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.

Paulina Friedel | Designer & Maker

I don’t think you can live a full and fun filled life without taking smaller or bigger risks.. Everyone’s threshold though might be different, and that’s ok. Mine happens to be pretty high I guess 🙂 I literally left my country, with one suitcase and zero connections, to pursue.. well… better weather first and foremost. I’m far from careless though, it’s always a calculated risk, often following an extensive research, and usually with some kind of a back up plan. But you have to just do things, JUST DO IT.  Read more>>

Haleh Mashian | Gallery Owner, Artist, Fashion Designer, Musician

To me, the whole purpose of life is to constantly go into the unknown and discover new gems about yourself and find your true essence. Without taking risks, your life becomes more of a culmination of predictable events. We often think that we can stay the same if we continue with what we do, but the reality is we either go backward or forward. Hence, risk-taking is a milieu to conquering our fears and growing into the person we are destined to be. Read more>>

Alex Carón | Actor, Comedian, Musician

Take risks, because the answer is always no if you never try. Failing is also part of the process; you will take risks and realize that it might not have been the right one but at least you know. Try and try again, fail and fail again. As for myself taking risks has lead me to some great opportunities. If I hadn’t auditioned for the two year acting conservatory college (TOA Theatre of Arts) I wouldn’t be where I’m at today, interning for the Jim Henson Company, performing stand up comedy at the Comedy Store and being represented by a commercial agency. You just never know where certain risks can take you! Read more>>

Stewart J. Zully | Actor, Director, Writer

As an artist it is important to be objective about how far out on a limb you should go. I had the opportunity to co-produce a film in LA with some name stars, but I also had my full time job to deal with back in New York. Through co-ordinating it out, I was able to do both. Other instances, it’s important to weigh your options and have perspective. As far as artistic choices, it is always important to keep challenging yourself, to help you grow. Uta Hagen said, “Your art is your choices.” Never forget that the next best thing to getting a job is turning one down. It reminds you that you are in control. Read more>>

Olivia Semple | Writer

Risk is a fascinating thing. So many of us are obsessed with minimizing or eliminating it from our lives, when what we should do instead is learn to discern which risks we’re willing to take and which ones we’re not. There’s a great quote by Anais Nin that comes to mind: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” I think this explains my lifestyle perfectly. It was quite literally painful for me to keep chugging away at traditional employment in the name of “stability”. So I decided to get really clear on what my goals were, and on how uncomfortable I was willing to be in order to achieve them. Read more>>

Kylie Holliman-Rivera | Founder of Fire Hydrant Pet Sitting Co

Risk is always scary, but can also be very rewarding when things pan out. My background is in Human Resources, but I have been in the pet industry since 2013/2014 and just did pet care on the side. At the time, I had no idea that you can be a full-time pet care professional! In late 2017, I learned that you could and it changed my life! After learning this information, I took six months and researched a ton; I was a sponge! In early 2018, I went to an event and asked the panelist how to make the jump from leaving my secure and consistent day job, and risk it all to jump into the unknown of being self-employed. The panelist said that you can’t have one foot in and one foot out, you need to be all in. Read more>>

Lorna Driver-Davies | Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist & Functional Medicine – Specialist in Women’s Gynaecological & Hormone Nutrition

Being a party self employed person my whole working career, is always a risk in itself but also always paid off. My psychological approach to risk is to really think situations through and do your research. I find many people just focus on the worry of a risk when that energy could be better used to weigh up risk (worrying isn’t proactive but risk assessment is). Of course, as a human, you always still get moments of worry – but – if you have done your due diligence then the concern or worry should be very minimal. Read more>>

Corein Carter | Multimedia Journalist & Founder of Uni Blends Co. Skincare

When it comes to risk taking, i like to think of myself as the ultimate risk taker. If it feels right in my soul and in alignment with what my true purpose is, i’m willing to put it all on the line in order to achieve the desired outcome that i seek. To me there’s no such thing as a lose, there are only lessons to be learned and opportunities to be seized. No matter which way you choose to look at it, it’s all apart of the journey that helps us grow into our best selves. As far as what part risk taking has played in my life/career it’s certainly an integral part. I have a philosophy that i use and its “Always Bet On Self”. That philosophy has allowed me to focus on what is right in front me by taking a chance and not focusing so much on the outcome but on how i can prevail in the present moment. In doing so i’ve been able to land opportunities that i used to dream of, that are now my reality. Read more>>

