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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.

Monica Pruitt

A visit to the ophthalmologist with the intention to get an updated contacts prescription turned into a day I’ll never forget. Being told at 29 that you’re going blind with an incurable, no treatments available condition & to surrender your license leaves a mark. I was quite literally blind sided. That day I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, which causes night blindness and tunnel vision that progressively gets smaller rendering me blind. The Retinitis Pigmentosa diagnosis in conjunction with my hearing loss, I’ve worn hearing aids since I was 4, prompted my doctor to order a genetic panel with a Usher syndrome diagnosis in mind. Usher syndrome is the leading genetic cause of deafness and blindness. And it was to none’s surprise when the panel came back and confirmed I have USH2a. I officially was going deaf and blind. Read more>>

Jhenell Matthews-Allison

I was born in Jamaica and moved to Miami, Florida with my parents when I was about seven years old. I lived most of my life in Florida except for about five years while I attended law school and worked in Chicago, Illinois. I eventually got homesick and decided to move back to South Florida. The stress and anxiety of working as an attorney in Illinois while studying for the Florida Bar Exam and hormonal changes left my face a hot mess! I had acne that I never experienced before and nothing I bought from the skincare isles helped. After about a year of research and experiments on myself, friends, and family…I cracked the code! On August 12, 2019, I registered Herbz and Tingz as a Florida LLC and officially launched on January 1, 2020, just three months before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down the world! After just two years in business, I decided to resign from the law firm I worked at to focus my efforts on Herbz and Tingz full time. Now my main focus is creating and selling skincare alternatives to the harsh, sometimes toxic, products on the market. Read more>>

Gabriella Elena

At around 19, I started working at the Mac Counter and I was able to really build my skills. I eventually became a Celebrity Makeup Artist, and I was really satisfied doing this. However, in 2016 I needed to take a little break from doing makeup because I had my amazing son. During that break, I started taking Instagram seriously and started really posting on there and making YouTube videos. I was able to get my first campaign with Anastasia Beverly Hills in 2016, and from there it snowballed. I’ve been able to work with some amazing brands including Maybelline and Covergirl (I did a special with Nikki Tutorials for their site). I’ve also been featured in Essence Magazine for my hair, as well as on Buzzfeed and Fenty Beauty. Today, I’m still creating content for brands on TikTok, IG, and YouTube, and I have a long way to go but I’m really enjoying how far I’ve come. Read more>>

Joseph Lee

I started in November of 2015, but fashion has always been a part of my story from the beginning. Both of my parents used to always like to look nice no matter if they were just going to the store. From watching that, it grew on me, and once I was old enough to say what I like or even being able to buy it myself, my style created itself. When I was younger a few friends and I started a brand but we only made it as far as the name before life happened. What I did was take everything I learned and incorporated it in my brand. The basis is quite simple of the brand… we are all about being fresh… most of the themes and designs are Bakery related… because when you go to the bakery, you want your items fresh correct? Read more>>

Fernando Mendoza

We started as a catering services. Then when the covid came, we started to do deliveries. After that on November 2020, we built the food truck. Read more>>

Maria Carolina Diaz

I am an engineer by training and I left South Florida in 2007 after school to start my professional career. Living outside of my comfort zone, I struggled finding people I could connect to and get used to the new city; I struggled with my personal life because something I did not know why was lacking! And one day, I made the decision to go to the gym and try Zumba on a regular basis (I had tried before, and I knew I loved dancing). Shortly after, the regular instructor quit the gym, and I made the decision that I could be the one leading the class and went ahead to get the instructor training. I was thinking they were going to offer me the position right after I got the license since I considered I was a good dancer. Needless to say, my plan did not work the way I wanted. Few months after I got my license, I came back to South Florida and tried to join the gym again but it didn’t work out either. I kept paying for the license but I was fully focused on my career. I continued to do Zumba on a regular basis throughout though (I never stopped after I started back in 2009). Read more>>

Lidiana Montes

2020. The year of absolute setback, despair and loss. I lost my job due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was a very frightening feeling. The pandemic affected everyone and projected complete uncertainty. I took this news and instead of allowing it to affect me negatively, I used it as fuel to light my fire. Who would’ve known that with hard work and dedication, I would be able to find my passion and run my very own marketing agency full time. In March of 2020, I created LFM Marketing which at the time was Miami Social Marketer. Every morning I wake up and grab my laptop ready to come up with the best ideas for my clients! I had the pleasure of working with VoyageMIA in May of 2020. This past archive discussed the start of something new. I am so grateful to publish a second article with VoyageMIA in which I can follow up on the company’s very exciting growth….The company made a full year in March 2021. I have decided to add more services to LFM Marketing which means new talents and additions to the team! LFM Marketing now offers Photography services. It is such an achievement to grow the LFM Marketing company. Read more>>

