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Hialeah’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 Miami’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 Hialeah’s rising stars below.

Jean Pradel

I got my career started as a Physical Therapist 20 years ago and received my degree from Florida A&M University. The first ten years of my career, I actually worked as a pediatric physical therapist at International Rehab Professionals Inc., where I focused on treating children with Cerebral palsy (CP), Down syndrome, developmental delay, traumatic brain injuries and more. Approximately ten years ago, I switched gears to begin working with the adult population in an outpatient rehabilitation orthopedic setting, with skilled training in Neurological, Postoperative and Sports-specific rehabilitation. For the past eight years, I worked as the principal Physical Therapist of the successful Physical Therapy Now franchise, which operates more than 50 clinics nationwide and is spearheaded by Andy Zapata. I was with the franchise since it’s inception and played an instrumental role in the rapid expansion of the business in South Florida, prompting me to launch my own clinic in the Hialeah/Miramar area. Read more>>

Alexis Fernandez

I come from a blended family and I am the glue that holds everyone together. My dad had two kids before meeting my mom, and my mother had a daughter of her own. After getting married, they suffered a miscarriage and decided since they already had kids, they were good and didn’t need anymore. Then along came little old me. So being ten years younger than the previous youngest, I remember always sneaking into my sister’s room and playing with her makeup, there was even a time where I have busted with my moms Red lipstick all over me and the walls of her bathroom. Fast forward to Friday nights in the eighth grade, all my friends and I would go to the hottest spot in town, the local movie theater. I was in charge of doing everyone’s makeup so they would look fabulous, in the dark theater, just in case a cute high school boy saw their highlight from a mile away. I think it was right before my senior year of high school ended that I knew all I wanted was to go to school to learn how to do makeup on all shapes and colors. Unfortunately, that was not an option. Read more>>

Tolga Erbora

I’ve held my hobbies since I was a very young kid. One of them is an affinity for trains and train watching, and the other is making miniature models. I used to, like most of my ilk then, play around with Erector/Erector Jr., LEGO, K’Nex, etc. There were some model train kits here and there I played with, but it was often rendered too delicate. I can argue some of my train passions started by simply being around them in the late 1990s into early 2000s, when they had a larger presence in the South Florida area. The momentum for kit building, at least on the artistic side, took shape when in elementary school, I would not only enjoy art class but live for “free time” where I could draw sketches. Many of these would be cityscapes, train drawings, and the like. This balanced out an edge I had in STEM, particularly in Mathematics. I wouldn’t shy away from using the, at the time dial-up, internet to browse information about these subjects as well as train watching and railroad photos. I discovered several communities to which the online world would come to connect me. Read more>>

Christine Gomez

Herz Jewels started in 2010, back when I (Christy) was in high school. I’ve always had a passion for creating. However, after high school, I attended FIU and was pursuing my bachelor’s in Political Science and quickly got wrapped up in working full-time, balancing school and a family. As time went by, I continue feeling like what I was studying wasn’t fulfilling my dreams and that I wanted to create something more for my family, my sister and myself. Due to my husband’s job we moved a bit; from Miami Lakes, FL to Washington Height, NY back to Miami Lakes, FL then Fort Myers, FL and Back HOME to Miami. When we were family starting to plan and settle back to MIAMI, I noticed my sister also in college feeling the same things I felt. Like we had to pursue a dream, a degree based on society and family pressuring us to do something that’s, although we were passionate about, we were not in love with. That weekend our mom’s birthday weekend in June we had a quick talk and decided to bring back HERZ JEWELS, mid pandemic. Read more>>

Mauricio Arratia

Like most commercial brewers, my story begins at home. A bit of a late bloomer, I didn’t have my first full pint of beer until I was of legal drinking age. Up to that point, I had discarded beer as a swill whose only purpose was to inebriate. I firmly believed that nobody could possibly enjoy the taste of beer and that the only reason they tolerated drinking it was because it got them drunk! That all changed on a bet… I was told that I’d be paid $20 if I could chug a Guinness faster than a random bar fly. Deal! I had never seen a beer like Guinness before and was immediately attracted to its rich color. The smell wasn’t foul either so I liked my chances of winning. And win I did! But not just the chugging bet, I won an entirely new perspective on what beer could be. Dumb bet to most, life-changing event for me. After a double-or-nothing chug that I also won, I began to feel the lovely effects of alcohol. I understood now. Beer didn’t have to be swill! That Guinness opened the door to try the more craft-focused brews that were beginning to become available at the time. Read more>>

Christian Nuevo

Since I was young, I always loved anything involving music. In middle school I dabbled with the guitar and tried to learn how to DJ but that is the extent of my background in the arts. Nevertheless, I was always involved in sports so I mostly focused on that until the end of high school. That all changed once I started university. I now had more time on my hands so I slowly began learning how to produce music on a program called FL Studio. I mostly did it for fun with my friends however, over time I realized I wanted to pursue a career involving music production and engineering. Following in the footsteps of my mother (Elizabeth Nuevo) who is also a business owner, I started my own business and am now working on creating music with local artists in Miami. Read more>>

Stephanie Gonzalez

I started dancing at the age of three. As I began to dance, my hunger for more knowledge and experience branched out to other areas in dance. These areas include Ballet, Flamenco, Jazz, Contemporary, Hip hop, & Ballroom. By the age of ten, I began competing nationally. I attended Miami Dade College where I was a part of their Dance program and their Dance team. I was able to choreograph and perform numerous pieces. During college, I was offered the job as a Coach and Choreographer of their Dance Team. At the same time, I was fortunate enough to have danced alongside different artist such as Daddy Yankee and Marc Anthony. I began teaching at the age of 17 and instantly fell in love with it. I started off teaching for the YMCA as a Dance Instructor at different public schools. Then, I was promoted to Dance Coordinator. While working at the YMCA, I taught at many dance studios from Broward all the way to the Florida Keys. I found myself teaching over 30 hours a week at seven different locations. Because of this, I was able to save every single penny to make my dream come true.  Finally, in 2020, I was able to fulfill my lifelong dream of opening my own dance studio, Velocity Dance Studio. Read more>>

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