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.

JJ Canty | Personal Trainer, Army National Guard Military Police, Dekalb County Firefighter

I’m from Decatur Ga. and I am currently a National Guard Military Police and Dekalb County Firefighter. This definitely plays a role in who I am and why I chose the route that I am currently on. Growing up, I saw a lot of examples of what I did not want to be like. My parents made sure I stayed active and productive throughout my childhood. The best way for me to do that was sports. I witnessed a lot of family illness, sickness, death, etc. at a young age. I witnessed and experienced a lot of flaws in our system and instantly knew I wanted to be apart of public safety. I wanted to be the one to make a change and start a shift. I take my jobs very personal and want to be in the best shape possible physically and mentally. Everyday I risk my life and take on challenges that the average person may not experience. Over the past few years I started to realize the major impact that I have on my peers. I provide energy, discipline, and a mindset that the community can feed off of in a very positive way. Read more>>

Devika Goel | Corporate Communications Specialist

I’m from India and my upbringing has definitely shaped who I am today. I was born in a small town where education options were limited. My parents, however, had a very clear goal – provide good education to the children, enable them to follow their passion and teach them lessons for life. I went to a boarding school in a stunning hill station in India called Nainital (imagine Lake Como!) at the age of 7 – a 3 -hr drive away from my parents and studied there till the age of 18. I then graduated in Philosophy in Delhi and finally completed my Masters in Public Relations & Corporate Communications in Mumbai. Staying away from my parents at such a young age made me fiercely independent – you learnt everything basic on your own – yet the sacrifice they made, built a very strong bond amongst us. My first year in the boarding school – I received a letter from my mom every single day i was there. How do you top that? I value what my family did for me and the distance pushed me harder to succeed, learn new things and make them proud. Read more>>

Montressa Cunningham | CEO of Record Company

I am from Miami, Florida My background dead upbringing has inspired me to help other people to inspire themselves to be there best, by using the negative and turning it into a positive life or experience. Read more>>

Dhrmaine Bradley | Podcaster & Smooth Talker

I’m from Brooklyn,NY .. many know it as the greatest city in the world , growing up in Brooklyn you have to grow up fast , every situation i overcame and Learned from So it helped me be able to adapt in any environment/room. Read more>>

Shaun Bean-Arnold | Creative Director, Fashion Stylist & Merchandiser

I was born & raised in Kingston, Jamaica where I lived with my mom and older sister for majority of that time. I was somewhat of a stand-out in some circles, not appreciating the norms of the ‘Jamaican way’. Growing up there throughout the 2000s & early 2010s the homophobic and misogynistic nature of the island, heavily influenced by dancehall music really plagued, as it continues to, the freedom and true beauty of the nation. My ideologies have always been rooted in liberty and equality for all — which further developed in my university years studying courses like international human rights law & Caribbean fashion. Moving to New York a few years ago, opened my eyes to see that this kind of narrow-minded thinking exist all over the globe, not just the Caribbean. Resultantly, in an effort to play a part in truly impacting human rights and shape equality worldwide, through fashion and streetwear, my mantra is always this: ‘gender-less, gender neutral, gender-free style’. Read more>>

Shannon Booker | Growth Focused and Results-Driven Leader

I was born and raised in Darby, Pennsylvania a suburban town right outside of Philadelphia. Growing up, compassion for others and community involvement was something that my parents instilled in me. I watched my parents give selflessly and and make sure others had what they needed while taking care of their family and maintaining their careers as a factory worker and a childcare provider. Being apart of that type of upbringing impacted me greatly which has been displayed within my career and through community impact. I’ve worked in Higher Education where my work focused on student development and engagement and later transitioned into Corporate Learning and Development. Through community impact I’ve created an organization around my passion of running that focuses on uniting and celebrating the diversity within the running community while addressing and raising awareness about social issues affecting marginalized groups. People who know me would describe me as someone with a big heart who loves helping others and is always smiling. Read more>>

