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Portraits of Baltimore

It’s more important to understand someone than to judge them. We think the first step to understanding someone is asking them the fundamental questions about who they are and how they became the person they are today. Understanding and empathy are essential building blocks for a better, more compassionate world. We’re incredibly fortunate to be able to ask these questions each week through our interview series. Below you’ll find inspiring interviews from in and around Baltimore.

Briyanna Tiafoe

Hi! My name is Briyanna (Bri) Tiafoe and I am the designer behind Book Breezy Graphics. I am a freelance designer that specializes in digital flyers, motion flyers, logo designs, and more. I always had a knack for creative arts but I started playing around with photoshop towards the end of high school. Once I started college at Towson University, I would make designs for different organizations at school, and as I continued I developed an extreme passion for graphic design and after that the rest is history. I love what I do and through everything, I’m extremely grateful for all the lessons and blessings along the way to get me to where I am now, as well as my friends and family who support me day in and day out. Read more>>

Shanarra Owens

Hello, my name is Shanarra Owens, but everyone calls me, NarraBoo. I grew up in west Baltimore. My mom had six kids and my dad was in and out of jail for half of my life. Out of my mom’s six kids, I was totally different. At the age of 10, I started getting into trouble. I was in and out of detention centers. Growing up in Baltimore was hard for me but after I started meeting new people and figuring things out, I began to understand myself more. I noticed a lot of people opening up businesses. I thought to myself, hey I could do this. I am a leader and if I open a successful business a lot of people would want to do it also. I was right. The pandemic birthed a lot of entrepreneurs. I am just getting started and I have a long way to go. But, I know I’m on the right track. Read more>>

Adrienne Russell

My love for working with women and helping them find confidence through fashion is rooted in my love for servantship. I am a healthcare professional by day of almost 20 years that served in the underserved community for over a decade as a community pharmacist. So, I am naturally a server and educator and love to make an impact in people’s lives. In my young adult years in college, I was known for my impeccable taste and fashion sense. One day during a typical trip to the shopping mall, I decided to stop in a new boutique to purchase a dress for an upcoming event. I will never forget how excited I was to shop in this exclusive boutique knowing I would have a one-of-a-kind dress. Read more>>

Claudia Carias and Carlos Raba

Carlos Raba was visiting a dear friend in Oakland, California who had recently opened a non-profit, Guardian Gym. They were offering free training to kids in Oakland in Muay Thai, Boxing & Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Brazilian Jiu-jitsu has had an enormous, positive impact on Carlos life and believed that Baltimore could benefit from a similar program. As Baltimore transplants, his wife, Claudia had always wanted to do something to give back to Baltimore’s communities. Together with Carlos, Guardian Baltimore (affiliate) (www.guardianbaltimore.org) opened up officially in February 2020 in an empty storage space in the Remington neighborhood of the City of Baltimore. In March 2020, Guardian Baltimore had to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic but re-opened again in March 2021. As of today, we have 40 kids, ages 6-17 who are receiving free training in Jiu-jitsu, complete with uniforms & a complimentary burrito program (ages 10-17) through Carlos’ restaurant, Clavel (www.barclavel.com). Donations & Adult gym memberships support our youth programs & facility needs. Read more>>

Shiniya Washington

Whew! Everyone has their fetish; mine is HAIR (I’m only talking about the hair on your head ONLY). It all started out learning how to braid from my cousin when I was 7. I can remember the first person that let me braid their hair. Lol, it was so funny because that’s was when I would literally run out of hair when doing cornrows. But over time, my mom and other family members would buy me mannequins to practice on. I loved my mannequins, styled them like they were legit people. My freestyle used to amaze me. Read more>>

Roy Long

We’re just three bros that love the game. Maudygraw, Chino, and Peazy. We started out just talking and debating about hoop topics. Some of the conversations were so dope that we wanted to find a way to have these same conversations with other hoopers across the world. Our slogan is “We Connect Through The Game”. Originally, we started with a small group on Facebook that allowed anyone in the group to post random hoop topics. Then we came up with the idea to start our podcast so we could share our voices and views with anyone who’s crazy enough to listen. Read more>>

