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Portraits of Raleigh

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 Raleigh.

Iman Pippen

My interest in the beauty industry began in 2006 when I was 11 years old. At the age of 11, I landed my first job as a children’s esthetician at a kid’s spa called The Pink Cupcake. On the days I worked, I performed a basic manicure, pedicures, and applied makeup to little girls who attended the parties hosted at “The Pink Cupcake”. For an 11-year-old, I was making pretty decent money.  Fast forward to the summer of my sophomore year of high school, I convinced Ms. Jennifer (my personal cosmetologist/mentor) to allow me to mentor under her. While working with Ms. Jennifer, I witnessed the freedom she had with her work and life schedule to do and move as she pleased. With his realization, I knew this is what I wanted for myself and my family in the future. Ms. Jennifer is one person who has had a great influence on my career decision and she is still my mentor to this very day. Read more>>

Tami Kress

Here is my professional bio with lots of info– Tami Kress has her Master’s Degree in theatre from Idaho State University. She was a member of a professional summer stock theatre company for 10 years—acting as manager for two years. She taught high school for 9 years where she was selected as the District Teacher of the Year and the State of Idaho Drama Teacher of the Year and directed the first high school production ever chosen to be a showcase performance at Festivention. While teaching, she assisted in the conceptualization through construction of the state-of-the-art American Falls High School Fine Arts Center and served as director there. Tami also taught at Idaho State University for 4 years. Tami started the American Falls Theatre Guild, created the Catherine Winter Davis Theatre and the helped create the C.A.T. theatre program. Tami has directed over 80 productions and acted in over 40 productions. Read more>>

Daniel Coop

For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with cars as well as with the idea of building a brand and company that was recognizable. Above all, I wanted to make sure we offered the highest quality product possible but still making sure it revolved around the automotive industry. Through some chance meetings with 2 other partners, we were able to create a globally recognized company (within our sphere) that produced some of the best parts, as well as offered top tier service. Fast forward 20 years we made the decision to branch off and focus our efforts more intently on the mechanical and service side of the business. We now have 7 bays, 4 full-time technicians, a general manager that was formerly the foreman at the dealership, and a newfound enthusiasm for this work. Read more>>

Ashley Carter

I have always had a passion for style and writing. I grew up in the small town of Mt. Olive, North Carolina and because of the small-town life, I developed a love for reading and magazines when I was young. It gave me the outlet to see fashion in the world while also learning writing styles. I also grew up with my mother often taking me to consignment shops so as I entered high school, I began to realize that I could recreate the fashions I often read about and saw in magazines with vintage finds. That’s truly where my love for thrifting and vintage came from. I loved the idea that I could use my imagination to recreate a look yet it still be unique and my own. I went on to Meredith College to major in Communication/Professional Writing. After graduation, it was difficult to find jobs within my desired field, which of course, was editorial writing. A friend suggested I start a blog and in December 2010, FabEllis was created. Read more>>

Wende Everhart

Standing in my Great Grandma’s kitchen when I was a little girl learning a skill that became a passion. That sweet lady showed me how make people happy simply by using simple ingredients out of the pantry and making the most delicious desserts that felt like a warm hug.  I realized as a teenager that baking from scratch was a dying art. I always wanted to keep that tradition going somehow. Read more>>


Music started for me started at a very young age. I was born in Virginia Beach and spent time there and in the Richmond area before moving to Durham, NC. Growing up music was always around me a little more than the average person. One day when I was around the 5 my mom heard me singing my ABC’s and she was shocked at how good I sounded. I remember her asking me to sing it again and being the biggest hype man. Me being 5 I didn’t give it a second thought and of course, it wasn’t something that was American Idol ready, but I was definitely naturally better than most kids my age. At that moment my mom told me that music might be my calling as she had a good ear for music and experience managing a couple music groups. One of those being my cousin’s group “Krazy” with a notable member being “Tyra B” and the other being “JS Dub” with another notable member being North Carolinas very own “Swift”. Read more>>

