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Inspiring Stories from the South Side

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 the South Side’s rising stars below.

Kayla Perkins

At age 5 I use to watch America’s Next Top Model (Tyra Banks), Project Runway, Jr. Project Runway and the Disney channel. I was inspired by watching the models ripping the runways and the designers talking about their fashion I started sketching my own designs. Read more>>

Kristoffer McAfee

My parents met on the south side of Chicago (both attending public high schools) years before my father joined the Navy. 3 years later I was born in San Diego, California and would spend a number of years out there before returning back to the south side of Chicago were I was raised and attended school. Read more>>

Annie Padrid

When I graduated from the University of Michigan in 2005, I moved home (Chicago) and was nannying while I decided if I was ready to go back into the classroom to teach (my bachelor’s degree is in Elementary Education). I had been a goalkeeper for the U of M Varsity Women’s Soccer Team during my time at Michigan, and was dying to stay in the sports field, at least for a bit. Read more>>

Evan Bell

I got started with Photography as early as 2013 when I was shooting on my iPhone 5 and just started taking advantage of some of the cool scenery and people that were in the south loop area. I originally intended it to be something I used as a way to capture and catalog my experiences being a young adult in the city and it developed into something so much more. Read more>>

Don Widmer

I was an academic music librarian for many years and it was a good job, but part of me was secretly yearning to do something more creative. I signed up for a couple printing and bookbinding workshops at the Center for Book and Paper at Columbia College Chicago and became fascinated with these processes. Read more>>

Haley Scott, (Sugar Milk)

I’ve been an artist truthfully my whole life. My first memories involve creating, and excelling in creating. I’ve always been centered in the arts and music, but took a shine to photography officially in high school. At a time before iphones, social media standard and even the word “Selfie”, I became attached to photography as a means of communicating my vulnerability through self portraits and lifestyle documentation, giving me peace in a way words hadn’t been able to before. Read more>>

Kristi Andarcia

In May 2009, I moved to Chicago from Mississippi after I graduated with my undergraduate in Ballet/Modern Dance. I worked several seasons throughout the city as a professional dancer and teaching at various schools. I met my now husband and moved to the south side in 2012. Read more>>

Cassandra Bell

I began my journey as a writer in High School I wrote for my school news paper. I deviated off of that goal by pursuing an career in the entertainment profession for over 12 years as a dancer, model and choreographer. I worked with such notables as EMI Records, Laface and Arista. I was raised on the west side of Chicago and began writing while studying drama at the local park district arts program on the west side at Lafollette Park. Read more>>

Jeremy Frierson

First, I want to say thank you for the opportunity to share my story.  To be honest, fashion was never my initial goal. My interest in styling was born when I was approached by my pastor. During the time when I was a volunteer at my church for their renovation process, I was painting the walls of the church, he then approached me stating, “I want you to style me.” I was hesitant at first because I had no experience in styling. Read more>>

Precious A. Crawford

Purpose By Design Fashion Boutique opened on July 21st, 2012 as a High End Resale Boutique in Chicago, Illinois. During the course of our journey we carried Resale Clothing, Shoes, Handbags, Jewelry & Accessories for Men, Women & Children of all ages & sizes. In our first month we added a Handmade Jewelry & Accessories Line (C’est La Vie), Crochet Gifts (Gifts by Tracia) and a Plus Size Women’s Clothing Line (Fearfully & Wonderfully Made). Read more>>

Christopher Flint

I have been working in the autism/diverse learner field for over 20 years. I started as a classroom teacher, then became a trainer and supported teachers, parents, and community organizations by sharing best practices for interacting with and teaching diverse learners. I also started a nonprofit volunteer organization that recruited autism experts to take trips to vulnerable areas of the globe to spread awareness and information about autism and diverse learners. Read more>>

Valorie Kersh

As I am grateful for the opportunity to have this business; This is actually my second business, my primary business is inclusive of traveling the world and helping others do the same. Most women, if they’re anything like me, never have anything to wear when it’s vacation time, date night, brunch outings, etc. Read more>>

Antoine Evans

Place I was born and raised in Chicago by my mother, the second oldest of six children. I grew up in some of the toughest parts of Chicago- Jane Adams 16 Stories, Cabrini-Green, Englewood, and Old Town and Garden. I was surrounded by gangs, gun violence, and drug activity on a daily basis, and regularly witnessed many of my childhood friends being shot or taken to jail. Read more>>

Dre Marquis

At a young age I had no idea I would be acting. I always thought I would be a marine biologist. However, Growing up in a single parent home and living on the south side of Chicago brought me to different places where art of all mediums (dance, music, acting) influenced me. I began acting at the age of 16. I then attended Alabama State University in Montgomery, AL where I received a BA in Theatre. Read more>>

Shannon Percoco, Katie Snyder

After the 2016 presidential election we were feeling upset and hopeless about many different things happening in America. Shannon put out a Facebook question asking if anyone else was feeling this way and wondered if a community art show around the theme of resistance might be a good idea. Katie responded quickly and had some ideas about venues. Read more>>

Jessie Senese

In 2010, I began importing products from all over the world that could be used as unique party supplies; Things like striped candy bags from England and glass milk bottles, and melamine wares from Denmark. Read more>>

Jerrell Simpson

I believe there are many “beginnings” to ones story. I could start at the first yoga class I took as a teenager with Free Street Theater, an After School Matters program here in Chicago. Read more>>

Evan Bell

I got started with Photography as early as 2013 when I was shooting on my iPhone 5 and just started taking advantage of some of the cool scenery and people that were in the south loop area. I originally intended it to be something I used as a way to capture and catalog my experiences being a young adult in the city and it developed into something so much more. Read More>>

1 Comment

  1. Grant Niebergall

    August 6, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    I had an opportunity to browse some of the interviews. I am very excited to have been chosen for one of the future interviews as well !
    I think it’s absolutely fabulous that a magazine of your caliber has done as well as it has only because the non-corporate companies are the ones who have the true stories that are not hidden by corporate rules. At the end of the day it’s about struggle and survival compassion and success and I tip my hat to every business owner out there and every genre of work! 1 Fine Tune is excited to bring the music industry together on stages as well as in the communities of Chicago in the nation !

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