Marquita “Lady Q” Redd-Hickson

Let me start by saying I have many aliases. In the wellness world, my name is Lady Q… one of my first clients named me that. In media, I go by Simone’s Skyye… my alter ego. Now that that’s out of the way, let me share my story. It’s funny because how I got started and where I am today is because I am the servant of the people. I can credit that to my late grandmother Nina B. Redd, who raised me as her own since I was three months old. Read more>>

Ebony “Chinkii” Battle

It all started when I was in high school, I went to a trade school named Harford Tech where I studied painting and graphic arts. In 2014, I got my LLC and made my business official doing pretty and graphic arts in specializing in vinyl and sublimation. Since then my business has been booming out of control because I am also a motivator in the car world along with Car Club Dysturbance auto family. I started vinyl wraps in 2020 when I stayed up all night on my birthday to do my first wrap. Now we are fully open for business in a brand new location we just recently had a sip and see for on October 24, 2021. Read more>>

Brenton Webb

I grew up in Toledo, OH in the church immediately learning right from wrong. My parents sent me to a predominantly white school where I learned about the cultural difference between Black and white America. Thankful for what I learned in my adolescence carried me into when I began living in Chicago in my late 20’s. In Chicago, I learned even more about segregation, discrimination, and inequality. Then in 2020, George Floyd was brutally murdered on camera. I have always been involved in my communities, but this felt different. From there, I knew that I had to do something. So from there, I reached out to people that I trusted who would feel the same as I did at that moment watching Floyd. Read more>>

Tyler Smith

I have been listening to music my whole life. I first heard a rap on the radio and music videos on MTV when I was 5 years old, back in the early ’90s. I was influenced a lot by Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Public Enemy, A Tribe Called Quest, Naughty by Nature, Cypress Hill, and Wu-Tang Clan. I was also big into rock bands like Guns n Roses, Metallica, Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, and Rage Against the Machine. The combination of hip hop, gangster rap, and grunge rock/heavy metal made me want to be a musician. I knew I couldn’t sing very well so I started playing and learning guitar and bass guitar when I was 14 years old. Read more>>

Krystal Salter

My fitness journey began in August 2012 after having my first child. Starting at 240 lbs. Post-pregnancy, I wanted nothing more than to just look in the mirror and have a positive self-image. I was experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression… I felt hopeless, powerless, and disconnected from myself. It was rough! I would cry about it and then go feed my emotions. It was a vicious cycle that I’ve dealt with for as long as I could remember. A few months after having my son, my husband took me outside to jog around our neighborhood. It was like having my very own coach. He encouraged and spoke life into me each time we were out there. I would cry, he would validate how I felt, and then tell me to keep moving forward. This is when my journey truly began. I needed that support, push, and accountability. It took me months to figure myself out and create some consistency with it all. Read more>>

Indria and Kennette

So, we used to work in DC at a hotel that housed people that were less fortunate until they placed them in their own homes granted by the government. The company that we worked for was a contract cleaning company. We enjoyed our time there but knew we wanted to work for ourselves. We took all of the positive and effective ways that the company ran their business as motivation to create our own with a twist of our own foundation. Read more>>

Devin Cook

Blackbird Salon is an eight-chair salon located on the brim of Navy Yard and Capitol Hill, DC. Owned by two women, Devin Cook and Justine Carlisle – we had a dream of creating an inviting, for-all space that felt luxe and relaxing. Since opening in August of 2020, we now have a full staff of 22 employees. Some are full-time, renters and traveling stylists from all over the nation. We value our employee’s individuality and aim to support them on whatever their career goals may be, after all – everyone is different! We have quickly grown into a hot DC salon from the support of the incredible women in the DMV area. In future planning, we consider working professionals, stay-at-home moms, college students, interns, and every story in between to continue to create self-care for our community. Read more>>

Picaso

I’ve always had a passion for fashion, being a teen and dressing on how I felt and what was my trend. I knew I was trendsetting when the following mouth the loom I got teased or bulled on was the new look. As a confident booster, I because one of the first plus-size male models in the modeling troop organizations. I was given the name, Picaso because I was unique and different and I expressed art in how I dress and present myself. I was into fashion from my aunt who used to take clothes apart and hand stitch them together to male what made him feel sexy and confident. And I took from that want wanted to follow in her footsteps And be a fashion designer. Read more>>

