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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.

Valerie WILLIAMS

Valerie Williams is a servant of the King seeking to please the Lord in every way. She was born in Miami, Florida, and lived there until the age of fifteen. After which, she moved to Fort Pierce, Florida and completed her high school years. Valerie married and relocated to Atlanta, Georgia where she lived for five years before returning to Florida. She attended the University of Phoenix and earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Along with her late husband, Pastor Stanley Robin Williams, they started and developed an educational study class to unlock spiritual and natural biblical understanding. Valerie has preached and declared the Word of God at various churches throughout Florida as a singer and Bible Study teacher for the past 30 years throughout the state of Florida. Valerie William’s mission is to aspire and provoke individuals seeking spiritual insight through teaching and singing to develop an understanding of the vision God has designed for their life. Read more>>

Briah Christia

I graduated high school in the year of 2020. Going into my senior year of high school, I had a scholarship offer to play at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia. Thirty days after committing to Georgia Southern, my offer was reneged on because the coaching staff wanted a taller point guard. After the offer was reneged on, I had other opportunities to go and play college basketball at other schools. However, at the time I was done with the whole idea of playing college basketball because it was no longer fun for me. I felt as if I loved basketball and it never loved me back. Fast forward to the year of 2021; this is my first full year without playing basketball. 2021 has by far been the most difficult year of my life because I had no idea what else I would do or what else I would be good at now that I no longer had basketball. However, it took time, patience, and prayer for me to figure out purpose all over again and what I was interested in. Along the journey of finding out purpose and what I am interested in, I found myself falling in love with podcasting and coaching. I am young, but yet I have seen and been through so much. I feel that at this point in my life, I have so much to give. Read more>>

Rashauna Adkison

I never grew up being told I couldn’t be anything. I never experienced growing up and not being able to have what I wanted. So, when I was faced with a situation that required me to not only feel as if I could never amount to anything, but to also hear the word no, more often than not, I had a huge reality check. Life as I once knew it was over. Done. Just like that. I couldn’t believe I had lived all my life with comfort and ease, just to become an adult and do a complete 180. How could this be? I had the mark of the beast on me now and there was nothing I could do about it. Read More>>

Alyce Ferenc

I was unemployed in a what you would call a “Transistional” point in my life and one day scrolling through Instragram I came across a post with Resin art in it. One post lead to another and more clicks until I was completely fascinated in this medium. Growing up I took every art class that was available to me and it was always my outlet and joy to be drawing, painting, or writing. Once I saw this medium that I had never heard of I drove to the store that day and bought some epoxy resin. It required a heat gun, gloves, and raspatory mask just to name a few and I had no idea what I was doing. It was more complex than I expected. I did some research and created my first piece on my kitchen table. I said to myself. “Hey, I can sell this.” From that day I continued to research the medium and learn how to use it. I messed up may times and threw aways hundreds of dollars of art supplies trying to get it right. I made an Etsy page to sell my pieces and each time I go better and better in my techniques. After about 5 months of maybe selling a few pieces off Etsy and through family and friends I applied to a well known Art Fair in Fort Lauderdale. Read more>>

Rachel Manning

I am the founder of Realm Rentals, a boutique rental company that specializes in constructing large scale art installations for events and photoshoots. Realm is all about stepping out of the box and utilizing color, funky shapes, and unique materials in all of my designs. These characteristics were something I incorporated when creating mosaic art throughout my life. I wanted to find a way to include my mosaic art into my business and that’s how The Realm Reworked Shop was born. Realm Reworked is a shop where you can take a piece of Realm home with you, like my mosaic art and handmade home decor. Growing up, I was surrounded by creative inspiration from a young age. My Mother is a ceramic artist and always had a project to work on with me when I was younger. When I went off to college to study retail merchandising and product development, I was a part of the art team for an annual sustainable fashion show at my school. There, I discovered my love for visual merchandising and upcycling materials into large scale pieces of art. Read more>>

Phillodel Black

I am Phillodel S Black known socially as “Phyllii”. I was born and raised in the beautiful country of Jamaica. I am a mother to two beautiful children, Jah Jah & Xuri Black, and wife to a very supportive husband Omar Black and this encapsulates my driving force and team. As a Jamaican it is embedded in you from birth the love for our rich heritage and apart of this is our Vibrant Fashion & Beauty industry.  As such, growing up in such a rich culture fermented my love for these industries. So much so, that I became very engaged in these fields whilst attending university. Growing up as a young charismatic individual who loves to explore, I loved the idea of being my own boss as my parents were. I had a strong mind that one day I’d become a Boss Bae. With this love and seeing the need to add vibrancy to the lives of the beautiful women in my country and by extension the world, I created my amazing luxurious business venture “Xo Links”, which is a Luxury Microlinks Hair Extension Brand. Read more>>