Amira Ashley | THE BOSS WITH THE GLOSS

I’m from Washington State. I started my business at 9yrs old in the midst of the pandemic, so I bet you can guess my background and upbringing had a major impact on who I am today. My mom (who’s my biological Aunt) is raising me, my brother, and older sister as a single parent. She gave up a lot to keep us together so we wouldn’t be split up into foster care homes. Watching her give her all to us, pushing herself to go for her dreams, all the while telling us we can be anything we want has truly inspired me. She’s taught me the value of family, what a real mom is, how to trust God, and that I can be anything I want to be. Read more>>

Sherri McCoy | Mom of Rose Marie and Co-founder of Blessing Bags of Warmth for the Homeless

I’m mostly an Atlanta girl. I was born overseas to military parents but we relocated to Atlanta when I was around 3 or 4 years old. We settled in East Atlanta off of what is now called Hosea Williams Rd. My grandmother lived less than a mile away on Hutchinson Street. A bulk of my willingness to serve comes from having watched my grandmother, Louise White, do many of the same things Rose and I do now. As a small child I remember her packing sandwiches to give to the hungry when we went downtown to pay the water bill. She cooked more chicken pot pies to take over a friend’s house who was sick than I could ever count. My other greatest impact would be that of my father, Andrew McCoy, Jr. After serving more than 20 years in the United States Air Force, he came home and his serving didn’t end. He was always willing to lend a hand wherever needed. Read more>>

Rondelle Martin | Christian Business Coach & Content Creator

I was born and raised in the Washington, DC metropolitan area–specifically Prince George’s County, MD. However, my parents are from Guyana, South America, so I grew up with a mix of Caribbean and DC culture. Growing up my parents were very entrepreneurial and they always had a side business outside of their career jobs. They taught my siblings and I the importance of having multiple streams of income and using our talents and skills to create a stream of income. In Guyanese culture, family and community are important as well so I understood the importance of doing things for others and not just for myself. To whom much is given much is required, and my parents raised me with that in mind. This sentiment is what really helped me understand making purposeful business moves because purpose is never just about you as an individual, but about the people who will be impacted by your purpose. Read more>>

Brittney Thornton | Media Personality

I was born in Fort Hood, Texas as a military brat but grew up in Glen Burnie in my childhood. After high school I graduated from college then I moved to Baltimore. My background has made me more culturally diverse and prepared me for life experiences I couldn’t have planned for. I’m very grateful for the people that I have met throughout this journey, good or bad, you helped shape me to strive for better. Read more>>

Kennyce Hart | Natural Hair | Protective Hair Stylist

I was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. Growing up, I went to all Dekalb County schools. My mother raised me as a single mother. I never needed a thing. If we ever struggled, I never knew it. She worked several jobs to provide for both me and my older sister. She even worked while going under chemotherapy. She is the epitome of a strong woman. She also took other people in need into our home, and made sure they were taken care of. If there’s anything I learned from watching my mother during my childhood, it would be to work hard, do good works, and pray. These things nurture and lead to success. I feel like my goal has been to accomplish everything my mother tried to do and more. This was the foundation of my motivation to succeed in life. Read more>>

Brandi Banks | Chief Snob in Charge

Bmore stand up!! I’m from Baltimore, Maryland…born and raised…from birth to undergrad at Morgan State University. I feel like Baltimore makes you resilient. Bmore girls are street smart and savvy. We are brilliant and about our business. That Bmore swag has penetrated every aspects of my business. Being able to adapt to unanticipated change is a skill I undoubtedly learned while navigating the streets of Baltimore. Bmore girls can make it anywhere!. Read more>>

