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Portraits of Hollywood

You matter. Your story matters. You don’t have to be a billionaire or pop star for your story to matter. We think it’s important to ask our neighbors and friends and people throughout the community to share their stories because if no one asks, far too many stories would go untold. The coffee shop around the corner and the artist next door have stories we can learn from, grow because of and be inspired by and we are so proud to be able to help make sure these stories are told each week. Below you’ll find inspiring stories from Hollywood and the surrounding areas.

Mervyn Titus

I pursued still photography from a young age and I honed my skills by trial and error. I was always into creative art forms and music has been a constant anchor of self-expression for me. I felt the convergence of my efforts of photography & music and began generating content in the music industry. A music video I photographed was listed in the ‘Top 10 Indian Music Videos of 2017’ by Rolling Stones India. Read more>>

Rebecca King

I have always called myself a “Bad Jew” for loving pork. When I started cooking in 2018, I often thought to myself “What a great name for a treif (non-kosher) restaurant “. What would the concept be? Where would I even begin? I had little cooking experience and zero exposure to working in restaurants. I wanted to learn. I started working for my friend’s popup, Pop’s Bagels. I wedged myself into the food scene and loved every minute of it. Read more>>

Dave Rispoli

I’ve actually been in the entertainment industry for 20 years now. I started acting at a very young age, attending a performing arts program in high school in Orlando, Florida, and then eventually attending DePaul University’s BFA acting program. Though my first few years in Los Angeles were a bit… rocky, I’ve been fortunate enough to make a living as an actor, writer, and host for the last four years. Read more>>

Reggie Colvin

I attended a now defunct college for fashion, where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in fashion design. I was very focused on womenswear but towards the end of my college career I shifted to menswear because I felt that it made more sense to who I am and there was also space for the women in my life to wear my clothing. Many people would tell me I wouldn’t make it in fashion trying to get jobs as a young black man and the only way to see success was to do something for myself. Read more>>

Aaron Cole

It’s a bit difficult to really zero in on a “beginning” of all this. Growing up my life was all sports. It’s all I really cared about or did. I would just make up songs on the piano for fun, and it wasn’t until later on that I really started ‘writing’ full length songs. It was always very organic; I would just sit down and sometimes a whole song would come out in five minutes or so. After a graduated college is when I really thought to myself “ok. Read more>>

Leila Work

My name is Leila Work, and I am a producer. I never thought I would be working in the entertainment industry, where I can share my passions through creativity. It was always a dream of mine to work in this industry. Though at times it seemed like an unattainable goal, that only made me more determined to achieve it. My career started five years ago as a confused college dropout taking a part-time internship at a startup company called Jukin Media. Read more>>

Michael Alexei

I’ve been living in LA for a little over a year now and it’s crazy how fast the time flies. Right before I moved out here, I received my Bachelor’s in Acting from Syracuse University. Four years of drama school, and summers and winters filled with intensives, felt like a bewildering rollercoaster that went through highs of loving acting more than anything in the world, and lows of questioning why I was doing it at all. Read more>>

Oskar Laffont

I’m a painter, teacher and film director based in LA for the last seven years. I’m originally from Mexico, I moved to London, UK t 16 to study fine art in London, UK. Followed by an MA in filmmaking. My graduation film won the Liv Ullmann Peace Award and I received a Special Human Rights Award for defending Indigenous Rights by the Mexican Government. My work is usually champions diversity and defends racial, and social justice. Read more>>

Clint Clark

I found my comfort and support by joining drama and participating in High School Plays and Community Theatre. This was my safe space. By filling up my time with drama rehearsals I also had a good excuse to no longer go hunting with my Dad and Brother. Hunting was torture for me but I was trying to fit in and keep my feminism masked with “masc” type activities. When I started acting it opened me up creatively and I knew I had found myself. Read more>>

Marti Alonzo

I was born in the Philippines. My family relocated to the U.S. when I was 4 years old. I grew up in the suburbs, southeast of Los Angeles. Growing up I wasn’t the best student in school. I would always draw and scribble in class and I would always get in trouble. Living in a Filipino household, my mother always expected me to do my best and excel in school. She wanted me to have a career in the medical field like my two older sisters. Read more>>

