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.

Amy Selma | Award Winning Latin Voice Over Artist

I think risk is the best part of life, even though it’s scary for many people, the reality is that we can’t experience your full potential if you never decide on taking risks. The biggest risk I’ve taken was in 2015 when I came to the USA, I sold everything I owned in Mexico and my whole life was packed in 3 suitcases. I was 29 and having to start all over, no credit score, no social security nothing but just dreams and the hope for better opportunities. Read more>>

Emily Miles | Therapist

I keep a quote printed in my office that reads “ a comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there”. I use this as a discussion point with my clients and as a reminder to myself. The comfort zone is a place of safety and comfort, and everyone enjoys those things. What I teach my clients is that I want them to be uncomfortable because they have the tools to tolerate it and when uncomfortable that means they are generating change, which is generally why people come to therapy. It’s ok to live in your comfort zone, but sometimes you need to embrace the uncomfortable to reach your goals. That is certainly true for me. Starting anything new is scary, it’s a risk. Read more>>

Hannah Fraser | Mermaid ~ Underwater Performance Artist and Activist

I didn’t start off thinking my career would be about risk. It started off with a love of swimming and creating fantasy art. come to life. While enjoying these magical ocean adventures, I began to see the degradation of the beaches, the loss of coral reefs I had visited, and the accumulation of pollution and trash in the ocean. I realized it’s all going to disappear if we don’t take action. That meant taking risks. The risk to speak my mind against corporations, powerful individuals, and on social platforms. The risk to turn down work that didn’t align with my ethics on captured animals. The risk to put myself in harm’s way to protest the killing… and ultimately, to risk my life swimming with the most feared animals in the ocean to try to protect them. Read more>>

Stephanie Cobb | Painter

Risk is required for both the painter and the model. The model is asked to patiently be observed and the painter aims to capture a truth about them. There is a profound disconnect between the figures in ‘The Garden’. An extraordinary silence seems to enwrap them radiating through their postures and the painting’s color palette. The two men appear isolated, vulnerable, and unapproachable. Each is enclosed in his own solitude, even though sitting next to each other. The plant forms spill into the foreground of the composition, springing up vertically on the right of the image and streaming out horizontally across the figures. All of the elements wrap and flow into the next to form in a continual flicker of movement, revolving around the young men quietly seated. The profile of the figure on the right becomes the focus the painting, as if the scene was his vision. The figure seated on the bench is seen in shadow. He conceals one foot behind the other, hinting at innocence or vulnerability. Read more>>

Aaron Alexander | Actor and Stunt Performer

Risk for me goes right along with sacrifice. You take a big risk, you make sacrifices, you end up reaping a big reward. I risked moving from Texas, leaving family, friends, a somewhat stable environment work-wise, to come to California and try to do bigger and better things that I’ve always dreamed about. Read more>>

Johari Noelle | Singer, Songwriter & Actress

More often, I see the good side of taking a risk. I feel as artists, our careers are a reflection of our hard work, our story and the amount of chances we take on ourselves on the journey . You never stop learning or taking risks. Risk taking has played a major role in my career, whether it’s a live performance, being on tv, or everytime I’m auditioning as a singer or actress, I’ve put myself out there and surrendered to the endless possibility of outcomes. So far, It’s taught me a lot, it’s made me stronger, created new relationships within the industry and opened doors to other great opportunities that I could have never imagined and couldn’t be more grateful for. Read more>>

Alejandro Zabala | Visuals Artist , Makeup Artist

I wanna say risk has always being very much a huge part of any decision making in my life and since my career is part of my life ,it has over spilled there too. Thinking back to when i made the decision to pursue a life in visual arts (which included a career of makeup artistry in film) , risk was the deciding factor . At the time , i had an amazing corporate job working as a color consultant in a top New York company that facilitated cover ups for burn victims and or people with various skin conditions, the job was a dream , on paper , but it wasn’t my dream , so i quit . I took a huge financial risk and moved to LA to start fresh , this time doing exactly what I wanted with no fear but trust in the unknown. So to me, risk is the magical ingredient in any success story, sometimes as big as a Life defining move or as small as a unconventional color choice in eye shadow. To take risks is to trust ur intuition without fear of the unknown. Read more>>

