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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.

Nina Djamson

Born and raised in Ghana in west Africa, my aesthetics have African roots, redefined for the international markets. From a young age, I was exposed to elegance and fashion by my mother Goody who was an outstanding fashion designer of her time. Mentored by the Editor of chief of Vogue Italia, the Late Franca Sozzani, I got the opportunity to sharpen my skill set by learning from this iconic leader in my field, thereby pioneering one of the fastest growing African inspired brands available today. Read more>>

Hayley Simmons

I have always had a love for photography, growing up and throughout high school I took many photos and photography courses. For school, for friends, for myself but it was just a hobby that I enjoyed doing. It wasn’t until I had my first baby in 2017, that my camera really made a come back. I wanted to document everything she did, and it was then that I figured I would offer my services to others- with the help of encouragement from friends and family! This business helps me ultimately “stay” at home with my now three children, and I couldn’t be more thankful! Read more>>

Jennifer Urand

The right deejay is so much more than just the music. For years, DJ Jenny Z found herself in the shadow of a male-dominated industry, having had to charge less, yet provide more. She has finally found her place and voice – feeling equal to the men who she looked up to. Along the way, Jenny has found a quiet peace and resolve to be the best listener and support for clients as they plan their perfect day. Read more>>

Erin Fostel

Making art has been a consistent part of my life for as long as I can remember. I was the kid who spent a lot of time alone in her room drawing and writing stories. I just really enjoyed it, and my family was always very encouraging. When I was in high school, and at the point where I was told to decide where I would go to college and what I wanted to do with my life, art school made sense. I had never met someone who made art for a living, so I had no idea what people in art school did after they graduated, but I knew I liked doing this thing and wanted to pursue it further. Read more>>

Paula Rosero

I’m a 23-year-old content creator born in South America, Ecuador. I came to this country 1 and a half ago feeling lost. This journey has been a self-discovery path of mi e, falling in love with someone with a completely different culture and trying to pursue my makeup artist career. At the same time, I still make money to live, get over a world pandemic, and still try to put the highlights of my life on the internet. Read more>>

Jesse Benge

Bedroom Floor began back in 2017, right after I graduated high school. I didn’t know anyone who played the style of music I wanted to create, so I wrote a few songs and recorded them myself. I had a little studio setup in my bedroom, where most of my time writing music was spent, so I decided to name the project “Bedroom Floor.” A few of my friends decided they wanted to play in the band with me, so we played some shows locally for about a year and a half until we eventually decided to stop. The band became a studio project solely again until late 2021. Read more>>

Orlett Haskett Torrence, CRNP

In high school while attending Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, I knew I wanted to be a registered nurse. I made the decision to declare my major as nursing while attending Salisbury University because I desired a career with flexibility and the ability to pour back into my community. Most importantly, one of my biggest cheerleaders is a registered nurse, my mother. Nursing has afforded me many amazing opportunities that were not on my career bucket list. After over a decade of working in many facets of healthcare and higher education as a registered nurse, I decided it was time for a change. Read more>>

Arymis Nelson

My story started two years ago when I gave birth to my daughter Penallapi-Bella, I was diagnosed with preeclampsia after birth! My blood pressure was out of control, two days after she was born I was readmitted to the hospital and kept overnight for my blood pressure, they wouldn’t allow my daughter to stay she was sent home with her daddy and I felt all alone! I felt like I had abandoned her, for the next few weeks I was in and out of the hospital, I started feeling depressed! I started overthinking about work, money and just life in general. Being at home with my beautiful baby was a blessing but a lot of my time was spent on social media, covid had taken over all I saw was sadness, despair and death! Read more>>

TaNia S.

