There are so many factors that affect how our lives turn out, but one of the most interesting is how our backgrounds give us unique strengths and perspectives that affect who we are as adults. We asked rising stars from the community to tell us about their background and upbringing and how they feel it’s impacted who they are today.

Stephanie Farney | Singer-songwriter

I’m originally a “born and raised” Kansan, and I grew up in a relatively small town in central Kansas. My parents actually met through music, so my siblings and I grew up with music being a huge part of our lives. I grew up listening to my dad play guitar and sing every day, and I’ve been heavily involved in music for as long as I can remember. Read more>>

Vinny Malave | Founder/Co-Owner/Graphic Designer

I grew up in Chicago and was born into Halloween/horror movies. The uncle I was closest to was huge on it so naturally, I gravitated towards it and fell in love with it too. Fast forward years later and we now own Chicago’s only All-Horror Shop! Read more>>

Autumn Rose | Abstract & botanical artist

I grew up in Atlanta, Ga. My mother was a very creative person. Throughout my childhood she encouraged me to draw, paint, sing, and do anything that inspired me. I would often watch her draw and sew then try my best to copy things she made, especially her drawings. Read more>>

David J. Del Grande | Street Photographer & Independent Reporter

I grew up in Northern New Jersey, just outside of New York City. Then, as a teenager, I found my first love in skateboarding. Thus, taking the bus into the greatest city in the world was my norm; searching for spots to skate developed my wanderlust. When you become a skateboarder your entire worldview changes. Read more>>

Melissa Greene | Personality, Musician, Student of Life

I grew up in the outskirts of Omaha, Nebraska. My upbringing was a picture of a midwestern family where I had a dad that worked a lot and a mom who decided to be a homemaker once they had kids. Read more>>

Abner Alva | Chef & Entrepreneur

I am from Guatemala. I grew up in a little town named Cantinil. My mother owned a small restaurant and I always loved to watch her cook and learn from her. Since then, I always had a passion for food. Read more>>