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.

Dr. Crystal Ward | Educator and Founder, Greater Than Expectations, Inc.

Although I have lived in Dallas for almost six years, I am originally from Kansas City, Missouri. I grew up the middle child of a single parent. My mom worked hard to support us and ensure we had everything we needed. She was determined to provide us with opportunities that weren’t necessarily available to her and maybe shouldn’t have been available to us, statistically speaking. I think that has been incredibly influential to who I am today. I work hard, sometimes I think my people would say too hard, and I am pretty independent because that was the example that was set for me. It definitely makes me who I am. I am grateful to mom for giving so much of herself to us. Read more>>

Carly Melancon | Owner & Designer | Desert Canary Design

I was raised amongst the Mesquite trees and thorns of south Texas. Growing up on a cattle ranch immersed in the cowboy lifestyle not only teaches you a hard work ethic and an unwavering code of ethics, but it also instills a little grit in your soul. That way of life that can’t be learned any other way than living it, and I think it truly lends itself to my authenticity when it comes to knowing the western world and creating pieces for the people in it. Read more>>

Devin Ward | CEO Future Clothing

I was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. Growing up my birth parents were drug addicts and alcoholics. They beat me, malnourished me, and abandoned me. I was taken away by Child Protective Services and in foster care for a while before I was adopted and raised by a single mom. Going through all of these challenges at such a young age prepared me to create this brand. Future Clothing has plans to help with this mental health crisis and give back to those who are without dads. Read more>>

Taylor Humphries | Content Creator

Hi, I am Taylor Humphries, I am from Charlotte, NC. I was raised all over the world from Hong Kong, Minnesota to North Carolina. I grew up with one older brother and one younger brother. My parents have always supported us in whatever we wanted to do and encouraged us to explore the world. My mom loves fashion. Seeing her dress up and getting to explore her closet definitely shaped my desire to pursue a career in the fashion industry. One of my first jobs in high school was working as a sales associate at one of my mom and I’d favorite local boutiques. I owe so much to my family and I am proud and blessed to be their daughter and a sister to my brothers. Read more>>

Miriam Gonzalez | Photographer

I’m from Mexico. So being able to give quality photography to my culture is really important. Mexican culture values family and family events so much so I always knew I wanted to stay genuine and colorful with my editing style. I like to inform and instruct people on what looks best even though it’s not always the pretty background they expected. My main subject is always client Read more>>

Latasha (Jordan) Jordan | Massage therapist, Mom & Small business owner

I’m from Greenville tx a little town 45 min east of dallas. I was raised in the church and taught how to care about the people aroung you. when I was growing up i was surrounded by women in the medical feild. And women who were hard workers and breadwinners for their families. At some point i found that i was pretty good at anatomy. Then in middle school I became a volunteer for special needs. I loved helping them with special Olympics. I found myself stretching the kids and helping then with tight muscles in their legs after running. In high school I continued to work with them. Read more>>

Cody Cresswell | Singer/Songwriter

This was by far my favorite discussion question. Where I’m from has to be one the most musically talented areas in all of the DFW area, if not the whole state of Texas. Three or so years ago I never would have imagined I would be a full time gigging musician, much less be able to play a guitar. Living in Hunt County, you tend to stumble on some incredibly talented artists regardless of the bar stool you end up on. That’s exactly what happened to me. Watching the likes of Zach Romo, Colton O’Neill, Michael Summers, Kenneth Waters and Martin Antonio (to name a few) sit on bar stools at Sweetwater Grill and quite literally blow your mind with incredible vocals and an uncanny ability to perform like everything is on the line, could almost be considered inspiring. Read more>>

ChuckWavy | Music Artist / Visionary

Being from New Orleans you develop a resiliency to thrive and keep pushing. By the time life starts happening to you ,your up bringing and surroundings have challenged you throughly. You brain and problem solving skills kind of unconsciously develops a plan or an evacuation route to take to get you where you need to be . Read more>>

DerNeccia Livingston | PrettyLu- Supermodel, Actress, Rapper

I’m originally from Terrell, Tx, but Dallas became home in the late 90’s. I mostly grew up in South Dallas. I attended J.J Rhoades, H.S Thompson, Paul L Dunbar, Pearl C. Anderson and the great Lincoln High School. Also attended a couple of schools in Terrell Tx, as well, such as J. F. Kennedy and Dr. Bruce Wood Intermediate. But most of my life I grew up in South Dallas. Growing up there I learned I wanted to be different. I wanted to soar my wings. I want to be the one to take care of my family. From that point on I started to focus on who and what I wanted to be. Read more>>

Addison LaBonte | Food Blogger & Food Photographer

I am from a small town on the coast of Maine. I absolutely loved growing up in a town where everyone knows everyone. It gave me a really great sense of community. My hometown has banned chain restaurants, so every restaurant is a family business. I am so proud to support someone’s dream every time I go out to eat there. Growing up this way has greatly impacted the way I run my food blog. Connecting with readers and fostering those relationships is highly important to me. I do not want to be just another food blogger. Read more>>

Sarah Sanchez | Baker and Visionary Creator

I’m originally from what is known as the “Old East Dallas” district. Growing up I had an all white cat named “Silver” and a mixed terrier dog with rottweiler markings but the body of a corgi named “Pumpkin”. Being the baby of the family I turned to my toys and pets to keep me entertained. I’d always try to “rescue” whatever animal I came across lol. For instance in Pierdas Negras, Coahuila, MX where my father is from there is always a stray nearby. Read more>>