VIX

Since 2016, I’ve been playing covers/original music both acoustic or with a band all over Miami. In 2018, I made my streaming debut with my first single, Icy. I am heavily inspired by Amy Winehouse and Queen. I’d say my writing style is like Amy’s and my performance style is like Freddie Mercury’s. During peak pandemic, I moved to Atlanta to continue writing and recording with my producer and friend, Ricky, where we managed to release three other singles and even a music video! Summer 2020, I did my first gig as an opener for Miami local, Twelve’len on his Sugar Hill Express tour. It was such an amazing experience to play different venues in Florida and I even got the opportunity to play a show in New York’s, The Bowery Electric. Living back and forth from Miami to Atlanta this whole year has been so rewarding in every way. I hope to release the music I’m currently working on between Fall 2022 and early 2023. I’d like to give a shout-out to Holmes, Keanu, and Vinny for being so patient with me while I learned more about my artistry and music in general. They were over 90% of my gigs this year and have been elevating my shows with their incredible talents since 2018… forever grateful. Read more>>

Chris Bresciani

The story I have chosen to write about is how I got involved in theatre. It all started when I was in the 11th grade at Miami Lakes Tech. I was the class of 2015 and for our junior year fundraiser, the class of 2015 oversaw the haunted house. The haunted house took place in the auditorium and the class of 2015 worked with the theatre students as well. I ended up becoming friends with all the theatre students and that was it for my junior year. So, skip forward to senior year, I went to the drama club booth and wanted to participate in the haunted house again. I did, and this time I became extremely close with the drama club to the point where I started to have lunch with them and all that. I was never interested in theatre, nor did I know much about it. Then, later in the year I was walking around and leaving home after the era cub (equal rights alliance) and I ran into one of the drama students, they said they held auditions and not a lot of people showed up. The show was “High School Non-Musical”. Read more>>

Naomy Godoy

I like to think of myself as a true artist due to there being nothing I don’t find interesting. You name it; mixed media, painting, sculpting, jewelry making, makeup artistry, photography, even poetry – I’ve done it. My journey as a creative all started at a very young age. It was all sparked by pure curiosity and the thrill of reinventing things to show the world my point of view of how I see things. A lot of times, it’s a form of self-expression and other times, it’s a burst of inspiration fed off of other creatives. Either way, there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t get creative in some way shape or form and I love it. Getting creative every day is my form of living life in color. Read more>>

Caleb MacPherson

My wife and I started roasting coffee in our garage back in 2016. Since then, it’s been progression through a series of large leaps to get us today to a growing wholesale program as well as two beautiful coffee shops. Our story has really centered around sharing the stories of others and our own. Read more>>

DeJone Mitchell

Empress beauty was created by myself for young women like myself. I thrive in uplifting and empowering other women by enhancing their beauty. I started because I was struggling with child care while working two jobs and unfortunately, my support system wasn’t necessarily dependable. I offered beauty services on my day off and would occasionally call out of work during busy seasons because the demand for my services grew tremendously until I was able to step out on faith and become self-employed full time. Here I am almost four years later self-employed with a full-service salon in my hometown that I grew up in along with traveling services. I worked hard to be where I am and I wish to inspire and connect with as many like-minded souls as possible. Read more>>

 

Valentina Perez

I’ve been taking photos since middle school. I actually started out taking photos of my friends with my laptop on photobooth before I had a camera. I would help them pick an outfit, do their hair & make up, then I would hold up the laptop and shoot that way. I got a little point & shoot camera shortly after & then a year or two later (still in middle school) my parents got me my first DSLR kit camera which is the camera I still use till this day (she’s old). In high school, I actually took photography class all four years but never really paid much attention which I regret immensely. I was also unofficially part of the yearbook staff my senior year, they would just ask for my photos which I thought was pretty sick. I never really took photography serious until two years after I graduated high school. I started doing planned photo shoots with mood boards, make up artists and models and I got amazing feedback from my community.  Read more>>

