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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.

Piper Blake

I started Piper Ryley Photography in high school after I was accepted into a media art academy that aided future media professionals in gaining skills they would need in broadcasting, producing, graphic design, and photography for their later careers.  My track was photography, obviously, and I had an amazing teacher that really focused on helping me develop my skills and gave me access to equipment I could have only dreamed of using one day. Ultimately, this became a hobby for me and an “on the side” job for me while in high school which helped me gain a small circle of clients that reach out to me on occasion.  Now that I have graduated and moved on to college, it has been harder to find time for my photography, but I still make myself available when a client reaches out. These days I am more focused on graduating from Texas State University in May of 2022, running the college radio station, KTSW 89.9, as the station manager, continuing as a marketing assistant for the Texas State Alumni Association, and interning for Power Move Marketing.  Read more>>

Jo Duran

Watching human behavior has always been something I have enjoyed. From going to the airport as a child to people watch to studying sociology at the university, to working in a middle school as a classroom teacher, to being a wife and mom, to getting people in front of my camera, there is one piece that is consistent and that is watching human nature as it happens.  Human nature has always intrigued me, and what better way to see it than from behind a lens?!?!  The biggest challenge is to help people see themselves in the way I see them. Read more>>

Nerea Barrondo

I started dancing at the age of 3 in a small ballet studio in Bilbao, Spain. When I was 11, I joined “Escuela de Danza Igor Yebra” where I had a Russian teacher who was trained in the Vaganova method. She introduced me to the beauty and discipline that is required to master the Russian ballet technique. At the age of 13, I auditioned to join the “Real Conservatorio de Danza Mariemma” one of the most prestigious ballet schools in Spain. I was accepted in a higher level for my age. Although I gained a lot of knowledge through their dance program and living alone for the first time, I knew that my heart was set in the Russian training. After a year I auditioned for the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow and was accepted into their “Internship year”. After successfully passing my end of the year exams I was offered to join the 3-year program which included graduating with a “ballet artist” diploma and 2 Russian language degrees. During my years in Moscow, I competed at 4 renowned ballet competitions. Read more>>

Mallory Woods

From the time I was able to pick up a camera, I loved being both in front of it and behind it. I remember filming silly home videos with my sisters growing up and putting on “shows” in the living room for my family and friends to see. As I got older, I got a little shy but still secretly enjoyed and truly missed making videos, taking pictures, and sharing things that I created with my “audience.”  I started watching Ryan Higa known as “NigaHiga” on YouTube when I was in middle school. YouTube has definitely grown since the mid-2000s but it was something I had always aspired to do one day.  When I got into High School and even into college one of my all-time favorite YouTubers was Bethany Mota. She did anything and everything from DIY projects and baking to fashion and beauty, which was right up my alley. Again, I still had this itch to start making videos, I just didn’t know what my “niche” would be and was honestly afraid of the “haters.”  Read more>>

Jose Rios

Born and raised in South Fort Worth, TX. Joined the military after high school. Married my wife in 2018 and had 2 babies.  I have a full-time career with a tech company but did a podcast show on the side at the time. One day someone had mentioned that I should film the shows.  So, I began filming it with my cell phone. That soon manifested in that I began to ask, “can this look better?”  So, I bought a GoPro. After a while, I actually began also filming family vlogs with my kids. And then it happened again, I asked, “can it look better?”  So, I bought my first mirrorless camera. I still didn’t know how to handle it, so I shot on auto most of the time. Soon I had my second baby so I filmed my own gender reveal.  Read more>>

Lauren Grimes

I’ve loved taking photos for as long as I can remember. I had a pink toy camera as a little girl, and when I was a teenager, I had a point-and-shoot Canon film camera that I took with me everywhere. I have memories of completing a roll of film (that was back before affordable digital cameras and smartphones!) and going with my dad to have it developed.  Around 2009, while in college, I had finally saved up for my first digital DSLR camera and started taking photos of anything and everything around campus. I would post the photos to Facebook (Instagram wasn’t a thing yet!) and eventually, people started asking me to take photos of them for Christmas cards, engagement pictures, headshots, etc. And goodness, I was TERRIBLE! I had absolutely no clue what I was doing or how to work my new fancy camera. But somehow people kept asking and I found that I loved providing priceless memories for others.  Read more>>

