Even if you are from the same neighborhood as someone else, you might still be coming from different places. Where you are from is a complicated question and it elicits complicated, but interesting and thought-provoking responses. We’ve shared some of those responses below.

Deric – Anna Laura Johnson – Sotelo | Deric Johnson | Photographer, Digital Artist & Anna Laura Sotelo | Admin, Posing & Creativity

Deric: I’m from North Carolina originally. In my younger years, I used to draw anime. When I was a kid, I had a very strong interest in comic books. Of course, when you were younger, everyone downplays art as a career, so I became a police officer, following in my mother’s footsteps. My mother was an example of beauty and strength, manifested in a 5’4 black woman. There was no skill that she could not learn, no challenge she could not meet, no task that was too overwhelming. Where my mother was an example of being a strong black, my father influenced me in staying true to myself – regardless of judgment and perception. Read more>>

Rashell Jarvis | CEO | Constant Close

I am an AZ girl born and raised! I grew up in the sunny state in Mesa, AZ! I would like to share about my parents so you can see where I am at today and where I am going has been designed by the impact of my 2 amazing parents. My dad is from El Salvador, so I am first generation on his side. My father name is Francisco. He goes Chico! He came to the United Stated in his twenties speaking no english to a foreign county. Had ambitions to get a degree and eventually marry and start a family. My dad enrolled in 4 year university and I remember distinctly, the story of him using a dictionary to translate his books, and syllabus where he ended up graduating with a degree in economics. My dad is the entrepreneur and always had a side hustle. Talk about determination and perseverance!! Read more>>

Tony Hoffer | Photographer

I’m originally from Mount Joy, PA., which is a rural town in central Pennsylvania. We’re known for our proximity to farms and variety of smells that come with it. I was raised by two very hard working parents. My mom was one of 8 children raised by parents that had their own small business. My dad worked night shift in a factory most of my childhood but somehow never missed anything important and even put himself through college in his late 40’s. Read more>>

Kenny Schied | GrAttitude Productions Founder/CEO/Promoter/Producer/Performer

I was adopted at birth and raised on the Southwest Side of Chicago in an old Irish neighborhood named Mt. Greenwood. Most of my family still lives in the neighborhood. Mt. Greenwood is a well known “blue-collar neighborhood”, populated mostly by City of Chicago employees, (particularly cops and firemen). My adopted father was a former Marine, a City of Chicago garbage man, a Hells Angel and an alcoholic. My mom married him when she was just seventeen years old. My mom’s side of the family were first generation Greek immigrants. Despite my DNA being Italian, Polish and Slovakian, I will always consider myself a Greek. Read more>>

CJ Schneider | Owner & Social Media Creator

I am a lifelong resident of Arizona and a graduate of ASU. I’m fortunate that my first job after graduation afforded me the opportunity to travel around the country working in the trade show industry for seven years. After from a few other marketing jobs I held, I landed at Valley Metro, where I worked in the marketing communications department for more than 11 years. I decided to leave and focus on a more creative position at a children’s educational toy company. But when COVID-19 struck, I was laid off. Read more>>

Krish Mohan | Stand Up Comedian

I was born in India and immigrated to the States when I was 8. When I was a kid, America was the land of milk & honey, but when I got here I found it to be a land of suspicion and fear. I faced violence & harsh words from my classmates and couldn’t understand why I was being treated that way. That informed me very quickly that I didn’t really fit into the mainstream American paradigm. I grew up in a pretty traditional Indian household. But I didn’t particularly fit into the traditional Indian lifestyle. Read more>>

Angela Hetherington | Event Promoter & Photographer

I am originally from Freeport, Illinois. My fondest memories were formed growing up in the country with my little sister. We had several willow trees in our front and back yard along with flower gardens, a fruit orchard and a huge garden. My Dad made peach and Concord grape wine, so I used to help smash the grapes. He taught me Photography as soon as I was old enough to hold a camera. I was always coloring. Behind the garden there was a corn field backed by a wooded area where we used to hunt for Morel mushrooms. Read more>>

Brandon Derrick | Photographer & Entrepreneur

My name is Brandon “King Brando” Derrick. I was born in Dallas, Texas my mom always encouraged creativity in my life and also my sisters life. Watching my parents work hard to give us the things we needed to be successful instilled a great work ethic within me. While mentioning my upbringing I can’t help but bring up my older brother Joshua Ramirez as well for always pushing me to be better and do more. They all shaped who I am today. Read more>>