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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.

Kirenia McClain

I began with a dream. Thinking of what can I be and what can I become. Starting off at a young age admiring my mother’s creative side. Seeing how with a stroke of her styling scissors, she would transform a women and a man. To a person that can take on the world. I knew right then that I wanted to help in a creative way myself. Growing up in the 80’s, it was an era of glam and expression. Beauty was my life. I was fascinated with makeup. What girl wasn’t in her teenage years. My fascination became more of a passion. I began creating different looks on myself. Practicing as much as I can to perfect each look. Watching for hours MTV videos and looking at Vogue magazine. Admiring each model’s makeup and absorbing every bit of detail. Setting the stage as a makeup artist. Read more>>

Alecia Peters

I would like to consider my story as her story. Simple because the challenges that I have dealt with many women have faced. The difference is how they handled it. Years back, I decided to leave a marriage that no longer served me well. As a single mother of two awesome children, I knew I had to do more. My children deserved more! I wanted to ensure that I created great opportunities and build generational wealth for me children. Not only that I moved out of my home and knew we needed somewhere new to call home. I knew I needed a home, but I did not want to get caught up in the cycle of renting and having to move each time my lease expired. I wanted to create consistency and a more stable situation for my children. Read more>>

Teresa Kelley

As an admitted shopaholic, I was not finding the type of shoes that I like to wear in stores. I like bold colors and patterns that most people are too scared to wear. Being the entrepreneur that I am, I decided to research how easy it would be to open an online shoe boutique. This way I could source the shoes that myself and other women who love bold, unique classic and sexy shoes could buy. My Kiatu was born in September of 2019. Kiatu means shoe in Swahili. My Kiatu is coined as the not so ordinary shoe boutique for the extraordinary woman. Read more>>

Venis Wilder

My name is Venis a.k.a V. Tiarrá and I am a musician-physician-activist. I’m also a mother to a vibrant 5 year old daughter and I’m from South Florida. I spent 11 years in medical training at Duke University, Harvard Medical School, and Columbia University and practiced medicine for seven years, and discovered I was not living to my fullest potential. However, I didn’t know what was missing. I just felt like my impact was not at the level I wanted and I felt restricted by the scope of my work. After a divorce, an illness, and admitted disillusionment with my career, I was literally forced to face the music and look internally for answers. Read more>>

Chelsea Rodriguez

I’ve been a licensed esthetician for the past five years; and have always been a little unconventional when it comes to skincare. As you know in March Covid hit, and it took a huge toll on skincare services resulting in me being laid off from my job. I am someone who needs to be busy, so immediately I researched ways to make money from home or new ideas to make money. That lead me to discover Monat, I loved the ingredients in the skincare line, I thought this would be an amazing steppingstone into my true wants and desires. Boy, was I right, it led me to something I didn’t think was achievable, starting my own esthetic business. I took my love of travel and merged it into a business idea – The Mobile Esthi. Read more>>

Amanda Marino and Blake Cohen

Amanda and Blake met in late 2013 while working in the substance abuse treatment field together. Over the next few years, they both continued their journeys in assisting families addressing issues related to substance use disorders separately while remaining friends and colleagues. All the while, their passions and goals remained aligned in wanting to further their education, spread awareness, and be of service to. Read more>>

Joseph Doman

I am a New Jersey native that had a pretty bumpy introduction to adulthood. I grew up in northern new jersey in a small town called Nutley. When I think about being young – my strongest memories always those of being bullied in elementary and middle school for “being gay” or “acting like a girl.” Although there are definitely more terrible trauma stories, this deeply, deeply affected me. I was beat up multiple times, even had my nose smashed completely in. I had so many experiences of humiliation as a kid at the hands of other kids. Kids can be really cruel and I wrongly learned that being myself was NOT OK. I determined that being my authentic self meant experiencing pain. I came from a great family, so aside from my emotional transgressions, I made friends, went to college, typical NJ stuff. Read more>>

Atouria Whitely

I was born in Jamaica I always knew the basics of hair being that my mother and aunty are hairstylist! I always knew I never wanted a job I wanted to be my own boss. I was I started doing box braids on myself back in 2016 and practiced more on my friends. I quickly mastered box braids/lemonade braids/feed-in braids. Fast forward to 2018, I decided to invest in a lace class, from then moved on to sew-ins and lace wigs. I practiced every day even though I’m still in the process of learning new techniques everyday! Read more>>

Bryana Mcpherson

I started my business back in June. The 3rd, the be exact! Literally in the middle of the Pandemic. When cases were soooo high! I was out of work and home, still thinking about my future! So I decided to take that leap of faith and Invest into myself and do what I LOVE! I always loved Swimsuits, Trendy Clothing, Taking Pictures and just looking and feeling sexy! Us, as women, love to get dressed up and look pretty! Retail therapy is really a thing! This lead me to launch “Adore Me Collection” to make every women feel their sexiest and confident in my pieces! Read more>>

Meghan Schader

Growing up, my older sister’s husband was a tattoo artist in Tennessee. Every summer I would spend with them and was always fascinated watching him tattoo. He used to have me draw designs from magic cards along with other little designs. I remember drawing a whim or the Pooh for him and he tattooed it. I had to be like 11 or 12 at that time. I eventually went to college for photography but three years in I decided school wasn’t for me and looked for an apprenticeship to tattoo. It was tough because at that time, no one wanted to apprentice a girl. Or they wanted to charge a lot. I lucked out and had a good friend that had recently finished his apprenticeship and got me in his shop. And 11 years later, that friend owns the shop I work at now, Badfellow tattoo! Read more>>