Ariel Hart

I’m an animator. I have a degree in experimental animation, which usually leaves people with more questions than answers. My favorite way to think about it is applying animation to new media. In my case, I entered the field right around the time big companies were paying attention to animation as a part of social media marketing. My first salary job was making gifs for big box movies on Tumblr. I worked through traditional marketing roles until I was a creative director and dealing with art more in theory than in practice. Read more>>

N.A.Z. Pankey

I grew up in the ghetto streets. My mother had seven kids and I am the oldest. Unfortunately, my mother fell victim to drug addiction, leaving me to raise my siblings. I’d miss ninety to one hundred days of school a year, so I was borderline illiterate. I had a stepfather, but he was abusive, physically, emotionally, verbally, and sexually. Struggling to survive and protect my siblings became my daily goals. Eventually, my siblings and I were split up and put in foster care. Read more>>

Lexa Gluck

My love for acting began at age seven, when I started performing in a children’s theater in Boston. Years later, I followed my idols Gloria Steinem and Sylvia Plath to Smith College, where I received my BA in Theater Arts and had a life changing four years. After college, I trained at The A.R.T Institute at Harvard University and the Moscow Arts Theatre School, receiving my much anticipated Master of Fine Arts. Even with my extensive training in classical acting. Read more>>

Kai Ma

I start to play guitar when I was ten years old, but when I realized “music can be my career”, I already 19. I heard a lot about how amazing LA is, so I came here 2014, to MI (Musicians Institute). My English was really bad at that time, can’t understand what the teachers say, confuse about everything. That was the hardest year in my life, I need to record all the classes, and playback at home to learn, also need practice guitar, piano, Music theory ETC…. Because not just I found how bad my music skill is. Read more>>

Zach Davidson

I’ve always been a theatrical kid, and I’ve never really been able to hide it. Until I was five, it was assumed that someday I would take over the family business. Then I started wearing Halloween costumes to little league games, and it’s pretty much been a straight-shot from there to where I am now. I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. I was 12 when I got my first paid acting gig, and 14 when I knew that theatre was what I wanted to do with my life. Read more>>

Ilyass Hasnaoui

After being admitted to American TV show and music competition, ‘The Voice,’ in 2018, ILYAH was recruited by Jeff Timmons to join, boyband, Overnight. ILYAH decided that it was best for him to forgo his televised music opportunity in favor of this new venture. Timmons is famous for founding the multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated, world-renowned group, 98 Degrees. Timmons deliberated over thousands of internet submissions and auditions to carefully curate Overnight’s band members. Once selected, ILYAH flew to Las Vegas. Read more>>

Adam Lundberg

I was raised on the big Island of Hawaii in a small town, Kohala, where I was fortunate to be surrounded by such a rich and diverse culture that taught me so much. My Mother is Japanese and my Dad is Swedish, Danish, and Scottish. As a kid, I had a hard time identifying with who I was and where I fit in. In Hawaii I was referred to as Hapa (Half Asian mix). Even with being Hapa, I was still considered “Haole” (literally means “without breath”). Read more>>

Josh Zammit

When I was 16, I decided to drop out from school to pursue my filmmaking, as there was not much opportunity in the arts at my high school at the time. The next year, when I was old enough, I enrolled into an adult education college, which they call TAFE in Australia, where I was to studied Film for the next three years. This was my first time traveling into the city, working alongside adults and discovering other people of my kind. It was a huge eye opener for me and broke me out of my shell. Read more>>

Adrian Atako

It has truly been a journey. A journey that I would advise anyone that plans to follow their dreams should look forward to taking. As a Brooklyn, NY native I knew that I’d been blessed with a gift from a young age. I’ve always been artistic. Loving to draw and always had an interest for the arts. Self-taught, I started out doing makeup eighteen years ago, practicing and using my female family members and friends as canvases. Read more>>

Valerie Penso-Cuculcih

Even at a very young age I knew I wanted to build my life around adventure and experiences. I was never the girl who dreamt of my wedding dress and house complete with a white picket fence. Looking back, this is probably how I ended up on FOX television’s hit show Temptation Island – without even knowing what a reality show was. I was following the thread of adventure. During my filming I was much more fascinated with the behind the scenes. Read more>>

