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.

Siyi Chen | Screen Composer & Guzheng Performer

Risks are both a difficulty and an opportunity. Risk puts my ability to judge as a mature adult to the test in every way. Additionally, risk demands individuals to accept responsibility once the project begins. Risk makes me more circumspect and meticulous about every decision I make and every step I take; those experiences have strengthened my ability to grasp projects and forced me to make more mature decisions. I frequently relish the difficulties that risks present. Risk management has undoubtedly made me a more mature practitioner in the sector. Read more>>

Diana Lamas | Female Entrepreneur

Risk taking is one of my favorite topics. I grew up in a home of entrepreneurs where risks were “normal” actions that were taken, and until this day almost 90% of our conversations over dinner are about business and investments and of course risks that come along. What I learned about risks since childhood watching my parents do business, is- you jump into a pool and swim, if you don’t know how to swim, you figure it out and you don’t look back. Read more>>

Alizee Falque | Queer Actor, performer, writer

I believe that any decision we make is a risk, whether it be driving a car to work, climbing a tree, or committing to a career path. All of these risks are calculated, because the benefits outweigh the potential losses. However, the way our parents and society in general define what is worth risking and which standards are worth striving for—that is arbitrary. For instance, we are informed from a young age that financial stability and honorable careers are objectives worthy of risk. The truth is, though, that I have never fit a conventional mold. Read more>>

Emily Aleece Burton | Filmmaker & Podcaster

Looking back on everything I’ve accomplished in my life so far, risk and fully trusting myself has always been the main commonality. Even as far back as applying to film school. I only applied to one, UNC School of the Arts, and I got in. When I graduated in 2020, the last thing my mentor ever told me was to forgo the traditional path of becoming a filmmaker because I am not someone who waits for permission for someone else to create my art. Read more>>

Taylor Rivera | Artist, Hairstylist, Wardrobe stylist, & Creative Director

For me risk taking has always been about truth. Is the risk I’m taking motivated by my inner truth? The truth behind understanding what motivates and inspires you to live or create in the first place. If the intention behind the risk aligns with my inner truth then there’s nothing that can hold me back. Without taking risks my life would be very different. I may not be the artist I am today, I may have never found love, or the courage to follow my dreams, and most importantly I may have never found myself. Read more>>

Steve Wilmot (Jacaranda) | Artist, Producer, Songwriter

I love and hate taking risks. I hate it for the obvious reasons like “what happens if I fail” and “maybe people will know I’m a fraud”. I love it because it’s the single most efficient way to propel myself forward. I often find myself agreeing to challenging situations before I’ve even considered how much work they will take or how terrified I will be. In my head, the bigger the stakes the more I have to gain. It’s awful every time, but there is a cumulative effect on my ability to know I will persevere. Now when I take a risk I have a near certainty that I will find a way to push through to the other side, because I always do. Read more>>

Nina Ramos-Travlos | Fine Artist

In terms of my business and art practice, I think risk is imperative to growth. If you don’t take risks, then you won’t be able to see how far you can go! I’ve always been a risk-taker. Of course that’s a very broad statement as there are many levels of risk. You won’t see me bungee jumping or cashing in my 401k to fund an new idea. But generally, I like to push myself to overcome my fears, and take the risk so that I can evolve and grow. Read more>>

Cecille A Forsyth Rios | Actor, Creative, & Social Media Manager

I started off my business with barely any knowledge of how to run a business. I started working early pandemic in 2020. Newly graduated, no job offers, and a set of skills that I wasn’t sure how to monetize. After a lot of trial and error, I figured out a rhythm and found some clients. I’ve gotten to work on some really fun and interesting marketing teams. There are risks and consequences for all of our decisions. I just decided that I had to shamelessly try and so far its been pretty good! Read more>>

Christina Paganelli | Innovator, Adventurist, Stage IV Cancer Thriver, Yoga Instructor, Visionairy. I formulated Drinkme as a necessity for my own health, which turned into a passion to deliver health to others. I go to great lengths to delivery quality and value.

