Category: Westsiders 2018

Introducing our inaugural celebration of local personalities … Westsiders 2018

The hardest part of choosing 18 interesting people to convey the vitality, diversity and creative energy flourishing right now in our community was narrowing the roster of qualified candidates down to only 18 people. But this isn’t meant to be an exhaustive survey; it’s an exercise in inspiration. This is about celebrating us and the remarkable things we accomplish in the most exciting part of the most dynamic region in the world. Westsiders build companies that solve problems. We tell stories that captivate the world. We set trends. We shatter stereotypes. We overcome adversity. We care about other people....

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Design is Life — Stephen Francis Jones

The original Spago on the Sunset Strip turned Wolfgang Puck into a celebrity chef. The restaurant’s 1997 reboot in Beverly Hills made a star of Marina del Rey-based architect Stephen Francis Jones. After trying his hand at high-rises and shopping centers, Jones discovered a passion for restaurant design while creating the Santa Monica Airport-adjacent nightspot Typhoon about 28 years ago. “Typhoon was one of the early restaurants that had polished concrete floors and exposed steel and big glass. We had such an awesome view of the runway, the way it was just perched up there, and we wanted to...

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Director of Fun — Negin Singh

Negin Singh’s 9-to-5 has her watching rollercoasters careen over the Pacific before the sun cracks the marine layer, playing with cotton candy, and curating cool art and music events from an office above a merry-go-around. It may not sound like work, but embracing fun and fantasy makes Singh ideal for her role as executive director of the Santa Monica Pier Corp. Formerly director of inspiration at augmented reality startup DAQRI, the 31-year-old events producer is tasked with reimagining the popular Twilight Concert Series for a relaunch in the fall. Six months into the job, Singh is already making her...

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A Better Way to Do Business — Blake Mycoskie

TOMS Shoes founder and Chief Shoe Giver Blake Mycoskie doesn’t remember his first pair of shoes, but he does remember the first pairs he gave away. Not long after starting his buy-one-give-one shoe company out of his Venice apartment, Mycoskie was off to Argentina with the first batch of giveaways made possible by his commerce-meets-philanthropy concept. “It was a very amazing experience to see so many kids have so much joy for something so simple, and to see how grateful their families were — their parents especially,” says Mycoskie, now a father of two. Twelve years later, TOMS is...

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Venice’s True Believer — Lori Petty

Actress Lori Petty was born in doublewide trailer in Chattanooga, Tennessee. But for the last 28 years, she’s called Venice home. “I moved to Venice in 1990, when Abbot Kinney was called West Washington and you could ride your bike in middle of the street and there were no cars,” says Petty. At the time, the “Orange Is the New Black” star was filming “Point Break,” living in Hollywood and driving to the beach every day to surf with Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. After a week of commuting, Petty thought, “Why don’t I...

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