Mariana Chavez

My name is Mariana Chavez, and I was born in Mexico City in the mid-90’s. I moved to Los Angeles when I was five years old with my mother and sister. We grew up watching films such as Child’s Play, Star Wars and the Nightmare Before Christmas; the latter sparked a love for animation, stop-motion and Halloween for me. I’ve been obsessed with movies ever since. I graduated from Hollywood High School in 2013, and Rattlehead Crafts was born the summer after my graduation. Read more>>

Chelsea Belle

As an only child to a single mother in New Zealand, I was always bubbly and chirpy to strangers and at the age of three, I was given 52 lines to learn in my kindergarten Nativity play. From there, my mother enrolled me in community theatre classes to help me socialize with kids my own age. Performing was my way of therapy and it was the only career path I wanted to dedicate my life to. It was a safe space to process the emotion that I had suppressed for so long and somewhere where I could truly let loose and be whoever I wanted. Read more>>

Cecilia Encizo

Originally, I started off with photography, the last two years of high school I got into some photography classes and just learned the basics and found that I really enjoyed landscape and architectural photography. After going into community college, I got more into editing and graphic design before moving onto the film side. I started at The Los Angeles Film School originally wanting to study Cinematography. For the first year I stuck to that and did camera operating as well as camera assisting. Read more>>

Taylor Rene

I started as a dancer at The Age of three years old, and my mom always says that I knew THEN that I wanted to be a Star! I danced all throughout my childhood, and also was an accomplished runner for Track and Field in Highschool. After HS, I joined the Army, and dance was briefly on the back burner, but never far behind! Days after being discharged I tried out for the Seattle Seahawks Seagals Cheerleaders and I made the team. Read more>>

Akira Komatsu

My carrier has begun as a jazz guitarist and instructor in Tokyo, Japan since I came back from Los Angeles, graduating from MI/GIT. I had played small clubs in Tokyo and had been teaching at MI Japan. I was leading an instrumental band and composing all materials played. Actors, filmmakers, or their media artists came to talk to me after the shows from time to time and it would be nice to have my composition in their works. Read more>>

Andreas Ramirez

I was born and raised in The Bay’ in a little suburban neighborhood called Fremont. At a young age I was always looking for ways to be creative, bouncing around between making music and making videos I felt a bigger attraction to being creative then getting straight A’s. Once I skimmed through graduation I packed up my bags and randomly caught a train to Anaheim, Ca where I met up with my older brother (Rome Ramirez) who was in the beginning stages of joining our favorite band growing up Sublime which later formed Sublime With Rome. Read more>>

Krista Awad

Visual artist with a bachelors in fine art degree from Grand Valley State University. Grew up in Flint, Michigan. My father is Palestinian, immigrated over when he was in his early 20s and my mother’s family immigrated from Germany. I reference this because my family’s roots are a heavy influence in my artist style. My work is contemporary abstract influenced by the surrealist movement. Started my professional art career after graduating in 2011 and moved to LA. Read more>>

Grant Decyk

I first picked up one of my father’s camera when I was in my early teen years, I would take photos of literally anything. I wanted to buy one of my own, but was too young for any kind of real job, I had to resort to buying and reselling high-end shoes and clothing, as well as working odd jobs, to make small profits. I eventually was able to spend all the money I had on some decent equipment. I instantly fell in love with the craft of video production. Read more>>

Will Wibisono

I was born in Torrance, California, spent my early childhood in Jakarta, Indonesia, my teenage years in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and then I came back to California for college. I’ve always enjoyed anything that was art related, and from a young age, I really liked collaborating. I guess I romanticized stories that involve a group of people who band together for a common goal. Like Seven Samurai, Journey to the West, and Power Rangers. Read more>>

Kim Brio

I started my first business at 12 years old, and since then have created numerous brands and worked within various industries, learning all of the lessons and tools along the way to build a solid brand. Now, more than 20 years later, I have honed my lifelong gifts of speaking & media, design, and brand & business building into my media company, Solsei & Co. My web and graphic design company has lasted the entirety of my entrepreneurial career and now operates under the Brand It! with Kim moniker. Read more>>

Lacy Rostyak

My mother played the piano, my grandfather played guitar, my brother the fiddle/guitar, and my grandmother was a piano teacher. I started playing piano and violin in church and recitals starting as young as age four. I’d won my first fiddling contest in Mississippi before turning five – being the youngest contestant to ever win at that time (this was in the 90’s) Not too many years later, I had won my first violin competition at age eight. Read more>>

