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Inspiring Stories from Miami Beach

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 inspiring stories from Miami Beach below.

Mika Ortiz

Music, dancing & performing makes My heart smile. I’ve been auditioning and going to castings my whole life. I’m a showgirl at heart. At the same time, while attending Florida Memorial University for communications/Television. I started to get in the groove of being booked for music videos. This one video I got booked for as an extra for Mr. Flo Rida Wild ones. The music video Wild Ones was filmed in Mangos Tropical Cafe on Ocean Drive. I found out later on that night that this club has a variety of singers and performers, and I automatically knew this would be my next big gig. I auditioned and became one of the lead Singers winning Entertainer of the year for the past seven years. My story is still being written. I plan to release original music independently and cast in my first movie or series role. That’s the next big goal for me, working on acting and growing musically. I became a Business Owner for a cosmetic, apparel line inspired by working with many beautiful women who loved makeup. Read more>>

Eduardo Urbaez

When I was eleven years old, my mother and I moved from Venezuela to Miami, FL without many resources nor an American education. We landed in the city of Doral, only 30 minutes away from Miami Beach. At first, it was a culture shock for me because I had to adapt to a new language and learn an array of Latin cultures that I was not familiar with. My mom had to work as a salesperson selling floors and studying full time to become a doctor once again (she had already become a pediatric doctor in Venezuela). As a first-generation immigrant, I found myself going head-on after the American dream without predecessors that could guide my mom or her tropical boy along the way. When I got older, I moved frequently in search of new opportunities – I moved to the freezing midwest seeking a bachelors degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, then moved to the big city of Chicago for an entry-level marketing opportunity, and lastly, the experience I gathered led me to Los Angeles, CA. During my travels, I discovered that there were no fashion stores that appealed to me nor clothes that reminded me of home. Every other weekend since I was born, I’ve been surrounded by tropical patterns and beach vibes. Read more>>

Ryan Martin

I got my start as an artist in Miami, 2008, during Art Basel week. It was my last year of studying art at the California College of the Arts when a gallery in San Francisco, Mark Wolfe Contemporary, asked to do a studio visit with me. Drawing had been something I always did in my free time growing up, but painting was still something new to me. College was filled with sleepless nights at the studio with my friends, exploring oil painting. In the early morning, we would smell the donuts being fried at the nearby market, that’s how we knew it was almost time to cleanup from painting. Sometimes we would run down to the market to grab some freshly fried donuts, before class. For the studio visit, I setup all my paintings in the school’s communal studio space. I had each painting facing the wall, so I could reveal them to the gallery director, one by one. The director of the gallery paced the studio, taking each painting in from afar and at times, close enough to touch his nose to the canvas -he was silent the entire time. Read more>>

Alina Van Ryzin

I was born and raised in New York City and began photographing as a teenager through an afterschool arts program for NYC high school students. In 2013 I left home to go to a historically women’s college outside of Philadelphia, where I majored in Fine Art Photography. I graduated in 2018 and stayed in Philly until last February (2021) when I relocated to Miami. Read more>>

Joshua Michael Davis

Yes, sure. My parents were Christian missionaries and as a result, I was born in Montevideo, Uruguay. Shortly thereafter, we moved to the United States, where I was raised in the Midwest. This dichotomy of South American roots with American Midwest upbringing is perhaps what makes me feel so at home living in Miami. I’ve always been both creative and analytical, which has landed me somewhere between the creative and entrepreneurial spaces. From an early age, I was fascinated by all things art, design, and photography. Read more>>

Niki Peacock

I’m a dancer and model who educates the community about the importance of inclusivity and body positivity in the modeling and social media world. When I was younger, I felt as if I didn’t have a relatable influence online and saw no one with my body type or features on these social media platforms so I decided to do it myself, I still struggle with body acceptance and a lifelong eating disorder but through expressing myself online, I can help myself and many others be confident in themselves. Read more>>