This is such a fun question for me and it happened by accident. 17 years ago I was diagnosed with 2 life threatening diseases at the same time, the worst of which was Stage IV Thyroid Cancer that had aggressively metastasized into my lungs. In a way, you could say that for every day after this massive health crisis, I have been living on borrowed time. Taking risks is something I thrive on, and what makes me perfect for the role of entrepreneur. This past year has been incredibly fulfilling, memorable, and unique. Read more>>

SaBrea Phenix | Model and Artist

I personally think you need risks to grow. Risks make you take that leap and go for what you want. It’ll be scary but possibly worth it in the end. How would you know if you never risk it? I took that leap when moving to LA from Toledo, Ohio. I had to trust in myself that I will make myself safe and secure.. but not only that, to live my dream. Would you rather sit and be still .. or would you rather thrive in whatever industry you are in? I want people to know my name, how would I do that if I don’t take risks in my life? GO FOR IT. Read more>>

Kendra McDermott | Actress, Producer, Filmmaker

I have been a person of safety and stability most of my life, doing what people expected and drowning out the sounds of my own inner voice. I think many of us, myself included, naturally veer to the path that many others have travelled before us. The tried-and-true blueprint of college, 9-5’s, 401ks, we all know the path well. We know exactly where that path will lead and there is comfort in that stability and predictability of doing what everyone else is doing and has done before you. Read more>>

Misael Villa | A man with ideas

Risks are difficult for anyone, risks are scary, the unknown is scary, but sometimes those risks are what we need to get further in life. As a bartender I used to work as much as I could and learn as much as I could, I soon realized that I had the tools to start my own project. The real question was wether I was ready for it, I decided that I wasn’t and needed to manage a larger company and see how a corporate company operates. This is where the first risk would take place in my life, leaving the comfort of my bar top to learn what goes on with a business in the back end. Read more>>

Garrett Jones | Music Director/Guitarist & Producer

Risk taking is a constant challenge, even in things you feel confident in. There is always a chance of failure and you won’t know the outcome until the result. Personally, risk taking has always been the biggest leveraging tactic in my career. I feel there is much more at stake when not taking risks because you wouldn’t know what it’s like on the other side if you did. The biggest risk I have ever taken was my first trip to Los Angeles. Risk in a sense of…near emptying my bank account to chase an opportunity in a 24-hour window of time. Read more>>

Leah Welch | Investigative Journalist Turned Screenwriter

Filmmaking is risk. Everyone in this industry is a gambler. That’s a fact. You can bet money on it. The thing about risk is it’s a cousin of hope. We’re all HOPING the film will be successful. We spin our pitches in a room convincing other people (with money, connections, power) of our passion for this project and THIS Is the project that will make it. This one will make a difference. It will be canon. It will win awards. It will help fund the next one and the next one will be even bigger. Tilda Swinton will be in the next one. Read more>>

Sole Bovelli | Actress

Risk taking is something that it crucial for me and for any artist really honestly. I think taking risks can be some of the most terrifying yet empowering experiences in life. Being afraid is inevitable and human. It’s what we do in spite of fear that really defines us. I sometimes get the opportunity to tell a story that scares me. Earlier in my life when I first began acting I had a habit of favoring characters that felt comfortable and familiar to me. Now I run towards what really scares me because I love any challenge that will help me grow. Read more>>

Maam | Composer/Piano Instructor/Nascent Photographer

There is an illusion of safety in making decisions aligned with social norms, but the truth is there’s no safety. Any decision you make and even the ones you don’t is taking a risk! I’ve never seen diverging from prescriptions as taking risks, but rather as an opportunity to align with my personal vision and follow my intuition. Taking a risk for me is placing myself in modes of action and thought that are antithetical to my vision, values, and sense of purpose. Read more>>

Lucas Gibbons | Adventure Filmmaker and Photographer

Risk plays a significant role both in my pursuits as an outdoor athlete and as a freelance filmmaker and photographer. Many of the activities I love doing both for my profession and as hobbies involve a high degree of risk: snowboarding, climbing, mountaineering, freediving, mountain biking and many others. Although I have been dabbling in narrative film and commercial projects, my true passion lies in filming these adventurous activities. Read more>>

Lucia Zavarcikova | Cinematographer

I think taking risks is a necessary part of any venture into the unknown, whether it be personal growth or a career. In my own experience, I’ve taken a few bigger risks and for most of them, I’m glad I did. My first biggest risk was moving to the United States from Slovakia alone at the age of 21 and leaving everything behind. I remember sitting on a plane in Vienna before take-off feeling overwhelming fear. In fact, I was calculating in my head if it would be too embarrassing to tell the flight attendant that I want to take my suitcase out and stay in Europe. Read more>>

Lana Boy | Director, Set Designer, Actor.

