career as a magistrate starting when I was 24. I had an important job, a secured life and income . But my personal deep passion was art and so when I turned 50, I decided to give up with all my previous life, my salary , my job and I jumped into an unsecured life, no secured incomes, nothing certain: a kind of a jump into void, without nets. Read more>>

Sean Toohey: Bow Tie And Accessory Creator

I think taking a risk is a great choice because it pushes you to make the leap and see what happens. If you don’t take a risk you’ll never know if your crazy idea will become real or not. If it doesn’t work out take another risk and try something from a different angle like a puzzle and make it fit just right. Read more>>

Maisie Chin: Nonprofit co-founder and executive director

I only know how to take risk when it’s a leap of faith, where my intuition has directed every fiber of my existence to take it. For me, the clearest example of this was my choice to start a grassroots, community-based, social justice focused effort to organize Black and Latinx parents in South Central LA to exert a different kind of vision and power to make schools more racially just. Read more>>

Jean de Meuron: Producer, Filmmaker/Storyteller & Entertainment Executive

I am very passionate about aviation and fascinated with space exploration, so there is an inspiring quote by pioneering test pilot Chuck Yeager that stuck with me: ““You don’t concentrate on risks. You concentrate on results. No risk is too great to prevent the necessary job from getting done.” Whatever that necessary job might be, risk is always apparent — at times greater and with more stakes — however, it does not help to worry about those risks. One should focus on the task at hand. Read more>>

Katie Buckman: Fine Art Nature & Floral Photographer, Momma & Wife

I will be the first to admit that I tend to lead with my heart first. And by that I don’t mean that I don’t make educated decisions, I weigh the pros and cons – but I also trust my gut despite doing things that others may not. When I was preparing to leave my hometown for the first time, someone told me I should wait a year. I moved 6 months later. Read more>>

Guirdwine Jean Baptiste: Hair dresser

with risk comes with trusting yourself , most importantly you have to trust god. that’s the first thing, before you make any more , take any risk , you have to pray about it . before I do anything I pray , because I know there will be a lot of people who don’t see the same vision that I see. so outside looking they will think im crazy , or making the wrong choice. Read more>>

Laura Rivas: Writer / Director

The reason my family lives in the U.S. is the direct result of a risk. My father came to purchase Pontiac Firebird and fell in love with the land of the free. What followed was a journey that was propelled ‘sin miedo’ (without fear), as he likes to say. We were raised to make life changing decisions to change our opportunities and outlook. Read more>>

Matthew “Slim da Reazon” Parham: Poet, Photographer, and Lyricist

Risk is literally directly proportional to reward. So with that understanding, risk has been one of the most essential aspects of my success aside from talent. Read more>>

Alex McGrail: Woodworker

I see taking risks as a part of the learning process. Taking a risk gets you out of your comfort zone to try something new which can be scary sometimes. If I take a risk on a woodworking project I’ve never done before, there’s a chance I could mess up, waste time, money or even resources. Read more>>

Austin Horey: Jeweler & Artist

With every new piece of jewelry, I try to do something that has not been done before. With new techniques and modes of manufacturing, I am able to make something that hasn’t been widely explored. Because it’s unfamiliar, you never know how people will react. You have to stand out, show people something they didn’t know that they wanted. Playing on the current trends, but with a new take. Read more>>

Nicole DeRosa: Freelance Writer + Content Creator at

I think about risk as a positive and momentous thing, not something scary. Risk is akin to me as taking a chance and believing in oneself. I am immensely grateful and thankful to my parents for being a wonderful example. My parents have always instilled in me that with dedication, passion, honesty and hard work that I can do anything. Even though that sounds cliche, they also instilled in me a lust for life and taking chances and risks. Read more>>

Arielle Cohen: Multi-faceted Creative & Chief Executive Bunny

I find this to be such an interesting question because being completely transparent, I consider myself to be in the midst of one of the biggest risks I’ve taken to date: starting my own business as a new breed of creative agency. I started Bodega Bunnies in Q4 of 2019 and we all know what happened in Q1 of 2020 turning everyone on their heads. Read more>>

