While our upbringing doesn’t determine our fate, it can often have a significant impact. Where we grew, who we grew up with, the sort of parents or guardians we had and the values they taught us can all deeply affect the life we go on to live as adults. There is no easy formula – sometimes adversity leads to success, sometimes adversity leads to more adversity. Sometimes a childhood of comfort and security sets someone up for great success in life, but other times it robs them of the hunger needed to succeed. What we’ve learned over time is that it’s not really about how or where you grew up but rather about how you allowed those circumstances to affect you.

Ria Taylor | Wedding Photographer

I was born in England, in a town so small it’s technically called a village. My family has lived there for generations, and they probably will long after i’m gone. My aunt used to sit by the window in her living room for hours, just watching her neighbors and passing along the gossip at next mornings tea. It was an isolated, small town in the middle of England that felt so separated from the world around it. To make things more interesting, I was apart of one of the only black families that lived there. Read more>>

Sarah Ellen | Fashion & Portrait Photographer

I grew up in the south (Jacksonville, FL), in a house that sat on a corner with a large front yard and with hot pink azaleas that bloomed in the walkway. My dad is an architect and designed the house we lived in. My mom is a florist and can tell you the name of every flower you’ve ever seen. We celebrated holidays and birthdays to the fullest With an attic full of decorations and a house filled with antiques. My sister and I would put on plays for our family and we sold the tickets to the show. Read more>>

Kaci Mallat Johnson | Wedding Coordinator

I was born and raised in Boscobel, Wisconsin. Boscobel is a small rural town in the southwest corner of the state. My father recently retired from being a dairy farmer his entire life. When I think of retirement, I think of a person not going into an office anymore or having a last day “on the job.” My dad’s retirement was so much more. The day he retired was the last day milk was pumped through our barn. Over 140 years of Holstein cows walking into their stanchions to be milked twice a day. While I was growing up, my dad rarely took vacations. Read more>>

Fan Wu | Tattoo Artist

I originally come from Shanghai, China. I have been exposed to Japanese animation since childhood, I was so impressed and like it very much. I also love drawing a lot, so I also draw some works by myself. Although I was fond of drawing, my parents did not support and cultivate my interest much. I secretly drew some animes in class and then submitted them to the anime magazine. I remember the first time a comic magazine published my copy and I was very excited to take it back home and show it to my family. Read more>>

Chef Janet Crandall | Chef, Culinary Instructor & Butcher

I was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. My family and I moved to Wheaton, Minnesota, a small farming community, in 1975, where my parents purchased a Cafe in 1976 that they ran it for nearly 40 years. My parents were not trained chefs, but were very well versed in the culinary arts. I am one of 6 children and the only child that followed in my parents footsteps. All of us are very successful in our fields of work, which I attribute to the way our parents raised us. Read more>>

Natalia Valle | Painter & Artist

I’ve always identified as Guatemalan American. Even though I was born in Los Angeles, California, I was raised in Guatemala from age two until age ten. The impact my childhood has had on me is huge. Today as an adult I look at everything through layered lenses, because like many people we are not one single label. Through my work I definitely explore ways to bring my cultural heritage to the forefront of my subject matter while also figuring out how it stands today. Read more>>

Aman Singh | Cinematographer & Director

I’m from Indore M.P india , I come from a nuclear middle class family of 4. My dad is a Executive Engineer in Irrigation. He believes in hard work as well as higher education. My elder brother Is also a civil engineer but his goals are different from all. Being a part of such family I had to work hard and do my 12th grade with science. One of the greatest thing about my family is they are supporting. My dream while growing was to be a Cricketer (Sports man). I always wanted to represent my country to international level with my skills. But life changes every second and it changed my journey. Read more>>

Karine Lima | Artist & Content Creator

My family is from a small and beautiful town near Porto in Portugal ( Ovar ) and I was born and raised in Paris-France. I have also lived in Greece, Spain and now in the United States. Being multilingual really helps to communicate much easier with people ( I speak 5 languages ), I realize you can connect and understand better. Having a multicultural background provides different points of views. For example being from a small town in Portugal helped me to never take things for granted, enjoy nature, animals, gardening, family time, friends, be natural, grounded and much more… Read more>>

