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Trailblazers: North Side

The editorial team has a special attachment to our new series, The Trailblazers: Rewriting the Narrative, because so many of us feel that media portrayals of women have been too one dimensional. Today, women are doing incredible things in all fields – from science and technology to finance, law, business, athletics and more.  With the Trailblazers series, we hope to highlight and celebrate female role models, encourage more equal and just representation in the media, and help foster a more tight-knit community locally helping women find mentors, business partners, friends and more.

Below, you’ll find some incredible trailblazers from in and around the North Side that we hope you will check out, follow and support.

Elena Flores Rector

As I tell most people, I am a fitness instructor by day and an actor by job. I went to school for musical theatre and toured the US and Canada for 2 years with a show post graduation. Read more>>

Juls Walker

I started posting about beauty products that I purchased myself, about tips and fashion finds, I started by being followed by just friends and family, then friends of friends, suddenly I started posting about clothes and traveling and strangers started messaging me to ask for tips. Read more>>

Coleen Otero

As a NYC native I found myself, a young entrepreneur, graduating High School in Orlando, FL. Being a city that is totally polar opposite to my home town always drove me to seeking communities with women that were ‘go getters’ and looking to extract the best out life. Read more>>

Crystal Drake

A musical torch was passed to me. My great-grandmother (a farmer in Poland) sold a cow behind my great grandfather’s back to buy her son his first accordion. My grandpa played and taught music his whole life, same for my mom, aunt, uncle and cousins. Read more>>

Leepa Mittal

I have always loved meeting people, visiting different places and experiencing new cultures. There was a part of me which wanted to do more than my 9-5 job. I was craving a creative outlet. My love for photography, combined with my interests in food, travel and fashion led me to start my Instagram feed. Read more>>

Jessica Paulson

I grew up with a love of photography instilled in me at a young age from my mom. I scrapbooked about my life well into my 30’s. For me it was always about the people, the human connection caught on film. So when I was in college at UIC I decided to study the arts in photography. Read more>>

Ashantis Jones

Back in college, I attempted to start a foodie Instagram because I saw how much free stuff people were getting for taking pretty pictures and mentioning the restaurant. Needless to say, it did not turn out well because the end goal was getting “instafamous.” Read more>>

Haley Meadow

My interest in photography really blossomed when I was in college and received my first digital point and shoot camera. I loved documenting everything! It was another way for me to look back on memories. Read more>>

Daniella Thompson

I have always been an avid listener of all genres of music, and I get a ton of fulfillment from attending live shows. While I definitely went to a show or two before I moved here from Atlanta in 2013, the accessibility to concerts here in Chicago was new, incredible, and kind of surreal. Read more>>

Leslie Castromayor

I’ve always loved fashion. I’d pour over my older sister’s copies of Vogue and Cosmo, caught up in the glamour of the editorials. In college, I became obsessed with vintage and thrifting. It became such a huge obsession I eventually went back to school for Fashion and Marketing Management. Read more>>

Jennifer Ho

I’m really proud of this because, to me, it’s the perfect expression of love for your community and country. There are two shirts as of now – they say “Child of Immigrants” and “We Are All American” – and they both embrace our country’s diversity. Read more>>

Gwen Holtan

Gwen grew up playing sports. She was athletic and fit a child, but once she entered her adolescent years, she thought she was “fat”. She had body image issues and dealt with an eating disorder in college. As an adult, her struggled with weight and body image continued. Read more>>

Beth Prystowsky

When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 35, I immediately went to Google. All the information I found was depressing and out of date. I was told, “this is a good time to be diagnosed with MS” as there is much research and technology in the works. Modern Day MS is my way of providing a modern. Read more>>

Nini Jenkins

I moved to the United States in my early 20’s from the country called Georgia, located by the Black sea, in Eastern Europe. I was an Au pair and lived with an amazing family for one year. After that i met my husband and we started dating and got married. Read more>>

Precious Stovall

The smile that I can give my clients with something so small as adding eyelashes brought me joy. I now own a Lash Studio/ Salon in the Edgewater area. I’m still working just as hard now as I did first starting out. Read more>>>

Zinnia Adams

Perspectives is about working hard to make personal finance a family heirloom. I made a vow to my daughter that the struggle would end with Me. Generational wealth is the method to my madness and helping my the world shape their money perspectives.  Read more>>

Adrianna Wegiel

Before fitness and health became a large part of my life, growing up I wasn’t athletic. I grew up with (brachydactyly) ,a condition where the bones in the fingers/toes are stunted in growth, so some of my toes never grew to their full length. Read more>>

Shalisa Smith

I have always loved the entertainment and arts industries. I knew, from a young age, that I wanted to work in a fast-paced field that would allow me to express my creativity, as well as work with interesting and influential people. Read more>>

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