Tracy Moss | Director, Go Beyond Your Knowledge

I am from Milwaukee, Wisconsin where I was raised around a very large and extended family. We were raised around many cousins, numerous aunts and uncles and others whom we thought were family, but were just extensions of our family love. My family did everything together- school, recreational activities and church. So when it came to summer activities, we were all together, either on my grandmother’s farm or at someone’s house. One particular summer, an aunt decided she would organize a two week activity for us to make sure we knew our black history. She taught us songs, poems, history and plays. I always remembered that summer and the fun we had. I never forgot the songs and poems, even after all of these years. The impact the summer had on me laid the foundation for what we have created with Go Beyond Your Knowledge (GoBYK, pronounced “Go-Bike”). Read more>>

Scott Washington | Professional Model Maker and Designer

I’m a New Jersey native. I began drawing at the age of four and building models at the age of eight. I was inspired by the older boys in my neighborhood, and by the airing of “Star Trek” on TV. The models used in the TV series were very clean with limited detail. This new technique in model making stimulated passion in me. After graduating from high school with Honors in Art, I attended the Art Institute of Philadelphia where I sharpened my skills and learned illustration and airbrushing techniques. Read more>>

Garrett Lash | PuffCuff CEO

I was born in Kankakee, Illinois, and raised in the Western Suburb of Chicago called Hinsdale. I was brought up in a black middle-class Christian home and fortunate to have both parents in the house. My father was a Pipe Fitter for General Motors-Locomotive Division, and my mom was a grade school teacher. So My parents instilled the principles of faith, love, hard work, and discipline in me from the beginning. My father was constantly thinking and strategizing on how to put our family in the best position possible. In hindsight, I can see that he was always five years ahead in his thinking than we were, which, interestingly enough, is the same thing I do for my family now. My upbringing has made me a God-fearing man who loves his family dearly and works hard at everything put before him. I’ve had some ups and downs that, for some, would have made them throw in the towel. I was blessed to preserver through and come out of those situations a better person. Read more>>

Ruby Velle | Indie Soul Vocalist, Lyricist, Creative Powerhouse

I was born Canadian, in a small suburb of Brampton, Ontario known for it’s diverse immigrant population. Around the age of 6 my family and I moved to Florida, where we lived closed to the beach. I attended college at the University of Florida in Gainesville, which is also where I met the founding members of my band, Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics. But if you ask me where I’m from now, the answer is ATL because over the past 16 years of living here, this city has embraced me as a creative storyteller and music maker. My upbringing was a near perfect combination of East Indian Punjabi roots and American education. Although my parents were strict, they were still very open to my sister and I experiencing all that American culture and education could offer us. At times, I wish I could have held onto my cultural roots a bit tighter, but there is so much to take in and learn when exposed to two cultural upbringings that we ended up adapting more to American ways of life. Read more>>

Marie Mott | Community Activist & Public Figure

I’m from Chattanooga, a mid sized city that has produced many legends. Bessie Smith, Usher, Samuel L. Jackson are all Chattanooga natives just to name a few. My city always has had a small town vibe with a very rich African-American culture and history. I grew up in a historical African-American community names Churchville with my grandmothers, parents, aunts and uncles. I was instilled with the importance of serving the community and working hard. My grandmother Betty Jo was a widow but owned a day care business and managed rental houses he built after he passed. My other grandmother Mary Ruth was a domestic worker who took care of rich people’s household and raised their children. I would never have the courage to be a community activist or run for city council if my family never raised me with immense values. Read more>>

JG Griffin | Videographer & Entrepreneur

Im From Augusta, Georgia, its a city with many talented people from athletes, artists, models, entrepreneurs, literally the whole nine, just overlooked with Atlanta being not too far up the road. Growing up in Augusta you would see some of the most talented people go unseen or unheard because it’s not a buzzing city like Atlanta. It can get hard for you to find motivation due to the lack of recognition that is deserved just because where you grew up. This encouraged me to find a way I could help bring more light to the city for the next generation to come. Read more>>

