Around The Way Girl: Michelle Janayea

I just feel like a pixie goddess floating through life sometimes. No one believed Michelle when she told her friends and family back home in Providence, Rhode Island that she was going to pack her bags and move to a city she knew nothing of. She didn’t have any friends, she didn’t have any family, but she had the intuition that Chicago was going to be where dream as a fashion designer would begin. Five years later and a double bachelors degree in fashion design and fashion business from Colombia College, Michelle Janayea has made Chicago her home as well as her mark as the “Queer Black Pixie Goddess Fashion Activist.” Continue reading

Around The Way Girl: Joanna Hernandez

Follow your heart and take chances. I literally left to NYC with $1,000.00 in my pocket. I shoved everything I could in my car and drove here. Stayed in an Air B&B for two weeks. I had no plan, but a dream to start my career.Joanna or as most of my friends call me Jo or Jojo is the prime example of good things come to those who wait. The 26 year old Mexicana was born and raised in Chicago. She started her college education  at Northeastern University in Chicago. Eventually, she figured out what she wanted to do career wise and made her way and  obtained her degree in Journalism from Columbia College. A few months ago she packed her bags and moved to The Big Apple where she is now a TV Reporter for News 12 in Brooklyn.

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Around The Way Girl: Mary Brewer

Love yourself first and foremost. Fill yourself up with so much love that you can’t help but let it spill over to the world around you. Mary Brewer is 26 and from Chicago. She went to the University of Illinois at Chicago and studied Sociology with a focus on Gender and Women’s Studies.  She believes believes she will return to school soon for my doctorate in Gender and Women’s Studies, but JUST got out of school debt so may wait until someone finally has the good sense to make education a social welfare priority like many other thriving societies, or just go to Germany and get it for free. In the meantime, she packed her belongings and her dog and is traveling the United States by van.

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Around The Way Girl: DJ Rae Chardonnay

I like to make people dance. People are in a much better place when they’re dancing, they’re not thinking about much, except for dancing, which is perfect because sometimes we just need that release. Meet one of the baddest girlboss DJs in Chicago,  Westside’s finest: Rae Chardonnay. The 28-year-old Lawndale native has been providing the Chicago party scene with good vibes and energy for some time now, and continues to build her resume with her latest events Party Noire and AfroFuturistic Dance Party. Being a creative at heart, Rae knew her life path would involve music and community work from the moment she left University of South Florida and transferred to Columbia College where she received her degree in Art & Entertainment Media Management. That one decision helped set the stage for her blossoming career as a DJ.  Continue reading

Around The Way Girl: Lizette Garza

I realize I’m not going to change every single student, but if I just have that one, I know that this is what I should be doing. This is what makes my work so rewarding and powerful. Lizette Garza is a 6 year veteran with ElevArte Community Studio in Pilsen working as their Youth and Events Manager. Graduating from Columbia College with a BA in Music Business in 2012, Lizette hasn’t forgotten her roots and the community she came from. She truly is a great Youth Advocate while managing many of the events with ElevArte and keeping these kids involved within their community. Being a hip hop lover at heart, read the jump for all this Around The Way girl does for youth and the impact she has had on her students without noticing her power.

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