L.A.'s 30 Under 30: The City's Rising Stars


Most likely to…become a millionaire, have five kids, go to the Olympics…’member these? Ah yes, the beauty of the senior yearbook, capstone to all awkwardness of adolescence, it bestowed in print (of all things!) a so-called predictor of future success. Have any of us actually turned out to be anything we thought we’d be? We’d put our money on the fact that most of you have taken a roller-coaster ride to become much more than anyone could have ever dreamed. Case in point: The amazing twentysomethings who fill our first-annual L.A. 30 Under 30 list. These talented youngsters are experts in breaking the molds that society (and that high-school yearbook editor) set for them, and are whistling to their own tune, along this wild road of life.

While it was excruciating for us to whittle down our nominees — especially knowing how many worthy candidates reside from the nooks of Echo Park to the crannies of Culver City — our interviews with this fierce group of ingenues inspired us beyond measure. Our stellar (and may we add, stunning) subjects talked collaboration, communication, and cooperation in ways that made us feel all kinds of warm and fuzzy inside. Maybe it’s the hot sun here, or maybe it’s just true: Tinseltown's an incubator for all kinds of talent, and the spotlight's never been brighter. So, without further ado, click through for a knock-your-socks-off slideshow of 30 L.A. folks you need to know now! We suggest you start lining up for autographs, stat!
Shot on location at Siren Studios.
The Painter: Rosson Crow
From her slightly askew pixie cut to her surrealist-style Yazbukey accessories, this doe-eyed bombshell embodies "artiste” at first glance. Aesthetically challenged, Rosson Crow is certainly not. She’s designed textiles for Zac Posen and counts Jeremy Scott as a BFF, but armed with an MFA from Yale, this history-obsessed bibliophile lends way more than style to her larger-than-life canvases. Equal parts irreverent chaos and intelligent references, each painting is a perfect storm of poppy-hued punk. Explaining her process, she says, “I get very involved with a certain subject, spend lots of time in the library, then map out ideas. Then I just go at it, with the actual painting not taking as long as the research. I want my paintings to have a sense of immediacy, become immersive environments for the viewer, and still be unfussy.”
The Dallas native is currently neck-deep in preparation for her spring ’13 show for Paris’ Galerie Nathalie Obadia, and sealing the deal on her commitment to L.A. by house-hunting for the first time (it’s no easy task finding studio space large enough to shelter that enormous art!). “Maybe it’s the wide, open spaces, or the idea of the ‘West,’ but anything seems possible.” Indeed, girlfriend! Up next on the overachiever’s bucket list? She’d love to design sets for the Met Opera, write a novel, work with Cormac McCarthy, and live in Rome. “I think I may need to jump out of a plane at some point, too, to get over my intense fear of flying.” Exactly the kind of moxie-filled move you’d expect to find behind the brushstrokes of such in-your-face imagery.
—Brenna Egan
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The Chef: Kris Yembaroong
Warning: This culinary champ’s quotes are NSFW, as is his fare. (Not. Suitable. For. Wussies.)
After holding a four-year apprenticeship with photog Richard Kern, Kris Yembamroong realized that “New York needed another dude shooting naked chicks like it needed more models or rats.” So, he ditched the lens for a wok, and went back to his best coast roots to take over his family’s 25-year-old Thai restaurant. The space next door opened up, and not wanting new neighbors, he quickly “cock-blocked” an Irish pub from moving in by signing a fresh lease. The empty room has since morphed into “a blank slate with zero expectation, a casual idea bordering on an experiment,” he explains. A year and a half later, Night + Market has earned the young chef a James Beard nomination, glowing reviews from Jonathan Gold, and visits from both David Chang and René Redzepi (basically, it’s a BFD in the foodie world). But don’t be fooled, it hasn’t been all sweet coconut rice. “At the heart of it all, it’s just me cooking for my customers in a tiny room. I’m the one at the fish market early in the morning, in line at the bodega buying the bread I use for my ice-cream sandwiches, and staying up until 3 a.m. making pork rinds because my customers love ‘em,” Yembamroong says.
The snarky chef’s schooling may have come from “not having a babysitter,” and consequently spending many a late night in the commercial kitchen munching on staff meals — Cordon Bleu, schmordon goo, right? “Formal training gives you technique, which is great, but it can never give you a palate. That’s why seasoning is one of the toughest things to learn,” he says. And eccentric flavors are definitely never lacking at the eatery (think super-duper spicy Moo Sadoon, which means "startled pig," with basil, lemongrass, fish sauce, lime, and bird-eye chile). Oh, and Yembamroong happens to be looking for a solid partner for N+M 2.0, should you feel so inclined!