My name is Tania S but some people call me Ni-Ni. I was born and raised in Prince George’s County, MD. My photography career started in high school I would go around taking pictures of everyone and editing them for Myspace. I used to love counting how many people had my images as their profile images. Back then I used a point-and-shoot camera. In my freshman year of college, I received a refund check for $1,300 and I used that to buy my first semi-professional DSLR camera. That camera took my career to the next level. I shot my first wedding and started charging people to take their photos. Read more>>

Will Johnson

Well shoot I was a photographer for like 3-4 years and was just alwasy surrounded by music, whether it was the artist i was working with or the homies; It lowkey was always something I wanted to try so I just made the jump a year ago and now I’m here just trying to get my first project finished honestly. Hell nah, it was a huge jump for me to even start, from financial struggles to lack of equipment to my surroundings it was just a huge struggle to do anything and it just surfaced in a lot of things especially my mental health; Therapy honestly was the biggest thing I could’ve ever done for myself because I don’t know what the hell I’d be doing right now. Read more>>

Abigail & Valerie Makanjuola

Abigail and Valerie Makanjuola are five-year-old fraternal twins born prematurely at 31 weeks. As their mother, I started journaling their growth with photos, and over the past five years, they have developed as child models. Funny enough, they started modeling as a result of their premature birth. After their birth, the girls had to be in different NICUs, with Valerie staying at the hospital where they were born. Read more>>

Eduardo Corral

I am an illustrator, artist and designer, born in the industrial city of Monterrey, Mexico. My work largely consists of the act of blurring the fine line between these three creative branches. My story as an illustrator and artist, like that of many, begins from a very young age, but “professionally” can be traced back from my first jobs as a freelancer around the year 2001, working as a freelance graphic designer; way before I learned that you could make a living as an illustrator. Read more>>

Erin Miles Cloud

I often do not know how to describe how I got to my career and what I’m doing now. I did not grow up thinking I wanted to do movement lawyering, because I did not know that to be a career. I did not understand the harms of the foster care system, because people told me that it was a necessary system to protect children. I was afraid of politically radical ideas because I was told they were impossible and unsafe. So to explain how I became an abolitionist movement lawyer working to end the policing and punishment of families by the foster system takes a journey through several “awakenings” and “learnings”. Read more>>

Brandon Cheng

I started reselling shoes in middle school to pay for my own sneakers and make some extra money. I was always good at making money. When I was in 6th grade the “Gone Fishing” Foamposites released, they were expected to resell for around $1000 after the release. At the time I had some money, but not enough to buy the release. My uncle lend me some money to buy the release. He also woke up and camped out the mall with me. When the shoe officially dropped, the market tanked on them completely. The market was so bad on the shoe I couldn’t sell it at all without taking a loss. Read more>>

Sunni Puric

I started my radio career at the age of 18 in Detroit, at FM 98 WJLB. From there I worked my way up the ranks to become the first woman from my country to host her own show on American Radio. From there, I worked in Miami and New York before settling in DC in 2011 at 95.5 WPGC. In addition to midday and morning show hosting duties that I’ve had at WPGC (until we parted ways in 2021), I’m also working as a contributing host for Fox 5 DC. During the pandemic in 2020, I started my entrepreneurship journey with getting my real estate licenses in DC / MD and VA. Turning my life long passion for helping others into also achieving their homeownership dreams is very special to me. Read more>>

Kristina Eberhardt

Since I was a little girl, I always knew I wanted to be an artist. I went on to get a two-year degree in Interior Design and a four-year degree in Graphic Design. After college I worked in corporate communications and marketing at a large company for nine years. In my spare time, I offered freelance design services where I mostly designed and developed logos and branding, and wedding and event invitations and signs. I also began practicing yoga – and two years later, decided to do a 200-hour teacher training to become a certified yoga instructor. Read more>>

Chaz Warhol

As Chaz Warhol thrives in music, climbing the sonic ladder of words and sounds, his journey also takes place within the visual arts. Before finding his niche in the music scene, it was inspired by photography. Warhol’s love for nature, culture and architecture were his way of bringing essence to the forefront – seeing the beauty in all things. He had an appetite for life, and applied to his work, carrying on throughout his countless pictures shared on his social media. It’s amazing to what a person of many trades can do, yet still a student in his craft today. Read more>>

Dr. Jasmine Leigh Morse

I’ve been perfecting my craft as a writer and educator with intention and focus, since my undergraduate school days at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. As a proud two-time HBCU graduate, I credit my foundation in these areas to the skills and experiences I acquired at Morgan State. From English tutor in Morgan State’s Tutoring Center, from I believe 1999 until 2002, to nearly 20 years of experience as a professional writer, educator, and senior advisor, my diverse portfolio springs from my core foundation. With over a decade of experience, I’m grateful to be known for my engaging lectures in the classroom, thought-provoking media interview skills, and creative ability to put words on paper. My keen ability to weave multi-layered messages that engage readers and inspire hearers has opened many doors for me. Read more>> 

