What makes a Westsider tick?

That’s not so easy to pin down, because diversity — not just racial or ethnic diversity, but diversity of personal background and life experiences — is one of our community’s great strengths.

In the following pages you’ll meet a Santa Monica native who conquered the local real estate industry, a high school athlete from Detroit who became a distinguished neurologist in Westchester, a farmworker’s daughter in Mar Vista who’s leveraging digital media skills to promote broader social engagement, a Venice native who worked to beautify the neighborhood despite his own struggle with homelessness, a single mom who journeyed from South Korea to New Zealand to Los Angeles to become Playa del Rey’s favorite shopkeeper, the energetic CEO of a billion-dollar company in Marina del Rey, a former cable news anchor flexing her media muscle to improve animal welfare, and an NPR foreign correspondent and her writer husband who left behind wars in the Middle East to raise their daughter in the comparative peace and quiet of Venice Beach.

You can’t put Westsiders in a box, but the ones we’ve profiled in this issue tend to display a few common traits: creativity, determination, openness to new ideas, and an adventurous spirit. They aren’t afraid to be themselves, and we are inspired by each and every one.

Spend some time with this issue.

Joe Piasecki Managing EditorMichael Kraxenberger  Art Director

Special Photography:

Courtnay Robbins (courtnayrobbins.com) photographed Vanessa Colosio Diaz, Sadie Gilliam & Alisun Franson, Charlotte Gunter, Teresa Kim, Kelly McEvers & Nathan Deuel, Jane Velez-Mitchell, Peter Ruiz, Mark Verge, Dr. Vernon B. Williams, and Kelly Younger.

Ted Soqui (tedsoquiphoto.com) photographed Danny Trejo for the cover and inside.

Shilah Montiel (shilahmontiel.com) photographed Kim Gordon.

David Yellen’s photo of Michael Dubin appears courtesy of Dollar Shave Club.

Brett Wulfson’s photo of Brittney Rose appears courtesy of Brittney Rose.

Quick links to 2019 Westsiders:

The Changed Man — Danny Trejo

The Adventurers — Kelly McEvers & Nathan Deuel

The Grateful Entrepreneur — Mark Verge

A Rising Voice — Vanessa Colosio Diaz

The Neurological Pathfinder — Dr. Vernon B. Williams

A Voice for Animals — Jane Velez-Mitchell

Keeper of the Pier — Peter Ruiz

California Cool— Kim Gordon

The Fixer — Michael Vartanian

Everybody’s Buddy — Teresa Kim

The Reluctant Temptress — Brittney Rose

Miss Kentwood Players — Charlotte Gunter

The Cultural Gardeners — Sadie Gilliam & Alisun Franson

The Storyteller — Kelly Younger

The Guy’s Guy — Michael Dubin