Floyd “Tre” Lee | Life Coach & Mental Health Advocate
|

\I am from Greenville, MS better known as the Delta of Mississippi. I am very proud to be from that city as well. We are not a high profile city but that is because a lot people have not had the chance to see the jewels that have been molded there. Greenville is a small city but everyone knows everyone almost. I always felt that my city needed a spark of hope and healing to see how valuable its surrounding is to the natives of that community. I was thankful to live in a home with both parents which both installed wisdom in me from different aspects of life. My dad taught me street sense while my mother prepared me with education sense. I took both of those aspects to be able to maneuver through this thing called life. I truly believe I am the voice for the voiceless and the message that God has given me is to be sound voice. I hope that when the person who has been waiting to see if superman is really real, when they see me that they know anything is possible, especially when God is guiding the direction. Read more>>

Desarea Bishop Waller | Herbalist, Doula, and Reiki Practioner

I was born and raised in Birmingham I’ve lived in different cities/states while none of them quite felt like home a joy of mine was always taking interest in different cultures and dynamics. As a young child we moved around quite a lot although it was challenging there were also advantages that impacted me greatly which led me to being multitalented, one of my greatest strengths!. Read more>>

Gwali Guys | Musician

Born from Detroit, Michigan by Nigerian parents, the music culture has always been a inspiration to us. From our parents collecting CDs from a wide variety of artists to performing in talent shows, the love for music has been planted in us throughout our entire childhood. Fast forward to 2011, due to the after effects of the tough recessions years, our parents moved to Atlanta, Georgia. This move also heavily influenced, impacted and shaped the way our music is created. Read more>>

Bri Boyd | Professional Makeup Artist and Beauty Chemist

I am from the 718, Brooklyn, baby! I grew up in the inner city, in the 80s and 90s. Needless to say,it was tough times for Black people and POC. I watched my mother and my friends’ mothers work extremely hard, every day, I was an excellent student and saw education as a way to affluence and success. I had an entreprenurial spirit early in life.- I was always prepared for class when most of my classmates werent. I’d sell pencils for a dime and pens for a quarter. I understood supply and demand before I understood it as a business term. The support that I have received from my Beloved hometown has been incredible. My first sale of Rich Skin Oil was to a friend from elementaryschool. Two other classmates booked me as a Makeup Artist for theor weddings, and I flew in to New York from Atlanta to be of service and to celebrate them in finding love. Brooklyn is tough, legendary and magical-like me. Atlanta is my second home now, but I will forever be a Brooklyn girl. Read more>>

Jason Terrell | Educator

I spent my childhood in South West Atlanta, off of Campbellton Road. My parents were pushed into parenthood in high school, so a village of grandparents, uncles, aunts, and community members raised me and contributed to my growth and values. Growing up, I have always believed in the importance of innovation and creating something tangible out of the intangible. I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. My father has his own business, my grandfather pastored a church, and my aunts and cousins constantly innovate with various side-hustles. I pulled two valuable lessons from my childhood: If you do not see an opportunity, create your own
My superpower is to be a capital connector. Read more>>

Farah Nizam | Artist, Teacher and Proud Muslim Woman.

I was born and raised in Duluth, Georgia. What was once a small, slow-paced town has turned into a bustling and diverse suburb of Atlanta . It’s definitely not the same Duluth that I grew up in. Back then, I was always the “only” one: the only brown girl. the only Indian, the only Muslim. I’m proud to say it would be hard to fit into those categories in the Duluth of 2021. But being raised as a minority in every sense of the word is what gives my business a personal touch. I used to crave fitting in and feeling comfortable in my identity. Now, I focus my unique individuality into my hand painted dolls in the hopes that other children see themselves in them. I have learned to revel in my “only” traits. They are the momentum with which my brushes paint broad strokes of brown and black on otherwise pale wood dolls. Those traits that I spent my youth hiding and minimizing are now permanently sealed on my wooden dolls, under coats of hardened gloss, shining with pride. Read more>>