Kelli Redmond-Bagby

Mova Nature (pronounced Muh-va Nature) was created in 2020 as a response to the global pandemic and to my sister’s diagnosis with stage IV colon cancer. I began studying holistic scholars and learned of the benefits of juicing and herbs and how they can reduce and in some cases eliminate disease, including cancer. It was then that I knew I wanted to open a healthy juice shop, so I applied for a job at a local juice bar to gain hands-on experience. As the global health crisis persisted and I lost my full-time job at Johns Hopkins and part-time job at the local juice bar; it was time to push forward with my business. Read more>>

Zoe Jack

I currently work as the Director of Operations for the Center for Nature Informed Therapy (CNIT) and as a psychotherapist at CNIT’s parent company, Chesapeake Mental Health Collaborative. In my current role I get to do everything I love: lead backpacking trips, hold space for people who are struggling and help them move towards solutions to their problems, train therapists on how to use nature in their work with their own clients, and overall witness how nature can be a healing force for myself and those around me. The journey to this place has been winding, as most journeys are. Read more>>

Rose and Rj Kenney and Hebner

Rj’s training journey began over a decade ago, helping rescues and fosters train dogs with severe behavioral problems. The more he worked with those dogs, the more he grew a special place in his heart for the hopeless cases that were continually returned or could not be homed because of undesirable behaviors. Those dogs became his primary focus and inspired him to start his own training business. Read more>>

Oji Morris

I was actually born in Brooklyn, NY and attended Morgan State University. I never quite made it back to NY. I have been in Baltimore for 30+ years now. I am a DJ/Producer/Songwriter. I specialize in House Music. I started playing parties in Baltimore as a college student (age 17). That included both on and off campus parties, many of which were also promoted by myself and close friends/business partners. Most of those partnerships established in school would carry on past graduation and are still in tact today. After graduating, I was able to get deeper into the production of music, established a Baltimore based record label (POJI Records) with college friend DJ Pope. Read more>>

Ariana Garvin

I’ve always wanted to be in film. At first, as an actress. I would act out scenes of my favorite shows and dreamed of being on the Princeton Elementary School morning announcements. I got into behind the camera production in middle school, doing the morning announcements and that followed me through high school. After taking a TV production class in high school, I enrolled at Towson University’s film program and found I had a knack for producing. Now, I’ve found joy in helping people get what they need so they can focus on making their projects the best they can be. Read more>>

Amy Crone

Amy grew up in Maryland, but not in agriculture. She discovered agriculture many years later through food and conscious eating – after discovering farmers markets in college, she learned more about food systems while pursuing a career in international development. Tom grew up on a family farm in Ohio, where they raised cows, pigs, and grain. He left to pursue a degree in engineering at Cornell University, where he and Amy met. Tom took a job in Maryland after undergraduate, and has been here ever since. When they decided to start their family, Amy shifted careers from international development to working for the Maryland Department of Agriculture, managing the Farmers Market Nutrition Program. Read more>>

Eric Cooper

My journey started through some depression I was going on in my life during 2000. I struggled with my size and lost a good amount of weight to become an impactful cosplayer, but I was not happy with myself nor with the companionship that I desired. Writing seemed to be my only relief from my mental challenges. I was denied working for a comic book company, partly for the fact that I was Black, so I decided to make my own characters and world of story writing. The Knight Seeker saga was my first real accomplishment in establishing myself as a writer, and the first book came out in 2005. Read more>>

Naomi Winston

I started Revolutionary Hearts Industries my freshman year of college as a publishing house to help other African American women become published authors. It quickly turned into a streetwear brand, which I am proud to say was one of the most worn clothing brands on my HBCU campus. I started creating coloring books my second year of undergrad after a conversation with my God Sister who was refusing to play at the park during the summer in fear of getting “too dark” to which she also said she wished her hair didn’t look “like this”. Read more>>

