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.

Michelle Carney and Blaire Crowl | Gluten-Free Food Bloggers

We are both born and raised in Houston! We both have families that LOVE to cook and eat! Our families love of cooking influenced our food journey. Exploring restaurants, recipes, and our dietary sensitivities inspired us to create a gluten-free Instagram account to share with others. We have also always loved the diversity of the Houston food scene. Houston offers a variety of food options from restaurants to specialty items at grocery stores. We are lucky to live in such an amazing city with so many restaurants that cater to dietary restrictions! Looking forward to what opportunities lie ahead!. Read more>>

Lily Wachuku | Teenage Girls’ Empowerment Creator and Motivational Speaker

I am from a family full of very diverse interests and a mindset for self-improvement and world betterment. This has definitely impacted me since the very beginning of my life! I have been raised to believe in myself, to strive for the best in all that I do, and to use my gifts and talents to positively impact the world. Because of this background and encouragement from my family, I truly believed that I could make a positive change in the world if I tried. So, I started my Girls’ Empowerment Organization “Live Life The Girl Way” (, to empower and encourage girls globally to achieve all of their goals and dreams, to be confident in themselves and their abilities, and to never limit their positive opportunities in life. Since then I have just been learning and growing as a teenager with my organization!. Read more>>

Mondo Malone | Hip-Hop Artist & Radio Personality Co-Host

Originally, born in Detroit, Michigan but I was raised in Clayton County, Georgia (Southside of Atlanta, GA). My parents had to move myself, including my older brother and sister down to Georgia. It was too dangerous to live in Detroit. I had to get accustom to southern comfort and southern hospitality. The biggest problem I went through my life was people being judgmental. The reason why I say that is because people always doubted me without giving me a chance. People are quick to judge me rather than realizing who I was as a genuine person. With that much impact, I had to prove people wrong by using my talents that were giving to me ever since I was born. I told myself, that I have to move in silence and be more observant of my surroundings. Read more>>