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.

Priscilla Wachira | Self-Published Author & Nationally Certified Counselor

I am from Nyahururu, Kenya! Yep, I am proudly repping the “#254” but trust me, that was not an easy statement to make if I was asked 5 years ago. You see, the journey to becoming the woman I am today was quite the rocky one! Might I even add, confusing as well. I moved to the states at the age of five and what I knew of Kenya faded away faster than those memories of my siblings. It was that long and arduous settling down process, that made me resent them for seeming so “okay” with everything and being close in age to relate with one another while navigating this new home. Read more>>

Martika Wells | Freelance Private Chef | Meal Planner and Preparer | Caterer | Recipe Developer | Influencer & Digital Content Creator

I was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. My mother moved us to Plano the summer after I turned 12. However, my southern roots have never left me. My experience with food started only two years before our big move to Texas. That’s right! At age 10, my mom allowed me to cook meals for her and myself on nights that she would work late as a retail manager. Now, don’t get me wrong, those meals were nowhere near as elaborate as some of the recipes I have developed over the years now that I am 30. Read more>>

Maria Alavarado | Cook

My name is Maria Alvarado, I’m from Luis Moya, Zacatecas, but grew up in a small neighborhood called (el charco de la gallina). Back in the 60s-70s there was no more than 10 houses, no electricity or water in the neighborhood. ’m the oldest of 6 siblings, so I had to help my parents do whatever I could help with. I learned to cook at a very young age, by the age of 7 I could make a full meal with no help. Read more>>

Desteny Edwards | Creative Director & Designer

Like many others growing up wasn’t easy. In short, I moved a lot in elementary school, was severely bullied, and my life at home was far from idyllic. I developed a strong fear of rejection and need for a validation that controlled a large part of my adolescence. But, art was my escape. I have always loved art and the process of creating. I doodled all the time. So much so, my mother would nickname me “Doodlebug”. My imagination, creativity, and art became the traits my family would associate me with the most. Read more>>

VyShawn King | Ceo of G.F.M Enterprises & Rap/RnB Artist

Im from a town called Paris, Texas. A very small town! So with that being said, my upbringing was hard. Mentally atleast. Every small town has something what I call “small town syndrome”. It is basically a group of people in those communities that mind hasn’t quite expanded outside of their area. It is easy to have and not even realize! So, it was very much challenging coming up having to have the complete opposite mindset of literally everyone you run across. Read more>>

Andrea Rainge | The Mississippi Modernist Event Planning and Décor

I was born in a small town Clarksdale MS. My mother moved us to Milwaukee WI when I was 5 years old and worked as a nurses aide she wanted more resources for my3 sisters and I and she felt that moving would provide that. She instilled in us those southern values that were essential to being not only respectful women but successful women seeing my mother a single mom work countless hours to make sure my sisters and I had a good life is what I strive to do for my children. I was raised with God being most important family and to always be a good person. Read more>>