Greta Valenti | Director, Writer, Producer, Musician, and CEO of GROW VISION Creative Studios

Everything that I have achieved so far in my life has come from taking risks. Maybe that come form growing up a poor girl in Louisiana to a single parent mother who only made $24k a year, or it’s just a part of the nature I was born with, but I’ve always dreamt big and knew that I had to take big leaps if I wanted to get further ahead than the cards I was dealt. From skipping a grade in high school, to being emancipated and moving to California by myself at age 17, to buying a house at age 20 with no money and against all traditional logic. I look back now because I survived. I applied for jobs I was not qualified for, but that I knew I could learn. Read more>>

Elizabeth McIrvin | Director

Taking risks are tricky. If you make some sort of self-sacrifice, you could get a tremendous reward or be exactly where you started. Before I came to L.A. I lived a life I would not consider risky in any sense whatsoever. I was married, worked a stable job, had a savings account and lived in a small city in North Carolina. But during that time in my life I was the unhappiest I’d ever been. I had no drive and no purpose. I couldn’t express myself or develop my ideas. But when you have a dream that means more to you than anything, it doesn’t feel like a risk like it does to everyone else around you. After coming here, I decided to try to minimize “the risk factor” of me not succeeding in this industry by working as hard as I possibly can on everything I do. That way at the very least, I can say I gave it my all. Putting the work in is the only path to success to me. Read more>>

Iniekung Andrew | Nigerian Afrobeat artist “99drizzy” on risk taking, loosing Friends and his debut project set to drop soon

To be honest, If I didn’t take risks in the past I don’t think I’d be here answering these questions today.. I started taking risks from the day I decided to focus on my Music Career.. I remember used my End of the year Party fee then to record my First song back in 2019, I sacrificed my time too.. Well If I didn’t do all that it in the past then it ain’t worth it for real. Read more>>

Clayton Gutmann | Artist

To me, taking a risk is putting something on the line for a greater outcome to occur. It could be time, money, relationships, etc., but regardless of what’s being risked, achieving that greater outcome is on your shoulders. Risk taking is different that putting all your money on black – it’s dependent on how hard you’re willing to work to turn that leap of faith into a success. The bigger risks often bring the bigger wins, but even if that risk doesn’t pay off, you’ve learned something to make that next win even greater. As long as you have control over the leap of faith in front of you, count on yourself, and jump. Read more>>

A.J. Wells | Singer, Songwriter, & Creative

I believe that risk taking is an opportunity for growth, a chance to learn, and every experience has no other choice but to make us wiser. Sometimes in our risk taking we find great loss and tribulation but it is never failure. What we gain in those experiences that didn’t give us what we expect or desire, ultimately teach us how to get closer to our targets. My mother Regina is like a walking proverb, and one of her most potent sayings relates to risk taking. As a musician we often live a life of risk taking. From auditions where we sign up to be scrutinized and potentially rejected. To bearing our souls with creative content to the world. She always reminds me that, “It’s better to be a ONE hit wonder, than a NO hit wonder”. This phrase encourages me to be content with my successes but it still charges me to keep trying. Individuals that have “HIT” or achieved goals, plans, or artistic projects did so by taking the some times hard but necessary risks. Read more>>

