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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.

Dreika Reagor

Braiding was meant for me! I’ve been braiding hair for as long as I can remember. In 2016, after I graduated from high school, I knew what I had to do. Within the next year I was able to finish cosmetology school and become licensed. It was then that I began turning my passion into a real business. With a lot of hard work and dedication over these 5 years I have gained a loyal clientele base. I have worked very hard to turn this great plan for a successful business into a reality. I have found my niche at a young age, something many can’t say. I pride myself on being able to work well with kids. Read more>>

Dr. Sunny Sharma

From a young age, I could always be found with a basketball in my hands. Academically, I loved science, medicine, and technology. I knew I wanted to combine these passions in my career. As a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) Physician or Physiatrist, I work with patients to treat their sports, musculoskeletal and neurological conditions to improve their quality of life, pain and function. My journey started at the University of Texas at Austin (HookEm!). I then earned my medical degree at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and then completed an internship at the UT Austin Dell Medical School.  Read more>>

Faustine Lavie

I was born in Toulon in the Southeast of France in 1995. I started taking ballet classes in a small private school there called Ballet Studio Marius when I was 3 years old. I loved it immediately, and I knew I wanted to become a professional dancer by age 7 or 8. I then started being home-schooled in order to pursue dance at a higher level. I moved to Paris when I was 10 to study at l’Ecole du Ballet de l’Opera de Paris. In 2015, I was accepted in The Ailey School, which is why I moved to NYC. After 3 years in the Certificate Program, I graduated and started working professionally in the city. Read more>>

Kwesi Reynolds

My story starts in the mitten state, at summer camp, washing dishes. Fast forward a lot of years; high school, the navy, hurricane Katrina, Iraq, college, graduation, film school blah blah blah and I was back in the dish pit, this time at Eggsellent Cafe in Dallas, Texas. I found out early that cleaning was not only therapeutic but while doing it was there (elbow-deep in dirty dishes) I got some of best creative ideas. So, in search of inspiration the universe delivered me to Eggsellent. But before I got even wrist deep into some dishes the owner at the time walked up to me and said, “You can’t wash dishes, you serve” I quickly replied, “No thank you, I’m just here to wash dishes. But thank you for the opportunity.” We went back and forth for a little while but in the end, he won and that day I started my serving career.  Read more>>

Veronica Torres Hazley

I was born and raised in Austin, Texas. I left Texas to attend college in South Carolina and Rhode Island and later moved to Dallas in hopes to return to Austin, but never did. Dallas is now home to me. I am 4th generation Mexican American and was raised by young parents and entrepreneurial grandparents. I had my first daughter at the age of 15 and was very determined to succeed in life to raise her with resources that were not available to me. I was the first in my family to graduate high school and go to college. I was very optimistic early on in my life. Read more>>

Brandon Warman

It all started 9 years ago when my cofounder Daniel Vitiello was trying to access his purchasing data from Safeway. They said there was no way to access the data digitally, but if we sent them a $1 check with a handwritten letter, they would mail us a copy of his records. A couple weeks later, a stack of papers showed up and we realized that wasn’t going to work for our version of a digital pantry. In 2017, grocers started making a big push online to compete with Amazon after its acquisition of Whole Foods. Soon it became possible to connect directly to 80 of the largest grocers in the United States to download all of our purchase data digitally.  Read more>>

Zosia West

Reign of Z started in 2017…myself (Zosia) was getting tired of musicians flaking, not being on the same page, and trying to start a band as an uphill battle. The current drummer at the time said give her some time to get a band. I said two weeks and finally things started to gel. Over the years being in a band lineups change, obstacles happen. However, Berg and myself are the original members. Read more>>

Tamasa Hill

There were definitely some struggles that I faced growing up but by the grace of God, I’ve always been an overcomer. Entrepreneurship wasn’t a field that I saw myself going into mainly because I didn’t see a lot of that around me growing up. As I’ve gotten older, through social media, doing my own research and the current resources that are available. I’ve been introduced to entrepreneurship avenues, and I’ve seen so many people start their own businesses and successful businesses at that. I realized that was something I wanted to tap into. I’ve always had a love for jewelry, specifically gold jewelry. I grew up in the ’80s, ’90s era where gold jewelry was a staple and so many of those trends still exist today. Read more>>

