Yunalis Mat Zara'ai — who you probably know as Yuna — landed in the good ol' U.S. of A., thanks to her spectacular success as a MySpace-promoted musician. Though she's from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, social networks (and her amazing music) earned her an international following and a call up to the entertainment-industry big leagues here in L.A. Since landing, she's left a mark not only through her unique sound, but her style as well (including her fantastic hijabs). It all landed her a coveted spot on our annual 30 Under 30 list of L.A.'s rising stars.
Here, she talks about her life in Downtown L.A., a 'hood she first chose because she didn't know how to drive (yeah, we know!), but later learned to love. It's just a few snippets from the story of a lady who, like so many, has come from the other side of the world to make her home here with us.
To meet the rest of this year's 30 Under 30 set, click here.
"I've been living here in Downtown for three years now. At first, it was because my management office and their studio is located in here. Since I don't drive, I figured I'd just live around the corner. But as I found out, there's everything right here — food, clothes, street art, Little Tokyo. There's also a lot of different types of people [who] live down here. It's a melting pot. I love it!"
"Around here, I've got Kapsoul on South Spring Street. They sell a lot of vintage clothes and toys — oh, they also sell my little terrariums there (I make terrariums, btw). I also love walking around inside The Last Bookstore. It's a maze! You've got to try this place called Flying Sticks near Santee. Go there, and order the steak baguette. You'll thank me later."
"Honestly, I don't really go out that much — I'm working so hard. I do love hitting the beach in Santa Monica, though, and I'm always going to the movies. ArcLight Theatre is my jam! I take advantage of Arashi Sushi's happy hours and order a ton of rolls for cheap! I get the same thing every time I go there — the seared ahi tuna. So good!"