—Brenna Egan
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The Politician: Suzy Jack
We’re elated to have Suzy Jack, Legislative Director and LGBTQ Liaison for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, on this list. Of her work in the public sector, the all-around superstar discloses, “It's the hardest, most-rewarding work you can find. For those young people up to the challenge, get an internship, get your foot in the door, and work your ass off. If all the good, smart people turn their backs on public service, what kind of people are we left with?” While our political system can seem daunting, she says, “it's a lot less partisan at the local level and more about providing services that affect people's daily lives, so I think it's much easier to reach people and actually get something done.” By grounding herself in her beliefs and working tirelessly (“I cannot rest,” she says), Jack has gotten a whole hell of a lot done.
In 2010, under the public servant’s watch and through her initiation, the California State Legislature declared May 22 (Harvey Milk’s birthday) a holiday that the Mayor commemorates with an annual day of service. And last year, for the first time in the city's history, Villaraigosa proclaimed June to be LGBT Heritage Month (there are only four other such months, celebrating the contributions of the Latino, Native American, Asian Pacific Islander, and African American communities). These events are opportunities for leaders to partner with school and community organizations to recognize the progress that we’ve made, and also look forward to the work that has yet to be done. “Talking to the youth is an absolute inspiration, because while many face daunting obstacles to just live their lives freely, those I’ve met are strong, extremely intelligent, resilient, amazing, and are ready to take on the world,” says Jack. We already know Angelenos are a radically diverse group with many talented citizens to tout, but knowing that this power player is hard at work in the Mayor’s office gives us a serious case of city pride.
—Elizabeth Parks Kibbey
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The Skater: Josh Harmony
When Josh Harmony cruised onto our set with his peaceful presence, it was explosively interrupted within minutes by gravity-defying skate tricks that had us checking our insurance policy in full nail-biting mode! As it turns out, injuries aren’t uncommon. The pro-boarder for Toy Machine, Fallen Footwear, and RVCA has separated a shoulder and even had hip-resurfacing surgery — all because at age 11 he got fired up by a neighborhood pal pulling a 360 flip (Santa promptly delivered Harmony’s first board that Christmas.)
The one part of his anatomy that’s sacred, however, are those banjo-playing fingers, which have strummed up a must-listen soulful album, Benefit Of Doubt (available online for free here). After the Long Beach all-star picked up his first instrument at a pawn shop on his debut tour, skate decks and tape decks became permanently intertwined. “I will write songs the rest of my life whether or not I can make a living at it,” he says. “I am married to music. I will also skate as long as physically possible.” We hope that Josh can prevail at pavement-dodging long enough to see not one, but two once-in-a-lifetime talents become passionately gratified.
—Brenna Egan
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The Illustrator: Langley Fox Hemingway
Langley Fox Hemingway makes no secret of her infatuation with Tim Burton — she already has a drawing inked up of what fantastic things she’d gift him if when the encounter comes to pass. And we have no doubt that the like-minded filmmaker would be impressed with what this wildly talented sketch-ess would bestow! What began as tender-aged doodle pages of “star people” has launched a firing-on-all-cylinders career in illustration — collabs with Alice + Olivia, LF Stores, and Made Her Think pepper the boho’s portfolio (she’s also got a thing for camping, vintage, and rock 'n' roll).
With Ernest Hemingway as her great-grandfather, actress Mariel as mom, and mega-model Dree as a big sis, that power-packed last name has surely come with some privilege. But when we asked the grateful gal about her goals for the next decade, she humbly replied, “I’d like to take both of my parents on a vacation when I can afford it, and start paying them back for being so supportive and generous with me. I was always taught to be appreciative of our life, however it may play out.”
The beautiful brunette’s dreamy work is surely a product of her utopian, nature-fueled childhood, split between the slopes of Sun Valley, Idaho, and the beaches of SoCal. Although these days, Hemingway prefers to unleash her imagination between coffee shops and her Silver Lake living room. Depending on how many projects she’s whipping up at once, many of her sketches take 48 hours plus (“Not all in one sitting, my hand and bum would give up on me!”). In any rare free time she finds, she’ll happily moonlight as a model (good looks obviously run in the family), and she’s superstitiously pleading the fifth on other exciting commissions in the works. How much do you want to bet those aforementioned doodles will be worth a pretty penny someday?
—Brenna Egan
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The Photographer: Matt Sayles
Born and raised in the City of Angels, Matt Sayles has a list of credentials you might not necessarily expect from your average L.A. entertainment photog. With degrees in political science and marketing from top CA universities (Stanford and UCLA, respectively) he’s breaking the mold and making it work in his favor. “Photography is an art, but it’s also a business. My MBA helps me balance my creative side with the knowledge of how to develop and grow my business and brand,” he says. And the proof is in the pudding. As a former National Entertainment Photographer for the Associated Press, Sayles’ portfolio gleams with flawlessly executed images of high-wattage stars in all sorts of settings — from the red carpet to the gardens of Hollywood Hills — and they all carry the signature look of a Matt Sayles photograph, no need for an identifying watermark.