Jesús Briones | Stage Director, actor, producer and playwriter

Both in my life and my career risks have always taken a natural place. I don’t see risks as something extreme or exceptional. I think we need movement to keep our attention, love, creativity, learning… our lives! And every time we move from one point to another, even if are coming back to a very familiar destination, there will always be something that will escape our control. We might feel fear, anxiety, or enthusiasm… but, at the end of the day, we need risks to move forward. Every step, little or big, I have taken in my career has implied some kind of risk: writing a new play, choosing this particular actress, planning the rehearsals, changing the website… Sometimes risks are about resisting or persisting when the circumstances don’t help (that happens a lot in an unstable profession as performing arts) and it will not mean lack of movement or risk. Quite the opposite, it means you need your movement not to be cut off. Read more>>

Francesco Antonio | Actor

THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE IT HAPPEN IN LIFE IS TO TAKE RISKS! So many times I thought it could be easier to work the stable job or study the practical course but where would I be today? Doing what’s easy but never fulfilled? Instead I decided to put it all on the line, I worked sometimes three jobs at once to make what I could and then spent every last dollar I had on investing in myself, in my work. I hated all the people who told me it was “too big a dream”, it was a maybe, not guaranteed and it was “best to play it safe” because what if I failed? SO WHAT. So what if I failed? I questioned this over and over until I realized I needed to define failure. Failure is really only a thing if I gave up, if I admitted defeat. But if I kept going, if I kept taking risks, I’d keep being rewarded and I would NEVER fail. So I left my family, my work ,my life, I took the biggest risk I could take, and I moved to LA, to live in a house with 10 guys and eat canned beans every day because shit, I was on a budget. Read more>>

CJ Johnson | Graphic Designer, Musician & Vintage Clothing Store Owner

I feel like every move you make is a risk, in one way or another. Quitting my full-time design job and shifting to strictly freelance work was a risk and is still a risk. Moving to Los Angeles was a risk. Deciding to start a vintage clothing business during the pandemic was also a risk. That being said, had I not taken any of these risks, I would still be miserable at my old office job. More often than not, you have to step outside of your comfort zone to get where you want to be. I am still nowhere near where I want to be, so I believe risk taking is a constant in my life and career. Read more>>

Angela Mou | Founder of Elevate Jane

Life is a series of risks – some people play is safe and take little risk, and others will risk it all regularly. I fall somewhere closer to the latter, often letting fate and the natural course of life lead me to take risks. Having moved from coast to coast and across oceans without a set plan, I’ve developed my adversity muscles, and want to continue strengthening them. I like to make myself a little bit comfortable because I know that’s how I grow, it’s how I expand my horizons. It’s easier to take risks at a younger age – I believe your 20s is the decade you take all the risks (within reason), and you learn about yourself and your limits. In your 30s, you take more calculated risks, based on what you’ve learned about yourself. I started Elevate Jane when I was 30 years old, at a point where, frankly, I didn’t have a lot to lose. Read more>>

Marc Pinedo | CEO & Creative Director

For me, risk has played a large role in my life. Without it, I don’t think I would have grown as much as I have both emotionally and intellectually. When the word “risk” comes to mind, there are visions of opportunity. More often times than not, we mentally place ourselves in jail cells that constrain our abilities to act, say, or do. Up until the point to where you embrace risk, your mind is hazed with doubt. While risk may be more socially associated with failure, I feel that it is a positive thing. Risk grants you the keys to your mental “jail”. I admit, facing risk head on is nerve wracking – but you will never know the depths of yourself until the limits are pushed. When you know the depths of yourself, previous ideations of what you are able to achieve are dismantled and higher milestones are set. Upward mobility in whatever you pursue then appear much more realistic. In addition, your sense of self becomes much more apparent. Read more>>

Kenty Lichtenberg | Brand Strategist, Marketer & Internationally Awarded Plus Size Blogger

Risk-taking not only increases your chance of improving your current situation, the act in itself can build your self-confidence and self-respect, enabling you to take on new endeavors no matter what the outcomes might be. I think from the moment that you are conceived you are a “risk” for the mere fact that you do not know for certain f you will make it into this world. Taking risks has enabled me to connect with amazing people, mentors and organizations. Simply because I took the risk to approach them, and avoid the fear of rejection. Read more>>

