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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.

Natasha Walker

Mrs. Walker serves as the owner of Natasha’s Credit Services, established 2014. Based in Greensboro, North Carolina, she provides services to a variety of clients nationwide, helping to restore credit, achieve their personal and professional goals, all for the blissful consequence of financial freedom. In this capacity, Mrs. Walker follows the process of evaluating the credit of her clients and the fundamental benefits of having excellent credit and more importantly, how to maintain it. She also drafts formal letters, provide employment opportunites for other credit consultants, advocating for her clients, negotiates balances for settlements and host of other traits that makes Natasha’s Credit Services a popular name amongst the competition. Read more>>

Nathaniel FloWay Felton

I started out promoting parties and events as a teenager in New York City where I’m originally from. I was under the direction of my mentor Derrick Sanders the CEO of On The Rocks Entertainment. We Produced and Promoted some of the Biggest concerts and events in NYC at multiple venues from The Paradise Theater, The Beacon Theatre. Radio City Music Hall and even Madison Square Garden. Read more>>

Lou Welch

Tennis has been my jam since I can remember. In my youth, I practiced for hours each day and was thrilled when I made the middle school team, then the high school team, and, finally, I played in college. During all these years, I made many friends within the tennis community. In college, I majored in Therapeutic Recreation and felt that I could help others find their passion as I had found mine. My first job was working in a psychiatric hospital in the adolescent unit. After several years, I moved into marketing in the business world and eventually into pharmaceutical sales. Though I enjoyed all my jobs, my heart was always with helping others. Eventually, I married, had two children, and focused on home life. As my children entered high school, I began looking for a part-time job that would allow me to keep family life commitments while using my talents to help others. Read more>>

David Carter

My story starts back in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I worked for another Chiropractor for about 3 years before myself, my wife, and two young boys (ages 4 and 5 at the time) decided to take an enormous leap out of our comfort zone and relocate across the country. The move got us closer to my brother, and got us away from the freezing cold winter. We found Angier, mostly because it was one of the few places that we could find a place to live with moving across the country and not having any jobs/income already in place. Read more>>

Kali DePreaux-Jensen

I started practicing yoga when I was a single soldier stationed at Fort Bragg in 2011 at a magical little studio called Embrace Yoga Studio in Fayetteville, NC. I started practicing because I was bored with my normal gym routine and fell in love with the physical and mental benefits of yoga. It helped me recover from surgeries, gain confidence and begin to lead a more peaceful life. In 2015, I became a yoga teacher in that same space. Embrace was such a special place to me, forever my yoga home in my heart because they no longer exist physically. Embrace was the first place in NC I ever felt the feelings you get when being at home- relaxed, comfortable, not judged, etc. My intention behind creating hOMe Yoga Studio is to create that space for others; not just with a physical space, but a space in your heart and on your mat. Read more>>


As a young queer person, I’ve always been interested in drag. When I was in high school and still very in the closet, I would watch Rupaul’s Drag Race with so much excitement and amaze in my eyes. The queens just looked so liberated, happy, and not to mention fabulous! I told myself that one day, I would become a drag queen. Years passed and I completed my undergraduate and graduate biology degrees from North Carolina State University and thought I was headed off to medical school to be a doctor, or so I thought. I originally created my drag persona, Dr. Zackarina, in my mind with the intention to be one of the world’s first physician-drag queens; but, when I really started to think about it, medicine wasn’t exactly what I loved. Instead, through lots of therapy and reflection (and journaling!) Read more>>

Ashley Smith

Starting in my mother’s kitchen, I have always had a passion for hair. Starting off doing my own, I gradually started doing other people’s hair around 2017. As time went on I realized that this is something that I truly enjoyed. March 2020 is the first time I truly started doing hair, starting with my aunt, I did my first closure quick weave. After that, I began making, dying, and installing wigs and weaves. Fast forward to October 2020, I finally decided to start a business doing hair in my dorm room. ​Read more>>

Sarah Granahan

My story is a testament that no matter where you start out in life – whether dire straights, tough upbringing, feeling lost and stuck, dealing with abuse, etc, that it is possible to co-create the life you would like to live by taking time to manifest and set goals for yourself. It’s possible to have a new and shiny experience if you just put your mind to it. Realize that if you can pull yourself out of “victim mode” and see your life as a boat across the water instead of a house-boat, that you can create what you want and do amazing things. I tell my clients this all the time, since my life is an example of all that! Read more>>

Katerina Obert

I’m originally from Ukraine. I came to the USA in 1996. I got my RN license and was working at Rex hospital at labor and delivery for 16 years. Over 5 year’s ago I was researching information about permanent make up. I found a class and decided to take it. I created my business SimplyBeautifulbyKaterina and now I’ve been doing it for over 4 years. I love my job, I love to make people feel beautiful and happy. You never would think how much permanent makeup can give clients more self esteem and more confidence. Watching my clients look in the mirror at the final results and seeing their reaction, that is the most precious moment of my job. It’s not just about beauty, for some people it’s a necessity. Especially for a breast cancer survivor, it’s to have areola reconstruction, or to get eyebrows back that were lost because of alopecia… Im proud of my job as a permanent makeup artist, as well as being a nurse. Read more>>

