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Rising Stars from the South West 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 rising stars from the South West of Chicago below.

Nique Robinson

When I was about 12 years old, I became really interested in Hip Hop. I listened to it so much that by the time I was 14, I started writing my own songs. I ended up having tons of notebooks full of raps with no real plan on having any use for them haha. I became so invested in that I knew that I wanted to pursue it seriously. Read more>>

Neesha Stringfellow and Ebony “Khavoni” Roberts

So, we met about five years ago at church. Ebony: My husband and I attended one of Wes & Neesha’s Marriage Bootcamp’s. And after attending the retreat that year, found out that we both worked in the same industry. After about a three years of knowing each other, we began to work at the same salon suites with each other and eventually came to share about 100 sq feet of space. That was crazy, space was so tiny, but we made it work. Towards the end of the lease, we both decided not to renew and started trying to figure out our next move, which did not include opening another salon (after we had owned a few of them in times past). Read more>>

Nate DeMont

After graduation, I went to school for music and recording engineering but worked part-time for the school district in maintenance and eventually was offered a full-time maintenance position. From there, I moved on to construction (home), and then as commercial maintenance and locksmith for a chain of banks. During this time, I competed in weightlifting competitions; even earning my personal training certificate, but eventually became too injured to continue. While recovering from surgery, all my spare time was spent working on guitars, since I could not do much more than sit at a desk. Read more>>

Renee LaVerne Rose

I was born in Chicago, Illinois and grew up on the far south side. Chicago is a city of neighborhoods/communities. At the time when I grew up my grandparents, aunts and uncles all lived within the same community which was Morgan Park. Things were quite different then because most people in American grew up with their relatives living close by and everyone knew everyone in the neighborhood. A good example of that is I attended John D. Shoop the same grammar school my father and his siblings went to. Read more>>

Anthony Trevino

My passion for photography started when I was a sophomore in high school. Photoshop and graphic design is what got me into photography. I was always using photoshop and that caught the attention of my multimedia art teacher. Those were outlets that segwayed into photography. Read more>>

Joe Hendrickson

I’ve always had an appreciation for art and I feel that this is how I arrived to where I’m at right now. Growing up, I started playing various instruments and eventually started playing in a couple bands. I graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a desire to work in the Music Industry but with the recession and music industry changing, that was put to the wayside. Read more>>

Jesus Magana

I grew up on the southwest side of Chicago in the West Lawn neighborhood. This area’s demographics have changed drastically over the last 30 years, but is still relatively known for being a family-oriented neighborhood with lots of small businesses. Read more>>

Chanel Renkosik, Cody Renkosik

Seven years ago, our lives looked much different. We both just graduated college (EI-EI-EIU!), gotten married, and were working full time jobs in careers we knew we didn’t want to do forever. Cody went to school for business management and had dreams to own his own business, and I was teaching but always had worked part time in the restaurant industry—expediter, hostess, server, bartender, and manager. Read more>>

Abdullah Syed

I started my journey into photography about a year ago. I initially wanted to be a full-time YouTuber, but because of my pre-nursing studies, I had to postpone it to a later time. However, I had just bought a Canon camera that is valued over $1000, and I really don’t want to keep it as a decor. Read more>>

Monika Sudakov, Jeff Sudakov

From dancers and living in Las Vegas to innkeepers, we started innkeeping in 2005. Our inn is the ultimate foodies bed and breakfast. We give Chicagoans a much needed respite from the city, with all the amenities and gourmet cuisine they could wish for. Read more>>

Gene Hicks, Kate Ryan

My story really starts in my hometown, Champaign, IL. That is where I cultivated my passion for hip hop–breakdancing and MC’ing–and martial arts. I toured with Twin City Breakers as a teen and found a love for performing and dancing. Read more>>

Diane Green

The Museum of Universal Self Expression or M.U.S.E., Inc. began in 2003 in Chicago, IL. Started by Diane Green & Bob Buchholz, this 501(c)(3) non-profit has created a variety art programs throughout the city of Chicago for over 15 years. MUSE’s mission is to support and/or create art programs for artistically underserved communities and for people in recovery. Read more>>

Lauren White

I proudly profess, I am a life long Chicagoan and one of many Englewood success stories. Chicago has and continues to have a lot more to offer than what is often reported in the media. We are more than the mayhem. Read more>>

Merlyn Jose

As a kid, I’ve always loved Weddings and wanting to be a business owner. Grammar school, my weekends were spent at local craft shows selling handmade bracelets, floral wreaths and wishing wells. So naturally, merging my two loves was inevitable. I had left my corporate job of 10 years and decided to go for it! Read more>>

Rocio Vargas

Hello, my name is Rocio Vargas I hope that my story is worth your time. I appreciate the consideration and a special thanks to Norma Rios whom I believe one of the greatest human beings I’ve met. Although I’ve been helping my mother cook since I was a little girl. Read more>>

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