Austin Hammonds | Film Composer

In all honesty, If I wasn’t as much of a risk taker I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today. Taking risks is and has been core to my personality since I was younger. I have always valued the concept of risk versus reward, and think it’s important for skill to work on for any young creative or entrepreneur! While I have always loved film music, it was in college that I made the decision to pursue film scoring as a career. I went to Morehead State University in Kentucky for undergrad and we didn’t have a composition program. I knew I wanted to write music, but my family wasn’t in a position financially to transfer me to another school, so I knew I had to stay and find a way to make my dreams work. Read more>>

Michela Melone | Dancer & Choreographer

Everything I am doing right now is a direct result of taking risks. It was a combination of taking small and big risks. I think it’s important to understand that taking risks doesn’t guarantee success, but not taking any risks doesn’t allow growth nor new opportunities. I knew since I was 15 years old I wanted to be a professional dancer. I come from a city near Rome, Italy, and I knew that if I wanted to find the best opportunities for my career, sooner or later I had to take some big risks, such as moving to a bigger city without any assurance that I would achieve my goals and work as a professional dancer. Eventually, I took that big step and came to the U.S., initially to get my BA in dance, and then moved to LA to work as a dancer. Every small or big risk taken up to this point has been worth it. It didn’t always go as I planned, but I always learned and grew so much from those experiences. Read more>>

Eva Gondelman | Photographer

I would say that I am a person who thrives on taking risks. It is a major part of who I am. I have embraced risks at all of the major points in my life so far, and it started at a young age. When I was 7, I went to an overnight camp that I had never seen and where I knew no one. I came back with many friends from all over the country. As I was about to start high school, I decided to go to a boarding school in Vermont. The decision was driven in large part by the fact that the school was steeped in the arts. And let’s face it. Those who are risk averse do not choose to pursue a career in the arts. Read more>>

Charrell Mack | Artist

Risk use to scare me, but now I find value and life lessons in it. I believe that risks will unlock parts of yourself that you didn’t know was there. Risk opens other doors and pathways; which is always scary but worth it. It took me awhile to appreciate risk because I was so afraid of it. I’d always think the worst of the “what if” situation and would basically chicken out. But as I have grown and gone through grad school I’ve learned; as cliché as it sounds but “Life is about taking risks.” If you don’t take the risk you’ll never know and you’ll never grow. It’s still a process for me to fully trust, but when I have lead with “risk” the outcome has always been rewarding. Read more>>

Camilla Carper | Artist

For many years I would conduct elaborate dressing experiments, that I called my “dressing practice”. I would set a duration and a series of dressing rules to follow for that time. I was in a constant state of performance within my everyday life. Having a definable procedure for my life and art-making, gave me a sense of relief, it made me feel as if my life had value. In my first dressing project, took a whole year. for that time I only wore clothing that I made myself from a single sheet of linen fabric. I started on New Year’s day with nothing but a sheet wrapped around my body and carved away at the sheet as seasons changed. I made garments as I needed them. Eventually, I ran out of fabric and had to continually rework items I had already made. Clothing alteration became a way to react to and facilitate change in my life. Through the year I became more comfortable with being in a continual state of transition. Read more>>

Evan Hufford | Sommelier / Wine Instructor

Risk is an integral part of growing as a professional. I’ve taken leaps when moving jobs a few times, and have always come to be incredibly thankful for the new opportunities and the doors the new job opened. It is absolutely necessary to remove yourself from your comfort zone at least a couple times as you develop further into your career. Exposure to new people, places and ideas is absolutely vital to becoming a well-rounded professional. Moving to a new city and leaving behind your friends, family, and a comfortable position is incredibly daunting to many people. In my case, I dropped out of grad school and a planned life in academia to move from Phoenix to Vegas to pursue a career as a sommelier. I remember tearing up moving away from my hometown for the first time at age 27, questioning the entire duration of that 5 hour drive whether I was making a huge mistake. It ended up being exactly what I needed to continue developing my skills as a hospitality and wine professional. Read more>>

Zoë Dane | Clinical Hypnotherapist, Feminine Embodiment & Empowerment Guide, Spiritual Mentor.

