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Fort Lauderdale’s Rising Stars

The heart of our mission at VoyageMIA is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of the South Florida’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool.  Check out inspiring stories from Fort Lauderdale below.

Vivian Antevy

I guess you could say I’ve been in the industry my whole life. My mother established the first Electrolysis clinic in Guatemala more than 40 years ago and later expanded to laser, permanent makeup and other skincare treatments. I grew up surrounded by everything skin and developed a love and appreciation for skincare at an early age. In Guatemala, there was no formal esthetic program at the time I graduated high school. Unsure about what path to take, I signed up for college and earned degrees in Advertising and advanced studies in Sales and Marketing at Landivar University. Read more>>

Alyssia Gibson

I have been painting for almost three years and I’ve been sculpting for a year. Art has always been apart of my life at a young age. I have to admit it has always been with me just as it is with every child. So it would be fair to say art actually shapes us to start with. For me, I realized I was artistically inclined at a very young age and continued to sketch and draw throughout my teenage years until finally, I started to paint and sculpt. Art. So if you are asking me how art has changed my life, I will say it has not only changed me, it has made me who I am today! Growing up, it was easy for me to pick up on things and I was a hands-on person. If there was something I wanted to, I was determined to achieve it to the best of my ability. Read more>>

Ramon Walton

It all started with the love of music. My family has always been a huge influence when it comes to music, especially my father and Grandfather. They would always play music when I was around. They always had the best sound system. Just being around them made me truly experience music. I use to take piano lessons when I was younger. However, I kind of fell off with that to pursue sports. I was a swimmer for my country and at a high level in college. All the while throughout my college career, music was always in the back of mind. I loved listening to many different styles and I remember the first time I ever saw someone producing, I was blown and think at that moment I knew I had to try it out. I remember a friend getting me the software for FL STUDIO in the summer of 2009 while I was staying at my boy’s Quinn’s to train. Read more>>

Whitney Johnson

Known to most as Whit because of my charismatic wit and joy of life, as the Doap creator of Doapy Soapy has taken a long time hobby of mine and turned it into my passion. After years of struggling with my own skin problems, I realized that I needed to create natural products that would restore the issues I had been facing for years. After researching various skin conditions, I began creating products for myself and friends, which eventually led to the rise of Doapy Soapy! In 2018, I decided to take my dream to the next level and asked one of my students to design my logo, which is the logo that is currently used but has now been digitized. Several of the ideas stem from assisting others with their skincare needs and working to revitalize their natural glow. Read more>>

Tania Rivera

I started my fitness journey probably over 20 years ago when a broken heart leads me to be a runner. Fast forward my mid 30’s and my Mom’s breast cancer came back with a vengeance. At the time, I was a Client Services Manager at a local candy broker. Fitness and working out kept me sane while she battled cancer and post her death. It was the only activity that helped me deal with my feelings of losing my best friend. Her passing made me evaluate my life to really take a deep look. Was I fulfilling my purpose? Was I helping the community I lived in? That little voice inside of me answered No. I knew all along I wanted to be working in fitness to touch people in a way that would help them be better people but had been afraid. The voice had probably been there my whole life. I just ignored it. I was afraid of failure and of rejection. Read more>>

April Imani Smith

As a teen mom, I always knew I wanted better for my son. It just took some time and a few wrong decisions to figure it out. Joining the military was a pivotal point in my life, which gave me the foundation I needed to get my bearings. From there, I started to work on me because there were little ones whose lives depended on it. After transitioning out of the military, I started my career with the State of FL. Eight years later, I decided to fire my boss and hire myself full time. Excited and Scared at the same time, I bet on God and my abilities. Read more>>

Leroy McDowell

Well, I owe a big thanks to Marcus Fowler of TNZ Productions. He taught me about video editing and encouraged my creativity when I was working in the media department of our church. I used YouTube as my personal university and soaked up everything I could on different techniques. I love learning and I love the process of creating. I later went to the Miami Film School in Hollywood, FL. They had a filmmaking program where they walked you through the process of making your first 8-minute short film. I really enjoyed it. Especially since it was more of a hands-on style of learning. Because of video production, I had the opportunity to work with some very talented people in Miami like Yonel Aris, Tranika “Shawn” Dufresne, Nial Martin and others. Read more>>

Yanelis Torres

Let’s start at the very beginning. Both my parents were born in Sagua la Grande, Cuba, where they met, married, and had me in their early to mid-twenties. I spent the first nine and a half years of my life not knowing much of what goes on outside the island, so you can imagine my surprise when we moved to Miami in 1995. To say the least, the transition and language barrier was extremely challenging but the potential for a better life made it all worth it. Unfortunately, my parents split shortly after and it was up to my mom, grandma, half-sister, and me to move on with our lives. Read more>>

Tatianna Vassilopoulos

My background is in arts and sciences. I graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in Anthropology, Art History, and Zoology. I went on to graduate with a master’s degree in Biology from Florida Atlantic University. I bounced around the globe traveling through more than 38 countries over the last 18 years. While living in five different countries on four different continents, I found an appreciation for different cultures and foods. In between, I discovered a new species of naked amoebae, designed a sea turtle exhibit for a local county nature center, participated in an archaeological dig in Israel, working on eradicating the invasive Brazilian Pepper and Air Potato species, researched diversity on coral reefs in Australia, made it onto the silver screen as a precision driver, and volunteered with a wildlife care center in south Florida before temporarily moving to Maine to teach conservation ecology. Read more>>