Lashon Halley: Singer

Risk taking is how I got to where I am in music! If an opportunity presents itself I take it. I think that’s the only way to be successful in any industry. I recently became the new singer in Dustbowl Revival. My college friend Connor vouched for me to substitute for their singer for a few shows and those few shows turned into me taking over for her permanently this past year. I would have never been in the position I am in now with touring and living my dream if I didn’t take very opportunity that was handed to me. Read more>>

Eboné Denise: Writer and Content Developer

My goodness! Risk-taking is probably my most dominant personality trait! It always feels terrifying in life and career, but the idea of missing out on something great in life because of fear is scarier to me. My first BIG risk was moving to New York City after I finished college. I knew I wanted to be a writer and that seemed like the best place to be. Read more>>

Bryam Herrera: Latino Actor

Risk has taken a great part in my journey. I’m from Colombia, an it’s not really common to think about coming to the US to study and build an artistic career, because of the high prices in American tuitions. But I always knew where I wanted to get and my goal was always coming to LA. So for me applying to my School and getting an scholarship was a leap of faith, cause that meant leaving my country, family and friends to start a new path. Read more>>

Emily Hibard, MPA: Author. Entrepreneur. Producer.

By nature, I am a calculated risk taker to my core. Growing up, I loved sports. I played just about everything that was available — Little League baseball, AYSO soccer, volleyball, etc. It was exciting to be on a team, instantly make new friends, and work together to try to win. Read more>>

Anastascia Duchesse: Author

I think of risk as a path to rewards and a necessary discomfort. Most pioneers and business owners have been regarded as ‘wacky’ at some point in their journey just for sharing their ideas. Once I got in the mindset of disregarding other people’s opinions and fully believing in my God-given talent and abilities, then my life and career goals became much clearer and my drive got stronger. I no longer let negative opinions affect my ambition, but rather use them as fuel in my fire to succeed. Read more>>

Joel Ferber: Music Producer

Many people view pursuing a creative career pathway as a risk. I tend to look at it in the opposite light. More so, I believe that every choice is a risk. Walking out the front door every day is a risk. Choosing to move to a new city is a HUGE risk. Full disclosure, pursuing music as a career is a major risk. Giving this interview and sharing my opinions which will live on the internet forever?! Risk. Read more>>

Esther Estrada: Personal Injury Lawyer

Risk is necessary if you want to grow. I went from a comfortable salary job at a nice Beverly Hills law firm to opening up my own practice working out of my home office and not knowing when I would be getting my next paycheck. It was a risk I was willing to take because I wanted to build my own legacy and not someone else’s.  Read more>>

Andrew Vass: Screenwriter & Songwriter

When I was 12 years old, I decided to get a bowl cut. This was my very first time taking a risk – and let’s just say this bowl cut changed the course of my life forever. I’m not sure what fueled this decision – maybe I was going for a ‘Demi Moore in Ghost’ kind of vibe, but when the barber turned the chair around and I saw Jim Carrey from Dumb and Dumber looking back at me, I knew it was too late. Read more>>

Brian Norris: Actor & Acting Coach

If you’re going to live a creative life, you have to embrace risk. It’s inherently baked into what we do, a profession with no guarantees or safety nets. But it’s not just the big picture, it’s how artists and creative live day to day. If you choose the job of an artist, you need to live the LIFE of an artist. Your job is to reflect and teach me about the world, so you better be living.  Read more>>

Martha M. Garcia: Marketing Communications Expert

I think about risk in terms of two silos: personal and community. Questions that I ask myself include: how is the risk that I am taking going to affect me, my partner and our daughter. For community, I ask myself how will this risk affect the community or the collective that have access to me. Read more>>