Monique Joseph

My entrepreneurship journey started at the tender age of 11 years old. I was my sister’s protege and she taught me everything she knew. She was a hairstylist and I wanted to be just like her. At the age of 17, I became pregnant and had a set of twin boys, they became the driving force behind why I am who I am today. At 25, I realized that I was meant to be greater than just a worker. I have an innate ability to create my own reality and go after what I desire. I decided to do just that. I quit my corporate job and became a full-time entrepreneur. Today, I am a Master Hairstylist and Extensions Specialist, Licensed Life Insurance Agent and Real Estate Agent. My alias is Monique J. and I have been in the hair care industry for over 20 years. Licensed for over ten years. Professionally I have earned the title ‘Master Hairstylist’ by mastering all techniques within the ‘Hair Extensions’ market. Read more>>

Reyna Deleon

Meet Reyna & Whisky, the faces behind Pawfect Bakery. Our small business blossomed during the pandemic after we celebrated Whisky’s 1st birthday. I have always had a love for baking, so it seemed like a natural thing to try baking a cake for my dog. I quickly realized it’s not like baking for humans! It was definitely a challenge- but it was so rewarding in the way that it brought so much joy to Whisky. Watching him devour his cake made me so happy & the idea starting growing from there. I was furloughed from my full time job as a flight attendant & I found myself with more free time than I could’ve imagined. In hindsight, losing my job was the perfect opportunity for me see how i could work & think creatively. I started experimenting in the kitchen with different ingredients and giving out treats to my friends dogs. When I received positive feedback- – I thought hmm, maybe I could make this into a small business. It was a lot of trial & error (Ask my husband how destroyed the kitchen became & I basically stopped cooking for him & turned into a fulltime dog chef!) I loved getting to share pieces of my passion with other dog owners & the ideas just kept flowing from there. Read more>>

Shelby Barthelemy

I remember being maybe 12 years old helping my dad unpack into his new place. He ended up stumbling upon an old Yashica film camera that he used to use. I was always interested in and curious about photography so when I asked him if I could use it for myself, he was quick to say yes. Ever since then, that model has been my go to camera. Some of my favorite photos that I’ve taken up to this point has been with that camera. I began falling in love with film as a medium and now I just continue to practice and experiment as much as I can. Read more>>

Brittany Demetrius

After following what society calls the “norm” for so long, I decided to go after my dream to create a purpose driven business combining my love for all natural products that not only help people but the earth too. I have loved holistic health, all natural products, and creating my own all natural remedies since I was young. Inspired by my family who were always making their own all natural remedies from the Caribbean – this created a spark that never went away. I saw how much they worked and wanted to share with the world. I was/still am that girl researching every company and every ingredient in products for what has now been over a decade, I finally decided to birth my own baby, Demish Naturals. DEMISH (pronounced dee me sh) is a childhood nickname that I decided to incorporate into my brand showing that every path is not always linear and to always follow what lit you up as a child, it’s there for a reason. I decided from day one that I wanted to give back and teamed up with Weforest, an organization that not only helps cool the planet by growing trees but provides jobs to the locals of the community. We grow a tree with every purchase made. Read more>>

Judith Sicar

My parents, especially my father, are my driving forces and source of inspiration. After God, I would not be who I am today without them. They’ve both come from very humble beginnings, and share similar experiences in terms of their migration from Haiti, both having to endure long journeys on a boat from Haiti, in order to seek a better life and opportunities. My father is by far one of the most talented and intelligent people I know. Due to illness, he could not finish school, but education was always very important to him, so he made sure we were, and remained focused on achieving every goal we sought out to accomplish. I was practically raised in south Florida and came to the states at a young age, but while growing up in the Bahamas, my father was one of the few Haitian business owners and entrepreneurs in our town – he’s a tailor by trade as well as a musician. Entrepreneurship has always been ingrained in me. Contrary to that, things were never easy, hence why we moved to America for a better life. Read more>>

Bernadette Fluellen

I have two daughters in the entertainment industry one who sings and the other is a model. I would always see the two of them continuing to practice their crafts. When we would attend fashion events, I noticed that I grew a passion for it. I heard of other award shows in Florida but none dedicated to central Florida. So I started to think what I could do to showcase those in the fashion and music industry and thus, The Annual Fashion Gala Awards was born. Read more>>

