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Downtown’s Rising Stars

The heart of our mission at VoyageATL 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 Atlanta’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 Downtown’s rising stars below.

Lauren Whitley

My family is full of creative people so I’ve always been surrounded by people who make visual art or art out of their lives. I was fortunate to be introduced to the relationship to expression and creation very young through watercolor, finger-painting, and color collage. Found out while painting as a child that translating my thoughts and feelings to a form outside myself helped me process the world around me, allowed me to imagine, and was very soothing. I’ve been consumed with the desire to create my whole life; it’s a source of great joy and the best means I know how to engage with the vastness of this world. Creating allows me to connect with and express the wonder I feel, to transform emotion, to connect with others, and to grow as a person. Recently, art has carried me through the process of getting sober, for which I’m extremely grateful. The paintings that came during that time taught me about letting go of trying to control the outcomes personally and trust in a bigger creative force to use the skills I’ve built up in my body over the years to guide the process. Read more>>

Corinne Victoria

I am a writer/actress based out of Chicago, IL. I began acting at the young age of 3 and continued off and on until I completed college. Through life, I yearned for support from my immediate family, but I learned early that their vision for me did not align with mine. I soon set my dreams aside and worked careers others saw fitting for me. I came from a lovely family, but a family who did not understand that creativity could open up many opportunities.  So, what happens to a dream deferred? I woke up one day and took a leap of faith. I always knew my potential, and I always knew I would be successful as long as I gave it my all. So that is exactly what I did. First, I quickly learned that the only support I truly needed to get started was from myself and God. It wasn’t until the pandemic that I realized I had not lived out my purpose, and there was a piece of me that was not fulfilled. At that point I was jobless and I knew my purpose was to write, perform, and enrich the lives of others. This was the perfect opportunity to display what giving it my all meant. I produced “Coco Just Being Coco” on YouTube, and had no idea how many people would relate to the main character. My show became a success in less than a year, and it’s awesome to see Georgia is part of the top 5 cities that supports my show. Read more>>

Megan Smith-Dzihic

I started doing cosmetology in high school, from there I attended Athens technical college and graduated with my master’s cosmetology diploma. After school, I took a brief break when I had my daughter. I started working at a commission-based salon in Athens, Ga in 2017, and by 2019 I was ready to move on to my own space and that is when dyeartdarling was started. A few months after opening my salon suite I was accepted to become an educator for a brand I love and believe in. Read more>>

LeDarion Heath

I’ve always been the creative type. One day It just hit me and I was like “I’m going to start making my own shirts and etc.”. From that point on I just took it and ran with it. I feel like the key is to KEEP GOING. Yeah, it might not be how you want to be at first but how are you going to get it to where you want it to be if you stop, know what I’m saying?. Read more>>

Myriam Morisset

Raw Head Bread was founded in May 17, 2017. The concept of creating Raw Foods came about when customers began to express a need for foods that were gluten-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, soy-free, and grain-free. What seemed to be happening people were developing allergies to particular foods. We would hear stories time and time again from clients how certain foods caused them to have stomach pains, headaches, and inflammation. So, the opportunity presented itself to create Healthy snacks like Raw Bagels, Flax Crackers, Buckwheat Bars, and more so as to help combat these alignments. Fyi our Healthy Snacks are made in a Dehydrator at a temperature no higher than 105 degrees which is the living food setting. On this setting, the nutrients and the enzymes are alive and intact in the food which provides great digestion for the body. Basically, our food is a Living sustainable food not saturated with artificial flavors or preservatives. Read more>>

Roshedia Armour

My journey with makeup started about ten years ago. I was walking by one of those makeup counters that sit in the middle of the mall. The young lady managing the counter was so persistent that I decided to sit in her chair. I was a bit apprehensive and scared (Laughing); I was tomboyish back then and definitely wasn’t the makeup girly girl type. When I saw myself in the mirror, I fell in love with who I saw. I loved the feeling of liking who I saw in the mirror and what it did for my self-esteem. I decided that day that I always wanted that feeling. I bought supplies and began to do my own makeup. For two years I had only practice makeup on myself until I received my first client. I remember everything about that day even the outfit I wore. We talked about life, love, our fears, and tears. A week had passed when I received a phone call from my first client. She had ended. her relationship and said that I had given her the strength and courage to leave. Read more>>