Hailey Livingston | Singer/Songwriter & Artist of all forms

I am from LA born and raised and feel extremely lucky that I was born here. Artists move from all over the world to pursue their dreams in Los Angeles and being a creative myself I probably would have moved here anyway. Having my family’s support and having them so close is beyond a blessing. I am literally neighbors with my parents and they are with no doubt my biggest supporters and the first people I run my ideas by, usually over a cup of coffee. Witnessing my dad Barry Livingston manage a successful career as an actor in Hollywood for 60+ years has taught me invaluable lessons. Read more>>

Joee Billi | Artist & Music Producer

I was born in Charleston West Virginia, within 2 years my mom moved to Pittsburg PA, as the age of 9 approached we moved to California with my uncle in Oxnard. Shortly after my mom, little sister and I settled in Los Angeles, where I consider home. My mother is my greatest blesssing, she always has worked so hard to provide protection and sustenance for her kids. I appreciate her now that i’m older because I have a better understanding of life. I had to understand racism at a young age. Read more>>

Luis Cornejo | Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist & Founder

I’m originally from Inglewood, CA, born to a Mexican father and a Guatemalan mother. Growing up we rarely, if ever, talked about mental health. Not only did my parents not have the language, but they didn’t really understand the concept. This isn’t an uncommon experience in most Latinx families. The interesting thing is that individuals in the Latinx community experience higher than average rates of depression, anxiety, and trauma. Read more>>

Ashley Stephens | Owner & blkbyash Creator

Inglewood has always been home. Growing up in the city, I have always felt a sense of community. Gentrification didn’t exist for me during my childhood. I could go anywhere and see faces and families like mine. Inglewood could be classified as a happy medium. We weren’t rich, we weren’t poor, but with hard work and dedication, the life I imagined was within arms reach. As a child, I got to try my hand at a lot of different trades. My parents did a great job of instilling in me positive work ethics. Read more>>

Ken Lasaine | Musician & Music Teacher

I’m from Los Angeles. I was raised in the SFV in the (late) 60s and 70s and I cut my ‘adult’ teeth in the 80s. L.A. then was relatively egalitarian, at least more than it is now. All class of folks hung out with each other. We all went to public school. It influenced how you looked at and interacted with society. For me personally that affected how I appreciated ‘culture’ from art to food. I’m a musician and my dad was musician. In our house it was mostly Jazz and Classical fare but outside, at school and at other kids houses, it was pretty much all rock and roll. Read more>>

Jessica Robaina Janssens | Owner

I grew up in Southern California. My parents are From Argentina, they traveled here when they were 9 and 13 and met in los Ángels. My father has always been a hard working entrepreneur and my mother was always crafting, she loved doing murals, shirts, hats, sewing, you name it. So I didn’t find it a surprise to see myself a creative entrepreneur as a balloon artist. Read more>>

Chick Curtis | Oil painter & Printmaker

I was born in the District of Columbia at Walter Reed Army hospital at the tail end of World War two. Shortly after retiring his commission as a Captain, my father joined the Department of State and served as a personnel officer for the Agency For International Development for 30 years. My first 12 years were spent in Northern Virginia until my father was offered a post in Costa Rica where we lived for four years. It was the most important four years of my life. I learned a foreign language, had a motorcycle, learned to smoke cigarettes and had my first beer at a bar next to the Teatro Nacional where my mother did some acting on stage. Read more>>

Alfonso Garcia Lettering | Lettering Artist

I am born & raised in west Los Angeles . I come from a working class community that we’re mainly Mexican/ Latinos at the time . The upbringing to where I’m from we’re a lot of gang violence and drugs and negative pathways . From seeing a lot of friends and family go through things at a young age gave me a brighter perspective to not be involved so highly towards that . I would always be respectful when being around knowing your place and time type of deal . So a bid deal of it was knowing what not to do. Read more>>

Kayla Bell | Sustainable Swimwear Designer

I was born and raised in New Orleans and it has impacted every way in which I run my company, Arrow + Phoenix. New Orleans is a fun loving place with such a rich culture and sense of community and I always strive to intertwine that into my brand’s ethics and a lot of the styles and colors of our swimwear are inspired by things I saw growing up in the city. Read more>>