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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.

Vanessa Guerrero

Although I have been a Floridian for over 19 years, I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Caracas-Venezuela, so it’s safe to assume my heart belongs to tequenos and the mountains of El Avila. I currently reside in the sunny city of Fort Lauderdale, Florida where I enjoy quality time with my husband and family, laughs with friends, music hunts, fashion sprees, craft beer discoveries, wine tastings, and cuddles with my fur child, Rocket. The idea of starting Alternatively Chic started when I was finishing college back in 2015. I studied Fashion Merchandising and I knew that I wanted to write about fashion and everything that had to do with the industry. I knew writing would always be part of my life since my first career choice was to become a music journalist, work for AltPress Magazine and live out of a suitcase to follow bands all over the world. Read more>>

Ayanna McBride

This business started with a question presented to our children to think of a business they would like to start. We ourselves are business owners of Event planning, Travel Agency, Dj Service and wanted to teach the kids about business from start to finish. They came up with the idea of Milkshakes. The idea started in January 2020, but Covid hit soon after we started planning and purchasing items for the business. Fast forward to 2021. We came out ready as soon as we could, or at least we thought. We learned that the cart we purchased was not able to be licensed for Ice Cream with an event for Juneteenth a week away. We rented a trailer from a local company so that the kids who had prepared for this day from naming the business to creating milkshakes to practicing presentations to making samples to family members. Read more>>

Lily Marotto

From a very young age, I wanted to change something. I remember my grandmother sitting next to my bed and reading with me Gianni Rodari’s Le avventure di cipollini. At that time, I couldn’t understand the plot of the book and how it is was talking about the separation of the society and their struggles. The way the main character was passionate about injustice, I was impassioned with costumes in the book illustrations. My parents were not pleased that I had taken my crayons during the night and redesigned all the costumes. I had this grand desire to make every personage look beautiful and correspond to its spirit. Since that day, my passion for fashion design and art has only increased. I was born in the Soviet Union in the beginning of Perestroyka. For the young kid, it was pretty confusing watching how habitual ways of living were constantly changing, how people mimic Western lifestyle and how chaotic everything was around me. It made me and my imagination even stronger and more creative. Read more>>

Kassandra Ocasio

Growing up in America as a Puerto Rican woman was confusing, to say the least. I always felt like I wasn’t American enough for America and, at the same time, not Puerto Rican enough for Puerto Rico. As a young child, my father would always tell me about the Taino people, our ancestors. Last year, I felt compelled to bridge the disconnect I felt, to find my people and honor them; thus, Karaya Magia was born. Diving into my ancestry and heritage gave me a sense of purpose and gratitude, it felt like coming home. Karaya is the Taino word for moon and Magia is the Spanish word for magic, translating literally to- “Moon Magic.” Inputting the two together, I hoped that it would be a source of healing for the two cultures. Read more>>

Alexandra Colucci

A lot of my recent victories in my career come from humble beginnings. I was living in Chicago working a typical 9-5 at Radisson Blu Hotel near Millennium Park. I was complacent, I liked my job working in sales and private events. This was at the beginning of 2020, just before COVID had spread to the states. I remember it perfectly when they told me I was furloughed. At first, I didn’t think anything of it. Everyone around me, my co-workers, were getting furloughed. We were all in this together. I thought at the most we’d be away for two weeks and then coming back to work, and everything would go back to normal.mWeeks went by, nothing was normal. Weeks turned into months; six months later, I received the call I dreaded most. Laid-off. Our hotel shut down for a period of time. Every booked event was canceled. It seemed like there was no light at the end of the tunnel. During the time spent at home during COVID, I realized I was probably never going to have another opportunity to have this much time off. Read more>>

Tita Millán

Growing up in my little town of Culiacán, Mexico, was the most beautiful and important part of my life, living near the sea with all the living creatures and fishes and the precious sunsets that we have there catch my attention and made a mark in my soul, I started to see life with different colors, and in another way. My parents always had this incredible way of getting so involved in many cultural activities, they loved participation and promoting arts in the city, I move along with them and that really activate that part of me in relation with the arts and make me feel joy and Happy, immerse in all the arts and culture plus creativity at a very young age. I remember when I was six years old, I had to make a drawing about a President, so I started to look at the picture and did exactly what I saw, my Mom was like- oh girl, you have so much talent, never lose it! I never stopped, then I realized how much I enjoyed my drawing class. Read more>>

Jasmine Carter

I’ve always had a passion for the arts. I was in TV production in high school and wanted to continue in that area, but I couldn’t afford a camera. Last year March, during the quarantine, I had enough for a camera and I purchased one. I started taking pictures for fun. I would show them to my friend and post online and I’d receive great feedback, so I began charging and from there, I started my own photography business. Read more>>