Lee Sehestedt

The foundations of my professional career were built though exploring different jobs throughout most of my 20s. The combination of a semi-transient nature and constant drive to find something I enjoy, fueled by curiosity allowed me follow a path towards event production and logistics during my late 20’s early 30’s.  After a challenging and less than fruitful attempt at the “9 to 5”, suit and tie career path. I realized I wasn’t cut out for sales. A brief stent with 24 Hour Fitness leading into a Jr. Financial Advisor roll as licensed Life Producer with Financial Foundation Group in Lone Tree Colorado. Then attempted working on my series 7 and continuing to chase a career with investments. Unfortunately, this took place during the subprime lending crisis. Needless to say, it was a poor time to be selling investments. So, I reset, y career path. Moved to Snowmass Village, CO, and reattempted a career in the ski industry. Read more>>

Jazlene Montes

Custom Bella Creations was my COVID-19 baby. While I’ve crocheted and knit since the ripe age of 7, I never thought to share my creations outside of my friends and family. However, after making a lot of blankets, hats, and scarfs as gifts many others started asking if I could make gift for them and they could buy some from me. Thus, Custom Bella Creations was born. I spent a lot of my time in isolation crafting and making positive use of my time outside of work. I started my Etsy shop last October 2020. As time went on, I bought my domain for our website and attended my first Market in March. Most maker markets are judged by a panel and I was scared to be rejected. But thankfully through social media I found a free market and was able to attend and learn along with the event planner. Read more>>

Joe Luo

I moved from Taiwan to the United States 30 years ago and worked in various restaurants owned by my family. In 2014, I decided to move back to my home country to learn alongside my father-in-law. My father-in-law, Chef Huang Wen Shung has over 40 years of experience in Taiwan cuisine including working as a private chef for Taiwan billionaire, Wang Yung-ching. The following year in 2015, I opened my first restaurant in Keelung, Taiwan. The restaurant’s popularity grew and eventually caught the attention of the media leading to several food show features. This validation and success launched the plan to move the restaurant to the United States. Love Bao Taiwanese Kitchen was opened in Cary, NC in July 2019. Read more>>

Shakara Ahouandogbo

In 2019 I was preparing for my daughter’s Sweet Sixteen. I was making souvenirs for our guest. I was conversing with my peers as I had made a test batch of soaps and I gave them out. My peers advised that I should sell them because they were really good and they were pretty. I took that advice and started looking into markets and conventions and to my surprise, individuals loved them and I have been making soaps. After a year my Auntie she asked me to make a body butter I searched recipes online and google and came up with my own recipe for my Auntie’s Bodi Butta. In 2014 resided in one of Florida’s Apartment complexes where I first started Divalicious Double Creations I was making Chocolates and candies that I sold to neighbors because stores were too far and children loved candy. Read more>>

Kathryn Dickinson

A long-time executive in the beauty industry, I have worked with some of the most successful beauty and fashion brands in the world. Driven to clean beauty out of necessity when I developed severe allergies later in life, I was shocked to find the amount of greenwashing and poor performing products in the beauty industry. Realizing I needed to become the industry expert in safe ingredients with effective and high-performing products, I have now spent years doing extensive research on ingredients, regulations and brands. After thorough vetting, I finally found products that met my lofty standards on all fronts and started AILLEA, now considered the gold standard of curated clean beauty. Read more>>

Kayla Cypher

I am a Clinical Social Worker in New York and North Carolina. I’m originally from Upstate NY. I currently live with my two dogs in Wilmington. I currently own two businesses. The first one is serving children and families for mental health concerns and is called LiveFree Therapy. This has been operating fully remote since Covid originally hit while I was still living in NY. I began this private practice 6.5 years ago.  I also own The Lightworkers Sanctuary and meet with clients in person and remotely. This practice consists of intuitive coaching, energy and sound healing, spiritual journeys and retreats, as well as Akashic record readings. Read more>>

Mariah Street

10 years ago, from this interview, I went through hand-down the most life-changing, life-altering moment of my life. When my mother died suddenly (in seemingly good health), without an estate plan, and then my aunt died suddenly (also seemingly in good health) a few years after, again without a plan in place — I knew I had to change something. Both of them were young. My mom-46. My aunt-35.  Because my mother didn’t have a plan in place, everything – all assets of hers – went to my dad. An average person would think that that’s fine, but it wasn’t. I nor my brother didn’t see a penny of her estate. And then even though my aunt saw this chaos and stress that not having an estate plan was wreaking on our family after my mom’s death, she never got her things in order. Read more>>