Equally adept at putting his portrait subjects at ease as stealing the perfectly cheeky shot of Jennifer Garner copping a feel on Ricky Gervais, the consummate professional won’t let himself get too comfortable. Like us here at R29, Sayles is a social-media addict. “As a photographer you often work alone, and it’s easy to lose perspective on your work.” So, the lensman turns to Twitter and Tumblr to stay connected with other artists and his audience. “Whether or not people like the photos that I post, I learn from their feedback and it makes me a better photographer.”
—Elizabeth Parks Kibbey
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The Actress: Byrdie Bell
We’re sure this is Byrdie’s big year to fly to new heights, especially since she’s officially taken a phoenix-style flight from the New York runways to answer the casting call of Hollywood. The previously bicoastal babe is decorating her spacious new Hancock Park loft while auditioning away, and envisions her ideal flick as an “epic period film, perhaps in ancient Greece or Rome.” (Can’t you totally picture those long locks plaited-up in a golden-goddess topknot?). Bell’s been training for this moment since she was a tween, and will hit the silver screen this year in Red Butterfly, in which she stars as a prostitute who succumbs to a drug overdose. She says, “I’ve played drug addicts and have had characters die before, but this woman was so loved that it made the death scene quite powerful to perform. I really didn’t want to let her go!”
Donning her beloved Rick Owens jacket, she describes her recent SoCal style evolution: “I would say I’m much less of an eccentric than I was a few years ago. I wore things that weren’t meant as clothing and often looked like a streetwalker! But, now I’m more interested in showing some consideration for the people who have to look at me, without sacrificing my creativity.” Not that we needed convincing, but after our chat, we’re positive this stunner’s eye is on the prize. When she curtly and confidently responded, “Ask me next year,” in regard to her life’s greatest achievement, we swore we would.
—Brenna Egan
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The Interior Designer: Kyle Schuneman
This room guru claims that he “owes his success to L.A.,” but we’re guessing that growing up in a jam-packed 1200-square-foot apartment in Chicago probably taught him to use space to its utmost potential. After devouring endless issues of Architectural Digest and finishing up high school, Schuneman packed his bags for Lala Land and broke his back working as a retail assistant, studio page, and PA (this included menial tasks like cleaning up confetti on commercial sets), before finally finding his “home” in production design for television. The go-getter crafted his first set at the age of 20, and had his on-air debut with KTLA the same year. He says of that groundbreaking moment: “I remember Ice Cube and a lady that bred ‘toyger’ cats were in the dressing room. I was so nervous that I kept tugging on my clothes throughout the segment, but over the years I’ve become more and more comfortable with practice.”
Eschewing the “stuffy bunch” of the interior-design community, Schuneman has never let the word “no” hold him back, and has sought out a “bold, fun, layered, cozy, and quirky aesthetic.” With this as his foundation, he’s got a brand-new book hitting the shelves in August, titled The First Apartment Book: Cool Design for Small Spaces. An answer to any champagne-taste-on-a-beer-budget decorator’s prayer, the tome aims to prove that “good design can make you live up to your surroundings — and it doesn’t matter if you're living in a rental, it’s your space — you should splash your personality around it and show your unique point of view.” We’d so follow any DIY tutorial from someone with so much haute heart!
—Brenna Egan
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The Lawyer: Lynsey Eaton
We weren’t too surprised when Lynsey Eaton, Associate at Gibbs Giden Locher Turner & Senet LLP and blogger extraordinaire at Law Of Fashion described herself as “the definition of a Type A personality.” This legal lady hails from Texas, but has a success story that is L.A. through and through. When, a year into her associate-ship, she felt herself yearning for a fashionable and creative outlet, the lawyer decided to have her cake and eat it, too. With a wisdom that belies her young age, she says, “You’re going to be much happier and much more successful at what you do when you can figure out how to make it something you love.” Adding the (sartorial) demands of her day job together with her creative side has allowed her to do it all — and do it well.
But, how does she manage never-ending legal briefs and a demanding daily blog without going insane? “I am a consummate planner, my friends often jokingly call me the cruise director,” says Eaton, who also explains that blueprints in life make you “more equipped to handle the unexpected surprises that undoubtedly arise.” Plan or no plan, we can’t wait to see where life takes her next.