Cecelia Rosario

I am the wife of a disabled veteran. After 15 years of Service in the US Army and multiple duty station changes, my husband and I decided to settle and raise our family in Maryland. At the time we both we very dedicated to continuing to make our families proud by having successful careers and raising our family of 5 children. I worked full time as a nurse and he was a full time soldier. In 2019 was declared disabled and thus discharged from the military and we saw what we thought was our dream coming to a close. Read more>>

Kelley Williams

In 2016 I became a new mom to a girl, Giuliana. She was sweet as can be and born with very sensitive skin. At about 6 months she started solids and we went through a journey with food intolerance that led to diaper rash. I had a difficult time finding diaper creams that were max strength yet safe for sensitive skin. I literally bought every product on the market seeking relief for her skin and was surprised by the amount of synthetic and toxic ingredients in baby products. I decided to create an organic diaper cream and Curasalve was born. My mission is to give parents and caregivers the peace of mind in knowing there is a safe and effective diaper cream option. Read more>>

Cynthia C. Farmer

My story began long before I realized my story was being written. From a young age, I was made fun of because I speak “so proper.” It became a recurring theme throughout my life. That, coupled with being a child of divorce which led to struggles with rejection, and never quite finding where I fit in, I struggled with my voice, confidence, and purpose. I left all three of those aspects to other people to define. I became a master of disguise, fitting into to my surroundings in hopes of achieving someone else’s perfection which would then lead to acceptance. Read more>>

Breyanna Dabney

I started pixie photography when I was 14 because I wasn’t able to get a job and I wanted to work. Originally I mostly set up photo booth and was at different vending events and parties. As I worked on my camera skills I began to do more event photography. I did this for about 2 years and then I got a job at 16. I stayed at the job for 3 years and ended up still taking photos as a side hustle. As of August I’ve quit the other job and taken on doing my photography full time. Read more>>

Chris Pittman

My love for photography started when I was middle school. I would always take pictures of my friends in my neighborhood, or friends at school and on field trips. It became a passion of mine very quickly. I received a giant photo album for Christmas and was able to store all my favorite photos that I have taken. I had so many different cameras growing up. I remember this Nickelodeon camera that was Green and Black, and it took this special size film that was always hard to find which ended being one of my favorite cameras. Read more>>

Keenan Copening

I am grateful for the invitation to be part of the Voyage Magazine platform, and I am honored to be included.  I will do my best to remain as honest as possible because this journey is something different from the usual, and won’t be pulling any punches. The best way to explain my truth is pure and uncut. Although some may not subscribe to the context of my journey, it’s mine, and I experience it. Read more>>

Charrisha Watkins

Charrisha Watkins, born and raised in Maryland, is the Founder and Creator of Love in Tennis. She uses Love in Tennis as a way to offer tennis as an outlet to expose and inspire Black people. Love in Tennis aims to promote inclusion, showcase past, present, and future legends of the game, and allow a space to serve as a forum for tennis lovers and aspirants. What started out as regular Hopes and Dreams DayCamp field trips to a local tennis academy, is now the gateway and passion for which Charrisha can inspire her community. She is an alumna of the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation (WTEF) where she started playing tennis at the age of 4. Read more>>

Trippy George

I think that it’s safe to say that 2020 was a rough year for every single one of us. I was grieving the loss of 2 of my grandparents who had passed away in November and December 2019. The loss of my grandparents and the effect it had on my family was a lot to deal with and was the source of a lot of depression for me. Nobody wants to see 2 of their loved ones in an open casket a month apart from each other. COVID-19 started to become a major issue in March 2020, causing workplaces and schools to shut down. I was a senior in high school and very excited to graduate. Read more>>

Angela-Lynn Ware

Early in life I discovered that I had a gift. I loved doing hair and people love when I did their hair for them. I did hair in high school and thought college. My parents didn’t mind because they always knew where I was and it kept me out of their pockets. I have a psychology degree from Thomas Jefferson University which afforded me the opportunity to embark upon a career as a social worker where I specialized in sex abuse. As you can imagine, I have seen some of everything. As a result, I began to not allow my children to live their childhood as fulfilling as the one I had known growing up. Read more>>