Pia Lara Namdar

The inspiration behind why I decided to start Adelante Texas was my cultural heritage (as I was born and raised in Mexico) and wanting to be an advocate in providing a voice for our Latinas in North Texas and providing opportunities and exposure in their journeys of empowerment, prosperity, and advancement. I moved to the United States from Mexico my junior year of high school from Veracruz in 2005, where I attended Highland Park HS in Dallas. I then attended SMU, was captain of the NCAA D1 swim team my senior year, and graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration & French. In 2016, I earned my MBA in Corporate Finance from SMU, and a month later I became a U.S. Citizen. Read more>>

Steven Peters

I feel there is a lack of LGBTQ+ representation when it comes to talk shows and podcast shows. There is definitely big figures, like Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen, but when you turn on morning TV and your podcast feed, there isn’t much to choose from. I decided to start a new podcast show titled “He’s My Girl”, a place for people of the LGBTQ+ community to come to chat about all the things; open relationships, dating, social and political issues, you name it. Thus far, I have had a friend come on to chat about his coming out story, my own coming out story, and a friend that found his boyfriend on reality TV. I look forward to many more interviews with people from all different backgrounds!  Read more>>

Kartel Stunt

Kartel Stunt is a rapper from Dallas Texas. Growing up he seen how his community was struggling in the world. Not knowing that eventually, he would fall victim to being a product of his own environment by selling drugs, breaking in houses, and going to jail at a very young age. He wanted nothing more but to help make a change in his community by teaching them that they have a chance to break generational curses that have been haunting our culture and community for decades. So, I decided to build a rap career around talking about negative cycles of generational curses. I put out my first record Jadakiss from new reached out to me & thing’s expanded from there. Read more>>

Bridgett Prier

This is always a hard question for me to answer because there is so much to say. I believe that I was always meant to be where I am today, it just took me a while to realize it. As a kid, I was imaginative, loved to talk, and observed everything. As I got older those qualities started to play second fiddle to life responsibilities. I begin to choose my next steps based on practicality and not purpose. Don’t get me wrong, being practical isn’t always a bad thing but all things need balance. I went to college, got a “good” job but still felt like there was more for me to do, I wanted to make an impact on the world. Read more>>

Darrion Castillo

I started out wanting to pursue a career as a recording artist, so I enrolled in a recording arts program, and it was there that I actually grew a passion for shining a light on amazing talent and building a community for creatives to expand their network. The road has definitely been bumpy with MANY hills and valleys! I think the biggest struggles with becoming a dedicated entrepreneur is finding and building a dedicated team, and just figuring out where to start. I have been truly blessed to have the support from a few great people. The team is growing, but I really have to be selective which takes time, it slowed me down but didn’t stop me and it never will! I actually appreciate the process; it has grown me in more ways than one.  Read more>>

AJ

It all started in Memphis Tennessee, where I was raised for 18 years! Always had a thing for music since I was 3 years old. Started in choir and over the years I developed a thing for songwriting. Used that as a way to get into R&B, 20 years later I’m now going hard at being one of the best upcoming sounds we have today! It hasn’t really been easy especially when you come from nothing and had little to no help! 2019 I was so broke I barely even had enough money to eat let alone any kind of money to go record music! Read more>>

Rem B. Smooth

From prison cells to penthouses Rem B. Smooth possesses the ultimate redemption story, a not-too-distant past of pain, prison, and his plight to recreate himself as human and artist. A childhood friend turned states evidence would turn against his supplier wearing a wire implicating Smooth in a number of drug deals. A drug bust that would land Rem B. Smooth a 5-to-99-year prison sentence. Paroled to the state he found love with a girl that motivated him to rap early on. Calling Rem daily she would ask “What did you write today?” If his response was “nothing” she would quickly click, saying to him “I don’t want to be responsible for keeping you from your destiny goodbye!” Hours later sometimes only minutes he would call back spitting the raps he had just crafted exclusively for her. Read more>>