Kidsan Barnes

I got my start at a domestic telecom giant, I had the courage to jump ship to a smaller international satellite communications player. That was the best step that I could have made in my life, as it opened the door to where I am now. The exposure to satellite communications comes with its own geekification, all of a sudden, I was a young business professional born and raised in Jamaica, but with my Telecom experience, I was getting thrown at almost any country you could imagine in Europe and Africa. From there, I started my own non-profit to gain experience in business ownership, the goal was to provide connectivity in the slums of Kenya. I also completed my Executive MBA from Florida International University, a strategic program that was in alignment with my career goals and did not disappoint with the global exposure, lessons on innovation and the focus on geopolitics in today’s world. It all came together!. Read more>>

Diana Lanot

I am a recent graduate of the illustrious Florida A&M University, I actually graduated a semester early with a bachelor’s in criminal justice and a minor in English. Although I’ve always been involved academically and have been working since my sophomore year, I really craved something greater; more independence and control over my life. I felt like I didn’t have anything for myself. My reasoning for starting an online boutique business was simple; to be my own boss and another source of income to support myself. I originally started my brand fall of 2019, I had the name, logo, and a few products but I allowed fear to get in the way. I did launch anonymously at first but that proved to be unsuccessful! I earned a small following but no orders at all! It wasn’t until August 2020 I decided to step out of fear and into faith. I launched publicly on all my social media platforms and I honed in on my business. Prior to my launch, I bought several business-related books, obtained my EIN, and connected with other business owners to prepare. Read more>>

Jay Scarlett

I started with my first job out of High School editing videos and commercials, ironically. No one knows I also started shooting portraits and anything I set my eyes on at first either. I developed and understood my camera and lighting over the span of about two years, which helped me understand I had the creative eye to develop nicely composed photos. The private company I worked with than needed product shots which I was picked to do so. I started liking handling a camera more and more. I went out and bought my first camera, which was a Nikon D7000. I shot with this camera a little under a decade. I walked everywhere with it. Over time, I developed connections and started to combine my passions within my work. I was pretty big in the Stanced Car scene. I curated my style through what I learned shooting portraits and vice versa. Through networking and meeting new people, which is a big part of my story, I ended up shooting for a couple of car pages. The two main ones are StanceNation and RoyalStance. I grew my following within the car scene, met new people, and continued to teach myself. Read more>>

Ashley Jordan

The Manifestation Market was created for entrepreneurs like myself to be able to spotlight their businesses weekly in their local communities, create networking opportunities with other like minded brand owners, and to also motivate entrepreneurs to speak their futures into existence while consistently doing the work to reach their goals. Read more>>

Manuel “Jblaze305” Garcia

My journey started two years ago when I left my morning radio show in Houston to start a new venture in food. Tacos have always had a special place in my heart, and after figuring out my recipe for Birria tacos (from a Mexican mom in Houston), the idea was to come back to my hometown and sell Birria Tacos in the 305. We started small with a popup and in two years, has grown into a faithful fanbase of birria lovers. Because of covid, we changed our approach and left our food truck for pre-order pickup. We are totally Instagram-based. Our people order via a link, get a confirmation and show up at a random parking lot in Hollywood and open their trunks a few minutes later. Someone from our team shows up and drops the food fresh in the trunk. No contact at any point. This system has developed into something of a cult following. Funny part is most families that order from us bring picnic chairs and usually eat the food in the parking lot as soon as they get it. Read more>>

Tia Urella

I knew with clarity and certainty that I was going to be a Firefighter/Paramedic by 11 am on the morning of September 11th, 2001. I was a political science major in my second year of college at The University of Massachusetts, Amherst, when I sat transfixed to the television screen, as so many of us did, on that devastating and fateful morning. There is a very specific and particular piece of imagery that was forever burned into my brain. It’s a low-angle shot. The firefighters are looking upward towards the smoking towers as they bravely proceed into what will soon become utter hell and chaos for them. They follow one another, as brothers so often do, without hesitation or fear. Read more>>

Veronica Casero

It all started last year during the pandemic when I was working from home during the quarantine. I was tired of my job of ten years and I had always dreamt of owning my own boutique, a place where any woman can escape from reality and enjoy a slight bit of luxury. As fate would have it, while I was in my planning phase, in a blink of an eye, my life changed forever. I had suffered a stroke hemorrhage due to a brain tumor located in my brain stem, the part of your brain that controls breathing, motor skills and speech. I had full left-sided paralysis before I made it to the ER. 2 days later, I was having brain surgery to remove my brain tumor. Fast forward six months later, after having to learn how to talk, write and walk again, I decided that I was done working for someone else’s dream and started to pursue mine. I wanted to build something that was inclusive to all women, bringing different trendy styles, ranging from boho chiq to your everyday basics with pizzazz. My ultimate goal is to own a storefront and make a lasting impact for women of all backgrounds. Read more>>

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