Through our work we have had the good fortune of seeing firsthand how success comes in every shape, size, color, faith, and orientation. More importantly we’ve learned that success is often the result of people embracing their unique backgrounds and so we’ve asked the community to tell us about their background and how it has impacted where they are today.

Faith (Audrey) Merritt (Monroe) | Cosmetic Business Owner | Makeup Artist | Content Creator

I was born and raised on the Northside of Birmingham, Alabama in a small apartment. Growing up, I watched my parents struggle to provide for my older brother and I. Their endurance during difficult times inspired me to strive to create a way to provide for them and myself. My late father showed me the importance of “handling my business” which meant to focus on my education and use my passions to create sustainability. My mother was influential in the woman that I am today. She instilled in me the importance of being, doing, and having the best. Read more>>

Melissa Mastrangelo | Fine Artist & Instructor

I grew up in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate NY: In a small town with big dreams. My family traveled a great amount to different beaches, where I guess my ocean obsession began. I moved out the second I could, at 18 to attend college, with the youthful idealism that I could move on to bigger and better things. This kept me ambitious throughout school, which is why I think I push myself so hard as an artist/ entrepreneur. Read more>>

Natalie Clark | Singer/songwriter & Music Supervisor

I’m from Glasgow, Scotland and lived there all my life until I moved to America a few years ago. I feel so lucky to have grown up in Scotland, surrounded by my amazing family. I think my upbringing and my country’s culture influences everything I do even if it’s just in subtle ways. I have so much appreciation for my heritage and family. I think of Scottish people as strong but also kind and friendly! We’ll take of you over there! So these values of kindness and also courage, I try and take with me in everything I do today! Read more>>

Angela Rush | Abstract Artist & Creative Space Owner

I was born in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba and immigrated with my mother, aunt, and grandparents to the United States when I was four years old. This journey was far from easy, leaving behind my father. I was not aware at that age how much my life was going to change, for the better. As young a immigrant I saw the challenges my family faced from language barriers to simply acculturating to a country 90 miles away from their beloved island. This motivated me to be everything they hoped I would become. Read more>>

Shamylle Estevez | Photographer & Visual Editor

Being born and raised in New York City, it shaped me into being the creative I’ve grown into. Since my early childhood, I found myself always gravitating towards the arts. My sophomore year of high school I had the opportunity to transfer to a school that was completely art-based. Living in Manhattan and the Bronx, spending my teenage years in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queen; I was able to learn more about who I was as a creative and was surrounded by more latinx creatives which I valued greatly. Read more>>

Olivia Williams | Owner & Creator of Mar Mar’s Bomb Shop

I was born in Sinaloa, Mexico. I come from a big family, I have 5 brothers and 5 Sisters. From an early each my parents showed us how to work hard for what we wanted, it didn’t matter if it was a piece of candy or a new car. If we wanted it, we had to work for it! When I was 10 years old my Father passed away in a bad car accident, so my mother and older siblings took on the role of raising me, I can they did it right! Read more>>

Elizabeth Jarquin | PhD, LMFT

This is an interesting question for me that always requires an explanation. Although I was born and raised in Miami, Florida I consider myself to be Nicaraguan or Nicaragüense. Both of my parents are from Nicaragua and raised my sister and I the “Nicaraguan” way. We learned to speak Spanish before English, only spoke Spanish in our home (which I still do today), were surrounded by media in Spanish, took Spanish courses to reinforce the language, and spent summers in Nicaragua. Read more>>

Hentaayy | Artist & Poet

So, I’m from Broward County—specifically Pompano Beach. Everything has always been so fast and flashy, and I think there’s a beauty in that. Coming from a family that made sure to teach me my worth, and a city where if you didn’t have anything, you had your pride, the energy and self love I’ve nurtured is crazy. I know who I am and what I’m capable of, thanks to that. Read more>>

Paola Schwerer | Eyelash extension & microblading artist/ instructor

I was born and raised in Dominican Republic, I came to the states when I was only 12 years old and been here since. I was raised by my single working mother and my grandparents , along with 2 aunts. All I ever saw growing up as I remember was my aunts working while going to school for a better future. While my mom worked so hard to give me a decent life, at one point my mother had to leave out of the country for work and had several jobs. So this has in fact shaped me to not only be a hustler but be responsible and focus on what needs to get done first. Read more>>