Alicia Estrada is clearly used to running the show: She's a fast talker with that direct, decisive manner common to people in charge. Which makes sense when you hear her story. The Stop Staring! founder-CEO grew up in hardscrabble Long Beach and dropped out of college before somehow transforming herself into one of the fashion world's biggest success stories. She did it on her own: Since she channeled her profits right back into the business, she didn't need investors. And from the way the company has grown, clearly, she didn't need a fancy degree.
Nor, it turns out, did she need New York.
"A lot of New Yorkers I've met think I'm a New Yorker," she confessed when I interviewed her for this issue (see her profile here). "But I've only been to New York three times." It may be the fashion capital of the United States, but who cares about that when your hometown has all you need?
"I love L.A.," she told me. "This is my everything. It's made me a great designer — it's always been a sexy place, and being around this melting pot of cultures ... I can't imagine ever leaving."
And for every person in this year's People issue who, like Estrada, was lucky enough to be born here, there's another who came here because he or she couldn't imagine a better place to be. Take Anna Greer and Tina Stormberg, 20-somethings from Omaha who, as detailed in Emma Courtland's profile, saved up their money, packed up a heap of vintage clothes and a giant unicorn head, and made their way to L.A., where they promptly opened one of the coolest (if most random) shops in the city. There aren't many world-class cities where a dream like that would be attainable, but here? It happens every day.
Every year the Weekly's People issue features some of L.A.'s most interesting people, but this year's profiles are particularly fascinating. From George Takei, who has become a social media guru in his 70s, to Frankie Eder, who's already an accomplished DJ at 13, you'll find 56 people in this issue who are doing what they love and loving the place that makes it all possible. Take a look at Kevin Scanlon's gorgeous photos, give the stories a leisurely Saturday morning read, and be inspired.