Blake Vickers

I’ve played soccer my whole life, and suffered many injuries and concussions. Chiropractic and an anti-inflammatory diet helped me tremendously in my recovery. I was put on many anti-depressants and anxiety medications while going through my concussion rehabilitation and they only seemed to mask the problem. I almost failed out of undergraduate completely because I could not focus and get to class. Once I found Chiropractic and an individualized approach to healing through getting proper lab work done, I was able to start truly healing. I went on to graduate third in my class in chiropractic school while simultaneously completing 300 hours of a clinical neuroscience program and training under The Wellness Way. Read more>>

Kadeshia Johnson

Kadeshia Johnson, known as KD, is the CEO of The Spa Trap, a mother, a wife, and lover of all thing’s beauty, health, & wellness. In 2014, she began her journey in the beauty, health, & wellness by starting a company, Haus of Badu, to encourage conscious health decisions with her products made of all-natural ingredients. Just a year prior, KD suffered from medications prescribed that caused severe liver failure. During that year, KD took her life into her own hands by utilizing homeopathic and naturopathic treatments and a new, strict, liver-regenerating diet. KD began to self-heal her liver back to a full recovery and proved to herself that this should be her life journey. Haus of Badu was a great beginning to this journey and it has afforded KD clarity of her path to educating her peers on health-conscious services that their clients will love and value. Hence, in 2021 KD rebranded to The Spa Trap. The Spa Trap is the love child of her interest in beauty, health, & wellness and operates to support Beauty and Spa professionals with E-courses and Resources that help their business move and grow like the TRAP (Take Risk, Achieve, & Prosper) Read more>>

Amy Friend

My current body of work evolved from my move to Raleigh. At the time, I was balancing commitments between working for my family business and going back to school to pursue a career in graphic design. Spending many hours driving between Raleigh and Eastern NC. While I was building toward a new future, I was struggling with how that connect to the present and past. ‘Rock in my Soul’ was the first drawing in the series and symbolized my movement forward and my desire to bring along my past. Finding balance between the two was a struggle, but the necessary path. As the series progressed, balance remains the common thread. Illustrated with birds caught in precarious situations, wound in thread, and tied to different people places, and ideas through time. Read more>>

Camelia Wyman

Hi, I am Camelia, born and raised in Durham, NC, aka “Bull City.” From a little girl to a teen, I was always known for my ability to run track and field. However, off the track, there were many obstacles that I had to overcome, such as; having an incarcerated parent, the lack of self-confidence, uncertainty, and fearfulness. In 2015, I took a leap of faith and embarked on a journey to help teens who may have faced some of these challenges, birthed iAmMe Girls.  With the emergence of social media and the ongoing peer pressure that many teens face, the need for support and empowerment was essential. Read more>>

Miana Richards

I have spent the majority of my adult life in Law Enforcement because I love helping others. I saw law enforcement as a way of helping others, but I always had entrepreneurial ambitions. After years of contemplating various businesses, I could pursue I settled on launching a photo booth business in 2017. I am very passionate about fashion and love taking pictures. By combining those two passions I came up with the name “Smile & Style Photo Booths”. We started with two different machines, but have quickly grown to multiple machines of various types to include the Magic Mirror, Mirror Tower, and 360 spinning video booths. Read more>>

Bella Sanders

I begin hosted family functions at an early age, 19 to be exact. My sister gave me the nickname “Hostess with the mostest” lol  Throughout the years I have hosted events here and there such as in my hometown Martinsville Virginia and most recently clean comedy shows in Greensboro NC. Dec. 4th we will be presenting our first event here in Raleigh North Carolina at the Hampton Inn hotel by Crabtree Valley  A Clean comedy/song show Featuring legendary R&B singer Sunshine Anderson and local comedians ranging from Fayetteville North Carolina Greensboro North Carolina and Raleigh… Read more>>