Brandon Polonia: Content creator | Athlete | CEO Of MVL

I feel like this question is meant for me. It’s so exciting I don’t know where to begin. Understanding and learning the difference between a risk worth taking and risks that aren’t worth taking is a vital part of your individual growth. I’m not a person who doesn’t take a risk because they are scared of failure. Read more>>

Gigi Gustin: Actress

You got to risk it to get the biscuit! It is always a “risk” to pursue something extremely creative professionally. I dropped out of college to pursue acting. There is not, and has never been a back up plan. I rather risk it all then to settle for an average life. Read more>>

Heno.: Artist & Producer

I feel like the foundation of risk-taking starts from the mindset that you have going into it. You essentially have to believe in yourself and your ability to succeed more than any outside influence which usually takes a lot of focus, hard work, and determination; and to be frank, not everybody is built for it. Read more>>

Stephanie Southerland: Voice Actor

As a voice actor, every day is full of risks. Every audition is a risk. Every strong and bold choice is a risk. Every marketing email, networking event, meeting, callback, etc. is a risk. But if no risks are taken, no rewards ever come to fruition. When it comes to auditioning, it can be easy for me to fall into the thought process of trying to give the casting director what I think they want to hear, but I’ve starting living by this advice I once received: Read more>>

LaynoProd: Producer, Artist & Sound Designer

Risk is necessary for success and growth in the music and entertainment industries. In other professions, you can play it safe. However, the more I took risks in my career, the more I grew and got opportunities. In the music industry, as a producer and artist you have to be comfortable with failure. Read more>>

Ali Aloulou: Music Producer, DJ and Sound Engineer

Risk has been and still is a major part of my life decisions. My move to Paris, Dubai and Los Angeles from Tunisia were all risky. I moved to all these cities without even visiting them, it was an intuition and I was right about my choices. All these steps had a risk factor in them, in very different ways. Read more>>

Nadia Maryam: Dance Artist & Digital Entrepreneur

I’m extremely passionate about the concept of taking risks. It’s crazy because about 6 months ago, I took one of the biggest risks I’ve ever taken in my life, and as a result, my life has completely changed. Taking risks feels, or seems taunting because the majority of us are conditioned to live within our comfort zones. Read more>>

Tranee Peevy: Graduate Student and Founder of Ifemi Wellness

Everyday, we are all taking calculated risks, both consciously and subconsciously. To live in the present while preparing for tomorrow is the biggest challenge of being a conscious person. It can be difficult to assess current and future risks. As for me, I try to find balance between the two modes. I was telling someone my story and how I metaphorically “jumped with a parachute.” Read more>>

Vivi Devereaux: Actor

My word. This is a big one. My thoughts on risk…are tumultuous at the best of times. But I think it’s what pushes us all forward not just as society but as a species overall. Those of us who are on the bleeding edge. Who constantly ask what is possible and then what lies beyond that limit. Read more>>

Xander Currin: Alt hop/ Alt Trap Musician, Producer, Engineer, Kung Fu Practioner, Veteran

I believe that risks are absolutely essential in growth and life. Think about any one who has ever discovered something. There was no blueprint set for them, no rules to follow to come up with a conclusion to a question. So yes, I had to take a risk on myself to develop myself into not only a person who is an ambassador in the lgbt community in my city(okc) but the world with a growing fanbase. From developing as a musician, to a philosopher, to a leader, I’m constantly pushing myself to become an individual one day a queer kid decided to take a chance on themselves because I didn’t give up. Read more>>

Adam & Karolina Wallace: Musicians & Artists

Adam: Taking risks have always gotten me to where I need to be and at times to where I don’t need to be. They propel life in a direction one way or another and if I’m taking the risk, that’s what I am looking for. Change Change Change…that’s where the growth happens. Read more>>

Chiany Dri: Anti-racism Educator

Growing up in the child welfare system, as a mixed race Black Latina, having been a teen mom, a lot of the messages I received were that I was not worthy of pursuing big moments for myself. I think that’s a similar experience for a lot of people who have have faced early hardships and adversity.  Read more>>

