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Inspiring Stories from Central Dallas

The heart of our mission at VoyageDallas 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 Dallas-Fort Worth area’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 the rising stars of Central Dallas below.

Kristina Dove

I am the daughter of Eula Faye Frierson and Philip Alfred Dove. My father was born and raised in Ghana, West Africa and my mother hailed from Marshall, Texas. My upbringing was full of great experiences, thanks to my parents. One of the many values that my mother taught me was around service to others. For 25 years, my mother owned Faye’s Kitchen, a soul food restaurant in Oak Cliff. During my off-school hours and summers, I would work for her, busting tables, washing dishes and serving food. In the evenings, there would always be food leftover and instead of trashing it, my mother would close up and we would drive around the neighborhood delivering plates to the elderly and those in need. She always told me that “God did not create us just for self, he created us to be servants and blessings to others.” This stuck with me throughout life and led me to want to pursue a career in which I could be of service to others. So, in 2000 I ventured off to the University of Houston to initially pursue a degree in pharmacy, which I soon found out was not for me and changed my major to Health with an emphasis in Community Health. Read more>>

Michele Gifford

I was a professional ballet dancer in New York City Ballet and I injured my back severely. One of the Principal Dancers in the company recommended Gyrotonic. I was not instantly hooked but but session three you couldn’t get me out of the studio. It became my home away from home. I practiced Gyrotonic for several years before getting certified in 1999. My son was born later that year and I used Gyrotonic to help get back into shape to perform again at a professional level. I moved to Fort Worth to be closer to family and help raise my son while still pursuing my dancing career with Texas Ballet Theater and teaching Gyrotonic on my off time. I had my daughter and later created what is now Studio G. I am located in the TCU area of Fort Worth and along with training the elite athletes, I am also engrossed in a clientele that are not dancers and just want to feel amazing and be strong from the inside out. My passion is my work and my work is my passion. Read more>>

Magik Gulley

I have many names, I have many faces. I was born in Baltimore, Maryland, under the sun and moon energy of Libra. I was given the name Shenell and grew into Magik. I am now stepping into Ifakemi. My parents were teenagers and broke up before I could see them together. I give many thanks to my parents because I now know that I selected them for a reason. I wouldn’t be me without them. Growing up I struggled with anger due to vibrations of abandonment and lack. I was angry, numb and not loving myself. I endured most of my life not knowing that spirit had a plan for me. I was in and out of hospitals due to breathing difficulties and drugged up on steroids and inhalers most of my life. It wasn’t until I met a nurse who would inspire me to take control of my own healthcare by sharing her story of healing by detoxing her lifestyle. At the time, I was the Residential Program Director for a local non-profit agency in Baltimore, working with children with autism. I loved my job but it was affecting my health. I was making good money but my spirit was not fulfilled. I was later laid off and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Read more>>

Kia Ellis

My journey began as actually starting a graphic T-shirt business when I first started my business, Lipstick Khroniclez, in 2017. The shirts were intended to be a female inspired and ultimately empowered T-shirt line offering my very own urban yet motivational quotes on them. It was a hit! However, my deep passion was in makeup and beauty products while still empowering women. I have lived for lipgloss and lippie products since I can remember, LOL, so I wanted to incorporate my make-up artist expertise with creating my very own products. That’s how the lipgloss addition started with Lipstick Khroniclez, which offers an all-organic vegan-based, handmade, made to order lipgloss… I know this is a healthier option to lip care! I now offer lipgloss, lip/face oil & wholesale lipgloss supplies… and still expanding. Read more>>

Alexis Lopez

A lot of trial and error got me to where I am today. I thought traditional college was the route for me. I played volleyball briefly for Navarro Jr College and Colby Jr College. Then after my time playing volleyball was up, I was set to attend OU on an academic scholarship. The month before I signed a lease for a house in Norman, I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. My whole life direction changed. It was then that I realized I wasn’t passionate about Sports Management like I thought I was. I was thrown into adulthood pretty early, having a baby on the way and needing to provide for her and me. I was reminded by my family how I was always really passionate about the beauty industry. I learned to do makeup from my mom, who taught me at an early age how to properly wash my face, apply mascara and straighten my hair. Having the passion I did for the beauty industry, I never fully looking into Cosmetology school or Esthetician School because I always thought, “In order to be successful, you have to take the traditional route,” which to me was attending a four-year university. Once I realized walking in my passion did not mean I was a failure, I was all in! It took me one year to finish Esthetics school. Read more>>

Rita Hinton

I have been in business since 2009. Once my youngest son graduated from high school, I needed “something to do”. People would always asked where I purchased my jewelry from or would try to buy it off of me. So I decided to sell costume jewelry, I eventually added handbags and they became my best seller. I love what I do. Read more>>