Jasmina Price

I’m Jasmina, a 29-year-old realtor, business owner, and boxing coach! I was born and raised in Baltimore and graduated from UMBC in 2013. I loved learning, but I didn’t love college, so I did everything I could to graduate as quickly as possible. I got a degree in Political Science and Media in just three years. Since I graduated early, I had the option to either go to law school, get a job, or take a year off. I had every intention of going to law school. Read more>>

Yaheed

I grew up in Randallstown, MD, and was very fortunate to be around a lot of talented people. I saw at an early age that talent had to be accompanied by hustle and determination. Being around hustlers in Baltimore gave me the ambition I needed to seek and carve out my own path. Music, creativity, and fashion have always been an interest and as soon as I got the chance I executed my passions. Today, I’m the CEO of Cultural and Social Clothing and my motto is simple ‘Health is wealth, and being Fly is the new High.’ Read more>>

Leslie Crawford

Just before the pandemic changed the world, I was talking to a group of students. They were in the fifth grade at the time. We were discussing reading. Each of the students told me they didn’t like to read. Because I am a literacy advocate, this didn’t sit well with me. When I asked them why the responses were, they didn’t enjoy the books inside their school. The books weren’t relatable. It bothered me at the time of our conversation, but I had no idea what to do about it. I didn’t have any say in the books that were placed inside of classrooms. A month after everything shut down, I started writing a book called Dear Future Black Queen. This book is filled with poems and letters written to young black girls about confidence, self-esteem, skin color, knowing their worth, and believing they are royalty. Then, around April 2020, I kept waking up at the same time every morning. It was 3 am daily, and I didn’t know why I couldn’t sleep through the night. Especially since I wasn’t going to bed until after midnight most nights. Read more>>

Cole Mitchek

Back in Summer 2019, ‘smallsongs’ was birthed from the inspiration of shooting spontaneous and acoustic music videos. ‘smallsongs’ started in Denver, and then we purchased a bus to take it on the road. We eventually made it to Baltimore and spent some time mostly parked in Charles Village. There we met and shot videos with some incredibly talented Baltimore musicians like Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon, Bobbi Rush, Josh Stokes, Micah E. Wood, Super City, Modern Nomad, and Judah Arrington. Read more>>

Darnell Murphy

Originally, I am from Alexandria, Louisiana. Coming from a military family, I traveled a lot and was exposed to many different things. Two of the biggest influence I had was Master P and my wife. Both had the mindset of entrepreneurship, so constantly being around that made me want to have something of my own. When I got into professional fighting, is when I wanted to start repping and wearing my own gear. You see many professional athletes do so, but unfortunately, my mindset was too focused on just fighting and trying to survive. It wasn’t until 2020, during the pandemic, I had the spark to put my all into creating my own apparel line and offering custom productions for others. The mission that I wanted the brand to represent was to be a symbol of empowerment. A reminder to never give up on yourself and your goals and others. Read more>>

Katheryn Angel Scottollio

I started off as a teacher in the State of New Jersey. Not long after, the governor at the time enforced a massive statewide budget cut in education. This caused many educators to either retire earlier than planned or be completely out of work. I was not eligible for any grants to return to school, so I was offered the opportunity to take business classes through the Reemployment Center in South Jersey. Most of my family has owned retail businesses so I figured that I would follow suit until another teaching position opened up. Read more>>

Melodee Pryce

I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. Everyone in my family sings. After college, I went overseas to Asia. My career started on an International level. Over the last nine years, I’ve been a freelance musician traveling all over the world. I’ve performed on 5 of the 7 continents. Read more>>

Young Bail

Well, I first started rapping at the age of 13. I first started recording music at 16, I took rap music seriously not too long after at about age 18 in 2011. I dropped my first Mixtape in 2012 Titled Brunswick Star since then I’ve put out five projects over all my second mixtape was called, Tunnel Vision. Then, All work No Sleep in 2017, Sincerely Yours in 2019; and as of today, Truly Yours in 2021. Rap became my therapy for a lot of the issues I was dealing with in real life outside of music it’s been a lot of ups and downs along this journey but it’s worth it Read more>>

Phylicia Poulson

I grew up in West Baltimore City with two older sisters and my parents. My mom was a model, my father is an actor, a ballet dancer, and an actress for sisters. I guess you can say I grew up around artists. These are the people I looked up to and still where I receive some of my inspiration. Since I was a little girl, I have been fascinated by heels and was always in my mom and sisters’ stuff. Once my parents gave me the okay to wear my own, I was always walking around in heels unless I was working or playing sports. One rule my mom had was “if you’re going to wear heels, you have to know how to walk right in them.” That’s exactly what I did and now I can’t stop. Read more>>