Shavon Cormick

I’m originally from New Orleans, LA. I relocated to Texas due to the catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. My determination not to let the traumatic event define my future fueled my desire to serve people and be successful at it. I am also a first-generation college student. I earned my Bachelor of Social Work degree in 2007 and my Master of Science in Social Work degree in 2011 both from the University of Texas at Arlington. I worked as a social worker for various organizations from 2007-2021 primarily in mental health and homelessness.  The social work profession is rewarding and life-changing for the clients who grace our doorsteps. On the contrary, it can be daunting for the clinician and burnout is real. During the pandemic, we all experienced countless unfathomable things from mandatory lockdowns, deaths without proper burials, massive Netflix binges, etc. I decided to look into careers that are still in the helping profession. I came up with real estate! For years I worked for permanent supportive housing programs assisting the homeless with location housing.  Read more>>

Katy Abraham

Katy Abraham, owner of Construction Cost Management, Inc.  We provide Cost Estimates to Architectural and Engineering Firms pursuing Federal projects  Government agencies rely on the services of professional estimators to deliver accurate and cost-effective results, capable of keeping an intricate range of activities on target to meet their objectives.  In 2019 we’ll be celebrating our 40th anniversary!  1) When asked as a child what I wanted to do I always said, “Own my own business”, I was never able to fully articulate what exactly that was going to look like, but I always knew I wanted to be the boss. That – and a dancer!  2) I’ve always wanted to …. I do everything I want to do! I love to travel and be adventurous.  Read more>>

Indiia Wilson

I have always been a lover of candles. I am the person that would go to Hallmark and buy the hundred-dollar candle! The thing is, I wouldn’t think twice about it. If it had the scent and the look it was a winner.  Like many others, I found myself presented with a dilemma during the pandemic. I have always been into photography but business became slow during that time. That left me wondering what else I could be creative with.  I remember sitting down on the couch and genuinely missing the idea of just being able to get in the car and go and purchase the candle/candles of my choice.  My husband, Chase, looked at me in disbelief. I was confused on why he would even have that expression…. Turned out he was just waiting on me to realize that I could do it myself! He never hesitates to believe in me. He just does. I’m grateful.  Read more>>

DeCorian Cross

Finding your passion in life happens when you least expect it, earlier this year I had a career change due to medical reason that left me with time and opportunity. I was now home full-time with my children and looking for a creative outlet. Spray paint art is something that has always intrigued me, so I decide to test my hand at it. I attempted a few different styles and techniques until I found what really worked for me. Enlightened Ether is a collection of celestial and cosmic paintings that I have created to the share with you were my visions takes me.  Read more>>

Hannah Hughes

When I was 21, I published my second book (Waking Up: Living Open). It’s all about my personal journey with things like eating disorders, depression, anxiety, suicide, and faith. In the years since then, I’ve also spoken out about my experience with sexual abuse. For years, I was scared of what people would think if I spoke up. I worried that my voice didn’t matter, that my story didn’t matter and that I didn’t matter. But now I know that when I embrace my story, it brings hope, healing, and purpose to the process; and when I share my story, it helps others do the same. That’s why I created By Words, an online community for women that’s all about faith-based personal development to help them discover their purpose and step into it with confidence. I also have a podcast by the same name where we get real and deep dive into things like mindset, goal-setting, burnout, relationships, and other topics that equip women for purposeful living.  Read more>>

Kristen Armstrong

I have loved the art of makeup for as long as I can remember. I was the only 6th grader with a full-blown wing and mascara, lol. I started doing makeup about 6 years ago on close friends and family. Then when I moved back to Fort Worth 5 years ago and decided to make it a career. My husband built me a vanity out of our first dining room table. It was beautiful! I started looking for clients on the app Offer Up and my very first client was a quinceanera. She looked beautiful on her special day. My second client was a Bride and her bridal party of 6, all by myself I did not have a chair and light at the time. So, I was in pain for the next 4 days. My back hurt from all the bending down. Then I knew if I wanted to keep doing this then I would have to invest. With the money I made from that wedding, I ordered a Makeup artist chair, business cards, and a ring light. It was history from there. It went on, then one day a makeup artist asked me to help her and she introduced me to the world of bridal vendors.  Read more>>