Brian Raynor

I grew up in a garage my dad owned which was located behind the house I grew up in. I started working at Caterpillar when I was 18 right out of high school. I was making lots of bad decisions partying all the time but I always worked hard. I was there 11 years and got laid off off during the recession that happened starting in 2008 but I was laid off in 2010. I was now caught up in the full throws of addiction. I could not find a job anywhere; I was going to every available job fair I could find but wasn’t having any luck. I started washing/detailing cars because it was easy to get into and a very cheap startup cost. I also went back to college to get my degree in autobody repair and mechanics. Read more>>

Areli Barrera Grodski

I have been working in coffee since 2009. Our business, Cocoa Cinnamon, started in 2010. We moved to Durham in 2011 to open our brick and mortar. However, we started our business with $75 in the bank and no access to credit so we had to innovate to eventually get to our plan of opening our shop. We started off with bikeCOFFEE in 2011 and pedaled around Durham and the Farmer’s Market for about a year and a half. This start was a blessing in disguise as we were able to get to know the Durham community before opening the doors to our first location. With much determination, elbow grease, and community crowdsourced funding we were able to open the doors of our first location in 2013. We opened our second location in 2016 and shortly after our third location and our roastery, Little Waves Coffee Roasters in 2017. Read more>>

Jamil Kadoura

My name is Jamil Kadoura, I am a Palestinian and was born in Jerusalem, I came from a family of 16. I lived on a refugee camp after the 1967 war, I came to the US in 1980.  I worked a dishwasher at a popular restaurant while going to school.  After a few years and many promotions, I became the F&B Director in major Hotels such as Sheraton and Hilton.  After that, I have decided to open my own Restaurant (Mediterranean Deli)  my deli started as a 12-seat deli, now it’s over 135 seat with a very busy catering business, we have opened another location in Elon, NC  Also, we opened an event venue in Chapel Hill called The Story. Read more>>

Jessie Mathers

I have been a physical therapist for over 20 years and during that time, I have seen many changes in the field of healthcare. A few years ago, I began experiencing burnout. It was a sad and confusing time for me, as I had loved my career and been a passionate PT for many years. After a lot of soul searching and cups of coffee with friends, family, and colleagues from many fields, I decided that I did still love helping people through physical therapy. But I knew I needed to be able to do it in a different way. Evolution Physical Therapy & Wellness was born. Read more>>

Christy + Matt Griffith

I’ve always loved the idea of high tea because shared with friends, it’s a very fancy tapas-type of experience. I’ve never been a planner, so thinking ahead of time to make reservations was rarely in the cards for me. We talked about how fun it would be to have a much more laid-back type of tea service where no one needed reservations and could show up however they felt most comfortable.  The house that is now Pimiento Tea Room has been in Holly Springs for almost 200 years. When we moved from Raleigh to Apex in 2006, I would drive past it and daydream of one day turning it into a restaurant. A “For Sale” sign appeared in the front yard and we took it as a literal sign that it was time to open our very untraditional tea room. Read more>>

Melissa de Leon

I’ve always known I wanted to pursue fashion and went to college to study fashion design and become a designer. In college, I studied abroad in Paris and returned home with a better understanding of myself and what I wanted to offer the industry. I had worked retail all throughout my young adult life and found so much joy from the time I spent in dressing rooms getting to know women, learning about their lives, listening to their needs, solving their wardrobe woes, and encouraging them to embrace their own unique styles. The psychology of fashion became an insatiable interest to me, and it is still what I love most in working with my clients today. My dear friends and family encouraged me that I was who they turned to when they needed help selecting an outfit for various occasions (first dates, job interviews, parties, weddings, etc.) and that I should become a stylist. Five years ago, I began my business, which now serves women and businesses in Raleigh and beyond. Read more>>

Sherri Durbin

Consider It Done! is a boutique Raleigh area personal assistance company offering the very best in lifestyle management.  Hi! I’m Sherri. After living in Southern California for many years, in 2018 I decided I needed to live in a place with more trees and less traffic! After much soul searching, I chose Raleigh as having the perfect combination of weather, culture, and quality of life.  How Consider It Done! came to be:  In June of 2004 I decided to start a company that would address the sheer lack of time that many busy Southern California professionals experience daily, and their desire to achieve work/life balance. Thus, Consider It Done! Concierge Service began.  Read more>>