Katya Denisova

I came to Baltimore from St. Petersburg, Russia in 2002 to teach physics in Baltimore City Schools. With a work visa in my pocket, good for three years, I was not sure of what’s ahead. I was confident, however, that I was a good teacher, knew my subject well, and would be able to teach anyone anything. I was thirsty for adventure, new connections, and new experiences. I also knew that I wanted to dance. I danced all my life and only took a short break in grad school. Russian folk dancing was my passion, my love, my calling. Read more>>

DJ LimeLightz

Well, I used to throw parties then I started hosting (MCing) my own parties. I’ll say after following Dj Mo Beats and Dj Liquid at the time, I kinda thought I could do what they were doing and I was in college! I felt like I could start DJ’ing my own parties, so I bought some equipment and started going to the club, watching other DJ’s then I would go home and practice. I just remembered it was about to be my first icebreaker and I told the promoter that I DJ and to let me rock that b****. Read more>>

XanDan

I was born and raised in East Baltimore in the ’90s. I always had a love and passion for music/entertainment since I was a kid. Music and movies have always fascinated me and being as though I had a small sense of humor and had so much love for music I started rapping for fun as a teen inspired by artists such as Lil Wayne, DMX, Waka Flocka, and many more.Also, I start doing a short skit and adding a little humor to my visual but to keep it brief I never give up on doing what I love and chasing my dreams I motivate myself to keep going and growing every day and never forget networking and hard work is key!!! Read more>>

Kelsey Holden

It was 2018 and I was looking for a creative outlet and so I took an embroidery class at a maker space that used to exist in South Baltimore. I was hooked upon learning the machine and spent many evenings there for months to come starting up my Etsy business. Eventually, the maker space closed, and I lost my space to embroider. Fast forward to 2020, it was during the pandemic that I realized I needed my creative outlet again to cope with the stress of the pandemic, and my wedding I had to postpone due to COVID-19. It was like the stars aligned and the same machine I learned to embroidery on was for sale on the Facebook marketplace nearby. So, I bought the machine and began my real investment into my business. Read more>>

Robyn Estwick and Pam Wilks

Pam Wilks: I started my real estate career in July 2001. My background was in sales/IT and although it was very financially rewarding it was not fulfilling. I started my personal homebuying journey for the current home that I live in and found the process to be intriguing! The seller at that time refused to work with a Realtor, so I proceeded to do the transaction on my own, working directly with the seller. It was a learning process for sure! And it evolved into the beginning of my real estate career. I decided to quit my sales job, and become a full-time Realtor! Fast forward to now, I have been licensed for 20 years, and have never looked back! My daughter Robyn, who had an extensive background in corporate America, decided to join me five years ago and we have been a power team ever since! We have recently expanded our team and officially added a newly licensed agent Ste Lawrence! We are excited to continue to grow. Read more>>

Andrea Adams

I’ve been in the industry for nearly 20 years now. I guess you could say it’s just in my blood. I attended Graham Webb International Academy of Hair after high school. I then worked for Elizabeth Arden Red Door Salon and spa for many, many years. Along the way, I’ve been fortunate enough to have some great mentors and educators for support and guidance. I myself have been an educator/trainer for many of those years. I’ve now landed at Hues on Hanover as an independent stylist where I use put years of expertise as a WellaColor Educator and EasiHairPro Trainer to work. I’m surrounded by people who support and lift each other up. It’s a place of positivity and growth. I’m so excited to expand and grow alongside these driven, passionate, hardworking, talented people. Read more>>

Leigh Philipkosky and Ellie Skinner

“It’s all craft,” as we say here at Of Love & Regret. At this local exchange, the world influences our food, beer, cocktails, and wine. Owned and operated by local Baltimoreians, Of Love & Regret is no average local restaurant. Our passion for uniqueness and quality sets us apart. We are the art of life, love, food, drink, and service. Established in 2012, Of Love & Regret came to life as the original taproom for Stillwater artisanal ales. Our name comes from the Stillwater beer, Of Love & Regret, which is a beautiful brew with lavender, chamomile, heather, and dandelions. Read more>>