Zeina Darwich

My first wake-up call was when the father of my kids had a severe car accident in Miami and he stayed in the coma for around a month and the doctors said that he was in critical condition. I was alone with no family support, had to take care of my 2 boys and be with him at the hospital. a close friend shared with me the book “Ask and it is Given ” by Esther and Jerry Hicks and I started to apply it and it was a game-changer. I started to vision that he is healed & recovered from the accident, I go visit him wearing my smile, bright colors so when he wakes up he will take from my positive energy,I posted the drawing of my kids over his bed to give him inspiration,I protected myself from any distraction to support my intention which was his recovery and a miracle happen where science and doctor could believe that he woke up from his coma! After this challenge, I started to be interested in learning more about Energy and how we can manifest our desire. Read more>>

L.T. Phoenix

I’m a writer, poet, model, and content creator. here in Miami, FL. I grew up in Hialeah, and later moved to Miami Lakes. I began writing from an early age, specifically around middle school, but it wasn’t until high school where I began to write almost daily, due to personal circumstances. I can firmly say that writing has and continues to be a form of therapy for myself, and I can only hope for others as well. Writing came easy to me, and it made me feel heard; it’s been there for me when I’ve needed to process emotions, or when I’ve needed to make sense of things that were happening to myself and those around me. It wasn’t until the end of 2018, where a good friend of mine read some of my work and he inspired me to open an Instagram account and go public with what I write. Before this, I’ve never shared what I’ve written in fear of criticism. I’ll admit, back then I wasn’t allowing myself to be as vulnerable as I am nowadays. Read more>>

Javier Alvarez

I began practicing Martial Arts at the age of 12 in my native country, Cuba, I practiced various styles of combat, I opened my first martial arts school in 1999, in the backyard of my house. I was founding vice president of the Cuban Choy Lee Fut Kung Fu Association, in 2012 I emigrated to the United States. and based in the city of Hialeah, founded the Southern Warriors Kung Fu Academy with the aim of transmitting my modest experiences to children, youth, and adults from various locations in the City of Miami. I am IT by profession and currently, I work as an electrician in addition to my activity as an Instructor of Kung Fu, Personal Defense, and Chinese Therapeutic Exercises, such as Tai Chi and Qigong. Read more>>

Omar Garcia

In 1989 when I was 15 years old, I began performing in local bands in South Florida – something I continue doing to this day. During this time, I was fortunate enough to participate in other aspects of the South Florida music scene: putting on events and shows, recording and producing other bands’ music and working with local non-profits including The Miami Girls Rock Camp, Guitars Over Guns and Live Apparatus. In 2017, my partner, Naomi Lopez, and I started Browner Sound out of an interest to understand audio electronics, a passion to stay connected to the local music community and a desire to reduce waste. We currently repair and restore all kinds of professional musical performance and production equipment including guitar amplifiers, mixing consoles and microphones. We have also launched our own line of Browner Custom Shop proprietary equipment available through our website and Reverb.com. We have also created a give-back initiative called the Music Preservation Project. Through the initiative, the Browner audio production team goes out to Title I public schools to record choirs, jazz bands, concert bands and marching bands at no charge to the students or school in order to capture and preserve early musical performances of future local musicians. Read more>>

Janessa Romero

I began doing my own makeup from a young age, around the age of 10. From there, my passion for makeup kept growing as I watched and learned YouTubers do their makeup. When I was 15-16, I decided to create an Instagram page to post any makeup looks I would create on myself and my friends. As time passed on and I continued to go, people started contacting me for makeup services and thats how we are here today!. Read more>>

Lorena Agudelo

Everything to me really began in Colombia where I’m originally from, over 30 years as a little girl. In the other hand Inspirations by Lore started not too long ago, actually it began the moment I realized the news about the Corona Virus were very serious. I was working at that moment for an incredible corporation but sadly for me and many people who depended on it, this amazing corporation was related it to the aviation field. The truth is that; right in that second I said to myself… Only If I were doing what I really know I could do on my own… Just like many people I know; and I’m sure you probably could relate to this too, I had dreams, I had a Passion to follow; I’m still do. I think that if you still find within yourself that fire that drives you, you have to go for it. Maybe it’s not the right time, maybe it is not the most smart thing to do at the moment, maybe you have things that are pushing you back… but deep inside you know when is the time to hit that ball out of the park so you don’t spend the rest of your time regretting and wondering what if. Read more>>