Myrna Destine

The name Cookie Mama originated from a nickname my girlfriend Marie would call me when I started baking cookies during the pandemic to bring happiness to my girlfriends in a church group. One day I was in the mood to bake and also in a group called cool moms and I decided to run “THE COOKIE TRAIN.” I would post in the chat asking if anyone would like fresh baked cookies, whoever replied I’d batch some up and deliver them to all my friends. The cookie train was a hit and I loved how happy everyone would be to get cookies. Then one day, I had my cousin’s over, who are vegan after I just finished baking a batch of vegan cookies. Not thinking anything of it, I offered them cookies, and they ate the entire batch. I want to say it was probably 24 cookies in one sitting. The could not believe they were vegan and insisted in me making them more. This became a consistent request for cookies that they started paying me for them. After some months had passed, I was motivated by God to turn the Cookie Train into a business, and there was no better name than the nickname COOKIE MAMA. After establishing myself as a business those same supporters from day one are still some of my best clients today. Read more>>

Zulie Rego

Back in 2017, I started with a rebel camera and a kit lens. I had no clue what I was doing but I knew that if I just went for it, I would learn along the way and figure out how to become successful. I think I figured out there isn’t any secret to growing a business. It takes time, it takes work and a ton of connections. Read more>>

Davion Lyons

Born on the beautiful Island of Jamaica, I found my love for the arts at the age of 16, after getting my first camera. I began experimenting in the world of photography, which led me to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media Production at the University of the West Indies. After graduating, I furthered my craft by working as a Multimedia Designer and later leaving that role to pursue my passions as a Creative Director, Cinematographer, and Photographer. Since then, I have worked on various projects with Clients such as Protoje, Lila Ike, Charly Black, Tarrus Riley, Yaksta, I-Octane, Skillibeng, Jords, Govana, Aidonia, Romain Virgo, Clarks, Adidas, Pepsi, The Nue Co., and many others. I would describe my style as editorial, fused with culture and color. Read more>>

Lily Rivera

I have been in the bridal industry for over 20 years with some technical design and corporate positions in between but I always gravitated back to bridal. I was married for 20 years and during that time, I focused on raising my family and offered alterations from home and custom dresses as a way to continue doing what I loved. Fast forward 20 years and after a divorce, I found myself with a small business that couldn’t support me and ended up closing it up. I was back to corporate. I was miserable, though I had a great salary. About two years into it, I remarried and was expecting another baby. At that point, I was back to square one except with a lot more experience. I left the corporate job and started back up home-based. I went to the bank with the first $47 I earned and opened a business account in spite of feeling so embarrassed about the small amount. A year later, I opened a tiny store in Punta Gorda that barely had room for me and two machines. The clientele grew and I moved to a larger space. Feb 2020, I got the opportunity any designer dreams of…NYFW. It was just as covid was starting. I didn’t let that deter me and though most people said I was crazy, I leased a large storefront and began creating collections and manufacturing. Read more>>

Kim Cameron

I began my career in the corporate world of Information Technology. It was not my passion but a means to end. Music has and always will be my drive to succeed. Before I could satisfy my ultimate goal of living the dream life in the world of entertainment, I started working at a government contracting firm inside Washington, DC. Years of long hours and climbing the ladder led me eventually to ExxonMobil where I was able to travel around the globe twice. It was a great experience to see places and meet people that otherwise I would have never had the chance. And yet, it still left me wanting to pursue my true love, music. After 20 years in the corporate world, I took a big leap of faith and jumped head on into an original project. It was a painful and joyful time at the same time. My fellow colleagues thought I had gone crazy to quit such a lucrative job and yet, I was really excited to take on an industry that I knew nothing about. I created my own entertainment label and hired a band. Then, I hired a producer. The minute I stepped into the studio, my heart was stolen forever. I fell in love with the songwriter, the recording, the creating–there was nothing I did not love about creating my first album, called Contraditions. Read more>>

Merak Design

When we first started out, our passion for art and fashion drove us to do intense research and gave us impetus to turn hard work and inspiration into to a booming online store. We now serve customers all over the US and are thrilled to be a part of the amazing wing of the retail industry. We hope you enjoy our designs as much as we enjoy creating them for you. We believe that our hats can add a sense of confidence in everyone. Our mission is that even in a small way these hats will encourage people to be truthful to themselves and embrace their uniqueness. Read more>>