Anna Meushaw

I never thought I’d end up as a Boudoir Photographer. In fact, I went to college majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. I had always taken photos for fun growing up; it was something I loved to do. And I continued photographing friends in college for fun. I started getting inquiries while I was still in school, and I would take them because I loved doing it. Only a year or so away from graduating, I realized that I didn’t want the research career I had so long been dreaming of. I wanted to spend time with my children, and I thought maybe I’d be able to expand my photography business. Read more>>

Mon’ae Amy

Where do I begin? Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I was different. I never wanted the typical American dream with a 9 to 5 and white picket fence. I knew that I was destined to be famed. I’ve always had natural abilities such as singing, dancing, and modeling. I just so happened to be beautiful too! I grew up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Baltimore. Poverty and trauma were all I knew. When you grow up experiencing so many life injustices, your chances of becoming who you want to seem impossible. Despite my hardships, I sang in the choir and danced on my school’s dance team. Read more>>

Relly Dinero

I’m Relly Dinero. I’m 23 years old. I’m a Scorpio. Born and raised in West Baltimore. I was raised by my grandparents; my mother passed when I was 2 and my “dad” wasn’t really there. My grandparents raised me in the church. I was a singer before anything but as I got older it wasn’t a passion for me anymore. When I started high school at Fredrick Douglass High School (Class of 2016), I started to notice I would get compliments on my looks, outfits, etc. I got into modeling in 2017 but I didn’t start taking it seriously until 2019. Read more>>

Melissa Garfinkle

I started my food blog in 2017, just as a way to declutter my camera roll. I have always loved food and believed in the phrase “camera eats first.” I came by the idea to create my Instagram with the help and encouragement of a friend. I realized that I enjoyed photographing meals that I would eat and meals of my friends and family as well. I would say I uploaded content fairly often, however, I didn’t put much effort into my posts. Read more>>

Slick Guruzee

What’s a good family? I’m Slick Guruzee, an independent music artist and clothing entrepreneur originally from Pittsburgh, PA but now residing in Los Angeles, California. I’ve been pretty much-making music for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I gained I was pretty popular amongst friends and family and gained the nickname “Lil Slick”. Soon after, I began rapping in my city with some of my close friends calling ourselves “M.O.E”. Aside from rap we were just ordinary kids from an impoverished neighborhood trying to have fun and make a way out for ourselves. We had a lot of fun but at the same time, we knew we needed better. Read more>>

Ruthie Skillman

I got into photography when I saw my friends posting photos they’d taken on a “big camera.” I was inspired by what could be created with a digital camera. I received a starter camera for Christmas and practiced what I was learning from YouTube on family and friends. Eventually, people started hiring me to take birthday pics, wedding pics, etc. I was trying to conceive my first child at the time, so newborn photography felt like a good fit. Read more>>

Brittanie Lee

I started in the beauty industry over five years ago. I put my focus on lashes and brows within the last three years. One day, I woke and realized that my dreams do matter. In order to live out the fantasy I have in my head and my heart I needed to put action into my thoughts. Even though I had dreams at the time I wasn’t pouring into myself. So I did a little soul searching… looked into a mirror every single day and spoke life into myself. I had to acknowledge the light in me as well as the dark. That is when I realized that I wanted to be in the beauty industry. I started with braiding hair and doing natural styles. I decided to challenge myself and add lashes. Soon permanent make-up, teeth whitening, body sculpting, and dare I say skincare line! I sure will. Because I see a future in this industry for me. Read more>>

Lexx Burgos

Before moving to the DC Metro Area, I DJed as a hobby back when I was living in El Salvador. I did several block parties in the neighborhood where I lived and realized that I wanted to do this more professionally and get better at my craft. Once I moved to the US, I decided to pursue DJing but at a professional level, and began working at clubs and doing small corporate events. I currently work as a DJ for Washington Talent Agency (WTA), located in Montgomery County, Maryland where I do gigs that range from Bar/Bat Mitzvahs to Corporate Events. I also do weekly virtual live shows on Mixcloud Live and have a fan base from all over the world. Read more>>