Ebony Hairston

My journey started 6.5 years ago with a women’s pampering event at my church and I was asked to be one of the makeup artists there. I was definitely nervous with it being my first event, however, everything just seemed to flow. From there, I took a makeup class and then volunteered as a makeup artist at every fashion show I could. As time went on, I was encouraged to go to school for my craft, however, I wasn’t ready to step away from working full time to go to school. I was desperately trying to figure out how to level up in my craft when another stylist told me I need to get licensed. She saw me do hair and makeup for a show and strongly encouraged me to go for it. Read more>>

Jamison Sanders

I started my collection after being laid off from my corporate in the clinical research industry where I begun designing men’s accessories such as bow ties, pocket squares, and lapel flowers. I purchased a sewing machine, bow tie pattern and utilized Google to teach myself how to sew until I found a family friend that was a seamstress. I always had an eye and want for fashion as I always wanted people to like and acknowledge my own personal style. After designing men’s accessories for approximately 2-3 years and researching many manufacturing factories I knew I had adjust my pursuit in growing my collection therefore, I took the leap of faith to focus on designing custom made-to-measure (MTM) suiting, shirting, coating, and shoes (handmade in Spain). My first client was a childhood friend who allowed me to design a royal blue suit for him. I enjoyed building my collection and showing the world by designing suit for myself and other friends taking chances on the Robert Jamison Collection. As my clientele grew, I wanted to increase the experience I was providing clients which I began meeting with clients in board rooms which I built a close relationship with over the last 3-4 years. Read more>>

Shagun Suhail

One of the turning points in my life was when I immigrated to Canada three years back. It’s has been an interesting, transformational journey for me on personal and professional fronts – don’t believe I’ve achieved anything most people would consider amazing or extraordinary but I’m happy to be on the path I’m on. An important aspect of it is self-introspection and discovering oneself. To unlearn and unwind from routines and attitudes that are not working and having courage on most days to start afresh. I rediscovered my childhood passions of writing poetry, short stories, painting, cooking new dishes, exploring new places, new cuisines, new experiences that’s add depth to my life. I have a small Instagram page through which I share my traveling, writing, and food stories from my experiences locally within Ontario 🙂 Read more>>

Maya Pittman

My Southeast Raleigh high school psychology class revealed to me the connection between who I am and who I am to be and serve professionally. Always a listener. Always a lover of people. I wanted to enter the world of the mind and help others navigate their lives in the process. During my junior year of high school, my phenomenal mother passed away, and my life took a drastic turn towards that which was my purpose. After attending therapy during my senior year, I realized that I too wanted to be a guiding light for others and their inevitable, often unpredictable life changes and challenges. I attended UNC-Chapel Hill as a psychology major, realized I was not a fan of research, which led me to find clinical mental health counseling and its direct person-to-person contact as my lane. Read more>>

San Griffin

As a young black girl growing up in the south, I’ve always desired to make a positive impact regarding black peoples’ hair. Mainly because, I never saw it in a positive light on tv, in books, and media growing up. It was highlighted as comical, portrayed as difficult, and undesirable. Fast forward, I have 3 sons, each with different types of textured hair. The youngest two hair are opposites, one has big loose curls, and the other has tight coily hair. When they were in middle school, my son with big curls came home often, stating the girls said he had good hair. My other son did not receive those compliments, and it became annoying for me and him to continue to hear him recite what his classmates consider good hair. Read more>>

Sharese McFarlin

I’m Sharese McFarlin, better known as the First Lady of Real Estate (FLORE)! I was born and raised in the Triangle area, and attended North Carolina State University where I met my husband! As our family began to grow and my husband became a Pastor, I decided that I wanted a career that I had more flexibility with my schedule. I decided to go to real estate school and I haven’t looked back since. It has definitely been a journey! Over the last six years, I’ve been able to help so many families obtain homeownership, all while being a mommy to my two children and assisting my husband in ministry. And, I wouldn’t trade any of it! Read more>>

Jen Swindell

As a teen who dropped out of youth group, I never would have imagined myself being a pastor. My community of support in high school and college was my tight-knit, musical theatre tribe, and when I got re-connected with church through a campus ministry at UNC-Greensboro, I was able to understand that while I had a negative experience with that specific church community, that was not how Jesus taught the church to be. I also taught myself web and graphic design as a teen and as I re-engaged with church, I also found so many churches’ online presences to be lacking. All that came together for my Master’s Thesis to focus on the Internet and Evangelism. I’m excited to be serving as one of three clergy at Asbury Church, where I get to spend my time focusing on invitation and engagement with our community of faith and especially with our surrounding community in North Raleigh. Read more>>