Paige Fix

I couldn’t be more excited to introduce Shelter Pawz, a mission-driven small business! My name is Paige and I am the owner and founder. While working as a youth programs specialist at a local animal shelter, I became incredibly passionate about finding ways to strengthen the bond between children and shelter pets. And what’s better than an adorable plush toy to snuggle, love, and learn from?! All of our stuffed animals are mixed breeds and were inspired by real dogs who I met during my time at the shelter. Oh, and the best part? 10% of our profits are donated to animal shelters to support their lifesaving work! Read more>>

Oksanna Shulgach

I grew up in rural Bel Air, Maryland and spent most of my life there. My three older brothers and I were homeschooled for our whole lives so we had a lot of free time on our hands. We were all pretty creative little kids and would often spend afternoons shooting short movies. Honestly, I was really just the little sister that wanted to tag along, but they did an amazing job of including me. My dreams were more in the music world, specifically to be the next Hannah Montana. I would even have home shows and would charge my family 25 cents to attend. Little businesswoman in the making. Read more>>

Holly Nelson

Violinist Holly Nelson grew up in Connecticut and began studying the violin at age four. At age 18 she moved to New York City to begin an undergraduate degree in violin performance at the Mannes College of Music and after graduation worked as a freelancer in New York City for many years. In 2020, she moved to Baltimore, MD to pursue a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Peabody Institute of Music of Johns Hopkins University as a Deans Doctoral Fellow. Read more>>

Javon Hayman

So I’m originally from San Antonio, Texas born and raised. I moved to Georgia when I was 17. I’ve been in the state of Georgia for almost seven years. I’ve always been an advocate of fashion and I’ve always been photogenic. I got into modeling for personal reasons. This relates to my being able to build my confidence up. When it came to art of any kind, I’ve never been afraid to express myself. To use those same qualities in my real life aside from the image, the looks, the modeling has been a goal for me from the jump. Modeling has been an avenue for me to learn new styles and to learn different ways to carry myself or showcase myself. It’s interesting. Read more>>

Dylan Scanlon

It all began in high school, I’ve always been inspired by various of streetwear brands like off white, palm angels, vlone, revenge, and many more. When I became a senior, I bought a sketchbook and started to draw anything that I seen or felt internally about and make it into art. One day I had a desire to become someone that people would recognize right of the internet and off the street, so I wanted to think of a name that was meaningful, simple, and also something people could relate to. After many attempts on finding a name the one that stood out the most was Hollow, thus the brand was born. Read more>>

Erin Lyman

Before I had my four children, I worked for a Fortune 500 company doing HR and then managing dental offices. Once my first child was born, I taught at Marquette University as an adjunct professor. Years later, and three more children/two moves, it was important to me to keep my foot in the door while raising my children. I noticed a big need–resume writing. Having worked in HR and management, this was a skill that came very naturally to me. Five years later, my business has evolved into not only working with career pivoters on their resumes but also working with rising high school seniors on their college application essays (coaching and editing). Read more>>

Diana Contreras

I started my business in April 2022. Food is one of my love languages and I had always loved to cook/bake and share with others. I had been creating charcuterie boards to enjoy with friends and also had been looking for a while on a small business idea to start. My friends suggested starting a charcuterie business and that’s how Honey D Charcuterie was created! I quickly jumped into it and created a logo, Facebook & Instagram pages, and started posting pictures of some of my creations. I wasn’t sure if I would get any orders in besides friends, but I did and it grew from there! Read more>>

Jennifer Laskin

I am an Attorney, full-time high school teacher and Paralegal Studies Professor who teaches and runs a Justice, Law and Society Program in Silver Spring, Maryland. I also create legal education content across social media. I am a Maryland licensed Attorney and Maryland and California credentialed Teacher. Originally from Southern New Jersey- Vineland is my hometown. I entered the University of Georgia in 1991 and in 1994, she moved to Atlanta and transferred to Oglethorpe University, earning a degree (Cum Laude) in Middle School Education in 1996. Read more>>

Abdul Jimoh

I’m a Nigerian-born immigrant but I’ve lived in America for most of my life, I first arrived with my mother when I was around the age of 4 or 5 years old. It is thanks to her and the help of my maternal grandmother that I had the opportunity to grow up as a sensible young man. I’ve learned a great deal about life here in the U.S. I’ve grown to cherish the freedom, liberties, and the opportunities that are possible for people who have been fortunate to come here and being aware that misfortune is a possibility and can befall me or anyone else has made me appreciate them even more. Read more>>