Starlotta Milan | Interdisciplinary Artist

For a brief moment, you’re a child you know nothing of a safety net or inhibitions. In most cases, you’re free to be who you really are. I knew at the age of four that I wanted to be a singer and dancer. Sharing that with my mother and family was shocking. My mother, my father and step father all were entrepreneurs. But risk has made me who I am. At the age of 13 I went out to audition for a musical titled the “Great Nitty Gritty”, by Oscar Brown Jr. OBJ is a man who almost cannot be defined, but as we all know he was a legend. Read more>>

Julie Raelyn | Actress and producer

They say that there is no reward without risk, and I do believe that’s true to an extent. Life is full of risks you just have to know which ones you’re willing to take and which ones will have the greatest payoff. In acting there’s many risks. Giving up that stable job life, moving away from my family, moving to a city where I didn’t know anyone, and just leaping into the unknown territory of this career were all risks that i have taken, and many actors take all the time. To me they have all been worth it because amazing things have happened in my life that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. And I think that’s true of many things in life- you can’t get to the next level or experience things outside the norm if you don’t take some risks. Read more>>

Eboney merriman | artist/ creator

I took a risk by moving to LA in the first place, wanting to be more active in creating and putting my art out there for the world to see. Although I am originally 6 hrs away from the Bay area, LA is still alot different from home and taking a leap of faith is always scary. You never know if you’re going to make it or not. But my faith is bigger than fear. So I’d say I’m enjoying this beautiful journey of mine. Read more>>

Carolyn Ramirez | Background painter & Illustrator

As I look back in my career, there has always been risks in all my choices. Taking risks is very important especially if they involve growth and progress. Every “risk” that I took shifted my career in the direction I wanted to. Looking back it didn’t seem that way. I was doubtful, scared, and always second guessing myself. But there was always a lot of thought and planning before taking these leaps. So I would say, I have taken many calculated risks. Read more>>

Gabé Hirschowitz | Founder,

“Risk-taking has been essential to everything I’ve done professionally. Yes, it can be nerve-racking, even terrifying, because the possibility of failure is inherent. But without it there is no growth; we just stagnate. We shrink from fear but grow from strength.” ~Gabé Hirschowitz Read more>>

Ricky Lyon | Patiently Persistent

Risk taking plays a huge part in who you become. No matter what, you’ll regret the decision for a while but the best thing you can do is work full steam ahead and never look back. At the beginning of my career, I had to make a choice between staying with my current company in the mail room with hopes of growing or accepting a position with one of my dream companies. I had to make a hard decision by staying where I was and it led to even better opportunities and a role that I once didn’t think was possible. I took the risk at a job that some might say didn’t sound promising but I stayed patiently persistent and it paid off. Read more>>

Melissa Gilbert | Cosmetician & Future Aesthetician

If you want your business to succeed, risks are necessary. Progress always involves risks. Nobody can really be sure if risks will pay off but this should never stop anyone from taking those risks. An optimistic risk-taker will always look at failure as an opportunity to learn. I took a risk by quitting my job and becoming a full time entrepreneur. As everyone’s knows you don’t make profit in the first or second year of business because of revenue going out due to branding, marketing and purchasing product. No matter the outcome never become discouraged or give up. These are all risks we take and we have to continue to think outside of the box and strive. Read more>>

Corey Ulrich | Director & Editor

Throughout my career I’ve encountered pivotal moments where I’ve had to decide whether to take a risk or go the safe route. In those moments, I’ve always taken the risk, because to me, I have no choice but to follow the more difficult or scary path. If I don’t, then I’ll never step forward in my career. Examples of this have been whether to say yes to a directing or cinematography job that seems daunting or bigger than I’ve ever done, agreeing to animate 3D sequences in a program that I just started learning, or probably the biggest one, which was deciding to move across the country from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in a matter of three days, just so I could film a music video with a big artist for the first time. Read more>>