Eye Moon

When I created Back To Sobriety, I was a few months of sober and wanted to create a platform that people like myself could relate to. In the past, I spent a lot of time intoxicating myself with alcohol and substances so it was only right that I invest just as much time into creating a space where others can relate, find strength, and become a greater version of themselves. My biggest inspiration for creating such an organization was my Papa who not only had taken a vow to sobriety for 20 plus years but he was also diagnosed with lung cancer a few weeks after I had taken the same vow. I took that vow on his birthday of 2017 and decided that I would dedicate my sobriety to him through the rest of my journey here on earth. As time passes, I continue to share my story with the world with the intent to inspire others to make necessary commitments to themselves to improve and become better versions of themselves. also exist because there has been so many that reach out and tell me that they resonate with my journey. That is when I knew that I had to keep going because I want to continue to make an impact. Read more>>

Jesse Acosta and Alejandra Zendejas

The inspiration behind Pasos for Oak Cliff goes back to my first year as a teacher at Justin F. Kimball High School, my alma mater. I am a sneakerhead, someone that obsessively buys and collects shoes – therefore, I am always looking at what my students are rocking on their feet. Hence, during my first year as a teacher, one thing that I quickly noticed was that economically disadvantaged students with worn-out shoes were more likely to be shy, sit in the back of the class, not ask a lot of question or speak a lot, and it seemed like they were trying to be invisible. Other times I would hear students make fun of other students for the beaten-up shoes they were wearing. But the one instance that stands out to me the most is when one of my student’s shoes started to separate. When they walked, the sole of their right shoe would separate from the rest of the shoe. I remember telling my partner, Alejandra Zendejas, about said student and about how I wanted to give them a new pair of shoes. But I did not know how to approach the situation. I did not want to show up to school with a new pair of shoes to give to them and offend them or their family. Read more>>

Chez Smith

Gyrls In The H.O.O.D (Healthy Optimistic Outstanding Determined) Foundation was established in 2016. Our mission is to improve reproductive health outcomes amongst adolescent females residing in urban areas considered “hood” and to redefine negative stereotypes placed on gyrls based on their zip code. We are equipped and ready to start this new chapter in Dallas, Texas. We are so excited to launch our signature H.O.O.D Kit program that will greatly benefit underserved teenage gyrls. Read more>>

Sarah Womble

My name is Sarah Womble. I am 19 years old and I have been making art since I first held a pencil. I now study engineering at Texas A&M, but art is still a part of my life. I made my art Instagram account in January 2018, and that is where the commissions started. I customized a pair of Nike Air Force Ones and requests for shoes, paintings, and more started flooding in. Though I decided to study engineering, art will always be apart of my life. I have always shown an interest in art, whether it was the Crayola art box, I used until every marker ran dry or the pirate ships I fashioned from empty Dr. Pepper boxes, with plastic spoons as catapults and dental-floss, life preservers to save those who fell overboard into the depths of the shag carpet. Art is my passion, my black hole of consciousness. Drawing pulls me in like a magnet. It stands above other art forms because it exists free from the shackles and restrictions of specific tools and equipment. It is spontaneous. Drawing can happen anywhere, anytime and can consume hours on end, all with a single pencil. Read more>>

Evelyn Jones Reed

What should have taken her out is the very thing that took her up. After being brutally raped and left in a ditch to die at the age of five, she developed a speech impediment and didn’t speak for a year. But after a teacher encouraged her to write and act out what she wanted to say, she learned that a picture truly is worth a thousand words. Since that time, Evelyn Jones Reed has used her theatrical and literary gifts to encourage people across the nation. Evelyn’s theatrical journey to success started with two drama groups, The Sojourner Truth Players and Shadows of Arlington, which performed at various historically black colleges and universities throughout Texas and Louisiana. She was afforded the opportunity to perform on the stages of The Jubilee Theater, Hip Hop Theater and Casa Manana. She also modeled for L’Charles of Dallas. After serving as the Drama Ministry Director at her church for over nine years, Evelyn produced and directed her first major production, Hallelujah! He Reigns. Read more>>

Becca Day

I was a collegiate athlete and after school, I needed to keep my interest peaked in fitness so I started bodybuilding. I was then introduced to Olympic weight lifting, which I had major success in. I was to compete for a spot in the 2016 Olympics, but unfortunately, I had a horrible shoulder injury. After surgery, I got into CrossFit to get back into shape and fell in love. Shortly after, I competed in the CrossFit Games on a team and came in fourth. I still coach and teach CrossFit and Olympic lifting, but I’ve transitioned into bodybuilding. I competed in my first show in 2019 and will compete again in 2021. Read more>>

Angel Moreno

You know, people grow up and know exactly what school and job they’re going to have and I was not that kid. I’ve always been creative and loved making people happy. I thought I would love being a makeup artist after watching an episode of Rupauls Drag Race when I was 17 and I pursued the dream. I worked at the counter after the counter and soon enough, I found myself going to esthetician school at the Aveda Institute of Dallas. I finished the program and got licensed, however something didn’t feel complete. My father convinced me to try cosmetology since I already had such a knack for makeup. Why not do it all?! Two weeks after graduating from esthetician school, I was starting cosmetology school and it just took me by surprise. Read more>>

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