Diana Elizabeth Clarke

I relocated to the Baltimore area from Southern Utah this year to expand on knowledge and work on my craft as a MFA candidate for Creative Writing & Publishing Arts at The University of Baltimore (UB). So far, I have found Baltimore to be a whirlwind of inspiration from the uniqueness and character of each neighborhood to the community atmosphere of Charm City. Like many writers, I am working actively to creatively show the world in a new perspective to readers. The narratives I write are women-centered fiction, which are stories focusing on how a women navigate this world and fantasy worlds that reflect our own. Read more>>

Dr. D. Rica Wilson

On the edge of the cotton fields in a small southern town, I was marinating in both possibility and turbulence in 1975. As the daughter of a teen mother and absent father, one might say the cards were stacked against me from birth. My fondest and most challenging memories of my childhood are of playing double-dutch with my grandmother’s heavy green water hose, red light green light stop, freeze tag, and searching for four-leaf clovers with neighborhood kids. Read more>>

Adele Bellofatto

In so many ways one does not choose to do what I have done all my life; it is finding who you are, in what you live through. I am a Visionary Messenger, Producer, Director, Author and a Talk Show host Maryland born and raised… As a child of four, my grandfather had passed away and then reemerged into my life where no one else could see him. But I saw him without anyone believing me. He would just be there talking to me and then he would be introducing his friends, family members and so many more interesting people. Read more>>

Gabriel Scott

Growing up in a large family (one of five kids), family dinners were always together and most certainly my fondest memories from my childhood. I always wanted to find ways to recreate that on an enterprise level. After college, I started to chase my hospitality dreams – working for large restaurant groups in NYC and eventually starting my own hospitality consulting business in 2017. I always wanted to open a farm brewery that highlighted the feelings of summers at sleepaway camp in New England mixed with great service and great products. Read more>>

Susan Stork

My time working in Baltimore started in the mid-2000s as a Resident Urban Teacher in Baltimore City Public Schools, following my degree in Family Studies from the University of Maryland. As an urban teacher, I realized quickly that mental health aspects were a missing factor for my classroom kids, their families, my colleagues, and myself. So I enrolled in a master’s program at Loyola University in School Counseling. Read more>>

James Gross

I’ve been a musician since the 4th grade. I played clarinet and saxophone in grade school and high school band. Then I taught myself to play guitar in high school. I studied computer science, audio engineering and some piano at UMBC. I have always wanted to be a musician for a living. I was very resistant to djing for a long time because my father dj’ed some before I was born and during my childhood. I finally gave it a try in 2008 and discovered that I was a natural at it. I’ve been blessed to be one of Baltimore’s favorite DJ’s for ten years. I’ve been blessed with opportunities to travel the country playing Baltimore Club music as well. Read more>>

Samantha Iaconi

The earliest memories I have of making work is with my cousins as an elementary school-aged child. Every Friday, our families would get together at home or at “The Moose” country club. We would bring our colored pencils, markers, even the fancy gel pens every 90s girl loved, and we would draw portraits of girls with bad proportions, wild makeup and crazy hair. I would hang the drawings up in my baby pink bedroom, saloon style, and spend hours staring at them, thinking of what I would do next Friday.  Read more>>

Michael Dunn

So to start my great-grandmother was a singer, so growing up around music always helped me kinda want a career in it but it wasn’t until I was in high school, got in a bad football accident and broke my spine, causing me to lose basically my entire future, that I decided to follow music! I at first got into MLG and did events for gears of war 4 and halo 5, once I retired, I decided hey why not take music lessons it couldn’t hurt! So there I went 3+ years of learning how to properly sing and scream and I decided hey let’s make a band! Read more>>

Jaclyn Matikas

Everyone’s favorite question to ask while getting tattooed is asking how I got started. I’ve been an artist my entire life as far back as I can remember. I come from a family of artists–so drawing and creativity is in my DNA. I strayed away from my artistry after hearing the term “starving artist” and decided to major in public relations in college. My neighbor’s girlfriend had bought a tattoo kit and reignited my love for art, and I never missed the opportunity to learn a new skill. It wasn’t long before I had that machine in my hand and added a piece my own art to my permanent visible collection on my forearm. Read more>>