I think of risks as potent opportunities to learn what I am made of and how committed I am to my mission on this planet. Every time I take a risk, whether I succeed or fail, I am awakening to more of my own capacity for greatness, because I am out in the arena of Life. Taking risks, saying yes to the things that both excite & terrify me, takes me out of my head and into my body. They make me feel alive, empowered and brave. They allow me to know and develop myself and my career on a deeper level. Read more>>

Sherry Rayn Barnett | Music Photographer & Musician

Risks come in many shapes and sizes. I’d never thought of myself as a risk taker until I had to write something about myself as I was assembling my first book of music photography in 2020. My “story” became part of the fabric of the book, Eye of The Music, that I’d previously envisioned solely as a collection of photos. People have really responded to that. I got to share my story of growing up in NYC, auditioning (and getting into) the “Fame” school of Performing Arts and spending my teen years riding the streets of Manhattan on a bicycle with a camera strapped on my back. Looking back, I was fearless and determined, although I’d always thought of myself as shy! Influenced by my mom who was an iconoclastic, self made woman of many talents, I chose an independent life. Read more>>

ONYI LOVE | Healing Artist

When I consider risk, the question that comes to mind is: “What are you willing to let go of in order to experience or be something different [or one thing in particular]?” Some people that participate in extreme sports/other activities are willing to let go of their physical lives in order to feel whatever exhilaration there is in those brief moments. Some who navigate various realms and tiers of business are willing to let go of their current capital (financial and otherwise) for the potential return of exponentially more in the future. In my case, much of my risky behavior has been around my spiritual and self-development; my relationships with others; and my trust in Life and Existence. I take risks in all these areas despite what many of us are told about how things are and work. Read more>>

Anthony Villiotti | Comedian & CPA

Risk taking is an absolute must. Without taking risks you will never know what you can achieve; what you can make work. I’m a standup comedian and the last thing I want my audience to see is the same rhetoric over and over again. Say something that’s different. Say something that’s risky. Even if people don’t laugh, you were true to self. I also work in finance and there’s a famous saying: high risk, high reward. It’s an investment strategy, and it applies to more than your equity portfolio. Read more>>

Kailyn Andrews | Kailyn Andrews | Actress, Voice Actress, and Model

I never really had any risks in any of my acting or modeling jobs. But there was a time where I was being considered for a photo double for Stranger Things season 4. And one of the requirements was that I had to shave my head. I said no and backed out of the role. Read more>>

Sam Stiglitz | Acting & Audition Coach

Oh man. This is so hard. I wish I were more of a risk taker, but I didn’t discover my bravery and ability to believe in myself until AFTER I left acting. The self-promotion involved in acting (networking, auditioning, putting myself out there) was too much for me. So, I summoned my courage, took that risk, and left the job I’d always dreamed of. I bet on myself and found a successful career in casting. Then, I took an even greater risk and left my steady job to dedicate myself to my passion: helping actors as an acting and audition coach. Giving up a stable career was scary, but I made the choice to do what I love. I started with no clients and had to fight an uphill battle to find my way in an oversaturated market. I worked my ass off to prove I was worthy of an actor’s trust. Over time, my business grew, and now I have a wonderful, diverse client list. I love what I do and am thankful that I took a chance on myself. Read more>>

Travis Marsh | Music Producer

I think that everything in life has some level of risk. I quit college to do music, that was a risk. I left California and moved out of state to TN to play in a band not knowing anyone, that was risk. I put out music to the public knowing I’ll be judged, that was a risk, but the greatest risk I was not willing to take was living my life with regret for not going full force into something I really loved. Read more>>