Dwayne Dillon

I started my career at 14 years old, playing around with clippers. A friend in the neighborhood and I used to exchange (terrible) haircuts for fun. I was expelled from High School that same year, and had to decide between the job corp, or finding a regular job, and in the following years I tried to join the Navy but failed the qualifying exam 5 times. I had jobs here and there, but I never felt like I fit in the 9-5 job model. Around the age of 17 I started cosmetology school, from there everything changed. From age 17-21, my life was a rollercoaster of trying to figure out what I wanted to do, until my first daughter was born. She gave me perspective but I still wasn’t sure what direction barbering would take me in. I stuck to it, and found myself working in cut throat shops that helped me develop tough skin and an insane work ethic. Within a few months I was outworking many of my peers, and building a clientele that I still maintain to this day. Read more>>

Tasheekia Harris

I spent 5 years as a Site Director for the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County. Many young people were enabled to soar in academics and personal development. In 2006 I wanted to reach more girls and assist with steering them into womanhood. I was raised by teen parents and I desired to customize life-changing programs that would challenge girls to see their worth, increase confidence, and give them the push to walk in character. I was once that girl who had many abilities but lacked resources and the mindset to reach my full potential. The Crowning Daughters for Success Enrichment program offers girls and skills confidence without compromising their values. Through facilitating and customizing programs, as the author of Dressing My Inner Beauty Journal and Protect Your Pearls Dating Guide my goal is to Build Strong Girls so that we don’t have to repair broken women. Read more>>

Jania Sainvil

Ive been an artist all my life. It all started in kindergarten where I developed the love for art. Overtime My love for art has expanded beyond creating portraits , paintings and dabbling into photography. Because I wanted to express my art more I recently learned how to make rugs. Ever since I’ve discovered tufting rugs I realize there’s nothing i can’t do. Read more>>

Trae Alexander

Thinking of my story and how it started, I get reminded how favored I am. I was born and raised in West Palm Beach, Florida. I grew up in a home with both my parents and was supported in exploring myself creatively. In the best way possible, I like to think that I was the odd ball of three other siblings. Everyone else enjoyed sports and the pursuit of higher education. As much as I to value educational growth, I knew very young that I wanted to create things people would love. At the time, I had a fascination with learning how to dance and I found myself dancing throughout high school with a dance group called Xcl Productions. I learned to be a leader and how the body can move and create shapes. I got to travel and really hone in on my creative skills. I remember always watching America’s Next Top Model. I loved the photoshoots, make up, and creative direction. My favorite part was seeing the photos at panel and predetermining the judges critiques and disagreeing sometimes. In a way this was sport for me. I got my first camera for a birthday in high school. It was a canon point and shoot. Read more>>

Ryan Sander

I grew up in upstate NY in the town of Webster, right on the southern coast of Lake Ontario. Neither of my parents were very big on music, and it wasn’t well established where I grew up, which always surprised me as to why I got so interested in it. I started producing when I was about 13 years old and did it as a hobby to escape the everyday stresses of being a quiet kid in a big public school system. With nothing but my parent’s old work computer and a pirated copy of FL Studio 7, I began to play around making mashups and remakes of popular songs at the time. I fell in love with electronic music with genres such as trance and progressive house and often listened to artists such as Deadmau5 and Tiesto. After getting pretty familiar with FL Studio, I started to make youtube tutorials since I loved teaching people new things, and it was a great way to put myself out there. A few years into growing this youtube channel to about 50k subscribers, I realized I had something there and that producing music was a true passion of mine. I continued developing these skills throughout high school and even though I committed to a school for architectural engineering, I changed my mind last minute to attend Full Sail University in Orlando for Recording Arts. Read more>>

Daniel Crespo and Ryan Landis

Ryan Landis and I both met as interns over 15 years ago at a local studio in Boca Raton, FL. We became close friends over this time and both shared a love for DJing and producing music. Throughout our friendship, we found ourselves making music together until eventually we formed a duo “Landis & Crespo”. We found great success with our new venture, from releasing music that reached the top 25 charts on Beatport to playing huge festivals such as Electric Daisy Carnival. As time went on our solo DJ careers really took off. I (Crespo) started holding DJ residencies in huge cities like Las Vegas, New York and Sydney while Landis started to headline major festivals and release huge hit records. We have remained close friends still to this day. A few years ago before covid, we were presented with an opportunity to fill a vacant space at Sistrunk Marketplace. We both have had a dream of giving back the knowledge and skill of Djing & Music Production. So, we decided to open our very first Music & DJ School. This is how Wired Sound Academy was born. Read more>>

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