Celestina Luna

I have been dabbling in photography for about 6 years. The last 2 years I have really stepped up my game and poured my all into my craft.  As a kid, I thought I was talentless. Looking back now I see I was a child who indeed had a talent and passion but lacked the means and understanding of having a passion in an environment that only promotes survival. I have always loved taking pictures since I was a kid. I used to walk to the local corner store and purchase a disposable camera and take pictures of my family and friends. Funny thing is I don’t recall remembering this as an art or passion, it was just fun at the time! When I was a teen my dad surprised me with a camcorder for Christmas, which I took with me everywhere and ended up capturing some of the most treasured pieces of digital media my family has. You see, my older brother passed away from cancer when he was only 23 years old- At that time people weren’t taking photos like they do now, so we only have a hand full of photographs to hold onto, plus a couple of home videos.  Read more>>

Jalen Turner

I was born and raised in Ozan, Arkansas. I attended Southern Arkansas University where I got my Bachelors in Exercise Science. Taking what I had learned in college I decided to put my degree to the test and used myself as a Guinea pig. I’ve always been the smaller guy with no muscles so I got tired of being like that and started working out faithfully. After I achieved what I wanted I decided that I wanted to make it a career and became a personal trainer. I have been a personal trainer for 4 years. It has had its ups and downs just like anything else in life but I keep striving. Over the past few years, I have invested in different specializations and certifications to make me a better trainer and help me work with a broader range of clients. I even went back to school and got my Master’s in Kinesiology. The pandemic inspired me to start my own personal training business and I’m so glad that I did. It was the best move for me and a better way for me to leave my mark on the word.  Read more>>

Andrew Garcia

I’ve always loved music. I grew up with my mom listening to the clean versions of Eminem, Bone Thugs N Harmony, System of a Down, UGK, Paul Wall, Rage Against The Machine, and other varying artists alike. It wasn’t until my middle school years that I began my hand at writing lyrics and making crappy beat-box-like sounds with my friends and classmates during lunch break. Although, as time progressed, friendships withered and came to an end; Everybody had stopped trying to rap except for me. Then, in the summer of 2014, I met my best friend and brother via blood pact Elijah through skateboarding. As we came to learn more about one another, we discovered out mutual love of writing lyrics and trying to produce music. It was within this same year that we become our now known duo of “Blood Brothaz Muzik” without even realizing it. Taking the name of my grandfather and mashing it up with the teasing and bullying of my pursuit in music. Read more>>

Aaysia Roberts

I became interested in body sculpting because I used to get it done myself. Once I realized it was something I could provide I was all for it! I have also ALWAYS wanted to become an esthetician, so adding those services on once I finish school will be a dream come true!. Read more>>

Kylela Johnson

Two friends taking the hair industry by storm, adding a Creole and Jamaican flare. The love of making others feel beautiful is our true heart’s desire. Truly your one-stop shop for all your beauty and hair needs.  Born and raised in Kingston Jamaica and Louisiana. I moved to America in 2006 playing soccer and my partner was born in Louisiana. We both went to college in Tulsa OK, and there we have been inseparable since. She ended up moving to Houston for a while and now lives in ATL, and I stayed in Tulsa for a while and now live in Texas. We decided to go into business together to build something we love and enjoy.  We started this business about 4 months ago and just learning and growing as we go. This has not been an easy journey, but we have faith in each other and faith in God that things will happen in the right time. Read more>>

Jasmine Bruno

It all started at a rave I went to years ago, around 2018 in Tyler Texas. I saw some girls come in with these light-up hulahoops, and I just HAD to get one too! And so, I did, I followed tons of hooper accounts on Instagram, and practiced a lot. Before I got into ” The rave scene” I did hare drugs (meth) for about a year and it was awful. Obviously, don’t do drugs kids, but when I started raving, I quit meth, and essentially replaced it with Molly (MDMA) and thought that going to raves and drugs was why I liked hooping so much.  Once covid hit though and all venues shut down for almost a whole year, I realized I LOVED flowarts for so many more reasons with such better meanings 🖤 flow is a physical and mental release, it’s the perfect balance between focus and getting lost in movement and time. Flowarts helped me thru my past addictions, instead of getting bored and looking for the next party, I’d play with my hulahoops and work on my art form more. When your emotions are everywhere and you need a healthy release, flowarts is the perfect escape in my opinion. I’ve been clean off all drugs since covid started and its thanks to my passion for hooping 🥰. Read more>>