Aggie Burnett | Brand Strategist + Publicist

Leaning into risk is an opportunity to show yourself what you’re really capable of. I think there’s a lot of fear that stems from taking risks. We’re taught from a young age to “be careful” of jumping off that rock or to “be careful” when traveling to that foreign country. The more we’re conditioned to be continuously “careful” in our choices and decisions, the more risk-averse we become as humans, never fully realizing the expansiveness of our capacity. I like to shift the idea of risk being dangerous to being experimental and exploratory. Risk and security or safety don’t have to be exclusionary of one another. It doesn’t have to mean being reckless. Taking risks can be intentional and planned. Read more>>

Walter French | Artist, Writer, Actor, Dancer, Director = Creator

Take risk, bet on yourself. NEVER, I say never let anyone tell you, you cant do what you want to do or that your not capable. take risk and put that work forward to make the things happen that you desire. Read more>>

David Minkin | Los Angeles Magician

Risk taking is essential for artists. The greatest magicians I know failed early and often. A fear of failure is probably the most limiting trait a magician could possess, aside from satisfaction with mediocrity. Early in my career, I remember watching the documentary, “Comedian” starring Jerry Seinfeld. It showed his struggle and ultimate success climbing his way back into stand up comedy after he left TV. I watched him fail and shrug it off, and that inspired me to go try more things, fail at some, and dust myself off and keep growing. The phrase “failing your way forward’ is what best describes my early days as a magician. When you watch any performer who is really polished, believe me… they earned that. Read more>>

Terra Newell | One of the biggest bad asses of true crime | Trauma/ toxic relationship life coach

When I think about risk, I like to assess every aspect of the risk. There has been events in my life to shape me to be cautious about any risk at first. I always have to see if it will keep me safe physically and if that a yes, I move on to the next question. Is this risk worth my time? I have found in life that life is precious and not everything deserves a yes. Some things are simply not meant to align with you. If the risk aligns or promote self growth then I always believe the risk is worth it. Read more>>

Travis Margis | Producer/Engineer/Mixer

Risk taking has been a necessity in my life. Most of the magic happens for me when I’m taking a risk and being pushed outside of my comfort zone. New ideas, new clients, personal/professional breakthroughs, and even a Grammy nomination, all came from risk taking. I went skydiving a few months before we had our first daughter and as cliche as it sounds, it’s a perfect metaphor for risk taking. You’re riding up in the plane watching the comfort of solid ground get farther away and excitement and nerves kick in. Then they open the door of the plane, pull you to the edge, and without giving you any time to think, you begin to freefall. All the nerves go away once you let go and take in the moment. Read more>>

Amanda McGrew | Founder, Playoff Dating App

As a former athlete, I have always viewed risks in a very calculated way. I was always taught that if I worked hard enough and prepared my mind and body for the upcoming challenge, the risk would become smaller and smaller. The odds of things working in my favor would continue to improve. I have definitely taken this mindset with me into my post-athletic career. Founding a tech company, with no tech experience, and just a strong belief in an idea was definitely scary. But the thought of not taking that chance and letting that part of my life pass me by was far more terrifying. Growing up in a family with 3 siblings and two incredibly supportive parents has also really provided me with a huge safety net. I feel very fortunate to know that I have my family’s full support and even if I fall flat on my face after taking a major risk, they will be there to help me get back on the right track. Without being willing to take the risk of shooting the last shot of the game, you would never get to experience the feeling of hitting a buzzer-beater! Read more>>

Fortune | Musician & Entrepreneur

This is a great question. Risk plays a big role in all of our everyday lives, on a micro and macro scale. Some risks are blind, and some are calculated. Some reap benefits and some fail. But even when I’ve failed in risks, I take it as a lesson so my next risk will be more calculated. Before I lived in California I was working everyday doubles in florida living day by day. Now, not telling anyone to pack up and move across the country but that was definitely the best risk I took so far in my life. It helped my music career flourish and be able to network in the way I wasnt able to where i was at. Read more>>

Rosie Fiore | Photographer

I think taking risks is a really important part of life, particularly when it comes to starting your own business. If you never do anything outside of your comfort zone, you’ll never be able to grow. I think this is especially true for a creative, and even more so for one who wants to run their own brand. Taking a risk means you’re giving yourself room to get bigger and better; it allows your brand to branch out and reach its full potential It might be scary and you might hit some rough patches along the way, but I think risk taking is crucial to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Read more>>