Ashlynn Cox

My name is Ashlynn Cox. I was born and raised in Dallas Texas. I grew up in the home with my mom and my brother. My mom made sure my brother and I had everything a two-parent household had. I thought we were rich until I grew up and my mom shared with me how she struggled at times. I would have never known. She literally gave us the world. I gave my mom hell. I can laugh about it now because I did a complete 360 but I have her to thank for never giving up on me and always preaching the right things to me even if she felt like I was not listening. Read more>>

Maree Tha Dancer

I started dancing at a young age I started out dancing at in my room mocking Chris Brown moves on an android and then my mom started letting me go out places as I turned 14 I was going to red bird skating ring almost every Saturday dancing there every weekend then I got to high school I was originally planned on being a football star but dancing started to take over my sophomore year that’s when I left football to take dancing serious. I was going viral at popular parties while in high school. I went viral to iheartmemphis challenge that’s when I broke the internet my first-ever viral video. Read more>>

Caresse Hickman

I started Lucy Jane in 2018 with $250. I names the company after my grandmother who passed away from breast cancer. She was my inspiration with headscarves as she wore them every day during her chemotherapy. I never seen her cry. Unless it was from laughing so hard! Definitely not. I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve been told “No” from business loans to asking for help. My family didn’t support my decision to quit college and start a business. And I was broke. Really broke. But for some reason, it wouldn’t let off my heart. A mentor once told me that the best gratification isn’t instant. It’s delayed. You become more grateful for it, you cherish it, you take care of it. Ever since then I’ve always kept that in the back of my mind. I’m a firm believer that life works out for me and whatever is for me will never miss me.  Read more>>

Lee Walter

I began my journey as an actor in 2003. My first show was Les Miz in high school and I was hooked. My next step was applying for The American Musical & Dramatic Academy in New York City (I was accepted but didn’t stay long). I moved back home to work on my craft a bit more which is when I discovered drag. I was able to combine the two in some shows back in Abilene TX. The move to Dallas TX was made in 2006 where I began auditioning for whatever show I could be seen for and competing for whatever amateur drag show I could find. After years of that, I began booking plays and musicals and finally landed my very own Drag Show at Woodys. That show is still going strong today.  Read more>>

NKBA Texas North Plains

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), originally the American Institute of Kitchen Dealers, was founded in 1963 in Philadelphia, PA. As it grew, the NKBA began to offer certification in both Kitchen and Bath Design, as well as technical manuals for industry standards. Today, the NKBA is the premier kitchen and bath association supporting the $147 billion residential kitchen and bath industry. The Association is comprised of 14,000 companies representing tens of thousands of industry professionals. Currently, there are 71 local chapters across North America. Read more>>

Adrian Tabb

I have been in the beauty industry for over 16 years. I left a full scholarship at an HBCU to pursue my dream of being a cosmetologist. Now I’m licensed in Arkansas, Texas, and Georgia to working a salon and teach the skills needed to be a professional hair stylist it was not easy, but my dream was worth the work. Some of the challenges were people trying to discourage me. People told me to chose another profession. I also had to drive a long distance to go to school. There was an hour-and-a-half one-way commute. I struggled to put gas in the car and have lunch at the same time. Once school was done, I had to get the clients and KEEP the clients!!! It’s hard work but necessary work. Read more>>

Brianna Fleming

I was born and raised in Indiana! There’s not much out there except for cornfields, and Indy 500. That being said, On May 11th, 2019, I graduated from Indiana State University, and I was in Dallas on May 12th. I could not wait to experience entertainment, good eats, sports teams, amusement parks, and of course, warm weather. More importantly, I knew I wanted to make a difference in the Dallas community. I want to help undeserved and homeless communities and ensure they receive much-needed resources. Read more>>

Zykesha Pillard

Oh wow where do I start? lol well, I’ve always been into all-natural products for the body. I’ve also always been against medicines and medicated products so after experiencing 3 severe yeast infections in one year and being prescribed that antifungal cream every time just to clear up the infection but dry out my vagina so bad that I was having to use lube in my 20s (to have sex) smh. I knew then I wanted to find a natural product for the vagina to prevent, and cure daily vaginal issues that we as women battle with in silence every day. Read more>>