Beau Jennings

I grew up in Dallas, TX and graduated from Abilene Christian University with a degree in Education. After graduating college, I moved to Chattanooga, TN to pursue my career in education where I taught 5th-grade math, science, and writing. I also raced bicycles which is what took me to the mountains of Tennessee. In 2003, I was struggling to make ends meet as a teacher and began renovating houses which is where my love of real estate grew from. After many bike races, children taught, and houses renovated I decided to follow my dream of becoming a boat Captain and sold my house, car, and all my belongings to move to England to attend the world’s premier sailing school, The United Kingdom Sailing Academy. I earned the highest-level Captains license offered and after sailing to 13 countries and training, I moved to Florida to work in the yacht industry. Read more>>

Aurianna Johnson

I am a makeup artist here in Fort Worth! I first got started doing makeup when I was 14 years old. I randomly discovered the love I had for makeup one day when I had to wear it for a dance performance and ever since then I knew I would grow to love doing makeup and eventually knew that this was exactly what I wanted to do. At 15 years old, a sophomore in high school, I was finally building my professional makeup kit with the help of my amazing mother and got started with doing makeup on friends and family. It was a very slow start but I mean you have to just trust the process; you can’t rush things. And I have to admit at times it was very hard to trust that process but I can’t be more proud of myself for continuing to push myself and doing exactly what I love to do. Three years later at only the age of 18, I am now starting to finally see my business begin to show signs of being where I want it to be, and am very close to getting my esthetician license to expand my business and be bigger than just a makeup artist. You all can feel free to follow my journey on my Instagram @yt.aurii and if anyone is in need of any advice, please reach out because I would love to provide any encouraging or motivating words that I can. Read more>>

Diane Marburger

I am a proud mother of 4 and grandmother to 6! Back in the early ’90s when my daughters were little, I attended the Wilton Cake Decorating courses to bake for family and friends. It was fun making beautiful, delicious cakes for special occasions. In 2011, I attended the Culinary School of Fort Worth along with several baking classes at Le Cordon Bleu, Dallas. I’ve always had a love for baking and learning.  In 2014, we became foster parents and adopted our son in 2016. For his 5th birthday party in January, I decided to put my cake decorating skills to the test with themed sugar cookies as his party favors. They did not turn out like I had envisioned! They were a lot harder than expected and I knew I was missing some skill and desperately searched for a class. I found one locally and it was instrumental in what I was missing. I began practicing a lot and making cookies, once again for family and friends. With their encouragement, my newfound hobby was becoming a passion to make beautiful cookies, that tasted just as good for special events.  Read more>>

Desirae Larini

Almost 5 months ago I decided to leave the corporate side of the beauty industry and go off on my own. I’m a licensed cosmetologist and have done pretty much everything under the sun with my license. In 2015, I started waxing facial hair, mainly eyebrows. Since then, a spark was lit and I knew that it was something I wanted to do for the long haul. After a while, I had the urge for more and wanted to expand my horizon within the skincare side. I started working for a spa where I was doing hair, skin, and nails. Definitely knew hair and nails were not something I wanted to specialize in after a few months. I started focusing more on facials and hair removal services. The more hair removal services I did the more my passion grew. About a year and half later I knew with every fiber of my being I was meant to wax. My friend had worked at a local waxing studio and insisted I apply. I got the job and my new journey began, learning the ins and outs of the waxing world. Read more>>

Rebekah Fawehinmi

Massage therapy started for me as an interest that turned into a passion and calling. The interest started as a high school athlete seeing how manipulating the muscle tissue you could promote healing and recovery. After high school, I was encouraged to go to college so I pursued nursing. Fast word a few years and I realized that path was not for me. As a single mom, I started massage therapy school in 2012, working during the day and attending massage school at night. I graduated the fall of that year and began embarking on my passion in the field of massage therapy working for various chiropractic offices. My passion grew as I learned new skills and modalities working for a DO as an independent contractor. I worked with various patients with needs ranging from sports therapy, pre and post-op recovery to patients with MS and Alzheimer’s. I learned the skill of building my clientele, scheduling, and patient care. After 3 years of working in that office. It ending abruptly by being fired at 8 months pregnant by the doctor that could not see the passion I took in my line of work.  Read more>>