Liv Chapman | Model & Rollerskater

Risk is hard but necessary. When you first start taking risks, you’re sort of training a new muscle (at least in my experience). I have always been a planner, someone to save a lot just in case something were to happen. When I began Modeling full time I had to get used to starting each month with no guarantee of earning enough income to pay my bills. This stressed me out none the less, and over the last four months, each one makes it easier as I have learned to trust the process and trust my talent/skills within my profession and as long as I do this, the gigs will never stop flowing. Money is an unlimited resource- we can’t forget that. Some months you may work harder to get into the stream of income you want or some times gigs just find you and you earn more income than you imagined- regardless if you believe and trust yourself- you are able to do anything and you will succeed in running your own brand. Read more>>

Sean Persaud | Actor, Writer, & Producer

I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by saying that the only real way to succeed is to take risks. But I think on that note, I’ve never really used the term “risk,” at least in my own inner monologue. “Risk” has a negative connotation, and while you can certainly have some bad outcomes from taking risks, I think I’ve just always looked at them as necessity. A way to move forward. Sometimes it will work out, sometimes it won’t, but you are required to do it. Read more>>

Emily Hawkins | Theatre Director

I hate making mistakes, yet I keep putting myself in situations where I’m at risk of failing, or at least not succeeding. I try to take any risk or challenge as a learning experience. Majoring in theatre was one of the biggest risks I’ve taken, and granted, I didn’t graduate with a job lined up. Graduating at the start of the pandemic was terrifying, to say the least, and many people I know who had solid post-grad plans ended up having to reconfigure their futures. One year later, I find myself ready to take on any challenge the reemergence of theatre brings as I prepare to move from LA to New York this summer. Little risk reaps little reward, so I plan on taking some pretty big risks. Read more>>

Hailey J. | Singer & Songwriter

Risk has played an important part in both my life and career. Without having a backup plan, I took the plunge of studying opera in college. Though I loved it, I realized it wasn’t my long term goal. Later, after I graduated, I began pursuing pop singing/songwriting. Classical singing gave me a solid foundation as a musician, but I was basically starting from scratch as a songwriter. It was fun to take on the challenge of learning how to create pop music, and I was fortunate to have my best friend (and now boyfriend), Joe, as my music partner. He is also a person who embraces risk, and together, in our electropop duo JAY II, we have navigated the waters of being independent artists. At times, the journey has been demanding, since this path does not have traditional job security. However, going after a risky career teaches you to be innovative, to band with like-minded people, and to pick yourself up again and again. Read more>>

Esteban Gast | Host & Writer

I’m fascinated by my own relationship to risk. I recognize that, for the most part, I have gotten to where I have because of my willingness to dive into risky endeavors. I mean Los Angeles may be defined by people who are bound together by their high tolerance for risk tolerance. By moving to LA and telling stories I am signing up for financial risks and some social risks (confused friends and family) but I refuse to compromise on existential risk. At this point in my life, I would rather have a full and meaningful life here and now I won’t be able to afford a house for a little bit. But that’s ok. Like a DJ changes the levels on a mixing board, I’m picking and choosing risk. Read more>>

Andressa Cordeiro | Director of Photography

Right after we wrapped our short film “They Charge For The Sun”, Terence Nance received an email from producer friends asking for a DP to shoot a feature film in Trinidad and Tobago. The email asked for someone with a great eye for compositions and good sensibility when working with kids and coming of age subjects in a way that would dignify their stories. Terence sent my name as a recommendation and I was signed to shoot the feature film “Green Days By The River”. At the time, the project was a very risky one and I came in because their signed DP saw how much of a risk it was and decided to leave the project 3 weeks from starting principal photography. Read more>>

Frances Tang | Captain Awkward/Founder

I spent a lot of time getting advice and it slowed me down! I was also hesitant to take risks prior to validation. At a certain point, I had invested so much that it was time to just jump! Read more>>

Isabel Rojas’Lopez | Workpreneur

I am a big risk taker and I honestly feel that we have to be willing to walk by faith when it comes to risk taking. Let’s be clear I am not encouraging someone to loose their life savings or to leave all they know behind for the sake of a dream however, I always believe that risk taking in business is a must. As for me and my entrepreneur journey I have taken huge risk that have kept me up at night like the time that I convinced my husband to invest our house buying fund into my brick and mortal that unfortunately shut down after a year in operation. Read more>>

