There are so many factors that affect how our lives turn out, but one of the most interesting is how our backgrounds give us unique strengths and perspectives that affect who we are as adults. We asked rising stars from the community to tell us about their background and upbringing and how they feel it’s impacted who they are today.

Tim Battle | Professional baseball trainer, coach, and mentor

My name is Tim Battle. I’m originally from Riverdale GA. Majority of my life I have spent time on the baseball field… So now God has allowed me to give back to my community. I am the owner and operator of Battle Groundz Baseball. In 2003 I was blessed with the opportunity to play professional baseball with the New York Yankees. The Yankees selected me in round 3 of the 2003 amateur draft. The same season I was diagnosed with Bcell Lymphoma in my left 4th rib. Immediately after completing my 6 months of chemotherapy treatments I went back to have a 14 year career in professional baseball. This game has always been a passion of mine and its something I take very seriously. Baseball has taught me a lot and has done a lot for me in my family. With that I plan on giving back to our communities the professional experience that I have attained so that they can achieve the same level of success and more. Read more>>

Nikki Swiderski | Illustrator & Surface Designer

I grew up in a small town in northern New Jersey but my family is from Zakopane, Poland! When my parents moved to America they made it a point to keep language & culture a big part of my life. I have always been passionate about making art that represents me, my experiences, and my culture. A lot of my florals reference the beautiful shapes of Polish Folk Art, as well as my upbringing surrounded by lots of plants and pets. Whether it’s scavenging the woods for mushrooms & berries, hiking mountains out west, or picking flowers from my mom’s garden, I feel most at home in a room full of nature. My mom and dad are the most hardworking people I know, and they’ve influenced me to work hard but to also be kind and give to others. Read more>>

Mia Andujar | Artist & Stationery Merchant

I’m from one of the three tiniest islands, of the US. Virgin Islands, St.Thomas Which capital is Charlotte Amalie. There you’ll find so many different cultures like African, danish, french, Hispanic. Music is our forte. Every where you go, you here music and cultural music above all. You hear the chimes of the steel pan playing or you see the Moko Jumbies dancing. The island is so musically driven. I love that so much, cause it thought me to explore about culture wherever I go and to think about the world in such a different perspective. We Virgin Islanders are very happy people and hardworking. Even though things get tough sometimes, we try to always find a learning happy experience out of it. And that helped me to always work even harder but never stop to enjoy the simple things in life. And because of those upbringings it helped me to visualize the love for art and people. Read more>>

Jessica Lucious | Fashion Model, Writer, Entrepreneur, Influencer, Artist, Actress, Creative Director

I was born and brought up in St. Louis, Missouri, and have relocated several times during my life. I went from St. Louis to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and subsequently to Nashville, Tennessee. Currently, I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee attending college. Dreaming big is an exaggeration for many people where I come from. Where I’m from the majority of people do not believe that pursuing your aspirations is attainable. That’s something I’ve never contemplated. I’ve known what I wanted to accomplish even when I was a child, and I’ve never allowed anything to stand in the way of my ambitions. Read more>>

Double AA | Music Producer & Bounce Gvng Chief Operations Officer

I am from Clayton, New Jersey. Clayton is small town with two traffic lights where everybody knows everybody. I am the oldest of my parents’ six children. My father was an elder at our local church a couple of towns away. It was in church where my love for music developed. I started playing the drums at the church when I was eleven yrs old. I also joined the elementary school marching band around the same time. I continued playing in the marching band through out elementary and middle school before joining the basketball team in high school. I worked my way into a starting position and was scouted by colleges/universities. It was in college where I started to hone my craft as a producer, creating multiple mixtapes featuring my classmates who were artists. Read more>>

Olivia Charles | Body Waxing & Body Contouring

Im from Kingston, Jamaica. Even though, I grew up in a third world country, I always knew I was destined for greatness. I grew up with my moms side of the family. My aunt owned a beauty salon attached to the family home where I spent most of my time as a child. My mother always said she knew I would be in the beauty industry; as a toddler while being at the salon, i would take the extra hair extensions and finger nails laying around and apply them on myself. So basically, its in me, not on me Lol . Consciously, for me my passion for the beauty industry sparked when me and my immediate family moved to American and my mom started selling Mary Kay products. That was like winter wonder land for me. Read more>>

