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East Atlanta’s Hidden Gems

Every day we have a choice. We can support an up and coming podcaster, try a new family-run restaurant, join a boutique gym started by a local fitness champ or we could keep giving away our money to the handful of giants who already control so much of our commerce. Our daily decisions impact the kind world we live in; if we want a world where small businesses are growing and artists and creatives are thriving then we should support them with our time, money and attention. We’re proud to highlight inspiring creatives and entrepreneurs each week in Hidden Gems series.  Check out some of East Atlanta’s gems below.

Scott Hart

Im an 11 year Marine Corps veteran, my job in Iraq was Mortuary Affairs. When I returned to the states , I was not the same, yet did not know it until I started reacting to what I know now as PTSD triggers. Parts of my life started to fall apart, and I was deteriorating from the inside out, with no understanding as to why. Until I was finally diagnosed. With no professional assistance from the military at my disposal, I was forced to to pick up my own pieces the best I could and put myself back together, before total destruction.  Read more>>

Miranda howell

Clothing is very personal because our clothing choices are one way to define our identity to both ourselves and the world. As a child, I never felt that I fit in. I knew that I was different. I would alter shirts and pants by cutting them up to recreate a style of my own. I would try to mix and match pieces so that my outfits couldnt be duplicated. I would receive compliments by others and it made me feel amazing. Friends and family would even ask for styling advice. However, I never thought of myself as a stylist or considered styling as a career. Mainly because the world around me didn’t embrace it as such.  Read more>>

Elizabeth Dalrymple

I always love this question, because asking it to dozens of mentors, friends, family members, and colleagues, is exactly how I finally found my direction. For a long time, after each conversation I would leave thinking “wow, I want to do what they do!” …until finally I discovered what felt best for me. I went to Cornell University as a pre-med major with hopes of becoming an orthopedic surgeon. I began to shift my mindset as I found I really enjoyed my exercise science and global health courses. After going through our cadaver lab anatomy course in my DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy) program and realizing my clumsiness with a scalpel and retractors it is a good thing I changed my mind over the years! Read more>>

Stephen McGhee

Majority of my life I have dealt with obesity, through out the years I have work to transform my body and better health. Since starting my journey I have been in multiple car crashes and had a few injuries after each incident I motivate myself to reset my journey and learn how to appreciate myself each stage of the journey. Meaning even when I was at my highest weight of 518lbs, I still went in the mirror in the morning and give positive affirmation. I would say things like good morning big man, you going to do great big man, and so on. Which influence me to start my company BigManStatus LLc. My goal is to influence and motivate people to better their health and appreciate every progress no matter how big or small it is. Read more>>

Brandi Smart

I guess I started thinking about tattooing at 16, going to metal and punk shows in Tampa/Clearwater area and tattoos were naturally part of the culture. Definitely didn’t think I’d come back to it, but as a profession it made sense to me, even that much later. Fast forward after college(BFA)- I found myself in a good shop called Brass Monkey in Port Richey, and not much later with Ink Fusion, a group that tattooed at comic conventions. I’ve travelled a lot, met all sorts of amazing(good and bad) people, and had some really wild opportunities as a tattooer and painter, it was exactly what I was looking for in life. The last time I moved shops is where I met Malia and Amos Rifkin. Read more>>

Natasha Carson

Growing up I always loved nails! I loved the art and different designs that would be on some sets. My dad would always say, “Girl, I don’t know why you like them long thangs.” I would always laugh and say , “But they’re so pretty though!” Eventually when I got older he would finally let me go and get mine done and I have been wearing them ever since. Fast forward to now, life happened and took over but my passion for nails never went away. My husband, kids, and myself moved to Covington, Ga in 2018. That’s when something just hit me and said it’s time for you to do what you always loved! Read more>>

Charles Phillips

November 2014 I was diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder. Although I was an adult when I was diagnosed, mental health is something I always struggled with. It stems from the hardships and trauma I endured throughout my childhood. We were always in a state of financial despair. Which caused us to move quite a bit. By the time I turned 18 we had moved 18 times. By the time I graduated from college at 23 years old, that number had increased passed 30. We were always under pressure to hurry up and move before the eviction was served. Sometimes we could not find a place to live until after our stuff was throughout onto the street. A few times we had to move in with my aunt, which brought on another set of mountains to conquer. Read more>>

Karissa “InCreation” Miller

I came into the East Atlanta art & music scene in 1998 as an insecure artist with a focus on painting and former hair stylist for Salon 313 with a highly creative and intelligent 6 year old daughter, Emily. When The Earl opened 1999, I was hired as a server bartender and was finding my voice as an artist and event planner. I proposed an art & music event to John Searson hosting 15 artists-including myself-interpretive dance, spoken word and 5 bands to showcase their talent. Read more>>

Dre Cruz

I noticed early on that I wasn’t like most of the people around me. When being fearfully and beautifully woven together in my mother’s womb, God saw it fit that He should burden me with the “Mantle of Feeling.” I feel everything. What would be a peaceful afternoon in the park, or a cheerful unwrapping of gifts on Christmas morning to most, for me would be an overwhelming, tear-worthy gesture to be reciprocated with undying loyalty. On the other hand, what were gentle letdowns to some, manifested in me feelings of devastation, rejection and abandonment. Read more>>

phillianna green

Music is everything to me, I honestly love music its like therapy for me, My family has always been in the music business from, having parties to having major dancehall artist featured and I also got the chance to meet a few artist. so basically i’ve been introduced to that industry from a young age, however  i started singing since around the age of 12. I wrote my first song in 2018 but I haven’t put it out as yet. In March of 2021 I met two guys and one of them was a young artist I started to develop a friendship with the two and we started to hanging out. the next time we linked they brung me to the studio where i voiced my first single “mi like” Read more>>

Kyrstin Young

At the age of 2, I began dancing at a studio by the name of Ridley’s School of Dance in Nashville,TN. At 13 I started training and competing at Spotlite Dance Studio in Murfreesboro, TN. While training there I was also training under Zach and Dorinda Walker who has played a significant role in my professional career. At 14, I booked one of my biggest gigs dancing for Coco Jones at various shows across the US and music videos.  Read more>>

Julia Maggio

I started in suburbia Massachusetts, doing cheerleading, dance, and gymnastics, then ended up as an Emmy nominated stuntwoman, a verified content creator, and producer in Atlanta. Not at one single cheerleading practice or dance recital did I ever imagine it would end up this way. I was always competitive, and constantly trained to be the best on my team, but I never thought anything of it. I went to college to get my degree in entrepreneurial studies & marketing, and during that time was doing 2-3 cheerleading competitive teams at the same time, until I badly injured my ankle, and had to get surgery.  Read more>>

Jai Santiago

I found voiceover (or it found me) because I was searching for something more to help me with my stage fright – or fear of speaking in front of people. I’d spent years in digital marketing working for a well-known global hotel brand and over the years growing into capacities that had me speaking at conferences in front of audiences, leading round-table discussions and the like. And it seemed that this exposure would only increase, so I began doing things like Toastmasters, and then Speakeasy – working on speaking, presenting – taping myself and watching it back, tweaking deliveries… Read more>>

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