BackTalk

BackTalk originally started as a side project for a former band, Light The Way. We officially started in late 2015/early 2016 when the old band had ended, and we were ready to take it a little further. Farhad Kalwar (vocalist), together with former 2nd vocalist Juan Garcia, wrote the first band’s release, Half-Empty (produced by Kevin Franklin). As time went on, the band went through ups and downs with member changes and such but continued to play shows until 2019, where we took a break from performing and focused on writing the follow-up to the 1st EP. In that time, Farhad, together with Jesus Torres, completed a 2nd EP, Unsought. The band showcased growth in their writing ability and explored a more melodic approach to the material, as well as the switch from being a dual vocalist unit to a single frontman on the songs. The EP was released August 31 of 2021 along with a music video for one of the songs, “Spectators.” The band is currently in full swing with performing as well as working on new material with new lineup that includes Farhad Kalwar (vocals), Jesus Toress (Guitar), Justin Griffith (bass), Brandon Todd (guitar), and Wesley Stebbins (Drums).  Read more>>

Cameron Thompson

Bodies like mine are rarely celebrated yet acknowledged in the fitness industry, and so when I was approached to get trained a fitness modality, I immediately said yes.  But it kind of felt that I was saying yes to more than the certification, but a yes to many things. Yes, bigger bodies are worthy. Yes, fitness is for all bodies. Yes, dance is a common language. Yes, I can show up authentically myself and be proud of myself.  All of that YES, was finally answered with Dynamic Fusion Studio. An online fitness studio for women who like Hip Hop, Rap, and Latin music looking to gain body confidence through dance cardio, and toning.  I’ve learned so much about myself creating Dynamic Fusion and how women are eager to be active but don’t see bodies that look like them! There’s always this pressure to thin down, get smaller, shrink, and that’s not the #1 goal of Dynamic Fusion. And hey, honestly, I’m not for everyone, and that’s okay, but at DFS you are seen and heard as you are.  Read more>>

Nina Frink

I started my summer after 5th grade ended. I was forced to try out instruments one day and fell in love with the flute once I saw how shiny it was and after I was told that I get to sit on the front row. My mother ended up buying me a flute and I would play it every time I was frustrated, sad, mad, happy, etc. I unknowingly practiced my way to first chair all of my life and then won competitions, played at events/concerts, and had some gigs, but I didn’t think much of it. However, it wasn’t until my sophomore year of high school that I realized this is one of my God-given gifts. I missed my All-Region Band audition my sophomore year and that was one of the best things to happen to me. The very next day my band directors informed me that I could audition the following day, BUT I would have to play the piccolo instead. I said “Okay!!” knowing that I have never picked up a piccolo a day in my life. I studied the piccolo up until 4 am. The day of the audition I went in with nothing to lose. I ended up making 1st chair and moved onto All-Area. Read more>>

Cat Chickering

I got my first piercing when I was 15 years old, and the rest is history. I was addicted and intrigued. I did my apprenticeship in 1999 at Body Art Studios in Arlington. The owner, Jimmy Tatu had two shops so he was looking for a second piercer. Luckily, I happened to go in for a tattoo appointment and started talking about wanting to pierce. He introduced me to their piercer Melissa, and from there I started my apprenticeship. I worked there for a couple of years, then moved to Georgia where I pierced at A Living Canvas before coming back to Texas. Once back in Texas, I luckily had a friend who was in the process of opening a shop and I was welcomed to join the crew at Epic Tattoos. I have been at Epic ever since. The industry has been a wild ride with a lot of changes, but I can say I still love what I do and I still am consistently learning. That is the best part. I have a great shop that I work at with an outstanding crew and awesome clients. Read more>>

Tyler Smith

I went from a full-time student into an upcoming medical student. I’m going to school to be an OB/GYN. My business name has a meaning behind it, “Daynee” is my middle my name but it’s actually spelled “Dayne” but I added on the extra e at the end, “Journëë” is coming from my journey behind medical school and prospering with my business. Read More>>

Badasstronauts

Badasstronauts, an alternative space rock band best described as “a psychedelic deluge of rhythm and feel, wrapped up in an eclectic package”, began their musical journey on stage together at an after-school music program in Fort Worth, TX. Being a part of the program for their teenage years, it’s here where they individually and collectively honed their craft and became the powerhouses that they are today. In the Spring of 2016, these five artists joined forces and officially became “Badasstronauts”. After writing music as a collective for a couple years, the band publicly debuted in 2018 at Gary’s Garage in Fort Worth. Soon after they regularly began performing across DFW and Denton venues. Read more>>

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