Keva Johnson

I have always loved fashion! I knew I wanted to do something in that industry! In college, I wanted to design clothes for Barbie! In my junior year, I landed an internship with Baby Phat (my favorite company back then)! After leaving that internship, I decided I wanted to have my own line and not work under a designer. I graduated from Florida State University with me degree in Apparel Design! I was going on a cruise for one year with my girlfriends and I was looking for swimwear! I couldn’t find anything! Everything looked the same! I like to stand out and be unique. This inspired me to design swimsuits. I made three suits and did a photoshoot and put the pics up on MySpace! The reaction was great and I later moved to NY in 2007! And as they would say… the rest is history! Read more>>

Paige Romans

In high school, I played basketball and participated in cheerleading. During the Basketball season, there was a lot of cardio conditioning. I loved the game and the hustle. When it came to cheering leading for competition I was a base for the pyramid. To keep up with the momentum of picking up the girls, I decided to lift weights. Everything I decided to do, I always put more than 100% towards it. Read more>>

Ray Rapaglia

Ray Rapaglia was a Senior Vice President during his 20-year Wall Street career as a stockbroker. He achieved much financial success; however, he was unable to stop abusing drugs and alcohol. On June 21, 2010, Ray became homeless and lived in a cemetery under a tree. He had lost all hope in life and had a rope in his hand trying to decide which branch to hang himself from. A man named Michael, who was a recovered addict himself, helped Ray in his darkest moment. Inspired by that and God, Ray now has over ten years without a drink or a drug. Ray describes himself as being happier than ever before and shows his gratitude by helping men and women. Read more>>

Dana Doench

I have been licensed since 2011 yet did not start doing hair full time until 2016. I went to Aveda in Davie and it gave me an amazing education due to having full books while at school. My first salon I was at was a beautiful family-owned business in Davie, yet it was hard to build clientele at. I was there about a year and a half when I decided to go out west to Ft. Lauderdale to a new hot spot hair salon. I there grew my books super fast and helped run the salon when the owners were out of town every few months. I have always wanted to own my own business and was at a point where I felt it was a great time to do so. I opened my own studio suite right before the Covid shut down lol!! Here I was with the key to my own spot and not able to work. I took that time to make my website and get all my things in order to be ready to roll in hopes clients will follow. Read more>>

Mark Gleberzon

My name is Mark Gleberzon. I’m a Toronto-based artist living in Toronto, Canada. I am an Honours graduate of the Ontario College of Art & Design University, having studied Communication & Design. Since 1992, I’ve been focusing more on my paintings, mixed-media collage-assemblage and photography. I have been offering and selling my artwork in numerous galleries, art shows and fairs throughout Canada, the US and Japan. I used to manage my own art gallery, MJG Gallery, in Toronto, which I enjoyed for over four years. Read more>>

Miles Lennox

When I was seven years old, my dad asked if I wanted to learn an instrument. Responding with “Ehh, sure ok,” my dad suggested to learn how to play the piano. What I really wanted to play was either the drums or guitar because in the mind of a seven-year-old, those were the ‘cool’ instruments. My dad said if I took one year of piano lessons, that I could play any instrument after that. With that in mind, I said yes and took a year of piano lessons. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with the piano and haven’t left it since. Read more>>

Dazjon Tinae

Back in 2010, when I was a junior in high school, I had an extreme interest in finance, investments, and the power of money. I did not grow up the most fortunate like many other kids but my focus was always, “what can I do to excel.” After extensive research and planning, eventually, I went to college, where I obtained my BA and MBA in business – Finance in 2016 and 2017. During graduate school, I branched out and moved to Florida, where I launched Tinae’s Wealth Management (in 2019), where we focus primarily on business consulting, credit restoration, and financial management. Read more>>

Safiya Francis

The proud-gogetter owner of Safiya Shoetique has always had a strong flare for fashion, growing up in a fashion filled family with women like her mother and aunt, a former Ms. Jamaica, Safiya almost seemed ordained to be the fashion guru she has erupted into among her peers and friends. Her unique style and selection for fashion trends started off has a hobby but quickly blossomed into a full time job. So Oct 2010, Safiya Shoetique was born and Safiya has continued to grow fearlessly in the fashion world, whether its running her shoetique, organizing a fashion elite event or photo shoots, Safiya is definitely a fashion force to be reckoned with. Read more>>

Tori Kayla

I got my first taste of entrepreneurship back in 2013 when I hit publish on her first fashion blog. I was running around Miami and FIU’s campus, taking photos of my outfits in hopes that people online would like what I shared (LOL). This glimpse into the creative entrepreneur space years ago helped me understand there was an entirely digital world beyond the standard 9 to 5 that many of us were focused on. Over the following years, I built my personal brand online and continued to connect with Black bloggers through the interwebs and local and virtual meetups. Despite keeping my foot partially in the creative pool, I was working full-time at a job that I dreaded going to daily. Read more>>

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