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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.

Ashley Belgrave

I started my company by taking a leap of faith after changing majors and graduating from college with a degree in Corporate Communications. Learning about the specific areas and changes in the communications industry helped me to determine media relations was the career I truly wanted. Naturally, the next step was to find a mentor willing to guide me as I began my career. I ambitiously sought internships and freelancing contracts while continuing my education and earning my masters in Corporate Communications. Read more>>

Sarah Brooks

My passion for styling hair started at a very young age. I remember watching my grandmother braid, press, and style my cousins’ hair. She was so detailed and neat with her work. I remember the feeling I would get when I would get me hair done. My grandmother had a giving spirit. She always help those in need. I combine the heart to give, with me talent of styling, to provide affordable hair care device to my clients and community. Read more>>

Triana Akila

My journey has been full of people seeing potential and greatness in me LONG before I was ever able to identify it within myself. When I was 12, my dad took me to band practice for our youth ministry. I had no idea why I was there, but I was invited back, and soon I was singing with them every Friday at our youth services. Apparently my dad heard me singing around the house all the time and decided to nurture that seed.  Read more>>

Lea Saccomanno

Sippin’ and Stitchin’ started eight years ago on my living room floor with the same goal that I still hold to today – to share what I love in a fun, laid-back way. I’d have friends come over and we’d drink wine, eat snacks and I’d show them how to stitch. One day, a friend reached out and said she had recommended me to our local Lululemon for a workshop series. Read more>>

Pierce Williams

I didn’t know anyone in the industry so I started meeting people by modeling in local runway shows (ie. Philadelphia, DC, Atlantic City). At runway shows I’d meet different designers, photographers, and other models, while also getting pictures to post and legitimize me as a model, so it was the perfect thing for me to get started. It was like being at a networking event while gaining real modeling experience. Read more>>

Dominique Youngblood

I am a 10-year licensed cosmetologist in Maryland. As an only child, I spent a lot of time in my own thoughts and in my imagination. I always knew I would gravitate towards working with my hands, as I am very much a visual person. I spent a lot of time with just myself and my doll babies. At the age of seven, I began playing with their hair. All of my aunts and cousins did hair and I learned a lot but just simply watching. Read more>>

Sydney Wilson

I discovered my voice at the age of 6. I had a speech impediment which caused me to stutter a lot. I was bullied because of my stuttering. My two speech therapists recommended to my mother that I should start singing to help slow my tongue down to help formulate my sentences better. I started singing around the house, at school, and even in random places and my speech has gotten better over time. But I also realized that I wanted to do something with my voice. I always knew I had a gift. Read more>>

Adam Pusateri

I got started at the age of 13 (with a Maryland worker’s permit!) at Machoian Poultry in downtown Annapolis. After working at a few local restaurants and attending The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY, I had the opportunity to work for some great chefs in Las Vegas, NV and made the move out west. A CIA friend and I started a small catering business out of the back of our cars and it turned into a large-scale, high-end catering business serving all of Las Vegas. Read more>>

Joy Pelt

I started sewing when I was a little girl at the age of 7 and was taught the basics by both my Aunt and my grandmother. When I graduated high school I attend Harford Community College for a couple semesters before entering the U.S. Army. When I came home from the military I furthered my education at the Medix School in Towson to be a Medical Office Administrator and enjoyed working in many fields to include physical therapy, general practice, pediatrics, psychology and oncology. Read more>>

Monnie DaDoll

My real name is Monica but everyone calls me Monnie. Growing up, every birthday before blowing my candles I would only & always wish to be “famous”. Of course at a young age I didn’t know exactly how or what I wanted to be famous for I just always wanted to be different because my peers around me would say they wanted to be things like a doctor, teacher, astronaut & so on…. Read more>>

Luis Martin

“I make collages. My work stems from a deep creative and spiritual inquiry, which plays out through my conversation with my hands and paper. I created the term “The Art Engineer” for my thesis project in art school, which granted me creative license to unapologetically explore my role as an artist from a place of agency and leadership that extends from the studio outward. Read more>>

Keisha “Keezy” Daughtry

I am a 32-year-old Entrepreneur born and raised in Baltimore, MD. I am the miracle child of two disabled parents. I wasn’t dealt any easy hand to live by, but it’s the hand I was dealt. I’ve survived many challenges, like chronic homelessness, sexual assault, and child abuse, all before I graduated high school. But, I have prevailed each time, and each time has made me stronger. I eventually escaped to Staunton, Virginia, for my undergrad experience. Read more>>

Christian Miller

I got the name “Queenies” from my late grandmother, it was her childhood nickname. I would bring banana pudding to family gatherings, work potlucks etc and one day I decided to turn something I loved doing as a hobby into a business. I started out in 2018 and since then dropped Puddings off of the company name and kept it as Queenies because we’re more than just puddings. Since opening I have stepped outside of my comfort zone with classes, a very supportive circle & more importantly my children as my taste testers. Queenies now specializes in desserts as a whole not just puddings. Read more>>

Michelle Haywood

Becoming a nurse was my destiny. I knew it when I attended Edmondson Westside High School and became a certified nursing assistant. However, when my maternal grandmother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at 50, changed my life for the better. Attending her appointments and listening to doctors say the same thing repeatedly was not enough for me regarding her care. Then by the age of 53, she went to the hospital for a simple procedure, and ended up in a nursing home for 2 weeks. Read more>>

Sean Dorsey

My mother helped me discover my talent and passion for art around 7. She drew a duck and challenged me to sketch the image in the exact likeness. After the surprisingly accurate sketch, I continued developing my drawing skills by purchasing Marvel comics and drawing the covers in ink without error. Read more>>

Ashley Godwin

My makeup journey and passion for beauty started when I was 8yrs. I would model for small community fashion show events and from those events I had to learn how to do my own makeup. I loved dressing up, I loved getting my hair done , makeup done; I loved it all! As I got older, I was pushed in a less artsy direction, due to the support I had that believed that passion/ creativity does not pay the bills. Read more>>

Nicole Hearn

I was a student at Sheffield Institute for Recording arts. When I decided I didn’t want to move to Tulsa Oklahoma for make very minimal I sought after other opportunities in the media industry. I didn’t think TV sales was my calling but I had a friend who knew they were hiring and thought it would be a great opportunity for me. Six interviews later I landed an account executive position at WBAL-TV.  Read more>>

Garshét Hatcher

I first was introduced to graphic design when I entered high school. I went to Western School of Technology and Environmental Science in Catonsville, MD, which was a magnet school. I chose Graphic Print Communications as my magnet and learned how to create graphics using Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign for 4 years. Read more>>

Kevin O’Malley

I knew I wanted to do childrens book in about the fourth grade. I studied it, read about it and went about creating book ideas. I sent my first idea to a publisher when I was in high school.
They didn’t bite. mmSo I keep doing submissions I have submitted hundreds and hundreds of time to dozens and dozens of publishers over 40 years. Read more>>

Seyi & Abisola Shof

Our journey started during the pandemic. It was our wedding anniversary, and so we did a trending TikTok dance and posted it to our Instagram page. To our surprise, it got so much engagement. So a couple weeks later, we decided to do another dance just for fun. Once again, a lot of people engaged with the content. So we thought, why not just keep it up just for fun? We didn’t think it would become a “thing”. Here we are almost two years later with lots of intentional content created, and our audience on Instagram has grown from one thousand to almost 67,000 followers! Read more>>

1 Comment

  1. Marion blackwell

    September 1, 2022 at 1:30 am

    Love your work. I am an artist organizer who supports local artist in business promoting their work as a business model.

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