Ashley Klima

When my twins turned five months old, I knew I needed help with their sleep. I was exhausted and was whiling to do whatever it took to get some help/sleep. After doing late-night google searches, I stumbled upon a sleep consultant that seemed to meet our style of parenting. I set up our call and booked right away, at this point I didn’t care what it cost, I just wanted sleep. I was in shock how making little changes really added HOURS to my girl’s sleep. Read more>>

Tiara Johnson

My story started back when I was around seven. I was told that I would be something great and that I would be the voice amongst my peers and help the next generation. At the time I didn’t know what that meant, but I never forgot those words. I was told the very same thing two years ago. I was told I would impact my generation and the next after. When you hear things more than once, you have to decide to answer the call or pretend like that wasn’t God’s confirmation on your life and continue to be content in my current status in life. I decided to answer the call. Read more>>

Tabari Davis

We started out on the eastern shore of Maryland doing meal plans for friends and family. As demand began to grow, we decided to grow with it. We’ve expanded from solely meal prep to catered events as well as menu planning for restaurants just starting out, or looking for a change in cuisine. We also just finished a residency at the Sandlot Baltimore this summer. With most small businesses starting, we’ve run into a few obstacles.  Read more>>

Sistah Alexis Carter

Alexis Carter is a woman of many talents who never lets anything stop her from being her true self. She comes from a family of entrepreneurs starting off with her late grandfather. She believed he instilled this love for business to her whole family. She is the CEO of Divine Notary, LLC, instructor and creator of Notary Wellness Mentor. Her journey started in Upstate New York but now is a resident of Maryland along with her three teen children. My mother really showed us how it was done. She stepped out on faith, she juggled so many things at once to succeed. Read more>>

Rosanna Wong

I started my food account for two reasons. I did not want to bombard my personal account with just food (I’m sure that would annoy my friends) so I decided to make a separate account. If they choose to follow, that’s for them to decide. I also did not like BEING in pictures so taking pictures of food was perfect, I don’t have to be in it. The way how food is made and how it is plated is art. It can be super creative or plain, but each dish has its own story. So I decided to create an account for food. I never knew it would grow to be where it is today.  Read more>>

Honour Drew

My story?! Whew! I feel like it needs to be a film trilogy with a spinoff tv series that was converted from my autobiography, and it’s still being written! Let’s start here, my name is Honour and I was told by my Mom at a very young age that my name was chosen #1: so I could live by my name, #2: There was an English actress by the name of Honor Blackman who played a Bon Girl by the name of Pussy Galore in Goldfinger that my Mom fancied. When I was a kid I had no idea what any of that meant. As I sit here today, I’m on an intentional healing journey where I’m actually honoring my authentic self while running my own business that supports my acting. Can you say “full circle moment” right now? Thanks, Mom! Read more>>

Javon Rustin

I wrote my first poem in 8th grade for a performance at a church in Durham, NC but did not seriously begin writing until college. I received my B.S. in Computer Science from North Carolina A&T State University. But, I spent a lot of time attending poetry shows and learning to craft poems in classes I wasn’t registered for while there (thank you Dr. Ahmad for not kicking me out). These classes allowed me and other artists opportunities to create our own shows for the university. Read more>>


I’ve been rapping since I was 6 years old. I don’t know what influenced me to want to rhyme words at that time; I just know the more I was exposed to rap, the more I wanted to do it. The influence really came once I started visiting my dad in Baltimore. He’d play all the fresh shit at that time like Kanye, Jeezy, and Wayne. All my friends in Baltimore were older than me and they loved Wayne. We knew back then that Wayne didn’t write his raps down, so we would try and emulate that. Read more>>


Since I was a young girl I’ve always been interested in music “for fun”. I would sing in private and amongst close friends and family all the time. I loved Fantasia, Monica, and Mary J Blidge. My mom swore I had a voice but I knew she was just being a mom. I didn’t think I was any good but my mom still enjoyed my singing. Fast forward to when I was about 13 my brother and his best friend started a rap group and they would record songs in the basement and open mic performances. Read more>>

