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Downtown’s Rising Stars

The heart of our mission at VoyageChicago 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 Chicago’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 Downtown’s rising stars below.

Carneil Griffin

Growing up in a impoverished neighborhood in the west Austin neighborhood of Chicago, the only child to a single parent, one parent being heavily involved in a world of crime. As the published statistical anecdotes describe, raised by my grandmother, a product of an underfunded Chicago Public Schools system. Read more>>

Jennifer Hereth

I have been a painter in Chicago for 40 years. I taught for 17 years at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and ran Oxbow Summer School for SAIC for 5 years. I also taught their Mexico Program for 4 years. I transferred to The College of DuPage where I have taught Painting for the last 24 years. Read more>>

Leah Dixon

I began making YouTube videos when I was attending The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I have naturally curly hair, so I initially began creating content pertaining to hair. I knew my brand would at some point evolve into more than hair, so that is why I chose the name “LeahsEssence”. I eventually wanted my channel to encompass the overall essence of my life. Read more>>

Monique Costello

For years I had a hard time understanding why I never felt great. I was fairly healthy (…or so I thought), worked out regularly (lifting weights that were too heavy for me, played tons of sports); basically I worked hard and I played hard. I even thought of myself as knowledgeable in terms of food and health because I didn’t drink soda or eat fried food. Read more>>

Carla Galvez

I was a teen mom and started out working in the corporate world doing marketing and administrative work at the age of 17 to support my daughter. It was a good steady paycheck and great benefits, however I was miserable. My passion has always been in the beauty industry! Read more>>

Beth Bond

In my experience of the world, we’re all born into it with a unique purpose — our own individual set of blessings and obstacles presented to help cultivate a perspective that, when shared back to the greater community, can empower solutions… and ultimately, change. Read more>>

Braylen Stevens

I remember growing up and having a hard time trying to figure out the best way to fit in. It was hard because I knew what I wasn’t interested in but also knew what I needed to do to fit in. I was never the best at sports but I made the best out of it. Read more>>

Shar Coulson

I moved to the near west side of Chicago over 20 years ago, when meat packing was still thriving and artists and galleries were just transitioning from River North to the West Loop. At that time my career-life focus was as a designer then executive creative director. Fast-forward to what now is a flourishing Tech Metropolis and ultimate Foodie Destination and you’ll find me working as a full-time painter. Read more>>

Joel Oppenheimer

I graduated from the Art Institute here in Chicago in 1978. I was already showing and selling my work as well as doing commissions but, of course, I also needed a regular job. In those days a degree from SAIC equipped you with no real world skills other than being an artist. Read more>>

Eric Sheinkop

My journey began when I was 16 years old, graduating Lincoln Park High School and starting my first company, an independent record label. Music was an obsession for me and since I was very young I was excited by the opportunity to help create avenues for the incredible music talent in Chicago to express and make a living from their art. Read more>>

Mary Jane Maniscalli, Jennifer E. Leong

This is a quote that resonates strongly with the both of us because our passion for adding value to others’ lives is what brought us together. We have over 30 years of combined financial services industry experience, but we really hit it off when we started working together at another firm in 2016. Read more>>

Jessica Armbrust

I am one of seven kids who grew up in a very loving close-knit and competitive family. With five brothers I was inevitably hooked on adrenaline, sports and the feeling of accomplishment from a very young age. My siblings and I always pushed one another to “do better” and “be better”. We have always held each accountable for our goals and dreams. Read more>>

Diem Angie

Growing up, I have always had an interest in beauty. Attending Glenbard North High School gave me the opportunity to enroll in a free cosmetology program where I was able to gain experience and earn my license. After highschool, I started my next chapter at University of Illinois at Chicago where I studied marketing. Read more>>

Kristen Nuñez

My journey as a model started when I was first moved to Chicago. Coming from a small town, it lacked resources to pursue a niche career unlike Chicago. The first step I took was to build my portfolio. Which is key to any artist’s journey. After I got enough images for my first comp card, I submitted my portfolio to over 50 agencies in Chicago. Read more>>