Angela Bennett

I had my first son at 17 from a man 27 years my senior. I suffered postnatal depression which turned into depression and eventually suicidal tendencies. After my relationship to my son’s father ended, he forcefully took my son from me. Due to my broken heart, my depressed mind, my lonely state, I ended up in the sex industry, selling my body, looking for love, attempting to find happiness. For the next almost 3 decades I would find myself in a string of relationships that were abusive emotionally, sexually, mentally and eventually physically, one that almost cost me my life at the hands of a man I thought loved me.  Read more>>

Natalie Suarez

About 4 years ago is really where it hit me hard to do something for myself. Little did I know then, that this decision would change my life. I travel all over the country due to my job. Sometimes I’m gone for a day and sometimes 7-10 days. I was traveling on average approximately 50,000 -75,000 miles in the air per year at that time. This one particular day, travel was a nightmare. My plane was delayed and by the time I got home (after I landed had to walk to my car and then drive home 45 min) I was exhausted!!! It was probably around 10 pm. Came home, through my heels across the room, ripped my eyelashes off, had each piece of my suit off and put on a t and shorts, and plunged on the couch like a sack of potatoes.  Read more>>

Paige Swanson

I grew up thinking that there was always a higher answer or wisdom that could be uncovered through the subtle gesture of a compassionate action. As I grew older, that subtle gesture would seem to appear as the hands of god or simply grace. Psychologists, sociologists, and anthropologists tell us that love is learned. It isn’t something that just happens spontaneously. Yet, who teaches us to love? Children grow up believing that their parents are perfect. But quickly, we learn that perfection is an illusion and love is really just an attitude. It is a choice, and that choice to teach others these same principles became clear to me along my journey as a therapist.  Read more>>

Brandi Butler

I started an interest for art at the age of 6, and since then it’s been a passion of mine. When I was 16, I turned my hand-drawn artwork to acrylic artwork and would do my friends’ nails in school. Once I became a mother, I was determined to find a way to be able to breastfeed, keep the bond with my babies, but also make money without moving and I started making press on nails. Now I can’t go back. It’s amazing to be able to create tiny works of wearable artwork. Read more>>

Merisa Ballansaw

After working for Citi Financial for over 10 years, the company was going to be sold and I was to be laid off in January 2010. At the same time, I was due to have a new baby in January but she came early at the end of 2009. The layoff couldn’t have come at a better time. I had the best of both worlds. I didn’t have to work and I got to bond with the new baby. So I thought! I quickly got bored but didn’t want to go back to work. Read more>>

Nirupama Madhavan

I am a behavior analyst working with children on autism spectrum helping them learn communication, social and life skills. I’m lucky to be working in a field that is very close to my heart, helps me be a more flexible, tolerant person and parent my children who have unique needs. I live with my husband and two teenage boys in Seattle. I grew up in India and moved to Seattle in 2004 after I wedded Pradeep. I enjoyed the perks of working for a renowned company as a software engineer for about 7 years. I chose to leave Microsoft to care for my son who was diagnosed with autism. Read more>>

Katie Newsome

I was born and raised Albany, Georgia, and made my way to Texas to go to college at Southern Methodist University. I began my time at SMU studying with the hope of going to med school and becoming a doctor. The summer after my freshman year, I worked as a summer intern at a local non-profit called Project Transformation. Project Transformation gave me an invaluable experience that completely upended the way I knew the world. I learned diversity is more than a policy; it is a kingdom value. People at PT loved me fiercely and grew my passion for justice and social holiness. Read more>>

Erin Duvall

Thank you so much for having me! I grew up in a large family in Dallas, TX as the fourth of five children. I have two very wonderful parents who taught us at an early age the importance of hard work and giving back. Every aspect of my life growing up was around being a performer, from singing as a little girl to being the leads in the high school musical to captain on the cheerleading squad. Read more>>

Sara Sheehan

Following a 27-year career working for multinational consulting firms and Fortune 100 clients, I stepped away from working with large management consulting firms and created my own business. My specialty in the people side of business comes very naturally to me at this point. It is a part of who I am. The executive coaching side of my business is a skill set that I started building about 8 years ago. At this point, I am a Professional Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation, and my goal is to become a Master Certified Coach. Read more>>

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