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Inspiring Stories from Fort Worth

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 Fort Worth’s rising stars below.

Kellie Abstein

I started dabbling in photography when my sister and friends started having babies. I had a decent DSLR camera and thought, “why not”? But that interest really took off when I had a baby of my own. I started to fall in love with the birth process leading up to my own experience and especially after I had my son. My doula took photos of the delivery of my son, and once I saw them, I knew I had to make my way into this world. They showed so much raw emotion. They are an incredible keepsake of a day that I really didn’t have much memory of. I continued to capture babies and a few births a year until I finally decided to try to put myself out there as a photographer. I am self-taught. Read more>>

Eric Alderete

I decided that I wanted to try cutting hair as a hobby when I was a freshman in high school so I started watching YouTube videos to learn the basic steps to cutting hair. Growing up in the small town of Taylor, Texas, there wasn’t many barbers at that time so I figured why not give it a shot since we were already getting bad haircuts from our parents anyway. I was lucky enough to have friends that were willing to let me use them as my models while I was getting started. Throughout high school, I started cutting more and more people’s hair to the point where it was more like a part-time job for me. After graduation, I decided to go to college at Tarleton State University. During my first semester, I would cut my best friend/roommate about every two days and he was pretty much my walking advertisement throughout campus. Eventually, word got around and my dorm room became a little barber-shop where I started cutting students, athletes and even coaches. Read more>>

Drew Jackson

I have been speaking and training professionally for 15 years. I recently reflected on my “stage” experience and was reminded that I have been performing in plays and singing on stages since I was 6 or 8 years old. I continued to perform in high school, where I would regularly perform solo’s or acts for thousands of people. When I was 16 years old, a quartet that I was a member of sang for Miss America on live television. I say that not to impress you, but to impress upon you that we all have life experiences that point in a specific direction. Trust me, I have had plenty of jobs in my life, but I ultimately find myself in a role that requires leadership and communication skills. Read more>>

Valarie Brass

I remember on my worst day in an active addict. I was down to nothing spiritually, mentally or emotionally. I said I’m not going to be out here forever because this, not the plan “THE MOST HIGH” has for me. I asked God if he would remove the taste of Drugs and Alcohol. Me, I promised I would use every breath in my body to motivate and support others. I will celebrate 23 years clean on October 1st since being clean, I have completed an Associate and Bachelors’s Degree. I started on my masters and decided to take a break. Read more>>

Daniel Evans

Evans Barbecue was established in 2015 in Fort Worth, TX by Dan Evans and his wife & business partner Norma Prado Evans. Dan Evans lived in Kansas City for 20 years, with many of those years in the food and catering business. In 2008 He settled in Fort Worth, TX. Since Dan grew up in Kansas City and has lived in Texas, he became very familiar with both the Kansas City and Texan barbecue ways. He takes pride in his KC influence and has combined it with Texas offset smoke traditions. Evans BBQ started competing at BBQ events in 2015. The first competition Evans BBQ participated in was the Bedford Blues Festival and took home the 1st place chicken award. It wasn’t long after that; they competed and won many trophies in all categories thereafter (Chicken, Brisket, Ribs, BBQ Beans). He has combined his experience, influences and knowledge to bring the best to his family, friends and customers. Read more>>

Jennifer Awad

I was born in the Middle East and later moved to Canada in 1986. I am a Toronto-based artist whose artistic journey started from a very young age, surrounded by three major influences. First, by generations of family members with various creative passions and professions in visual art, music, fashion design, knitting and needlepoint, carpentry, baking, and textiles, including creative branches of business and human rights advocacy. Second, by world travels offering me early exposure to the beautiful kaleidoscope of cultural diversity, which later included the struggles thereof, and third, by a unique art-based education that laid the foundation for the development of my artistic voice and identity. Read more>>

Michelle Parker

I was born and raised in Oklahoma. To some, my childhood story was a bit of an adventure. I am a child of divorce, sexual child abuse, and a few other circumstances that could have squandered my inner fire. If anyone has worked with children, they may have heard of the Adverse Childhood Event score. There is a score of a possibility of ten. Let’s just say, mine is high up there. However, that is just part of my story. While I was in High School, I had terrible stomach and intestinal issues that I had no idea what was going on. I was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s and had gone the standard route of medication, immunosuppressants, and steroids. It worked for a temporary amount of time, but still, feel like I missed out on so much of my High School years due to being ill and my classmates not understanding. Read more>>

Shasta Haubrich

I’m not sure I even know how I got here precisely. Geographically, I was born in Washington. Shortly after, I lived in Japan and by the time I was four, Texas was home. I spent my formative years growing up in North Texas, exploring music, art, and falling in love with movies and classic television. After a brief stint in Dallas, I ventured back to the West coast for an adventure in Portland finding my own individuality and launching my path of creative exploration. That journey led me (funny enough) right back to where I started. I made my way to Fort Worth and decided this is where I wanted to dig in and do something that made me happy. In 2010, I started working at The Modern Art Museum. This small decision to be surrounded by creativity and modern art led to my own first show as an artist – Exhibitionists. Read more>>