Ca-Daryl Sloan

I grew up in Salisbury, NC in the kitchen with my mother baking and cooking since I can remember. She was a single mother who raised my brother and I to be able to take care of ourselves by teaching us early on how to cook, pay bills, laundry and any other duty you would need as an adult. In 2018 my mother became ill and had to change her diet that required more eating food at home than at restaurants. I shared with her that I wanted to enroll in culinary school to persuade a dream of one day opening a restaurant and or owning a food truck. Not knowing after I enrolled a few months later she would pass away two weeks prior to my first day at Mitchell Community College in Statesville, NC. I ended up withdrawing from my courses before even attending that Spring of 2019. Read more>>

Geraldesha Smith

My name is Geraldesha and I’m 29 a mother of 2 handsome boys ages 2 and 6 .I grew up in the small town of Scotland Neck where everybody know everyone and where is can also park in the middle of the street I grew up in proverty where I had to make choices I wasn’t happy with but to better my living I had to do my grandmother started raising me and my sister when I was 10 yrs old I left home at the age 15 due to the lack of not having the things I needed I was trying to continue school to obtain my high school diploma til I got a job my 10 grade summer break and had to get my own apartment that when it was time to go back to school I had to make a choice of school or all this hours to pay my bills if the house I got on my own at the age of 16 while in a abusive relationship with someone older than me Read more>>

Tasha Maria Soto

Originally from New York, I moved to Puerto Rico as a young toddler where I learned to embrace the islands’ cultural life and traditions. I have vivid memories of the many natural remedies my parents, grandparents as well as neighbors used for common colds or everyday minor conditions. It was in those early days that I developed a strong interest in the wonders of herbal remedies and cures. During my adult life when my health started to fail as I struggled with gut issues, autoimmune disease, and faced a toxic medical condition which nearly destroyed my life and could not seem to be solved by conventional western medicine, I desperately took back control of my health. I began to seek alternative treatment to find the root cause of my illness. I researched and read endless stories that inspired and motivated me to seek naturopathic treatment. Read more>>

Niesha Shankle

I am Niesha Shankle better know as THEE HAIR HUSTELR. I’m a 33 year old women of 3 and a Entrepreneur . I do hair in Charlotte , North Carolina where I was born and raised. I have had this passion and dedication since I was a young. I later enrolled myself into Aveda Institute were Completed my 1500 hrs in 2015. I learned from some of the best stylist. My goal is not to just stop at just doing hair. I create content for Instagram and YouTube . I have showed my creativity behind the scenes with local company’s doing editorial work, fashion shows, shoots and big wedding parties. I am in the process of creating one of the biggest hair care and collection line. Continue to watch me grow as I will be one of the BIGGEST celebrities stylist for your old and future A-Listers. Read more>>

Lynda Cathcart Cox

I’m a North Carolina transplant. I grew up in Missouri– a very different Missouri than you see on media today. I desperately wanted to go to Washington University, but didn’t make the cut, Because I’m tenacious however, I decided to shoot for transfer student. I graduated from WashU with an English Literature degree, much to my father’s chagrin, and had a hell of a time finding a job. After working as a glorified secretary, I shot the other direction earning an MBA, which made my dad happier. Read more>>

Melissa and Marquetta

Our story for Food for Thought Plant-Based Eatery started years ago in the making. We were both professional chefs and friends within the culinary industry for the last 16 (Melissa) and 10 (Marquetta) years. During this time we gained a lot of experience and knowledge, but also during this time Melissa started on her health-conscious journey of becoming plant-based. Three years into Melissa’s journey; Marquetta decided to give the plant-based lifestyle a try as well. Read more>>

Heoak Lee

Traditional Korean Dance has been my deepest passion all my life. It all started in Korea when I was 5 years old. After immigrating to the US at age 9, I was able to take lessons and perform all over the Washington, DC area. My first attempt at choreography was during my junior year in high school. I also got to produce my first event that year. My desire to further study and experience Korean dance led me to travel to Korea where I also studied traditional instruments and singing. In 1997, I formed a Korean dance group, ‘Imperial Jewel’ which enabled me to connect with the community and establish the Imperial Jewel as the face of the Korean cultural performance. Read more>>

Timberly KĀI Simmons

Timberly KĀI is an Internationally known IMDB listed Global Award-Winning Actress, Singer, Model, Host, Personality, Producer, Certified Beauty Entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and Master Level Qualified Educator! Between films and stage performances, you can find Timberly KĀI managing stages, contouring Bodies, or teaching Beauty, Marketing, & Entertainment classes around the world. For Beauty marketing or entertainment Advice consult with Timberly K today @iamtimberlyk! Read more>>

Stacey Rascoe

Hair was something that I took an interest in at the age of 12. It was something that I was good at, so I always did it on the side throughout middle and high school. Once I went off to college at Winston-Salem State University, I decided I didn’t want to do hair anymore. My focus was on pursuing a career in nursing. I later changed my major to Exercise Science with the dream of becoming a Physical Therapist.  Read more>>

Savannah Rogers

My career in the beauty industry started when I was eighteen years old. I went to Cosmetology school right after high school and began assisting hair and makeup artists for weddings. I fell in love with working at weddings and being able to make someone feel their best for a very important day of their lives! I worked in Charlotte at a Drybar for almost three years until I was able to work for myself in a salon located in Belmont, NC. Read more>>

Rayann Christine

My name is Rayann, CEO of Home of Hunnies, LLC, a Latina Owned and Women-owned business in North Raleigh! I started Home of Hunnies at 22years old. I was about 5 months pregnant with my son. Working full-time at a corporate company, I was ready to test my motivation and talent and be my boss. In April of 2022, I quit my other full-time job and opened a full-time Home Of Hunnies, specializing in Lashes, Brows & waxing! Read more>>

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