Nicqueva Haughton | Owner of Elsada Shoes/ Shoe Designer

All my life I’ve considered myself a simple around the way girl. I was born in Stamford, CT and have been in Connecticut all of my life so far. I began to realize that I had something special within me when I noticed I was never quite fitting into the mold. If we aren’t careful, not fitting in can impact us negatively in our adolescent years. I was raised by two amazing parents, Lynton & Sharon Nelson, who embraced individuality. In my house, there was always a sense of “Do it how you feel it!” Self expression was embraced. Although my parents always guided me to do the right thing, there was always a fine line between what was right and what was true to who I am as an individual. My love of fashion and more particularly shoes was something I believe I was born with. I simply gravitated towards things I considered beautiful!! Both of my grandmothers are and were highly fashionable people. They were all about the sequin and color coordinating. My parents were all about clean lines and just being fresh! I think my environment was conducive to birth entrepreneurial behaviors and embrace individual creativity. Read more>>

Katie Cotton | Makeup Artist & Photographer

I was born and raised into a very theatrical family. My dad was a set designer and my mom was a costumer designer. I knew from a pretty young age that I wanted to be a makeup artist. Not only did I love the production aspect of makeup artistry, but i loved dolling up my friends and making them feel pretty. After graduation from college, I moved out to Los Angeles to work in the film industry. From there, things changed for me in ways I had not planned on. I met a wonderful man, had a baby and we got married. Yes, in that order. We decided that the lifestyle of working in Los Angeles wasn’t what we wanted for our family so we moved to South Carolina, a state neither of us was from nor did we have any family (though we did have a close friend thru my husband). I learned thru working in LA while I love production, I truly LOVE making women feel good. So I started my business in South Carolina just in makeup artistry. Read more>>

Laura Louis | Liscened Psychologist

I grew up in Pensacola FL. In this area, I didn’t see many happy relationships.
As result, I became curious about how to help Black communities.
During my childhood, I didn’t a lot of examples. The Cosby Show was a modern standard of what black families could look like and it was amazing to watch. However, my reality was very different being that most families around me were single-parent families. This in return lit a fire in me to help. Read more>>

Alexsia Brown | Business Owner & Photographer

I’m a native of Monroe, Georgia also known as “Big Walton” or “Da Roe.” Social Circle, Georgia also have a special place in my heart and big influence on my upbringing. Growing up in both cities, you was told to either go to college or get a job, or you’ll either be dead or in jail. That was my fuel to make something out of myself. I did both (college and worked). I can say, as I got older I started to see a path shift with my generation. A lot of us started businesses, became entrepreneurs, artists, and/or do what we love, instead of just what we need to do to survive. It’s beautiful. Especially coming from Monroe, Georgia where the barriers of success for black people historically was stacked against us. Being from where I’m from and my upbringing, I know that I can do anything I put my mind to as long as I keep God first, don’t give up, seize every opportunity that’s intentionally good for me, and keep grinding for what I want. That’s how I’m the person I am today. Read more>>

LáDeia Joyce. MBA | HIV+ Influencer, Activist, Speaker and Writer

I am Memphis born. Atlanta forged and Brooklyn propelled. Always a Memphis girl is how I describe myself. No matter what city I move to on this journey called life, the city of grit and grind will ALWAYS be home. Growing up in the inner city with parents who are an interesting balance of church and street instilled in me a VERY unique perspective early on in life. My upbringing birthed a little Black girl who danced to the beat of her own drum before it was popular and carried a righteous indignation before she could even spell the term. It has GREATLY impacted me and my work. I know I could not be the woman I am today – a Black woman living her life out loud, thriving with an HIV diagnosis while championing for the rights and raising the concerns of others living with this virus. It takes a certain kind of background that ingrains chutzpah and moxie in a little Black girl to birth this caliber of woman who gets to witness, in real time, how her showing up in life leaves a positively, impactful imprint on all she encounters. Read more>>