Ivonne Navarro: Actress, Happiness seeker & Mindset Mentor

I think we all take risks in one way or another, and that is super scary, specially because it means you get out of your comfort zone, you start doing things, talking about things, thinking about things that are different from what people said you “should” focus on. All of the sudden you are this weirdo with big dreams and no actual plan to make them come true, and they see you as crazy or a fool, but in the end, if we do not get out of that comfort zone, we will never grown, we will never truly live. Read more>>

Kyanna Johnson: Wardrobe Stylist & Brand Consultant

Taking risks has always been apart of my professional journey! As a wardrobe stylist and brand consultant, I spend most of my time discerning between which risks will cause the greatest gain for me and for my clients. Taking risks allows you to step into your full potential. The mystery of what’s on the other side of a risk is priceless. Yes, there are times when it’ll be less favorable, but we unlock our greatest strengths when we let go of fear. Read more>>

Juan Arguello Musician: Professional bass player

I think that careers in arts always involve risk taking. In my case most (if not all) of my important life and career decision have had a big risk attached to it. From starting a music career to moving to LA. And I’m not saying everything worth doing is risky or everything that’s risky is worth doing but the big life changing decision are usually risky in some form. Read more>>

D.O.M. MixedByUnstable: Artist, Producer/DJ, Event Curator, Entrepreneur

I recently watched the Last dance documentary on Netflix about the chicago bulls and Michael Jordan historic run to 6 rings. And what stood out to me was Jordan’s mentality. He said why would I think about missing a shot I haven’t even taken yet. And that stuck out to me, it’s super important to be present, take that shot, start that business, go after those dreams. Read more>>

Andre Mershad: Drag Artist and Outdoor Educator

Taking risks is essential to my growth as an artist. On one hand, the possibilities of creating art are limitless. On the other, I’ve felt boxed in when I categorize myself as a certain type of artist. It almost feels like I have put a box around what is meant to be infinite space. I have tendencies to compare myself to other artists, and fears that my authentic art is too different and not digestible to a large audience. Read more>>

Gabby Mills: Singer/songwriter

“Would you rather take the risk and fail, or live comfortably and always wish you had tried?” This is what one of my professors told me before I transferred to a music college in California. I was battling the decision whether to move across the country to fulfill my dreams of becoming a singer/songwriter, or finishing up a degree I wasn’t fully passionate about, but seemed to be the safe way to go. Read more>>

Christopher ‘C-Ray’ Roberts: Music Producer & Songwriter

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “No risk, no reward” throughout my life, but, it always stuck with me. Taking risks are one of the major reasons on how my music production company and I cut through the noise of the countless others trying to make a living in the music industry. Read more>>

jacinda pender: Freelance Artist

I think taking *some* risks in your life and career is necessary, especially when you’re trying to acquire opportunities you find very daunting. I’ve taken several risks in my career, in fact, I took a huge risk last year moving to LA during the middle of a pandemic in order to pursue my aspirations and dreams. Some risks are worth it, other’s aren’t so much. It really comes down to if you’re willing to make that jump and take the initiative to do something risky that may or may not benefit your life and career. Either way, I think it’s important to do things you won’t regret later in life. Read more>>

Connor Chee: Pianist and Composer

I think about risk constantly! There are two main ways I think about it. First, I think of the risks I take (or don’t take) that will affect my career path and life in a broad sense. I consider the risks of accepting or rejecting new projects, new performance opportunities, or new collaborations, among other things. I’ve been in situations where declining an opportunity risks losing future collaborations with that person or organization. Read more>>

Slim: Owner and radio host of JMO Radio Show

One of my favorite quotes is “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life” by Muhammad Ali. Always believe in yourself and just go for it. There’s only two outcomes you become successful or you have an experience learning experience, those odds are not bad. Read more>>