Dominick Stewart and Russell Carter

My name is Dominick Stewart and I started this LLC with my business partner Russell Carter in April of 2020. Russell and I have known each other since freshman year of high school at Paul Laurence Dunbar (DC). We also had two years of college with each other as well at Penn state university. We collectively have always wanted to start something that we can leave for our kids and family. Took about six years for us actually start the business. One of our first acquisitions was the property in Brooklyn, MD with a two-unit multi-family property which we brought in June 2020 and sold in January 2021, which allowed for us to open up our territory from just the Baltimore area to the whole DC, Maryland, and Virginia locations. Read more>>

Nicole Kyser

Like most that end up in the fashion field, I have always had a true passion for fashion since I was a little girl… even as early as 5 years old. I’ve carried that ambition into my young adulthood and majored in Fashion Merchandising graduating from Kent State University. Fast forward to three years ago I decided to take the leap and launch Pretty and Proper Boutique with the mission to provide fashionable, everyday styles to women on the go… most importantly moms. My mission has always been to help provide confidence and a sense of self back to the busy, everyday woman in the form of comfort and style. Read more>>

DaRonda McDuffie

As a pre-teen one of my neighborhood friends used to visit her grandmother. This time of year when street lights went off early, her grandmother would invite us into snack, make hand-sewn pillows and chat. Ten years later, as a youth director, I felt the pull on my heart to have chats with the girls during overnight prayer sessions and in-youth conferences and create special events for them. As a young adult, I felt God tug on my heart to take what was experienced in ministry with the young girls, to the community, The Princess Within is the name He gave me, and I’ve held the conference for girls, which then turned into a mission for equipping them for leadership now for eight years, involving the community of subject matter experts, volunteers, speakers, instructors, workshop leaders and more. Read more>>

Shanazar Beasley

Real Estate has always been something that interests me. When I was left a home by my late grandmother back in Upstate NY and lost it because I was young and not educated on how things worked I took a step back. I moved to Maryland in 2010 and purchased my first home two years later with an agent who was also a friend of mind. He became my broker three years later after numerous conversations and him telling me for years that I would do great things in this industry. Read more>>

Andrea Puckett

Initially, I had dreams to become a lawyer, then it turned into wanting to be a nurse. But I knew that wouldn’t work out too well because the slightest sight off-leash would make a swarm. So after high school, I was back and forth in college and achieved a few certificates and jobs in between that time. But after all of that, a passion was still missing. it wasn’t until 2019 when I decided to start my own boutique. My sales skills were already there. I’ve worked in the sales area almost all my life. From doing door-to-door sales in high school selling newspaper subscriptions to working at “ Bath&Body Works” as a customer service sales rep. Read more>>

Derick Saul

I was born and raised in Jersey. I went to Kran University and majored in Exercise Science and a minor in Health. After I graduated college, I wanted a new change of scenery so I decided to move to Atlanta with my girlfriend. Now I’m in Atlanta trying to figure things out for my future. Read more>>

The Rough Cut Sportscast

Two guys who loved sports, Vincent Milani and AJ Johnson both ran separate sports podcasts that were a lot of fun. They never quite reached the level of success they were hoping for. It felt like a hobby, not a lifestyle. What was next? That’s when each of them decided to enroll in The Dan Patrick School of Sportscasting at Full Sail University. A university with hundreds of sportscasting students, these two found each other. Shortly into their journey, they realized they shared similar goals and a bond was formed. In a competitive environment and industry, they chose to work together to build something special. It started as a simple fantasy football podcast, but they quickly realized the chemistry, passion, knowledge, and drive they shared was meant for something bigger. So they went all in. The Rough Cut Sportscast was born. Read more>>

Marisol Correa

I was born and raised in Washington, DC. My parents got me into the performing arts at a very young age. I was in dance, music, art, singing, modeling, and anything that would allow me to flourish at a young age. My father, Jose ‘Pepe’ Correa was a renowned boxing trainer whose fighters included Sugar Ray Leonard, Lennox Lewis, and Riddick Bowe – among others. Being a Boxing Family, that lifestyle allowed me to travel the world, meet amazing people and love boxing in itself as a sport. Read more>>

Brittany Rich

The idea of me bartending stems from going out to eat a lot and ordering various cocktails and martinis; “Lemon Drop” martini became my go too! I would take a picture of the drink menu while I’m out and then try to duplicate it at home and when it comes to being a mixologist it’s all about trial and error then perfection! Once I got pretty good at it; I would post on my social media. Then I decided that I wanted to get certified as a mixologist! The thought of mobile bartending came immediately after and it’s been a good journey! Coming from a service industry for so many years as a customer service manager serving multiple people in a short window of time is second nature! Read more>>