Working as a freelance artist is a risk in itself. There is no guarantee or even an illusional guideline that you can find when taking a 9-5 job route. When I think about risk, I see as courage and surrender. Courage to invest in myself. I am a company that has a set of skills to sell. Surrender is trusting that the journey is going to bring ups and downs and fluctuate in how booked or available I am. As long as I have a clear goal set in mind, the rest will follow. Read more>>

Blayr Jimmerson | Music Video Director

Looking back, risk taking has always been in my DNA without me even realizing it until I was a bit older. Whether that was me playing punt returner during college football while 11 people try to take my head off, traveling abroad by myself for a couple weeks or giving up a guaranteed high paying salary to pursue a creative passion of mine. Read more>>

Matthew, Orlando Miller | Actor, Creative Director, and Advocate

I think risk taking creates character. In order to find success you have to thrive in situations that are considered uncomfortable. Anyone who’s ever innovated shared their ideas with the world and was told they were either improbable or “risky.” I wouldn’t have even discovered my identity as person or artists without going against the grain; leaving behind the things society teaches everyone you’re supposed to do and doing things my way. Read more>>

Javonte Rose | Influencer, Activist , Author, Tv

How I feel about risk taking is I encourage risk taking , it’s part of growth. Putting the fear behind you and being out of your comfort zone. Taking risk is being uncomfortable and being comfortable isn’t growing. Risk taking played a BIG role in my life. Being on my own since I was 16 years old forced me learn how to take risk early on. I’ve normalized taking risk lead me to my growth and my success. The Role that risk taking has played in my life and my career we definitely a challenge in the beginning, Read more>>

Tonja Stidhum | Writer, Director, Producer

Risk is serves such a prominent role in my life and career. In 2015, I took a leap of faith by booking a one-way flight from Chicago to LA without a job. I ended up landing a job about a mouth before I left, so the phrase “leap and the net will appear” is so relevant to me. After about a year living in LA, I quit my law firm job after getting my first major byline at Ebony magazine. I freelanced for a year before landing my first Staff Writer job at The Root. After a few years in digital journalism, I made a pivot and now am a Script Writer at Tonal. Read more>>

Robert Bobby” Shindo | Owner/Baker of Chiisai Cakes”

Risks are just actions that are out of your normal lifestyle. Taking risks and jumping out of that comfort area that most people are content with, will help you expand your lifestyle and your career. You just have to take a chance. However, there are two types of risks, in my opinion, the good and the bad. Read more>>

David Navarro Collins | CEO of DTANK+

I have found taking risk has allowed me to explore different cities and take different job opportunities. I never want to have that “I wonder” cloud hanging over my head. Living out of my comfort zone has lead me here in Los Angeles where I started my firm DTANK+ Read more>>

Minolae Jain | Production Designer/ Art Director

I personally to a large degree have a very logical and technical aspect to taking risks. My parents are very complementary to each other in thought, one is very logical and calculated whereas the other is very emotional and true to what she feels. And growing up with them, I was exposed and inhabited both sides. If I have to break it down step by step – most ideas come out of emotion, which I then comprehend and breakdown logically- what is this going to do, how sustainable is it with my lifestyle, all the how, what, when questions are answered and a pro and con list is made. Read more>>

Ashley Gonzalez | Vintage boutique owner

I’m not afraid of taking risk… I feel that where you want to be in life you need to take risk in order to learn from mistakes. One of my biggest risk in both my life and career was moving to a completely different state. I moved for love, adventure, and to grow my business. Read more>>

