Even if you are from the same neighborhood as someone else, you might still be coming from different places. Where you are from is a complicated question and it elicits complicated, but interesting and thought-provoking responses. We’ve shared some of those responses below.

Mandee Miller | Fitness Professional and Nutrition Student

I hail from Rockford, IL, which is about 2 hours west of Chicago. Being the grandchild of a morbidly obese grandmother who did a fair share of child-rearing for my single mom in the early years of my life, I watched people stare and comment under their breath about my grandma when we were out in public together whether it be running errands or on an outing to a park or pool. She died in 2003 of a massive heart attack which the hospital ended up attributing to her lifelong struggle with her weight. Witnessing the mean-spirited folks who made snide remarks to someone as kind and compassionate as her really angered me as a young person. I vowed to myself many years ago that I would always be active; whether it be theatre, sports, or dance classes, I was always committed to moving. My grandma was my biggest cheerleader in my young life before she lost her own way too soon. Read more>>

Brigette Young | Founder & CEO, The Modern Muse Company

I was born and raised in Silicon Valley and moved to Los Angeles to attend USC when I was 17. For a long time, my hometown was predominately inhabited by retirees, so it wasn’t exactly a stimulating place to grow up. I did appreciate the value of education there, though. I was lucky enough to attend really good public schools. My parents were invested in my education and good grades were always expected. Because I was perpetually bored, and as it turns out, a better hands-on learner than a “sit and let someone lecture at you for 8 hours day” learner, I couldn’t wait to get to a bigger city that would allow me to explore my passions in a much more robust way – and Los Angeles certainly did that. USC was a great school (recent situations notwithstanding) and I had a lot of amazing teachers who taught me the kinds of things my mind had been craving for years. Read more>>

Richard Radstone | Podcaster, Speaker, Photographer, Filmmaker

I’ve been known to call myself a most outgoing hermit. A thought shared by others, I don’t know? I do love people and being around others, but I also cherish my quiet time to reflect and simply observe the world around me. I do stay informed with news and current culture and events, but am the kind of person who likes to talk first-hand in working to know what is real – the under the skin feelings, and in the heart stuff, that drives us as individuals. So yea, I like to listen as much as I like to talk and create. Perhaps it’s an outcome of an adolescence where I never really fit into any one group. I bounced from clique to clique in wanting to find myself (I guess, a normal thing for many teens). Or maybe it was the carry forward from a 20’s when I was in demand and labeled a wiz-kid artist, my eye for fashion and special effects feeding my ego in my quest for approval. Read more>>

David Woo | Cinematographer and Filmmaker

I’m originally from the suburbs of Philadelphia on the east coast. My parents came from humble beginnings in Hong Kong and scraped what they could to immigrate to America and give their kids a chance at a decent life. The American dream was definitely something on our minds growing up, but reality hits hard and it was a tough journey for the family. I think this upbringing definitely shapes my lifestyle and decisions in both my personal life and in my work. I’ve been really drawn to intimate, humanistic stories throughout my career and have taken on projects that value social responsibility and meaning at their forefront. Read more>>

Adrian Ursu | Writer & Director

I grew up in Detroit for a good chunk of my younger years but I was born in Romania. My family immigrated to the states when I was about a year and a half old, and over time I had a bunch of cousins move onto the same block. We all lived in duplexes with my grandparents living below us, so we were always close to family. Our block was super diverse culturally, ethnically, and racially and everyone played, ate, and hung out together all day long. It was the best. We had more freedom back then and I used to love to run around and explore the alleys, and random buildings, some abandoned and empty. Then I would go home and explore the more introverted side of my personality by drawing for hours by myself. That led to finding photography at a very early age with my Kodak cube flash camera that I got from selling enough chocolate for our school candy sale. Read more>>