Jael Rucker

My journey has been just that—a journey. Nothing about it has been “traditional” in any sense of the word. I played sports growing up, and my freshman year in high school I walked away and decided to try my hands at journalism. I did the sports segment of our morning announcements, covered games, and did some sports write-ups for our school paper. I was a part of my high school DECA chapter where we regularly attended in marketing competitions and had to pitch business proposals pretty much on the spot. During that time, I also started acting and was part of our drama program. My sports schedule meant that I couldn’t really commit to our plays/shows, so I would help write the plays and some of our original songs. Once I graduated, I went through that period of not knowing for sure who I was or what I wanted, so I decided to try acting full force. I was taking classes, doing some indie work, and eventually got an agent. Long story short, I was dropped a year later, and I began really thinking about what I wanted. My love of sports never left me, and I started covering local sporting events. Read more>>

Debert Cook

It all started when I began my event management company, Event Planners Plus ( In 1998, where I organized corporate meetings, programs, events, seminars, and workshops as an independent planner.  Shortly after opening my event business, I began receiving invitations to attend golf outings. Reflecting on my previous corporate position at BusinessWeek Magazine (which I held prior to opening my own business) I recalled how my former boss would receive invites such as this. She would have me RSVP for her to attend, and afterward, she would return to the office after the golf outing with a BIG stack of business cards–which I had to enter into the database for her to later follow up on for generating sales leads and business development. Reflecting on this. Read more>>

Elektra Thompson

I am an only child from the southside of Chicago, born and raised in a single-parent home where my mom allowed me to take some risks and explore. I always found ways to not only entertain myself but to learn new information. I was a bright kid who loved everything science and math-related. In elementary school, I liked to build, light up, break down, and to investigate any and everything. My mom rarely had to concern herself with my academics because I would just figure it out. From elementary school to middle school, the pattern continued. I excelled and got the awards and recognition, but I knew I did not have to put an extreme amount of effort into learning. All I knew was that I needed to write things down to remember, but to have an actual system was foreign. As a 13-year-old, I didn’t think it really mattered. Oh, “Hey, high school!” I was greeted with a humble pie that was bitter, yet sweet. Read more>>

Hannahcamille Thomas

I took mud and made a garden. My definition of ‘hop of the porch.’ Lol. My parents loved to garden, interest grew for exterior design at you age. After years of keeping up with the vegetable garden…  I remember a vital moment my mom let me create the pathway to the hydrangeas. That grew my interest for landscaping.  In grade school. Art was the one of the electives chosen each year! During class, I would draw different story worlds with interior design. Kitchen spaces, living room with bookshelf’s that lead to secret paths to a garden! I love the theory of designing so I eventually wanted to know about who else knew about my passion. That’s when I began my education in art. College was the perfect opportunity to dig into my curiosities. I adored the relationship between Salvador Dali and Coco Chanel. Looking back, I design with inspirations of my past with a twist of my own. After college, I immediately knew I wanted my own line of art and to help others create their decor for their special moments in life. Opened up a business and began my adventure in learning about the different elements you could build with for decorations. Read more>>

Pamela Williams

I always loved to take pics of others like friends. And after the birth of our daughter, I went full swing. As a child, we (my husband and I) don’t have many pictures of us and we didn’t want that for her. I’ve been married to my husband for ten years last month and we’ve been together for 15yrs. Our daughter is our miracle/rainbow baby. We conceived her via IVF in 2012 and I’ve been full swing every since then. I love capturing weddings. That’s my main thing. Read more>>

Mike Bradley

Baltimore native, Mike Bradley, grew up the eldest of three brothers in a close knit family structure with his dedicated parents there guide them along the way. As a child, Mike played many sports and was a respected athlete in his neighborhood and at his alma mater. He amassed his entrepreneurial spirit from his mother, a 30-year salon owner, and his father, who often worked two jobs at a time to supply the family with everything that they needed. All of these factors have led to Mike’s strong work ethic and competitive nature. After high school, he added college and then enlisted in the US Army, where grasped the importance of service to others and strong team dynamics. These key inputs led to one major output that Mike was destined to be a successful business owner. Prior to moving to Atlanta, Georgia, he owned a photography business in Reisterstown Mall. Growing up the son of a salon owner in Baltimore, it seemed his destiny that he would eventually transition into an exciting career within the beauty industry. Read more>>

1 Comment

  1. Imani Thomas

    March 27, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Yes! Place of Kai is where it’s at!

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