Dina Samson calls herself “The Accidental Everything.” Over the years, she’s done stints in investment banking, entertainment (working for Sean “Puffy” Combs!), and videogame production. Now, she owns two restaurants with her husband, Sotto and Rossoblu—but she’s not done trying out careers yet. Her recipe for figuring out what’s next: Do stop thinking about money, and never stop learning more.
It’s hard to tire Janet Zuccarini in conversation. The one-woman powerhouse behind Gusto 54 restaurant group has an appetite for all sorts of topics: food, family legacies, real estate, neighborhood revitalization, taking advice, and the perils of partnership. As she oversees Venice’s hottest restaurant, Felix, she explains why it can be helpful to be underestimated in a male-dominated industry. And no, she won’t hook you up with a table.
Chelsea Naftelberg oversees influencer programs at the social media agency ATTENTION in Santa Monica. But what’s an influencer, really? According to Chelsea, we’re all influencers in our ways—if people value your opinion, then chances are you’ll influence theirs. It’s that attention to subtle influences that has guided Chelsea’s approach to her professional and personal growth, helping her know the difference between anxiety and gut instinct.
Ann Shoket has always connected in a very real way to a generation of young women, from helping to launch CosmoGirl to becoming the youngest editor-in-chief of Seventeen. Now, she’s published a book for women growing into adulthood and searching for “The Big Life.”
Two decades ago, Becki Chernoff was living the so-called American Dream. She bought her own home at age 23, held a lucrative software job at Ford for 10 years… and was bored to death. So she packed up and moved to LA to work doing the two things she really loved: ceramics and “car hunting” (a profession we admittedly didn’t realize existed until now). She’s given up on the idea of having life figured out, and she couldn’t be happier.
Shira Lenchewski loves food so much, she never wants to make a choice between looking good and feeling good. That’s been her motivation to help others as a clinical nutritionist, whose practice has reached cult status in Los Angeles. (Yes, she writes for Goop.) Her goal: Teach people to enjoy the shit out of their food—and maybe watch their blood sugar along the way.
Aja Gabel has never loved anything as purely as she loves writing. When we sit down to discuss her debut novel, The Ensemble, our conversation quickly veers to the existential. Aja explains how she found her voice by learning to be comfortable alone—and that it’s ok to not live life according to a grand narrative.
Sister Mary Sean Hodges chose a lifetime of serving others when she was 17 years old. At the age of 60, she charted a new path of service, working with prison inmates to help them integrate back into society. She shares with us the things she’s learned along the way, including the universal need for balance and forgiveness.
According to Zen Buddhist Wendy Egyoku Nakao, life is not a straight line, or even a circle—it’s a spiral. In this fascinating conversation, we go deep about living in the present while recognizing past experiences, developing “spiritual muscles,” and the importance of choice.
When Michael Jackson came over to hug her father Soraya La Pread knew her situation was unique. Born and raised in New Zealand to a Persian mother and the bassist of The Commodores Soraya now lives in Los Angeles working as a music producer and DJ.
Sometimes the world just isn’t ready for you. Dancer and actress Reshma Gajjar learned that early on, when she struggled to book gigs because of her ethnicity. But eventually the universe caught up—after a transformative experience working with children in India, Reshma returned stronger than ever to forge a career that has included film, television and touring with Madonna.
Natalie Johns is an Emmy-nominated director who has devoted her life to sharing the stories of those without a voice. Her highly personal work has brought her profound understanding of the human experience—plus some compassion for herself along the way.