Aaron McSterling

Who you see and meet today would not have been the same Mr. McSterling 10 or even 20 years ago. You would have met simply, Aaron. A young gay black boy who only had a glimpse of who he was and had the potential to be. While his childhood isn’t one that would capture headlines or make primetime news, it was enough hell for Aaron to not feel seen, loved or heard which resulted in him being a closeted functioning depressant. At 18, Aaron had a major decision to make, stay in Maryland or attempt to pursue a different life in New York City. Read more>>

Joyce J. Ritter

I started quilting in 1974 with a Parks and Rec course. Quilting in the 70’s was slow and tedious. My primary artistic media became photography but in 1999 quilting again became my major art form while I took care of my father. Besides, photography had gone digital and my favorite part of photography was the darkroom so I closed my business and gallery and read quilting books. After my father died, I joined Faithful Circle Quilt Guild where, thanks to the help of wonderful women, I mastered patchwork, applique and machine quilting. Read more>>

Tyra Coleman

First I want to start off by saying that I’m very appreciative that this magazine wants to feature me, it’s crazy because I’m not from Baltimore nor do I live in Baltimore. I was born in Washington D.C. and I’ve been in Maryland since I was a little kid. I live 30 minutes outside of Baltimore in Harford County where since the age of seven is where I was raised. I remember my love for writing starting at a very young age, from writing stories and fake books as a child in my room to joking around with my friends in the neighborhood and creating funny little rap songs. The power of words and their use in various forms has always excited me and intrigued me. Read more>>

Brittany Henry

I grew up singing in the children’s choir, my dad was a marine and my mom was working odd jobs while she finishing school. The oldest of three I was responsible, honest, and loved to be praised for doing what was right. As I grew older, I was praised for my obedience, Bible reading, and dedication to music ministry. I really loved God but I also really did love to be loved. As I continued in The Way, I was set aside by church leaders for ministry in the church with music and with youth. Read more>>

Michael Lopez

Art has always had my heart, I’ve been drawing longer than I can even remember & fell in love with tattoos at the age of six. I was fascinated with the idea that anyone can turn their body into a canvas with pieces of their choosing. I first decided to try my hand at tattooing in my rent-controlled family apartment in NYC at age 19. I looked into potential apprenticeships in local shops to have professionals give me the guidance I needed, but was shot down by multiple artists, even told by my own tattoo artist that I should “Stick to drawing stickers. Read more>>

Meredith Priddy

I became obsessed with cannabidiol (CBD) back in 2015 during an exceedingly difficult year. I had always been rather anxious, but I could usually mitigate my symptoms through physical exercise and/or breath work, however THAT year, nothing seemed to work. I was having fits of insomnia combined with rolling panic attacks over inconsequential decisions, and after visiting my physician, she recommended Xanax. Read more>>

Tami Hayes

Adopted into a large family of 15. My mother saw I had the potential of being a musician. Started classical piano lessons followed by a natural ability to sing with no training. Long story short…. I have been around the world, Love what I do! For sure not a smooth… very crazy journey but I wouldn’t change a thing. Some people will have smooth lives like they just get everything right the first time then there’s the rest of us and even that has a separation. How you respond to challenges will determine if you will grow or succumb to adversity. Read more>>

Tamika Williams

I was born and raised in Washington, DC, and graduated from Suitland high school in 2000. I obtain my bachelor’s from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and my graduate degree from national Bible college. As a young lady growing up, I always felt I was the underdog or never enough for those around me. So, I found myself becoming what I saw around me to gain the approval of others. Read more>>

Edward Evans

I was born and bred in West Baltimore, and that’s where I found my passion for food. Growing up in poverty in the early 80s in Baltimore, cooking at home with my grandmother became my vessel to escape from the hardships that surrounded me. My grandmother hoped that cooking with her would keep me off the streets and in the safety of her kitchen. Through her efforts, I developed a passion for cooking which fueled me throughout high school at Fredrick Douglass and into my professional life. Eventually, I began traveling the world and establishing my skills as a chef. It is not lost on me that the success and opportunities I achieved were not the norms for others growing up in my neighborhood. 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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