K. O’Neill

Being from South Florida (specifically the Fort Lauderdale region), I grew up surrounded by art in one of the most culturally diverse (and beautiful) parts of the country. I initially was introduced to working with acrylics when I met South Florida artist Deborah Fletcher (owner of The Painted Easel Art Studio in Weston), my art teacher at Coral Springs Museum of Art when I was around 12 years old. I credit her with setting me on this path and giving me the tools to channel my emotions into my work (and also thank her for introducing me to artist Romero Britto when I was 14, which undoubtedly inspired me to pursue art). Read more>>

Sarah Duke

I have been super crafty and resourceful since a very young age. There is something so calming about creating. While in college, I began researching and testing clean beauty products that were free of harsh and drying ingredients. It made all of the difference in the world for my skin – face & body. At that time I started experimenting and making my own organic products. It all started with a coffee scrub, blended with hydrating and nourishing oils that I used religiously. Mixing essential oil blends and making clean products for myself became my favorite self-care routine. In December 2019, I lost my corporate job in marketing and events. The pandemic began shortly after and that is when I decided to put all of my effort into my passion project and that is when SIBS Creations was born. Read more>>

Richard Leteurtre

I started my culinary career at a young age, working at my godfather’s restaurant in France. I started as a dishwasher at 11 years old and worked various kitchen stations until I was 16. I next worked on the floor, gaining front of house experience. At 19, I moved to Paris to work for several high-end restaurants, including Royal Turenne and Ma Bourgogne in Place des Vosges. After 14 years, I moved to Florida to take over Bistro in 1902. Today, Bistro 1902 is thriving even during these challenging times. We recently implemented The Local Culinary’s ghost kitchen franchise model as a way to bring in extra revenue through its designed-for-delivery brands. Read more>>

Kimaya McPherson

I grew up on the island of Trinidad and Tobago, where I lived with my grandmother. As a child, I would often get in trouble for revamping my clothes to my liking and using our family room drapes as fabrics for my new dress. I have always loved creating and working with my hands and fashion design has always been a natural calling to my life. At the age of thirteen, I moved to Brooklyn, New York and I learned that there was so much opportunity for creatives, and I knew I had options for my career. To be honest, although I knew I loved fashion, at the time I didn’t have the confidence to fully pursue my actual dreams. Instead I got involved in the modeling industry only to find out that was not the place where I truly desired to be. I wanted to be a part of something special. Read more>>

Sharte Graham

Hello guys, my name is Tay and I’m a 20-year-old young lady and I bring to you my hair and skincare line which includes organic shampoo and conditioner along with body butter. I’ve always had issues with dry scalp and my hair not growing. I was skeptical of what I should do as far as should I cut it all off and start over. In the previous months, I’ve tried multiple ways and multiple shampoo and conditioner are to try to resolve my issue. Once I notice the issue kept recurring, I decided to do my own research into looking into how organic products can be beneficial with my situation. Read more>>

Fritz (COU) Sterling

After returning home from college in Massachusetts, I was in a really dark place spiritually and mentally. I couldn’t be around any of my friends due to the way I viewed myself. I didn’t really open back up to people until my brother Jose invited me to a party he didn’t attend. Life started to go up after that night, meeting those people. I always was writing and spitting it over beats to girlfriend in her car at that time but I don’t think she saw the vision I had. When 2017 came around my boy Vivo sent me a song he wanted me on called “SRT” and that was the first time anyone ever had faith in me as an artist and brought me to a real professional recording studio. I took that opportunity and ran with it. Read more>>

Kiana Francis

In elementary school, I was selling candy, chips, Hot sausage… basically any snack you could think of. I was my school’s Plug for snacks. I continued the hustle until high school. During junior year of high school, I told myself I wanted to do something bigger. I became really fascinated with human hair extensions. I started off with only three bundles of hair. Once I sold those three bundles, I knew I had what it takes to be successful. Even though I started off with bundles, I wanted to expand and sell other items. I decided to start selling eye-wears. I continued to sell those two categories of items for about a year and a half. Around sophomore year of college, one of my friends at the time told me I should start a website. She told me it would be a more effective way to share my items with the public. Read more>>

Ana Elvir Teddy

I started Teddy’s Instagram page for fun and started to show his viewers all the pet-friendly locations South Florida has to offer. I realized that his viewers were being entertained and enjoyed discovering new places with us, so I created a job for Teddy to be a Tour Guide. I wanted to help my hospitality industry friends since they were so affected because of Covid-19, so I started with pet-friendly hotels and then expanded to restaurants and shopping. I also love street art, so I show as much of that as possible. Read more>>

Amber Chane

My background is Jamacian & Hatian descent! It all started when my grandmother Cherry was alive. She taught me how to make my first Pastry back in 2007. Shortly, after I started baking and selling my desserts at work, after she passed away in 2012, I decided to go full on into my business, creating a logo and etc. At first, it was extremely hard trying to figure out all the legal aspects of it all, but I had great help along the way. At this time, I was working as an Assistant Manager at a MetroPCS store which now T-Mobile and I had a very close friend Jeffery Durandis. He was such a great motivator and kept me going times when I wanted to quite. He gave me really great advice. He even helped me open up my first business account and legalize my business name, “A Queen’s Delights”! Read more>>

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