—Elizabeth Parks Kibbey
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The Fashion Publicist: Chase Weideman
Whoever said “it’s PR, not ER” clearly didn’t have the Account Executive at Bismarck Phillips Communications & Media, Chase Weideman, in mind. After all, he risked his life so that SJP could escape to her car while handling Alexander Wang’s fashion show in '09. The 27-year-old explains, “I took it upon myself to single-handedly redirect traffic in Times Square. What was I thinking? I then proceeded to casually call her ‘girl’ like we were old friends while shaking her hand!” In all seriousness though, you have to bring way more than charm to a role like his, where celeb dressing and editorial placement can make or break a brand (also, consider everyone and their mother is ready to swipe your job right from under the Missoni rug).
Although the Omaha native grew up far from the glitz of Hollywood, Weideman made a firm resolution to build a life here and put in a minimum of 60-hour work weeks with a (very handsome) smile planted on his face. “It’s a career that universally includes grueling schedules and can be emotionally draining and very demanding of your time without any care for your personal life. I took notes, did research, learned fast, and charged at it like a bull. My skin became real thick, real quick and that saved me. Plus, I learned immediately not to take this shit personally. It’s work.”
That’s not to say that the gig doesn’t grant its perks. If you took a gander at Weideman’s cavernous closet, you’ll find he’s a classified Current/Elliott hoarder, Lanvin lover, and he’s quick to point out that if his house ever caught fire, he’d “probably save the dog and my cashmere-collared Burberry trench. We’ve traveled the world together and it’s aged like a fine wine.” We have a feeling his resume will do the same.
—Brenna Egan
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The Editor: Isabel Wilkinson
If there’s anyone we could be when we grow up, it just might be Isabel Wilkinson. Everyone told this whip-smart wordsmith that print was dead (just as she was entering journalism school), but Wilkinson let it roll right off her back and lived to tell the tale. “What I learned is that the power of story-telling is still as strong today as it ever was, even though the ways we get those stories have changed,” she says. While still in school, Wilkinson interned with The Daily Beast just following its launch. Her arduous work slogging through headlines in the wee hours for the site’s now-signature Cheat Sheet turned enough heads to land her a job following graduation.
Isabel now serves as the DB’s Fashion and Arts Correspondent, often “covering stories that sit at the center of the Venn Diagram: art and fashion, fashion and politics.” We can’t wait to see what she’s got up her e-sleeve next, including the July launch of a dedicated fashion blog, titled Fashion Beast. But, like many stars in their field, Wilkinson never forgets the best lessons from her teachers, such as those from her undergraduate professor A. Scott Berg. “He taught me a lot of things, like putting motivational sticky notes next to your computer in case you get writer's block — and that truly productive people don't waste time on lunch breaks.” Consider our sandwiches ordered for delivery and our sticky notes stuck!
—Elizabeth Parks Kibbey
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The Music Mogul: Paul Tao
Somewhere in Georgia is a dusty yearbook in which Paul Tao’s “Most Likely” isn’t that he would grow up to be a music mogul — yet he did — and we’re beaming with pride. Name something cool going on in music in L.A., and Tao seems to have a hand in it. Whether that’s repping breakout bands like Salem, or hosting your favorite eastside hip-hop party, he’s on it. Even after a lovely interview and email exchange, we have no idea how the co-owner of IAMSOUND Records does it all, but have a hunch it’s got something to do with good old honest-to-goodness love of music. When we asked him what he’s currently excited about in sound, he waxed poetic, “I really love the music scene here because it reflects the growing diversity of the city. L.A. has gone through phases of being known for certain kinds of music, but right now you can't really nail down any one genre, which is what I love.” That’s what we call passion!
Tao’s no stranger to hard work, either: He did double duty in undergrad as a poli-sci major at USC, making the jump from posting on message boards and his blog before deciding to make music his vocation after graduation. Yet, he still says some of his best professional experience came from canvassing for a non-profit. “It forced me to learn how to talk to strangers, make great arguments, and get along with people in order to get things done!”
—Elizabeth Parks Kibbey
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The Fashion Tech Strategist: Alisa Gould-Simon
Typically, if someone were to assign the title “poser” to one of our nominees, we might have to enact a polite smackdown. But this archaic term will be forever frozen in the pre-Pose.com days, before the start-up took the styling world by storm. The VP of Creative & Partnerships, Alisa-Gould Simon is largely responsible for the app’s dope daily dose of eye candy from tastemakers like Rachel Zoe, Coco Rocha, and thousands of others that we digest in line at the bank, before bed, or maybe even slacking off at work (shh!). The former freelance journalist traded in her writer’s pj’s for many-hat-wearing days dotted with the challenges of “finding scalable, quick solutions as opposed to having endless money or time to throw at different problems or opportunities,” she says. “Being agile and adaptive is essential. I’ve also learned to overcome a lack of technological training by asking lots of questions and not letting ignorance be a block.”