Talaya Walls

LayLaMay’s Cakes vision is to provide people with cakes and pastries that remind them of home, something that their mother, grandmother, or any other relative would have baked. LayLaMay’s Cakes helps you find comfort but also makes your tastebuds go crazy! LayLaMay’s Cakes started with myself, Talaya. I grew up in a two parents household with father who loves to cook. At a very young age, my father allowed me to baked things like banana bread, chocolate cake, carrot cake, etc. I remember feeling at peace while baking and at the same time having a lot of fun with dad in the kitchen. Over the years, my creativity has grown, and I started to bake more. I remember baking a banana pudding cake for my coworkers and they were in awe! People started asking me if I sold cakes and if they could buy cakes for family events. I would bake for holidays and sometimes randomly for my fiancé and he encouraged me to start my own business. LayLaMay’s Cakes started business May 2021! I couldn’t have gotten here without God, my fiancé, family, friend, and my awesome customers! Today, I still find peace in baking and it has grown to be a long-term passion of mine. Read more>>

Brandon Lmar

Our brand started out aiming to sell local brands in Detroit, MI in 2009. After much trial and error, we decided to develop our own private label brand. From the ground floor, we searched out clothing manufacturers and artists to bring our vision to life. The first thing we wanted to accomplish with our brand was to make sure the customer is comfortable in our clothing. After much preparation, we dropped our first t-shirt collection titled genesis. This collection featured our beloved all organic pesticide-free cotton tee and iconic “sega genesis” concept. We do things differently so we didn’t go to a retail shop and try to sell the brand. We went straight to the customer. We took a trip to the concrete jungle a skate park in Detroit and gave away the entire collection. This gave us a name in the local skate community. After our grassroots marketing, we decided to go all out with the brand. Soon after, we displayed our brand in our first fashion show ever at “the fashion massacre” a fashion powerhouse of the MotorCity. This show alone gave us statewide recognition in the fashion industry. Read more>>

Arturo Bullard

Since I was a child, I always dreamed of knowing the world, of going beyond the borders of Lima, my city and Peru, my country. I became a traveler rather than a photographer. Thanks to my brother, when I was around 18 years old, I started backpacking through Peru. When I finished school, I was not sure what to study, I was never a good student at school. In the end, I opted to study communications. It was there that I took a basic photography course and I fell in love with this art; but I had my doubts, it was the beginning of the 90s and in my country photography was a hobby, not a profession. At the end of my technical career, I received an invitation to be one of the field assistants from Frans Lanting, a prominent NATGEO photographer. He would go 45 days to Tambopata, in the Peruvian Amazon, to write an article on macaws. Read more>>

Etty Berkowitz and Chaya Kibel

We started out as two separate boutiques. Chaya ran an online women’s clothing store and Etty had a kids boutique. We met by accident after a mutual friend introduced us and ended up moving into a shared office space together. We ran our two separate stores from that space and realized we had the same customers so we decided to merge both our businesses into one – and The Shoppe Miami was created. We are now a one stop shop for baby, kids, teens and women. We have a retail store in the heart of Miami Beach on 41 street and we also have a busy online store with customers from all over the world. Read more>>

Indy Wilson

have to thank God first because I am working with his gift; he’s always been my saving grace! The truth is growing up, I’ve always knew I was different. I’ve always been in my own lane and I’ve always did my own thing. I used to go in my grandmother’s bathroom and lock myself in and wrap towels around my head and pretend it was long weave and just perform songs in the mirror and pretend I was in movies (acting) all night. In school, I would always create these groups with my friends where we would do different jobs whether it was drawing out clothes to our future boutiques that we would own, singing and performing in front of our teachers, or creating little skits and acting them out. I used to sit in my room all day and write out my goals and my plans at a young age, I had a vision board I didn’t wanna go outside and play like the other kids I wanted to work on my goals. No kidding ask anyone in my family. I was serious I’ve always took it serious. I was so obsessed with lipgloss and just being so girly which is what inspired me to start my cosmetics line which is currently in the process of been rebranded.  Read more>>

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