Kahari Burden HNLBabyK | Kahari Burden known as HNLBabyK

I was born & raised in Augusta, Ga, it’s pretty basic I played a leadership roll growing up mainly I had my times as a child where I had my fun and did my damage the trauma came from life lesson, Experiences. but that’s what made me who I am today, I feel like I’ve impacted a lot of lives as a young kid being a leader in a high school marching band because of my life experience taught me how to deal with certain situations and others situations & emotions, I’m still growing into something big I feel it. Read more>>

Shari Thornes | Six Figure Business Coach & Book Author

I’m from Jacksonville Florida, born and raised. Growing up wasn’t easy for me. Dealing with youth depression and sexual abuse, I felt like all odds were against me. However my parents always spoke positive and told me I could be anything in the world I wanted to be and that is something that always stuck with me. I am who I am today because of them, especially my stepmother. She taught me a lot. Read more>>

Justin Spainhour-Roth | Arts & Culture Marketer

While I 100% feel at home in the Atlanta area, I lovingly refer to myself as an unofficial Southerner, as I’m originally from the Cleveland area and have spent most of my life (so far) in the Midwest. While there’s certainly differences between the two areas (don’t get me started on the snow – happy to have far less of it), I like to think that there are some pretty unique similarities that have allowed me to really fit in, find my people, and call Georgia home since moving here almost 3 years ago. 1. Southern hospitality is basically Midwestern politeness with an accent 2. We love ANYTHING battered and fried 3. There’s a shared sense of community and welcoming While growing up in Ohio, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents, who introduced me to music, art, and culture, and that’s something that I’ve really held onto my entire life. I idolized Gene Kelly and Judy Garland, who could transport you anywhere through a song or a dance routine. It’s that exposure to classic movie musicals that stuck with me and made me realize THAT is what I wanted to do: I want to make an impact through the arts. Read more>>

Anthony Kelley | DJ & Enterprenuer

I am from a small-town – Monroe, Georgia. Growing up in Monroe – just let me know – if I wanted to be a dj – I had to get outta Monroe. That’s a working city, they party on Friday and Saturday. I had to be where they partied all the time. Read more>>

Alexus Highley` | TheFabulousAlexus

I was born on September 30, 1999, and I’m from a small town called Batesburg-Leesville in South Carolina. In my town, I haven’t seen anybody in my town do a business and be successful. I want to be the first one of the people to step out of my zone and be different. My future is bright and through my YouTube Channel, I have the opportunity to make my dream a reality. I will be a motivational speaker and then down the line, I will be a News Anchor in Atlanta. I’ll also be able to continue my reality show based on me. I would love to collaborate with my favorite Youtuber PrettyGirlChaz. Read more>>

Sunni Sanders | Singer-Songwriter

I grew up in Detroit, Michigan and have lived in Atlanta for 10 years. I have grown up around music, starting with church. Everything from choir rehearsals, solos and mentorship from older musicians molded me into the artist I am today. My parents played everything from gospel to R&B to jazz and all of those genres rolled into one would perfectly describe my sound. Read more>>

Christina Waters | STEM Advocate/Career Consultant

I am from Savannah, GA. I grew up in a large family on both my dad and mom sides. I had a wonderful, colorful, and fun childhood. I was raised by my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. My upbringing had and has a major impact on who I am today. I was taught about integrity, family, morals, values, hard-work (both 9-5 & entrepreneurship) and mostly importantly about humanity and treating others with dignity and respect. I strive everyday to make my family proud, continue our legacy, and set a good example for the ones who come after me. Read more>>

Alyssa Space | Founder & Beauty Chemist

I am a Chemist from Michigan State University. I am originally from Chicago, Il the windy city but I currently reside in metro Detroit. My mother’s hard work ethic and independence has definitely shaped who I am today. She has always taught me persistence, dedication and hard work always outweigh talent, although talent doesn’t hurt. My love for science and beauty came to me a while back, making all types of concoctions as an 8 year old beauty enthusiast. My mother was always my muse for these creations and until this day she still is as a 27 year old Beauty Chemist. Read more>>