Sherry Ringer

For many years my focus has been on a career in medicine. With a small medical consulting firm, I continuously made excuses for not focusing on my own personal health. In 2018, I embarked on a weight loss journey, with a goal to just feel better, and less focus on the scale. I began walking and monitoring food intake with the use of Weight Watchers. My walk slowly progressed to a run, and I found a love for running at local parks and through my neighborhood. I also found that big box gyms were not for me. I did not enjoy the feeling of working out alone and not having any outside motivation. My walks/runs in parks allowed me to see, wave, and somewhat interact with people along the way. During that time, I felt as though I was not the only individual needing a group setting to get motivated and enjoy working out. Read more>>

B.J. Council

My policing career crashed and burned at the end of my tour of duty. I left under a scandal in 2010 from Durham City Police Department. I admitted to my mistake and retired under a very public scrutiny of my professional and personal integrity. Thanks to my wife, family, and my true friends, I was able to move forward. In the fall of 2014, a colleague came to visit for NCCU’s homecoming. He had left Durham PD to become a DEA agent and an ordained minister, not necessarily in that order. He said to me, “There’s more for you to do”. I was working a delivery job, and he, (Gregory Scott) insisted that I needed to seek a higher power and find my purpose. Read more>>

Marsha McLean

Hello, my name is Marsha. I am a professional speaker specializing in Mental Health. I am also a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist, National Speaker, TV Consultant, and Author. I have has over twenty years of experience in the Mental Health Field. Due to my years of experience and being respected in her field, she helps train new clinicians who reside in North Carolina and Virginia. I have worked in various Human Services Organizations such as NC Department of Corrections, Nonprofit Organizations, and Crisis Services. I am proud to say I have also worked extensively with the US Military and worked briefly at the US Marine Corp Headquarters. Read more>>

Sheila O’Rourke

I spent my childhood drawing house plans. One of my favorite presents as a child was a drafting table, I received at age 10. I went to college for architecture but when I got there, I became intimidated by the ambiguity of a creative endeavor (how do you get an A?!) and switched to engineering, where there was no ambiguity! I graduated from undergrad in the 1990s when the software industry was taking off, moved to San Francisco, and started a career in software development. I weaved my way back towards designing for the human experience, as I specialized in information architecture and was a Design Director of large educational websites. Read more>>

Jenna Evans

My name is Jenna Evans (they/she) and I am the artist and CEO of Color Fluent Art. I am currently residing in Sanford, North Carolina. I was originally born in Texas, but I have lived in North Carolina since I was three years old. In 2013 I went to study at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In 2015 I was accepted into their art program to get my Bachelor of Fine Arts. While I was very successful in my first and second year into the program, I dropped out with a little over one year left of the program due to my mental health. Read more>>

Natasha Doane

Last year was a whirlwind of a year but an amazing year for me. I earned my bachelor’s degree and married my husband and father to our twelve-year-old son. When I was furloughed last summer, I started looking for something that I would enjoy creatively. What I didn’t realize was what that decision would grow into.  Candles have brought me joy for a long time. The excitement of discovering a new scent or candle style will never get old for me. All of our candles can turn into a reusable vessel or tin to expand your home decor. That Place You Like started with candles but will continue to grow, as well as supporting other small businesses, with categories from, jewelry to coffee mugs. Read more>>

Ciara O’Briant

I have always enjoyed gift giving. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I never really liked walking into the store and picking out random gifts for celebrations. I never seen the items I truly wanted to give my family and friends. Gift-giving for me is a process. I consider myself a “Visionary” and I truly visualize how I want my gift to be presented for celebrations. I began making hand-crafted gifts for friends and family and they always loved what I created. One year I began selling my crafts for the Holidays. After that, I starting getting gift request for all occasions. That’s when I created my brand “Gifts with Elegance”. Read more>>