Kenesha Brown | CEO of KMB Beauty

I was born and raised in Augusta, GA and I lived in the area majority of my adolescent life until we moved to the outskirts of Atlanta. I was raised by my mother, a very strong woman. She was of strong Christian faith and as a result instilled that same strength and faith into my siblings and I. Growing up she taught to have integrity, be honest and be kind with the people around me. Watching her as a single parent working countless hours a week while going to school for her degrees and still raising us, it also taught me I can achieve anything with hard work. In all of that, she showed me how to be resilient. I thank her so much for that. Read more>>

Alphonso Settles | Actor/Model

I was born and raised In Detroit, Michigan where i have lived most of my adult life. My back ground growing up consists of sports and being competitive, I have a real work-horse,grind it out mentality! I raised by my mom and grandma, my mom I’m still blessed to have, but my grandma is deceased. They both taught and showed me how we could take what we had and make the best out of it. They instilled qualities in me that showed me if you truly put your mind to what you want you can achieve it, no matter what it is. Read more>>

Tremi Redd | Owner of Two Beauties NB Brief Line & Videographer

I am from Indianapolis, Indiana. I was brought up in a loving home with both parents present and an older brother. Many things occurred during my childhood that caused me to “just be quiet” rather than causing disruption. As I grew older and matured into the woman I am today, things changed. I realized I had two loving parents that would have accepted anything other than their daughter being lesbian. Read more>>

Ashley Smith | Mother/entrepreneur

I am from Atlanta Georgia born and raised my upbringing alway toughened me and made me want better for me and my family even though I grew up with both parents in my house hold they alway told me that I could be and do what ever I put my mind to even if things are going good still try to be better and to challenge myself and to never compare and believe in timing never rush success. Read more>>

Zipporah Kapambwe | Brand Photographer & Ceo of Chapter Thirty One

I was born in Zambia and my family came to the U.S shortly after I was born. My parents wanted to come to the United States for more opportunities in work and education. That impacted immensely because, as I was growing up, it was always in my mind to take advantage of this opportunity I’ve been given. I told myself I would never waste my talents and I wanted to make my family proud and honor the sacrifice my parents made leaving everything they knew to come here. Read more>>

Janelle Martinez-Cruz | Artist, Designer, & Equestrian

I’m Cuban and Puerto Rican born and born in the beautiful town of Kendal, Florida. Being fully raised as a Cuban girl was the best thing ever. There’s always constant music, art, and dancing. This affected everything I did because all I wanted to do was share my culture with others. I used my art as that outlet. I want to share more behind what’s it’s like as a Cuban gal in the South. Read more>>

Noah Beard | Musician

Where I’m from? Depending on who you Ask! I come from the spirit world, and I’ve asked to come into this dimension. To find out A passion that coincides with my energy. And that brought me to be born in Covington, Georgia. I was actually raised up On the East side of Atlanta. Most of my family is from the West side of Atlanta. The background I come from, going head first into everything, to get experience. As you know, we come from “under the dirt”. Literally, had to tear down, rebuild myself from everything, I’ve ever knew. Read more>>

Brian Keenan | Owner and Pitmaster, Keenan’s Pit Bar-B-Que

I’m originally from Spartanburg, South Carolina but lived all over the Carolinas growing up. Whole Hog Barbecue was plentiful and also considered a treat. I have fond memories eating whole hog barbecue in the Carolinas. I moved to Atlanta in late 2006 and found no barbecue suitable for me so I started dabbling in it myself at home. A good friend of mine opened a barbecue restaurant in 2009 and I was exposed to some different methods and philosophies. In 2010 I started creating recipes for my own barbecue. Read more>>

Taylur Baugh | Tarot reader & astrologer also YouTuber

I am from Atlanta , Georgia born and raised. My background and upbringing taught me how to always see the good in situations , I was also taught how to believe in myself and give my all to the things I’m passionate about I apply all of those techniques to my life and business so in my opinion those very things have made me strong , independent and hardworking. Read more>>

King Zahc R | Song Writer & studio engineer

I’m From Rochester, New York and grew up in Atlanta on the soufside, Lovejoy/Jonesboro area. An as far as the impact these two cities gave me as a artist plays a major roll in the artist I am today. Rochester, NY is who I am and Atlanta is what I represent. It’s like Rochester is the body of me and Atlanta is the blood inside me if that makes any sense. Read more>>