Yucca Harris | Author

Yucca Harris is an Atlanta native and have always had a passion for the fashion and beauty industry. She was introduced to the hair industry at the age of 16 as a shampoo technician. She shampoo assisted for 2 1/2 years, thereafter; She went to pursue the corporate world for the next 15 years. After major layoff and down sizing, she left corporate as a Claims Examiner. In 2010, Yucca decided to follow in her best friend’s foot steps. When the opportunity presented it self. Yucca began working at several salons, in the Atlanta Metro Area. She worked as general manager which led her to become a salon consultant. She has traveled major cities attended training, educational classes, boot camps and major trade shows. A Fashion and Hair Model, Yucca has been featured in several hair magazines such as Hotlanta, Modern Salon, Passion International Hair Magazine and Sophisticate’s Black Hair Magazine. Read more>>

Leel Wan | Cinematographer & Director

Im originally from Broward County Florida. I grew up with humble beginnings. One of the biggest things I took from my upbringing was resourcefulness. From an early age making due with what was around the house. My cousins and I would make mini movies on this toy camera called Digital Blue. This had a major impact on who I am to this day. Read more>>

Dr. Carla Pennington | Business Owner, Author & College Professor

I am from a small town in rural Alabama called, Wagarville. I graduated from a nearby city, called Chatom, AL by way of Washington County High School. I was brought up in a loving, hardworking, Christian household. My parents Carl & Angela Pennington have been married for 39 years. I have two brothers, Kyle & Kerrigan & a fur baby, Mr. Polo. Our family dynamics have always been to put God first in everything we do and that’s why I am successful today. Education is important to me and I charged myself to be the best I can be by receiving an Associates of Arts from Shelton State Community College, Bachelor of Arts in Communication & Information Sciences & Master of Arts in Advertising & Public Relations, both from The University of Alabama; and lastly, I have a Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership from The University of Phoenix. Read more>>

Brandon Anderson Sr. | Owner of Atlanta’s own Covered Worldwide (www..coveredcustoms.com

I’m from Decatur, Georgia. My background and upbringing played a critical role in who I am today. I believe the situations and relationships we have developed throughout life have a way of shaping who we ultimately are. I believe that what doesn’t break you, builds you. Life is about experiences and living to the fullest. Growing up my group of friends always pushed each other to be the best in every facet of life. Even to this day, we are constantly checking in on each other to ensure we all are on the right path. I have good friends in Texas and California that have truly inspired me to keep going.Creatively, I’m heavily influenced by the rich Atlanta music culture. (Outkast, T.I., Kilo, Gucci Mane, Ludacris and Goodie Mob) to name a few. Atlanta is now known as the “Hollywood of the South” a title that was earned by the works of some of the artists I mentioned. During my time it was the “Dirty South” and that plays a lot into the creativity we can display. Read more>>

Molly Morris Nguyen | Ceramic Artist

I’m originally from a small town in northern Michigan that sits right on Lake Michigan, about 20 minutes south of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park. Summers in Michigan are magical—the night skies filled with stars, crackling bonfires on the beach, softly dimpled warm sand, and roaring waves that crash into each other and glitter in the sunlight—all of these majestic, familiar clips replay in my head every day while I’m shaping my hand-built ceramic forms. The simplicity of summer days in my memories translate into the minimal, rounded shapes I create and the color palette of my work. It’s easy to get carried away in the stress of day to day life, especially living in a big city, so I’m very grateful to have this special place buried away in my heart that I can return to as a source of inspiration and peace. Read more>>

Vanessa Fant | Actress

I represent Lawrenceville, VA! A small, one stop light town in Southern Virginia where everyone knows everybody. Being raised in a small town forces you to be open minded. I moved at age 20 and now all i can think about is ways to bring back businesses to my hometown. Lawrenceville has completely grounded me and i’m forever grateful for the place i call home. Read more>>