The digital destination would obviously be dead in its tracks without this big-gun’s garb matching her quick wit. Gould-Simon counts Phoebe Philo, Isabel Marant, and Jean Cocteau amongst her sartorial saviors, and, naturally, she tends to find at least one product she’d like to buy each time she hits up her app (dangerous, right?). But as much as the glamour girl loves a good splurge, we have to applaud her recent decision to have her shoe collection revamped by Pasquale, our town’s cobbling king. With this practicality, loads of unbridled energy, and the mantra “to be increasingly open-minded and continue seeking out new experiences” — this enterprising chick has her “pose” down pat.
—Brenna Egan
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The Filmmaker: Lee Toland Krieger
You may recognize this Celeste and Jesse Forever director from our Most Eligible Bachelors Of L.A. story. And our desire to play matchmaker for the heartthrob is also a signal for the respect we have for his hard work! It all started when the graduate of USC's illustrious School of Cinematic Arts was invited to visit the set of Executive Decision at 13, and he became smitten with the entire process of film production. "I spent the next few years shooting shorts with a video camera the size of a Prius. They were terrible," he says, chuckling.
Later, Krieger worked as an intern for power playwright Neil LaBute, who became a sounding board for him when the now-29-year-old made his first film, The Vicious Kind. When the ish hit the fan and the flick almost lost funding at the last minute, Krieger called his mentor in panic mode. He remembers, "When I asked him for advice, I was hoping he'd say something to the effect of 'I know this guy with a ton of money...' Instead, he replied, 'Art is hard.' And that's it. He hung up. I was on my own." Well, before his actors even showed up, he righted the ship and eventually earned himself a nom for Best Screenplay at the Independent Spirit Awards. But despite that major coup, Krieger's most rewarding moment thus far comes straight from the heart. “I was able to thank my parents in front of over a 1,000 people when I introduced Celeste and Jesse Forever at Sundance this year. I feel grateful for them every day, but it’s rare that I share it, so it was really gratifying,” he says. Come August 3rd, expect us at the front of the line for that film, starring Andy Samberg and Rashida Jones.
—Brenna Egan
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The Entrepreneur: Jesse Draper
Growing up in Silicon Valley, it’s no surprise that Jesse Draper, host, CEO, and founder of web-based Valley Girl TV turned out to be a tech head. “By sixth grade, I was a pretty hardcore internet user, and I just loved chat rooms! I relished in the idea that I could talk to other people online.” And lucky for us, Draper has never stopped talking. As an undergrad at UCLA studying theater, she realized that her upbringing had given her a unique understanding of both business and technology that she wanted to share with others. Blending this and her other passion for talk shows “that make light of things,” Jesse set out with the mission to “make business fun,” thus Valley Girl TV was born.
Now in it’s fourth year, the site has been a true labor of love. “The first two years, I was really going at it alone and had no idea what I was doing,” she says. But with perseverance, positivity, and great collaborators (namely Director and Chief Business Developer Jonathan Polenz, whom she met through a mutual friend) each episode has grown from a few thousand viewers to over two million clicks. Why do we love this cutting-edge chica? Let us count the ways — from her sense of humor about herself to her dedication to inspiring others to take a chance on themselves, Draper is solid gold. We practically got down on one knee when she told us, “I’ve decided that I’ve been put on this earth to encourage women in the work place.” Rather than focusing her energy on competition or one-upmanship, we love a go-getting gal focused on the communal good! We have a feeling that if everyone worked like this Valley girl, the word recession would become yesterday’s news.
—Elizabeth Parks Kibbey
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The Mixologist: Alex Day
If you’ve recently been on the receiving end of a classic daiquiri, a gin Bee’s Knees, or a perfectly executed martini, you’ve probably benefited from the inspiration of Alex Day, co-owner of Death & Co and Proprietors LLC. Like many people, Day started working in bars in college because he needed the cash, but it wasn’t until he graduated and “came to the realization that my plans for grad school were, well, stupid,” that he decided to make his watering-hole work a main gig. What followed was a boozy path to luring Dave Kaplan, founder of Death & Co, to his bar, so that he could convince the nightlife aficionado to give him a post at his revolutionary new establishment. As you might expect given Day’s title listed above, the plan worked.
While we love Day for his delectable drinks, we’re also enamored with his approach to business and his career. “If everyone is truly honest, creating something great only happens with a team. For me, having a business partner is vital — I get to work with someone who knows my strengths and weaknesses. I know his, and we get to build amazing things because we approach the same task from different angles.” Well, Mr. Day, you keep those hands busy, and we’re happy to guzzle whatever you’re mixing!
