Through our work we have had the good fortune of seeing firsthand how success comes in every shape, size, color, faith, and orientation. More importantly we’ve learned that success is often the result of people embracing their unique backgrounds and so we’ve asked the community to tell us about their background and how it has impacted where they are today.

Hernst Bellevue aka Krunk-a-Delic | Songwriter, Record Producer

I was born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Long Island. Uniondale to be exact. I tell people all the time, growing up as a 1st generation Haitian-American during the 80’s, the Crack Era, and most importantly the early rise of Hip Hop were single handedly the most important contributing factors to who I am as a man, and a creative today. Read more>>

Renata Fernandez | Multidisciplinary Visual Artist

I am a Latinex artist, based in London since 2003, born in Venezuela, a daughter of immigrants from Spain. So I am a double whammy immigrant! This of course, is a defining aspect of who I am. I grew with two cultures and even two different ways of speaking and thinking: one inside the home, the other, reserved for outside. This seems to be an obvious fact when growing as an immigrant in a radical different culture and speaking another language (very much like my two children do right now). Read more>>

AJ Causey | Songwriter/Artist

I am from Alexandria, Louisiana and my upbringing pushed me to be independent. With my parents/step-parents always off into their day jobs; going to school, going to practice, working, etc., was always a self made decision. No one was necessarily on me about getting whatever needed to be done in my life, I would always take it upon myself to do so. As I have grown into my adult years I’ve learned that many of my peers did not experience the same upbringing, resulting in them now figuring out what it’s like to lead and fully think for themselves. So though my upbringing seemed lonely and not as fun with me placing so much pressure on myself to do all things right, I am still thankful that it benefited me in the long run to be prepared for what the world would throw my way. Read more>>

Alaina Davenport | Non Toxic Makeup Artist

I grew up in a small town in Colorado, about an hour north of Denver. My parents always encouraged individuality and supported everything that I did growing up. I wasn’t forced to do any sports or activities so I really think the freedom they gave helped lead me to be more creative. In high school I did dance and fell in love with doing the stage makeup before performances and that really made me more curious about makeup, eventually watching YouTube videos and practicing on myself all day long. Read more>>

Fatmata Cole | Artist & Entrepeneur

I am originally from Harlem New York and my parents are from Sierra Leone, West Africa. My parents came to America in the 1970’s and struggled to make it in this country. They had to learn the American living the hard way including getting paid less than others because they were foreigners. I learned hard work and determination from their struggles just trying to make it in America. With anything that I do I put my mind to it even if I get discouraged from time to time. I was taught to never give up especially if it is my dream goal. Being a first-generation woman can be tough, but it is definitely worth it. It makes me want to work hard to obtain any goals that I set my mind to and to also make my parents proud. Read more>>

Denise Perry | Yoga Student & Teacher, Energetic Healer, Spiritual Mentor. Studio Director & Owner of Yoga Nook

I say that I am in the 4th stage of my yoga journey. I have been a student of yoga for almost 30 years. I have a history of anxiety and depression since high school. I read that a regular breathing and meditation practice can help you calm your body and emotions when you are in stressful situations. I started a practice in the morning, without even know that I was practicing yoga.. I could see the difference that this practice made in my day to day and continued it. I found the physical practice of yoga in college. I was looking for different ways to maintain my health. I was taking step aerobics and kick boxing at our studio union, and saw a posting for a yoga class. I decided to try it, and loved the practice! I was feeling new sensations and started to understand my body in a different way. Read more>>

Tanyech Yarbrough | Entrepreneur, creator

I am from Kingston, Jamaica. I was there until I was eight years old. From the time I can remember, it was always imbedded into me as a small child, opportunities are not given. “You have to work hard to be seen and if you don’t have education you will be passed over”, so from I was five years old I can remember having this fear in me. I also grew up seeing everyone working towards taking care of their family. If you didn’t work you were looked down upon. You know the saying “Jamaicans have ten jobs”? It’s a real ting. I came to this country with my brother and my mom a single mother. Read more>>

Michaela Ternasky-Holland | Consultant & Creative Strategist

I am the product of true love. My mother, an immigrant from the Philippines, expressed her creativity in pursuing fashion marketing. My father, from a broken family in rural Northern California, became a college dropout entrepreneur and filmmaker. He died in a car accident, and I was raised under an oppressive stepfather, becoming the oldest of six children. My half-siblings crafted me into an empathetic and detail-oriented project manager. I hope to be an example of ultimate freedom and expression for them. As a womxn with a mixed background, I love to constantly blend mediums to create multi-platform projects. Read more>>

Mark Dalbeth | Musician and Band Manager

I was born in New Zealand. From an early age I always worked very hard for everything. Never had anything handed to me, it was always a struggle but that is the way I prefer it. New Zealand is a very small country and a big climb for someone with goals of ‘Making it in Music’ but as long as the drive is always there, then it can be achieved from anywhere. Being from NZ, I was used to being the underdog and that was fine with me. Was quite happy to just dig in and work that little bit harder to get the rewards. Read more>>