Gary Logan

I grew up in the Kansas City area and studied commercial photography at the University of Central Missouri. Graduated with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Photography. New York, L.A. or Chicago were the primary advertising markets at the time. I thought NY was scary, LA to far away and Chicago too cold. I decided to try out the Dallas market, with being a 10-hour drive straight south from Kansas City and poof, you’re here. I freelanced assisted for a year and then took a full-time job at Greg Booth and Associates in Dallas. They primarily shot upscale catalog work, including Neiman Marcus, Horchow, Harry & David, William Sonoma and others. Mostly 4×5 and 8×10 view camera work, which is what I loved. Read more>>

Nikara Cummings

I have always had a passion for cooking and food in general. From the time I can remember my mom allowing me to start cooking on the stovetop, I fell in love with being able to make my mom and brothers smile through their tummies. Needless to say, my mother didn’t have to cook unless she wanted to. When I graduated high school in 2012 from P. l. Dunbar high school in Fort Worth, Texas, I started to do my research on what schools had a culinary program. That’s when I Found TCC (Tarrant County College) southeast campus in Arlington offered the program in a certificate and associate degree. I enrolled and began taking my courses and learned to cook different meals that I was definitely not use to. But that all got put on hold due to me working two jobs, it was too overwhelming for me. Speed up to the year 2020, the month of March to be exact. Read more>>

Sabrina Munoz

It all started my junior year of high school. I remember making the decision to quit my athletic future for doing what I loved more than anything in the world. Hair and Makeup. Paul Mitchell, the school of Arlington, is where I attended to receive my license. I will always be thankful for my parents, really supporting my decision and being there every step of the way. Once I graduated from Paul Mitchell, I found a cute salon to work at called Instinktive and they helped me grow as a stylist In so many ways. I was there for about two years and then suddenly I started to not like what I was doing. Read more>>

Cynthia Ochoa and Javier Sanchez

Our story began back in our high school and college years, when we both took an interest in a culinary arts program, except it wasn’t exactly at the same time because we didn’t even know each other yet. During that time, we learned many different skills that we would later use to bring about the business we have now. Years later, our paths crossed through a mutual friend and we’ve been together ever since. We then started our lives together and even had a little baby boy named Esteban. Before that happened, though, my fiancé Javier and I both left culinary arts behind to pursue different career paths. Read more>>

Daris Frencha

In my mid-30’s, I felt trapped, running the rat race to pay bills and never getting ahead. As I mother, I wanted to spend more time with my children and focus on them as they were getting older. Around the same time, I opened a new market for a company based out of Chicago. After having some success, it dawned on my that I was doing a pretty good job of building someone else’s business. I’ve been in sales for over 20 years and I wanted to build something of my own, something I could leave to my children. I didn’t have any start-up capital, and I really didn’t want the traditional business model, which includes employees, overhead, compliance, etc. I wanted to focus on building relationships, solving problems, helping businesses grow, and being of service. Read more>>

Zoe Stein Pierce

I started out as a dancer, teacher and choreographer. I grew up in Skokie, IL, went to Evanston High School and received a BA in Dance from the University of Colorado in Boulder. I moved to NYC after graduation and attended the Laban-Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies, receiving my certification in Movement Analysis. In New York, I studied with much modern dance and ballet teachers and performed with independent choreographers. We moved to Fort Worth in 1988, for my husband, Glen, to become the Assistant baseball coach at TCU. I was fortunate to receive a scholarship at TCU to be in the Master of Fine Arts Program in Contemporary Dance. I had faculty members at TCU who helped me launch my career in dance by giving me many great opportunities to perform, teach and choreograph. Read more>>

Cari Tiller

I am a lover of Christ, wife to my hubby of 18 years, Mom to two beautiful girls (11 and 8 years old), a Landscape Designer, a Horticulturist, a Tarrant County Master Gardener and a dog lover. I have always loved being outdoors with nature and spending time in the garden one way or another – eating the harvest of my grandparent’s huge garden, following my Mom around in her garden and greenhouse and taking care of my own plants and veggies over the years. I just woke up one day and realized that I wasn’t using my God-given talents and passions to do something that I loved in my Marketing career of sixteen years. I was going to work each day and dreading it. I was sitting behind a desk all day and under fluorescent lights. Read more>>

Meghan Allen

Almost a year ago, my husband and I were in the middle of a 3.5 year battle with infertility and at the time, we were pursuing treatment (IVF, to be specific). We were scrambling to make extra cash in order to pay for treatment because our insurance didn’t cover it, and a friend of mine suggested looking into making polymer clay earrings. I had no idea just how trendy it was becoming, and I quickly fell in love with the medium and started my own business making and selling polymer clay jewelry. Read more>>

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