—Elizabeth Parks Kibbey
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The Digital-Media Maven: Milana Rabkin
One peek at the iCal of this Digital Media Agent for United Talent Agency is enough to make anyone want to pound eight Red Bulls! From rolling calls from S.F. all the way to Amsterdam to launching a YouTube channel for a TV production company to meeting with a famous actor who wants to partner on a mobile start-up — caffeine may not even cut it most days for Ms. Rabkin! Day in and day out, though, the Endeavor mailroom-bred babe somehow manages to bring Silicon Valley to Silicon Beach, shaking up old-school Hollywood tactics to bring traditional clients state-of-the art digital success. It’s such an innovative (and complicated) biz that there’s no rule book, but she explains, “I’m interested in multi-platform story-telling, crowd-funding, new models of distribution that allow artists to go directly to their fans, and social media as a new form of entertainment.”
After the frustration over the lack of great movies being made, noticing her own consumption habits change, and watching her colleagues create actual revenue-bearing and audience-growing URLs, Rabkin returned to UCLA to do independent research, creating her own classes since there was no major. “I kept thinking, what if I took these characters from this dead script and launched it as a Twitter feed, or reworked this feature script as a low-budget web series to breath some life into this world?” She finished her final exam and — bam — started at UTA the next day (she was 22). This kind of young disruption is exactly what L.A.’s been craving, and we have our fingers firmly crossed that the prolific chick sees one of her start-ups make a major exit, or perhaps even go public. (And then takes a luxurious vacation.)
—Brenna Egan
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The Gallerista: Amanda Hunt
“Bananas” is the current state of this LAXART curator’s buzzy, upward-climbing career! The mantra of constant “trials and exploration” is what revs her up, and since 17, she’s done her fair share of both in just about every aspect of the art industry. When a professor gave a lecture with the bold statement “curators have all the fun,” she latched onto her life’s vocation, and is now settled in at the Culver City non-profit space. Between “interfacing with artists, fielding queries from the public, managing press relationships, managing exhibition production, and conducting studio visits,” Hunt’s been happily running circles around this sprawling town.
The Philly native may have only moved here a short year ago from NYC, but is already a true-blue Cali girl. She says, “It’s been incredible to witness this mass exodus of artists and art professionals from the East to the West. I think there’s a romantic allure of light, space, and color here that people really do seek and are inspired by.” She even recently contributed her keen eye to the city’s first biennial, Made In L.A. 2012, which was an “education in itself.” And because she’s obviously all about paying it forward, the gallerista offered up some collection suggestions from artists who eat, breathe, and create sweet L.A. dreams. So, take a tip from this mover and shaker and snatch up works by Noam Rappaport, Lisa Williamson, and David Gilbert.
—Brenna Egan
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The Publisher: Ken Baumann
Like most people we really admire, Ken Baumann’s success defies logic: He’s a writer, a working actor in Hollywood, a publisher of a self-founded press, and his preferred uniform for eighty percent of the year is simply pants. No shirt, no shoes. “I like straight-legged, raw denim.” Just try putting this man in a box (you’d probably have more luck getting him into a pair of A.P.C. New Standards)! While you may recognize Baumann for his acting on The Secret Life of the American Teenager, we find his literary-geek side even more compelling.
He started “intense” writing at ten years of age, and was driven to start Sator Press when friend and collaborator Blake Butler showed him Christopher Higgs’ manuscript of The Complete Works of Marvin K. Mooney, which propelled the multi-talent to go full force into the field. Coming up next is Solip, his first novel via Tyrant Books, hitting shelves in 2013. While you wait, you can explore his other writings on his personal website, and even get hand-picked summer-book recommendations from his Goodreads account. We're already subscribed!
—Elizabeth Parks Kibbey
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The Designers: Dakota Solt and Lisa Ziven of Crybaby Presents
We’re big fans of creative collabs here at R29, and are always on the lookout for teams of two or more who work together to make big things happen, which is one of the many reasons we love Dakota Solt and Lisa Ziven of Crybaby Presents. While these two have known each other forever, it wasn’t until after they completed art school at RISD and moved back to L.A. that they forged a professional partnership to start the edgy fashion line. “The collaborative aspect of Crybaby is new to both of us,” says Solt. “It can be hard working with people in general because of egos and clashing opinions, but for us we just mesh and grow our ideas.” Together, these plucky pals have not only developed a collection that’s quickly gaining a following, but they also run a “migrating gallery,” producing original videos of artists and musicians all under one (roving) Crybaby roof.
