Where you grew up and your background can often have surprising effects on our lives and careers. We’ve asked folks from the community to tell us about how their background has affected them.

Melanie TheBeautiful | Interior Designer and Color Extraordinaire

I’m from Albany, GA. I grew up in a family of 95% successful business owners. My grandfather’s, grandfather’s, grandfathers were carpenters. So I grew up around building homes and interior design as a kid. Entrepreneurship is a staple in our family, yet, I NEVER wanted to be an entrepreneur. Read more>>

Akeem Tulinagwe | Photographer

I have lived in Gwinnett County since I was 6 years old, but I was born in Lithonia. Moving to Gwinnett was a rough move since I was just about the only African American in my school and classes, but I never let that phase me. Read more>>

Candi Miller | Designer

I was born in Savannah, Georgia in March of 1967. Savannah is a beautiful city overflowing with rich architecture and history. Savannah is known for it’s many different architectural styles of homes, from Georgian to Gothic Revival. Read more>>

Chinwe’ Foster | Owner and Managing Attorney of Foster Law Firm

I was born in Africa…in Nigeria. When I was about 7 years old, my family moved to Columbus, Ohio which is where I grew up. As Nigerians, one of the many things that was impressed upon me by my parents was that if I studied and worked hard at anything I put my mind to, that I could be the best at it. Read more>>

Emily Nicolaides | Artist, Author & Weaver

I was born in Virginia to a multicultural family. My mom is American and my dad is Greek-Cypriot. Growing up, I felt torn between my two cultures. Like I was two different people that never fit in anywhere. Then I found weaving and that all changed. I finally saw how the two parts of my heritage merge to make me, much like the warp and weft are woven together to make cloth. Read more>>

Sarai Thompson | Founder and CEO of Luxe & Chic Company

I love telling people my backstory. I feel like a hybrid in a way. I was born in Boston, Massachusetts and my family and I moved to Atlanta, GA a few weeks after the 96′ Olympics (and for those who know their history, they’ll know Atlanta was the home of the Olympics in 96′). Read more>>

Essie Moore | Dr. Essie Moore, Professional Cosmetologist & Author

My name is Essie Moore, I was born and raised in Paris, a small town in Northeast Texas. I was the fifth child, and that made me perhaps “The baby of the family”. I was somewhat spoiled to being called the baby girl. Read more>>

Toni Simmons Henson | Atlanta Black Theatre Festival Co-founder & Exec. Producing Director, Speaker, Spoken Word Poet & Author

I am a graduate of Howard University and NYU, wife, mother of four, and serial entrepreneur who found herself in financial ruin after a failed franchised business venture during the economic recession of 2008-10. Despondent and depressed from suffering a six-figure loss, I lay awake at night, reflecting on how this experience had impacted my family. I’d lost everything we’d built over the last 22 years: including our savings, investments, and even the children’s college fund. Read more>>

M. Cody (Cody) Wiley | Cartoonist and Designer for Animation

I’m originally from a small town just outside of Detroit, Michigan. I come from a predominantly working-class family, so when I graduated high school and first started attending college, I didn’t really know where I should start or have a good idea of what career I wanted to pursue. I decided to start at Henry Ford College, a local community college, to see if it was right for me and to try and figure out a career that spoke to me. Read more>>

Zeal Eva | Visual Explorer

I was born in Brooklyn, and raised both there and in Bethlehem, PA (a suburb about an hour away from the city). I think being able to be from both a fast bustling lifestyle and one that is slow and quiet, greatly shaped who i am as a person, what I”m interested in and what i’m inspired by. Read more>>

Gabrielle Scott | Theatre-maker & Creative Wellness Coach

I am from a twin isle in the Caribbean, Trinidad & Tobago, also known as ‘Sweet T&T’. T & T is the land of Calypso, Soca, steelpan and the most world renowned Carnival. Our unique history makes us the most culturally diverse country in the Caribbean which directly impacts our music,film and theatre industry. Read more>>

Scooby | Music Artist

Thea de Sousa | Writer and content creator on Instagram

I grew up on a farm in rural Western Massachusetts. I have seven siblings. We didn’t have any money for utilities or groceries when I was growing up so we had to depend on animals and gardens to sustain us. We had to churn our own butter, make our own bread, heat our whole house with one tiny wood stove, and ride a bicycle to do laundry. And, we had no television. Read more>>