Stephanie Padilla

I had always dreamt of owning my own business, but I was never able to find the time to invest in my dream while working full time and juggling life as a mother and wife. This all changed for me during the pandemic in 2020, time was now on my side. I used all my free time researching on how to start my own business. After countless late nights, I became completely fascinated with learning about different materials and quality of fabrics and just the entire process of what it takes to print on a t-shirt. This is when I decided I wanted to open an online t-shirt shop. I wanted my t-shirt shop to help inspire and uplift women. A simple reminder of how special women are and how we all got this on our journey of life despite any battles that we come across. I launched my shop in June 2020, after a few months of having my shop opened, I was able to add on a variety of items from cups, sweaters, personalized pajamas and keychains. Read more>>

Enya Williams

I actually just started making cupcakes in March of this year. I’ve always been creative and I always knew how to cook, but one day I was in a really bad mood and I told myself instead of letting my anger get the best of me, I’m going to make some cookies and cream cupcakes…LOL. The cupcakes were so good I decided to continue making them and from there, I started selling them. I pretty much got to where I am today by word of mouth. The name “Lynns Sweet Treats” came to me pretty quickly because the name Lynn belongs to someone who holds a big part of my heart! Every cupcake, design, and flavor is made by me and all me and everyone loves them. Read more>>

Lisset Figueroa

My story started 29 years ago in Cardenas, Cuba where I was born. I was always an introverted but very creative girl that loved to participate in school plays and dress ups. When I was seven years old, my parents won the visa lottery to come to the US and I grew up most of my life in Hialeah Gardens/Miami. I always had a nice life plan of finishing all of my school before getting married and having kids, which I ended up doing that exact same thing. I graduated FIU with a Bachelors in Human Resources and a Master’s Degree in Business Administrations. I worked in various corporate jobs but most importantly in my parents successful Business “Americas Tours” here I worked in person ever since I got pregnant with my first child and then mostly at home because I wanted to be a present mom for both of my boys. Then in 2020 when work got a bit slow due to the pandemic, I found my passion. Read more>>

Cassandra Andreu

I started my leap into photography roughly seven years ago. My cell phone memory had been depleted from the amount of photos I had taken. I’d find beauty in everything around me, from flowers to sunsets and everything in between. Finally, for Christmas that year, I asked for my first DSLR camera kit. As I grew older and my friends started having kids, they’d ask for favors and I’d capture their memories for them. A few years later, I’ll never forget my friend and coworker at the time begged me to open a social media page. As she claimed, “If I love your pictures, so will many others”. Honestly, after that, it all becomes history. I signed up for webinars, started using models, and upgraded my equipment. Fast forward to today, I have a team and I committed to photography full time. My husband is my second photographer and my mom is my full-time assistant/ “Baby Whisperer”. We have a small studio in Hialeah but we also love going on location! This is now my full-time business that was officially started in August 2020 when I had to step away from my teaching career for Covid related reasons. Read more>>

Yasunary Bueno and Oliver Aguilar

We emigrated f since 2016, it was the first job that my husband began to do, without previous experience and without knowing anything about the cleaning area, we began willing and ready to learn a new trade in which seeing the face of happiness and satisfaction of the clients when see their furniture disinfected and clean, saving them money and time, recovering objects that had sentimental value for them, we definitely wanted to have that satisfaction in our hearts and from there this commitment began. January 2020 formally began this project, we bought all the equipment, we paid for advertising, then in March 2020 the Pandemic arrived and our nightmare began, because like everyone we isolated ourselves at home without going to work, with two small children of 5 and 1 years old, We survived a few months but we are already tight with money. Read more>>

I grew up surrounded by home-cooked meals and home bakers. I know this isn’t particularly uncommon in Miami, but what initially sparked my love for baking was the excitement of getting to help my parents make my birthday cake every year. Seeing how food brought everyone together in my family made me realize that I wanted to contribute to that joy as well. I asked my parents to buy me pastry books and watched hours of baking and pastry shows, falling in love with how varied and intricate desserts could be while still tasting like a slice of heaven. While I was still in middle school, after convincing my parents to use the oven unsupervised, I began baking my own desserts. They weren’t pretty, but every dessert I made helped me refine my skills. I soon became known as the dessert girl among my friends and family. By the time I finished high school, I was making cakes for family and friend’s parties and my parents’ friends regularly.  Read more>>

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