With a bevy of events, an online store, and designs entering a second season, it’s clear that this inspiring team is just getting started and rip-roaring to go. Whether multi-tasking during synchronized hair-color and nail appointments or brainstorming en route to an appointment with a pattern maker, the duo seems to always be on the clock. “Some of our best ideas come to fruition on the various freeways of Los Angeles!” says Ziven. With fine arts fueling them both (Solt’s training is in painting and Ziven’s is in fashion), the two have everything it takes to make daring designs a reality. “The fact that I know construction and pattern making alleviates Solt from having to think about that aspect of design so she can run with her ideas. It makes for a killer combination.” After perusing their latest trippy lookbook, we’d have to agree.
—Elizabeth Parks Kibbey
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The Buyer: Chloe Bartoli
Have you ever stepped inside Curve and not wished you had just won the lottery? Seriously, the Robertson shop makes our closet cry out for extra space and our savings account tremble with fear of a drain. Well, as Assistant Buyer for the oh-so-chic outpost, Chloe Bartoli is partially to blame to praise for the array of crazy-covetable items that line the treasure trove. And if you can’t tell from that studded Burberry trenchcoat, this 22-year-old is beyond clued in on what will fly off the racks and make Lala’s fashion-forward set flip. “Isabel Marant is a no-brainer at the moment, Belgian designer Tim Van Steenbergen is an edgy yet classic investment, Balenciaga is slick this season, and Céline is a sure bet for fall,” she says.
Bartoli’s rocked shopgirl status since high school, and the summer job bloomed to full-time buying when she impressed retail queen and Curve owner Nevena Borissova with her ability to keep it “simple, sexy, and light.” Bartoli’s striving to reach many mums-the-word goals, but we’re predicting a future L’Wren Scott-level star turn in the beaut’s rosy future.
—Brenna Egan
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The Sculptor: Lola Rose Thompson
Somehow within the lifetime of everyone on this list (i.e. the last thirty years), Los Angeles has gone from being a predominantly entertainment-driven town to boasting a bustling and brag-worthy art scene. So, it’s no wonder that a native like Lola Rose Thompson would set her sights on returning here to make a name for herself. But for a young woman like Thompson, who is more conscious of what she doesn’t know (and trying to learn it) than intent on proving how smart she is, we think she just might stand a chance in this ever-changing artistic atmosphere.
Perhaps it’s our magpie-like obsession with all shiny things, but it was her hanging sculptures made of geodes, minerals, and salts from exotic locales that first caught our eye. While we as viewers focus on the materials, the sculptor has quite the opposite approach: “I usually come up with the title of a thing before I actually make it. Creating it is hard and the fun part is trying to make something that you've thought of exist in another form,” she says. And it’s just that attitude that we find refreshing about Thompson. Watching a young artist making work, trying to learn from her own process, and being transparent about it might be the keenest idea we’ve seen take shape inside or outside gallery walls. This summer, keep your eye out for her pieces in a number of group shows around town and online at the Tappan Collective.
—Elizabeth Parks Kibbey
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The Restaurateur: Jordan Kahn
When a chef gets insight from artists like Salvador Dalí, Man Ray, and Max Ernst, you can pretty much count on a trippy-tasting delish dish — not to mention an exotic presentation. Such is the case with Jordan Kahn's red-hot restaurant Red Medicine, which is a word play on Eastern medicine, and similarly aims to "cure" hunger with "the practice of healing through natural means, including roots, herbs, vegetables, and animals." According to Kahn, it's no easy feat being this kind of medicine man. "An eight-hour workday is the equivalent of a day off, and when I launched the eatery, I didn't take one for 20 months — these are not exaggerated figures," he says.
Khan's shamanic skills were honed in the French Laundry kitchen beneath mega-chef Thomas Keller beginning at a mere 17 years old. And while reservations at Red Medicine may not be quite that hard to get compared to the famed Napa destination — unless you're a night owl (he caters to industry peeps with equally as long hours as his own) — you'd better at least plan a month out to nosh on cult faves like bánh mì with country pâté, pork belly, carrot pickle, coriander, kewpie mayonnaise, green chili, and cucumber. Consider our "appointment" made!
—Brenna Egan
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The Jewelry Designer: Karla Deras
If Karla Deras’ name sounds familiar, it’s because it’s all over the place right now thanks to the launch of her debut jewelry collection for Roman Luxe (and written up on our site, natch). Back in the day, she started a blog as a place to write about music (she was formerly a member of the band The Slumber Party Girls), but quickly found the online space shifting into a personal style journal — and the rest as they say, is history. After being given the opportunity to design a bag for Coach in 2010, Deras was officially hooked and knew her calling was to design accessories.