Maubra Foster

Maubra Foster was born and raised in Evanston, IL. I currently reside in Skokie, IL for the past 30 plus years.I have been been acting for the past 4 years. Im a Registered Nurse (18 years) by day and a Chicago Actress by night. I started out as background extra as a nurse on Chicago Fire in 2015, and then branched off as a real nurse on Chicago Med, Chicago PD, and Empire. Read more>>

Iman Khan

My name is Iman Khan, and I’m a Pakistani-American, though born and raised here in Chicago. I am 23 years old and graduated this past May from UIC with a Health Information Management major. I’ve been doing photography for about 4-5 years now, and shot my first wedding when I was 18 years old, right out of high school. Read more>>

Nneka Kai

I was born in Atlanta, Georgia to a wonderful mother. Unfortunately, a few months prior to my birth my father passed away. I feel that that particular moment, unconsciously prepared me for the rest of my life. Through the earlier years,my family moved around a lot. During which I developed the power of adaptability, the ability to navigate many different spaces and people without fear. Read more>>

Rebecca Considine

I am a passionate, enthusiastic, problem solver who loves to communicate and construct creative marketing solutions. I am a twice finisher of the Chicago Marathon, and hold a 3rd Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo with over 20 years of Martial Arts Experience. I am a wife, a mom, and a business owner. Read more>>

Candance Patel-Taylor

During my third trimester with my first son, I was put on bed rest for having low amniotic fluid. I put on too much weight, I got depressed and was undoubtedly in the worst physical and mental shape of my life. To make matters more interesting three weeks after my son was born, I was scheduled to return to Ghana where my husband and I had been living for the previous five years. Read more>>

Andrew Hayes

Since I was a teenager, I have always been drawn to media, news, current events — all the various forms of “storytelling”. I have always also been a firm believer in paying it forward and since my teen days have volunteered for many nonprofit organizations to help positively impact the lives of others. Read more>>

Jon Larson

I got my first DSLR camera about 5 years ago for family events and trips..A hobby most would say. I was in love! I slowly started finding new ways to view people and the world through the lens. I did many small shoots for families working on my craft before I jumped into the wedding world. Read more>>

Daniela Sinuela

I’m from Chile, I’ve been in Chicago for 3 years because my husband came to study to the University of Chicago, and we sold everything we had in Chile to come here without knowing for how long we were going to stay.
Back in Chile I was a mining engineer (Chile is the biggest producer of Copper in the world), and I used to work in an office, from Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 6 pm. Read more>>

Shay Monai

Growing up my father was a hair stylist, I spent many hours watching him work. One of my earliest memories was of when I was 6 years old, I took one of my dad`s capes and put it on my brother, pretending to style his hair using a toy rake. I have tried many different professions. Read more>>

Joanne Molinaro

I went vegan in early 2016. I decided to adopt vegan diet because I thought it would help me lose weight and keep me from getting dumped by my then vegan boyfriend (BUSTED). I figured I’d give it a shot for a few weeks and if I didn’t like it, I’d just quit. Read more>>

Cole DeGenova

I come from a family of musicians and artists with deep roots in Chicago. My parents met in a band and were playing all the time when I was little. I started taking piano lessons when I was 4 and shortly after began singing in the choir at my school and writing silly pop songs. Read more>>

Andre Bellos

Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be an actor. Growing up in Chicago w/ blue collar parents, acting lessons were their last priority. I chose to divulge myself in school and the community, I participated in local plays, musicals, and talents shows, you name it, I did it! Read more>>

Sonali Patel, Nick Patel

ArganCoco has taken eleven years of testing products, formulas and conducting research. We believe in providing the best in the market and something that is made with love and passion. ArganCoco’s philosophy is to create a brand without chemicals, without preservatives and without harming animals. Read more>>

Noah Furey, Jimmy Kurz

Clark Street Collective was founded the summer of 2017 when a group of local photographers and models came together at 416 N. Clark St. Bored with the typical city shots, we wanted to evolve our skill set and get out of our comfort zones. For the next three months we came together every Sunday building our craft and developing a community based around creative minds working together. Read more>>

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