Lenore Lyons

In venues, large and small, I set out trays full of used keys on big tables. People of all ages 1-100+ are asked to choose a key and with images and words, respond to the question: What does your key open or start or do? Adults and children share their big ideas on beautiful paper. These KeyStories are immediately added to a display for others to view and appreciate. Their artwork becomes part of a national project and the key that inspired the writing is theirs to keep. Read more>>

Street Scott

I grew up in West Baltimore, MD. I started making music at 17 but I’ve always had a deep love for music. Growing up, I would be exposed to all genres of music. From N.W.A, ATibeCalledQuest, Slum Village to Prince, Steely Dan, and tons of other stuff. I stumbled on making beats when one of my best friends, Exo let me borrow his MTV music generator disc. A PS one game from 20 years ago, lol. I made my first horrible beat and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve always carried a passion and obsession to be better than I was the day before. So starting from the PlayStation and FL Studio to teaching myself how to play instruments has been an amazing journey. Read more>>

X. Josh Fernandez

I’m a dad of two amazing kids and life’s blessed more than I deserve. I’ll do anything for them and teach them everything I know. They’re thoughtful, diligent, and kind—thank goodness they take after their mom. I’ve known my wife since we were 15 and we’ve been in an eternal hanging-out status since. I’m proud of her in many, many ways. I still panic a little when she looks at me funny. I live a life, not mine but entirely theirs. Photography has been a constant companion since 2002 and I fall for it harder year after year. Life, for me, is hardly a fairytale but always an adventure. Read more>>

Phallon Perry

I was born in the Cherry Hill neighborhood of South Baltimore. At the age of six, my family relocated to Baltimore County where I started grade school. I attended middle school at Sudbrook Magnet Middle School where I studied Visual Arts and Drama. Later we moved to East Baltimore where I attended Baltimore School for the Arts where I studied Theatre Production. During that time, I was accepted into the Spoleto Study Abroad program for Creative Writing. Read more>>

Defonix Connally

My name is Defonix, I have been actively pursuing my music career since around 2010 but have been creating music since 2007. I began by writing poetry and singing then shortly after full songs and bodies of work began to solidify. I have been traveling and doing shows all around the nation since 2008 however recently in the past few years a lot of traction picked up and is beginning to hit on all levels. I am very grateful for this as it has not been an easy road. Of course, all artists know the struggle in some way, at one point I had lost everything ended up in an institution, and became homeless for a time, all behind chasing this dream of mine. Life has taught me a lot these past 10 years definitely great things to this point. As of the past few years, I have been focusing on polishing my music and other content as well as perfecting my stage presence and overall just how I move in this business. I am trying to continue to build my following so that my message can stick and reach more people. Read more>>

John Videler

I started photography at a very young age. My father was a commercial photographer and I decided to walk in his footsteps. I began shooting weddings when I started, since then I have photographed portraits buildings, and beyond. Read more>>

Daria Paschall

The first time I thought about having my own business, was in high school. Being able to have your own company or brand, bring ideas to life, and share them with others; all while being your own boss. I never thought I would actually do it at the time but, after I graduated high school and decided to attend Howard University I knew I didn’t want to work my freshman year. I saved money from working the summer before but would still need an income. Growing up, I always did my friend’s and family’s hair so I thought what better way to make extra cash while in school. Making wigs, and doing weaves on campus would become my “Howard Hustle” helping me to support myself financially and even encouraging me to start my first real brand. Read more>>

Jenni Lau

Our story began with a passion for delicious foods and a desire for introducing the bubble culture to our community. We never settled for mediocre or foods that are just “good enough”. We sought out the best of all foods that we enjoyed. Be it hamburgers or fried chicken, pulled pork, or ramen, we like to find the tastiest choices available in our neighborhood. In this case, we were looking for a good cup of bubble tea but had to settle for just good enough. For a long while, we searched for something better but did not find it until we took a family trip to Toronto, Canada, and found Chatime. The drinks were fresh and did not taste powdered or artificial. We went back to that shop several times during our trip and were hooked! Read more>>

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