Even from a cursory glance at Karla’s Closet, it’s easy to see that she delves into the details of each and every piece that make up her fantastically original styles. When it comes to the new collection of jewels, she’s “constantly scouring antique malls and flea markets for one-of-a-kind jewelry,” so it’s no surprise that the bling is completely distinctive. The result is earrings in unexpected materials like faux-snakeskin alongside geometric bangles in vintage-inspired colors like oxblood. And for fans of this debut line, we have the scoop on the next one! Look out for color, gems, and stones to keep you bright all (next) spring long. Hear, hear!
—Elizabeth Parks Kibbey
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The Musician: Binki Shapiro
One-third of the harmonious Little Joy posse, this pretty, multi-instrumental vocalist is in the throes of creating cover art and making a video for a fresh set of hits she recently completed with Adam Green of The Moldy Peaches (anyone else already have the Juno soundtrack stuck in their heads?). The one-time Beck muse has been bouncing around the country, burning the midnight oil coming up with all kinds of ditties. The crooner says, "I can't wait to come back to L.A., though, to play shows again and to continue recording my own music."
And with this much fire in her (itty-bitty) belly, Little Joy is looking like perhaps the littlest thing she'll do in a sure-to-be lengthy career. When asked if the Lala native still frequents the Echo Park dive bar that the band swiped its name from, she replies, "I actually haven't been there in a really long time. I think someone else owns it now, and the last time I went it just wasn't the same — like Cheers with a different bartender." Well, the spot and Shapiro only have a name in common, because this gal's on the up and up!
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The Style Star: Atlanta de Cadenet Taylor
With a nymph-like Bardot-meets-Bilson mug and spunk in spades, this 20-year-old is one to watch, and not just because it’s hard to take your eyes off of her. She may have just crossed the teenage breach, but she’s already strutted her stuff for Polo Ralph Lauren and Net-A-Porter, and has a whole slew of style groupies following her outfits’ every move. Only adding to her artistic, disheveled allure, the pouty model’s got rock and photog royalty scribbled all over her family tree (dad is Duran Duran bassist John Taylor, mom is shutterbug Amanda de Cadenet, and stepdad is Nick Valensi of The Strokes). But unless it’s from the turntables, don’t expect her to bust out a tune anytime soon. “Growing up, my dad made me learn pretty much every instrument,” says de Cadenet Taylor. “I had a baby-blue bass that was so cool. However, my girl-band days disappeared after my sixth-grade school performance — along with my abilities to play anything.” Dressing casual Cali glam is one knack that we can rest assured isn’t going anywhere and rumors are running rampant that a line is underway. Neither confirming nor denying, she says, “I have a book that I’m constantly writing ideas in and I’m always saving images — not to mention the massive collection of vintage dresses hanging from a rack in my apartment that I’m just waiting to recreate in my own way!” Either way, we have a feeling that this gorgeous gal’s dance card is going to fill up fast!
—Brenna Egan
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The Family Act: Charlie and Willie Ebersol
A chance meeting with a South African youth named Victor led Charlie and Willie Ebersol on a personal and professional adventure they could never have predicted. The journey would result in the making of the documentary Ithuteng, an award-winning flick that follows four South African students on a quest to turn their lives around. The filmmaking coincided with personal tragedy for the Ebersol clan, when their other brother Teddy passed away. Charlie says, “It was an incredibly important moment in our life, not only because of the life-changing lessons we learned in Africa or the success that it enjoyed, but much more importantly because it helped us through the darkest hour of our lives.” The film became a true family effort when the brothers’ mother came on board to help with the editing. As Charlie eloquently states, “The film came to life and my mother and I healed together.”
Charlie's most recent project, The Great Escape, is an action-adventure show that puts ordinary people in extraordinarily challenging situations, while his younger bro Willie has found his passion in writing for the History Channel’s Off The Grid. Always eccentrically styled (he paints his nails neon on the reg) the dapper chap has an almost religious love for film, so much so that when we asked him about his personal heroes he explained, “Any time I go to the movies, by the time I finish the flick, the writer is my new hero. Anyone who has stared at the blank page, then gone through the process with producers, actors, and all that — it’s heroic." Although they're both passionate about their industry, there's no sign of sibling rivalry in sight for this tight-knit clan!
—Elizabeth Parks Kibbey
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.
The DJ: Tamara Sky
Though she’d be the first to tell you she spends too much of her time on the road, we were thrilled to find that Tamara Sky, a Puerto Rico-born sensation on the ones and twos, officially calls Los Angeles home. Tamara’s story reads like mythic fiction — a beauty-contest title led to modeling, which led to deejay gigs, which led to television and movie appearances. But none of this came from fairy dust — Ms. Sky has earned her stripes every step o

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