Katherine Gage | Actress, Writer, Producer

Its role cannot be overstated, I’m sure the majority of actors would agree with me. It’s funny though, I never think in terms of risk. When I left a traditional trajectory to attend conservatory full time I had everyone around me telling me how risky it was, but I just saw it as what I needed to do. It was scary, certainly, but I love fear. There is such power in doing the thing despite the fear. Risk is also inherent to the art of acting. Because you cannot act well if you cannot be vulnerable and vulnerability is incredibly risky. We risk being hurt, embarrassed, angered, happy. I guess I think of bravery as a muscle. The more risks we take the stronger our bravery gets. Read more>>

Daisy Draper | Spiritual Pop Artist & Intuitive Healer

Risk taking is the ultimate action of high self worth. When you take divinely inspired action, which is normally a risk of some sort, you are conveying that you have ultimate trust in yourself and the unseen forces that exist around us. It’s the ability to tell society to f*ck off, rebel against constructs that keep us caged in imaginary safety, and choose yourself above all fear. Read more>>

Antonio Reveles | Interior, Exterior & Event Designer

As a first generation latino, many times taking risks was my only option! Being raised in a first generation household and carrying the title of a Jr meant that my priorities and life achievements had to be high. Therefore, standing out and achieving my dreams meant taking risks. Growing up, I took many risks such as being the first child in my family to go to college, major in a field that wasn’t considered successful to my parents, and expressing my sexuality to my traditional family. However, it wasn’t until last year when I was faced with the biggest risk of my career and my financial lifestyle. Read more>>

Vel Images | Director, Author and Producer.

My life would be nothing without the opportunities presented through the risks I’ve taken. To me lifes all about calculated-risks, the benefits should always out way the risks. When I wanted to get into photography at nineteen my mentors allowed me to use their lighting equipment to get started only to pull them away and encourage me to invest in myself. So I ended up selling my car just to buy lights. This was my first investment and risk to start the domino affect that would be my career. Read more>>

Rory O’Connell | Lead Singer/Guitarist – Bristol to Memory

“Without risk there is no reward” or so we’ve been told. The truth of the matter is we must push ourselves beyond our comfort zone to make any advances in our lives and careers. The greatest gains we’ve seen in our careers as a musicians have always been when we take risks and find ourselves outside of a controlled environment. The reason for this is we will never achieve anything more than what we have already obtained unless we push ourselves into new situations where opportunities can be presented. We must remind ourselves that nothing comes easy or free and its the difficult things in life that always prove to be the most rewarding. Read more>>

Lex Benedict | Filmmaker, Editor

There’s this great quote my grandfather loved to tell me when I was a child “Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are your own fears.” Growing up he would always remind me that in life it was often ourselves that held us back and that there was always a greater reward, the greater the risk. He was a bomber pilot in WW2 so he knew real “life on the line” kind of risk but he also believed in the war and what the allied forces were fighting for, so the risk was worth it. I think about that quote all the time and feel it in every fiber of my being as a filmmaker. Everything about being a filmmaker is a risk. Read more>>

Daniel James Dismuke | Director & Writer

I use to be very fearful of risk or uncertainty, but now I am embrace it pretty regularly. When I was 22 I was still living in Reading, Pennsylvania – where I was born and raised my entire life. That was the age that I decided that writing, directing, and film making was what I wanted to do. However, I had no experience or training whatsoever. I went to Kutztown and West Chester to study Business Management for 3.5 years. Read more>>

Konstantin Ladurner | Music Producer & Artist

I think risk taking is the most important factor for growth. If you want to grow, you’ll have to take risks. Every time you step out of your comfort zone it can be looked at as risk taking. But when you look at it you can’t really lose much because it will either work out as success or as a lesson. There is no such thing as “failure”. For me it has always been a huge factor that as soon as I got complacent, I needed a change. If this meant moving to a new city or country, then that’s what I did. When I grew up in Northern Italy, I knew there was no music scene there so I wanted to study in the next biggest city, which was Vienna, Austria. Read more>>