Michael Sasaki

I read my first scene of a script when I was about six years old at an audition that wasn’t even for me. It was for my older brother, but when the casting director saw me waiting in the lobby they asked if I could go in and read a few lines. Something about this moment stuck with me throughout my life. I knew that moment was special because I could feel a tingly excitement every time, I thought about it. Thirty years later, I would be face to face with my childhood hero Ralph Macchio filming a scene for a popular streaming show. Read more>>

Beth Berlin

I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona in a household of Long Islanders. A bunch of New Yorkers in the desert! My parents love the theatre so I was exposed to it early. I distinctly remember the night my dad took me to the Frank Lloyd Wright’s beautiful and massive Gammage Auditorium in Tempe, Arizona to see a production of “Me and My Girl” when I was only in kindergarten. As I stood with the crowd in a standing ovation at the end, I knew that I belonged on that stage. Read more>>

Doña Oxford

As a child I was always an entertainer. I wanted to be Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, Bette Midler or Cher. I guess I was born with the desire to be a gay icon!! I wanted to do it all; dance, sing, act, play instruments, write, create. I truly believe that what you set your intention on becomes reality. At age nine, My mom enrolled me in a theater arts school in upstate NY and from there I flourished. I attended NYU for a year, which brought me to NYC, and that’s what introduced me to the live music nightclub scene. Read more>>

Aaron Allen

My name is Aaron Allen! I am a young aspiring actor that will be going to AMDA in Los Angeles starting on July 20, 2020. My story is one that I am proud of and excited to continue. From a young age I have always been outgoing and easy to talk to. I love meeting new people and making new friends. My first love was sports from a young age. I was really good at basketball and was starting to pick up football as well. Read more>>

Michael “meeks” Silva

Voyage to LA. Imagine living on an island all your life & one day you decide to move to LA & make It work. The next thing you know you’re on sets for Beyoncé, CW, Nyx Cosmetics, Anastasia Beverlyhills, Smirnoff, music videos & shooting with people you’ve only ever seen on television or social media, or Working Backstage for Emmy’s & The Golden Globes!!! Now that I look back on all the fantastic jobs I’ve gotten to assist on & the lovely people I get to meet & work with I’m floored by It. Absolutely grateful for people seeing something in me. Read more>>

Melissa Strong

I was born and raised from Toronto Canada, with Caribbean and South American immigrant parents. Growing up in Toronto was a conservative life and acting was suppressed from cult religion and ethic culture. As a child living by the motto “destiny may be delayed but not done”…. was my spark for hope. Acting fate followed me with gust stars on Toronto series, pageant girl, winning Miss Toronto, billboards as The Toronto Fashion Week model campaign. Read more>>

Tarek Zohdy

My family immigrated to the U.S. when I was very young, and strangely ended up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana of all places. Growing up in Louisiana wasn’t great for me to be honest. There was a lot of prejudice and ignorance prevalent, especially for an Egyptian and Muslim kid. There were very few of us around. But I ultimately did find my tribe of misfits when I attended a magnet high school for gifted and talented kids. Read more>>

Mikey Jay

I hail from Jamestown, New York; hometown of Lucille Ball. She is our god, basically. At the age of four, my mom explained to me who the lady painted all over town was and what an actor is. We didn’t have much, so the only escape was the television and playing with your imagination. I knew I wanted to be an actor, my imagination had me reenacting anything I’d see on screen throughout the 90’s and 2000’s. Read more>>




Judge Reverses $5,000 Bond For Capitol Rioter Shortley After Meek Mill’s Furious Post

Meek Mill and a judge in Washington D.C. agreed on something – how foul it was that an infamous guy who…

Meek Mill and a judge in Washington D.C. agreed on something – how foul it was that an infamous guy who stormed the Capitol Building in DC was about to be freed – until the Federal judge stepped in.

The post Judge Reverses $5,000 Bond For Capitol Rioter Shortley After Meek Mill’s Furious Post appeared first on %%

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Rap Legend Edward “Duke Bootee” Fletcher Of “The Message” Dies

RIP Duke Bootee, the co-writer of one of rap’s most influential hits.
The post Rap Legend Edward “Duke Bootee” Fletcher Of…

RIP Duke Bootee, the co-writer of one of rap’s most influential hits.

The post Rap Legend Edward “Duke Bootee” Fletcher Of “The Message” Dies appeared first on %%

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