Haig Hovnanian | Artist & Actor/Writer

Well let’s see. For me risk taking is all about taking “the road less traveled.” It’s probably a road, in a certain sense, that many people have taken before, but pertaining to my life and or career, it was a different way to go that ended up becoming a risk, as a result. A good risk to take for me indeed. I found out about myself on this road of risk; listening to my gut at first then trusting it as it showed me the right way to navigate said road. Read more>>

Hiba Elzukimi | Founder & CEO of In Ur Closet

Risk is a part of any business. The simple act of starting a business is a risk. Regardless of how prepared you may be, regardless of how knowledgeable and experienced you may be, you cannot predict all risk. For example, I have been in the clothing industry for seventeen years; I’ve worked in import, wholesale, and retail, in several states including, New York, New Jersey, Chicago IL and now California. I had the grand opening of my brick and mortar on Dec 14, 2019 about 3 months before an international pandemic and global economic meltdown. Read more>>

Jeremiah Flood | Strength Coach

Risk is necessary just like failure neither bad or good- it just exists. it’s built in to any endeavor one may undertake, it’s a part of life and is the predecessor to growth or change, which is what I believe people fear the most. Risk has been a constant in both my life and career, as I have gotten older I’ve been better at mitigating the degrees of risk, but generally my rule of thumb is execute the best I can with information present then adjust as new information presents itself. To surmise, never gamble, but always bet on yourself Read more>>

Emily Starobrat | Denim Designer & Textile Artist

What’s life without risk? You either live with risk or regret. I think you have to risk it for the biscuit or come to terms with staying where you are/ staying stagnant (which isn’t a bad thing per se). Just sometimes you have to jump blindly, have faith and do everything you can to push towards your goal. Personally, I think the only reason I have gotten anywhere, in general, is from taking risks and going for things that have no guarantees. Sometimes they have worked out and other times not so much but I never regret trying. It’s risky to pursue Denem Jeans but I would regret it much more had I never tried. Read more>>

Khadijat | Rapper, Singer, & Songwriter

It’s only a risk if you’re going to lose something and I never feel like I’m taking a risk because I genuinely believe I cannot lose. If things don’t go as intended or however I’ve planned another door will open even greater than my initial vision. This mindset and this unwaivering belief in myself has helped me keep my mental peace as I pursue my musical career. Going down this path altogether is risky because of societal norms a community expectations, but to me the “risk” is half the fun. I’d bet on myself any day of the week, any hour of the day. Read more>>

Kenya J | Designer & Social Worker

Risks are meant to be taken, the right ones of course, but overall what’s life without taking risks? As a creative and former Social Worker, I have constantly had to take risks to get to where I am currently. I know that having this approach has definitely enabled me to remove barriers that most may experience in life.. I’ve taken many risks in order to pursue my dreams. I made the decision to relocate 10 years ago, from the East Coast to Los Angeles. Considered a huge “risk” to most of my friends and family members, this played a major role in me pursuing a career in fashion and developing my brand. Read more>>

Dominique King | Columnist, Blogger & Podcast Host

Risk is the space where contracts with self are signed. Risk is the intimate space where we compare and contrast our strengths and shortcoming to take on what we perceive to be a gain or loss. Taking a risk is never about the task, venture, collaboration or money. For me risk happens in the self reflection before I pull the trigger, “Do I trust myself to be focused, diligent and disciplined to see this thing through.” Every opportunity that has come my way is not my opportunity. Read more>>

Brittany Levenson | Stylist/Designer/Costumer

I believe that taking risks is something we do every single day even in small ways. What’s important is to take calculated risks with thought and based on previous experience, so that any risk we take will more than likely lead to rewards. In 2020 I took the biggest risk of my life when I decided to move from NYC to LA. Having established myself already in New York with a job in fashion, friends, and family, I knew picking up and leaving would be a big risk, but one I knew I had to take. Read more>>

DaQuane Cherry | Painter

Risk is the recipe for creation; it is the core to understanding innovation. Without risk there would be no iphone, no airplanes, hell even me if it wasnt for my parents taking a risk on one another. Risk is inevitable to production. Its what drives me to create , to live. I took many risk in my life. Everyday i take a risk in being a fulltime artist in nyc with no secure job, and i love every bit of such risk. Read more>>