Ebodio Cuenca

I’ve been a serious artist for about two years. I’m an alien from Neptune I was shunned to this planet and I took over this vessel. I remember this vessel writing poems in middle school very influenced by Edgar Allan Poe, artists influenced by are XXXtentacion, juice wrld, no cap, Rylo Rodriguez, drippin’ so pretty. I love to sing high notes and rap low tones and mix them. I’m very versatile but love sticking to the sad boy music. since I’m from Henderson NC people call me ‘The hood Edgar Allan Poe” or at least used to. I’ve been making music all by self. slowly made a studio of my own with good tech but we all have to start somewhere. quit my jobs and took my career to the next level and been working hard ever since. slowly growing my social media but soon I’ll take over this place with intergalactic emo trap. alien gang till death Read more>>

Dr. Liz Waddell

I strive to provide the quality of healthcare I expect to receive, but rarely experience. A physical therapy visit with me lasts 70 minutes, is 100% one-on-one, and takes the whole person into consideration. Often, I’ll work on a client from head to toe in a single session while also problem-solving movement challenges and offering self-care tips and tricks. Why? Because bodies are interconnected systems, not isolated parts.  My background is in performing and teaching dance, Pilates, pole dancing, and group fitness. My background also includes a ton of injuries. When I was a kid you just “walked it off.” I learned a lot about self-care the hard way. My own pain and injuries was one aspect of what drew me to physical therapy. The other side of the coin is that I love helping other active, motivated people move and feel their best. I am a lifelong learner and teacher at heart, so at age 28 I went back to school to become a physical therapist. Read more>>

America Allen

I grew up in a very chaotic household. I knew that both of my caregivers loved me, believed that I would be successful and would constantly speak words of affirmation and life into me, however, it was very apparent the lack of ability to show love to one another and themselves as individuals. I saw the firsthand results of caring for your children and caring for others without implementing self-care and caring for yourself. My mom was definitely my superhero growing up seeing her defied the odds as she worked two three jobs at a time to raise two happy healthy and very successful women. Seeing her self-sacrifice and compromise led me into doing this work. This chaos stemming from witnessing abuse really impacted my trajectory. Read more>>

Desiree Henderson

I actually fell in love with photography because of Instagram. Though I’ve never heard another person say it I can imagine that’s the case for many. Seeing as my mind composed thoughts as images I had never connected with another social media platform like I did with this one. Having had a knack for art [painting], I gravitated towards the creativity of still photography and began playing with light, shadow, color, and angles. This soon became somewhat of an obsession. One that felt completely practical because professional photographers are a thing. No doubt that could be me. My first camera was gifted to me by my grandmother (she believed in me) and since then photography has become a priority in my life. Read more>>

Amy Donahoo

The story of Amy Donahoo is one of a Midwestern girl who grew up in an idyllic small city in western Michigan where snowbanks piled higher than my head and fireflies made summertime nights magical. I was a teenager in the 1980s in a very protective, family-centric place in the world. Juice bars and movie theaters and high school football games were my playgrounds. I kept an AT&T calling card in my back pocket so I could use payphones to call home on Friday nights. Posters of Scott Baio and Johnny Cougar covered every inch of my bedroom walls.  I seem to have some gypsy blood running through me, so I chose to go to college at Northwestern University in Chicago – a much bigger and much grittier city than my hometown on the other side of Lake Michigan. I lived in Illinois, Idaho, Iowa, and Missouri before moving to North Carolina in 2003. Read more>>

Sylvia Glanton

I began my journey into entrepreneurship in 2017 after I became a victim of identity theft in 2016. I was stuck with $30,000 in credit that did not belong to me and even a car loan. This nightmare was the turning point of my life. I began to focus more on my finances and helping those around me do the same. I went from a 546-credit scored to a 742 in less than 2 years and it was all self-taught knowledge. As I was recovering, I began to bring awareness to my community and those closest to me. My biggest accomplishment was helping my parents improve their credit score to build them a 5 bedroom 6 1/2-bedroom house when this was something that they could have never imagined before. I grew up in a pretty rough neighbor so to help my parents get out, it was amazing to see and be a part of. Since then, I have helped over 100 people improve their credit scores and grow Personameant Solutions into a 6-figure business. Read more>>

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