India Hawkins | Professional dancer & creator

Risk-taking can lead to unpredictable outcomes. I think that’s why we are afraid to take them, MOST of the time. I was that person. I was afraid of what was on the other side, if I took a chance. I would play all the NEGATIVE scenarios out in my head and talk myself OUT of doing something. I still am that person, at times. Afraid to just go for it because of fear and the “unknown”. What we forget is,FEAR places limits on us. It prevents us from truly living life to the fullest! Read more>>

Conor Dubin | Author

When assessing risk, it is always important to examine how you personally define risk. Not all risks are created equal. There are some risks you can’t afford NOT to take, so the risk inherent there is not going for it. For me, trying to change the relationship narrative with a children’s book series was a huge risk, but I felt like it was one I couldn’t afford not to take. At a time when the medical community has diagnosed an epidemic of loneliness in our culture, with diseases of despair associated with addiction at an all time high, and divorce rates skyrocketing, Read more>>

Patrick Ethen | Light Artist

The foundation of my art practice was built over the years by relentlessly throwing myself into situations I had no business being in, getting knocked around, improvising, and figuring it out… or not. Those early projects were so rough, but the thing about failure is that it reveals a path forward. It was terrifying- it continues to be terrifying- but the process has formed me into who I am today. Read more>>

Fabian Jaime | Actor, Model, Writer & Producer

One must take risks to get what we want. Sometimes when we take risks we may lose some things but at least we know the outcome instead of wondering what it could have been like. In 2018 I had missed some great opportunities due to scheduling conflicts with my day job. I had been offered a role in a low budget film that required a few weeks of commitment. I couldn’t just ask for two weeks off and risk getting terminated because the job was my bread and butter. Read more>>

Christina Bernal | Co-Founder

Taking risks is everything! but they should be calculated risks. If you have done your homework and looked into whatever it is carefully or its a passion of yours then take the risk. Sometimes those risks don’t always work out but at least you tried and you learned something. In business taking a risk on yourself is a must.
Having a solid support team of family or friends that believe in you help. Read more>>

Hassan Abdul-Wahid | Director of Photography, Photographer, Skate Wax maker, and Artist

I’ve been a skateboarder for thirty-seven years and while I am not as good as I probably should be after all of that time I have lasted all that time. I think I’ve made it this far skateboarding because I understood at an early age that there was no fun to be had without risk and that death and injury and pain were going to find you no matter what so you might as well give Life your all. I am not a danger-junkie or foolhardy and I am aware of my limits. Read more>>

Kirsty Parker | Music Producer / DJ

I think being an artist is all about taking risks. The creative process is extremely personal. This makes it a personal risk to put your own creations out into the world — because what people are naturally going to like or dislike, is purely you. This is a risk all artists must take, the risk of being accepted or denied for their crafts. As a music producer, I feel this deeply every time I decide to release a record, or dj mix…or even on social media with photos and words. Read more>>

Kingdawud Burgess | Professional Speaker, Published Author, Poet and Philanthropist

“ He whom fails to try, fails to Succeed “ Not sure who quoted this but it’s true. Playing it safe has never made me any Money. Whenever I go into a business deal I always know there is a chance I’ll lose everything that I’ve invested.
What I refuse to do is waste my time while doing it. Read more>>

Maria Krangel | Business Coach, Instructor, Costume Designer

Risk has been key for me, from my personal life to my career; I was paralyzed at the age 21, and many doctors would say l would not walk again , or if l did, l would use a walker, but l Took the risk to believe in a powerful mighty God and 3 months after l was learning to walk and never used walkers best advice , go after your dream, l graduated on a wheelchair after being on i tensive care for 21 days. Read more>>

Amy Galloway | Makeup artist

Right before I moved to LA I had some serious life decisions to make my father in Ladysmith, B.C. was ill with cancer and I moved back with a back pack full of a weeks worth of clothes. I had recently lost my job in Portland, Oregon and decided to go back home to take care of my Dad. When I arrived I found out I was never issued a social security card so therefore I was unable to work luckily my father had a automotive business where there was tons of metal and scraps, Read more>>