L.A. LADIES

L.A. LADIES

words + images by michelle bujan

MEREDITH

FULL NAME: Meredith Bridget Mahoney

Where were you born and raised?

Evergreen Park, Illinois.

What brought you out to L.A.?

A red 1999 Toyota Avalon.

Where do you reside and why?

I was living in this cute back house in Playa Del Rey, but just moved to Silverlake because it's closer to my writing partner and UCB where I perform.

What do you do for work?

I've sold a few screenplays and I write and star in a comedic YouTube series called Vinnie's Guest List. And just started on a new Netflix show that releases at the end of the year. Very exciting!

Is comedy your preferred genre?

Apparently. I've tried to write dramas, but levity usually takes over. Life is so awkward. I can't take it seriously for long.

What is an accomplishment you're proud of?

My niece, Reagan. That's right...I just took credit for someone else's baby.

What do you do for fun?

I perform sketch and improv at UCB with the rest of Vinnie's cast. Make macrame home things...or try to. Walk my cat, Piddles. But few things beat a Friday night in, eating a bucket of Yogurtland and watching Golden Girls.

MEREDITH

FULL NAME: Meredith Bridget Mahoney

Where were you born and raised?
Evergreen Park, Illinois
What brought you out to L.A.? A red 1999 Toyota Avalon.

Where do you reside and why?
I was living in this cute back house in Playa Del Rey, but just moved to Silverlake because it's closer to my writing partner and UCB where I perform.
What do you do for work?
I've sold a few screenplays and I write and star in a comedic YouTube series called Vinnie's Guest List. And just started on a new Netflix show that releases at the end of the year. Very exciting!




Is comedy your preferred genre?
Apparently. I've tried to write dramas, but levity usually takes over. Life is so awkward. I can't take it seriously for long.

What is an accomplishment you're proud of?
My niece, Reagan. That's right...I just took credit for someone else's baby.

What do you do for fun?
I perform sketch and improv at UCB with the rest of Vinnie's cast. Make macrame home things...or try to. Walk my cat, Piddles. But few things beat a Friday night in, eating a bucket of Yogurtland and watching Golden Girls.

KAT

FULL NAME: Katerina Rose Novak

Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Springfield, Massachusetts and my mom and I moved to Boston when I was four.
What brought you out to L.A.? My boyfriend, Joel, got an offer to be a marketing manager at thinkThin. So we came out for that.

Where do you reside and why?
I have a two-bedroom apartment in Palms with Joel. We like it because it’s right by the 10 and 405, not far from where we work, and it’s rent controlled!
What do you do for work?
I’m a receptionist at a cosmetic surgeon’s office in Beverly Hills...Dr. David W. Chang Jr. Chang’s boobs are the best!




What do you do for fun?
We’re pretty active on the weekends. We’ll walk the stairs at Baldwin Hills or ride bikes in Venice. We hiked Mt. Whitney last summer! Would definitely do that again. Hmm...I look forward to my mani every two weeks. Boozy brunches are good too. (laughs)

Where do you take visitors when they come to L.A.?
We’ll walk to Kogi Taqueria from my place...get some kimchi fries. The Hollywood Bowl if there’s a good show playing. Skull Rock Trail in the Palisades is one of my favorite hikes with an ocean view that I like to show off.

Whats an accomplishment you're most proud of?
I ran the L.A. Marathon this year. Finished despite killer shin splints. I wanted to die at mile 18, but am glad I pushed on!

SAM

FULL NAME: Samantha Summer Gorski

Where were you born and raised?
Born in Bakersfield. Then we moved to Santa Maria. High school around Sacramento...now here.
What brought you out to L.A.? The smog.

Where do you reside and why?
Kinda between spots. People suck.
What do you do for work?
Was working at this janky spa in K-town, but I haven't been in since Tuesday. They stopped calling. Finally.




What's next?
My friend just got her medical marijuana card through an app – with a video chat interview. Why are we not all weed doctors?

What is an accomplishment you're proud of?
One time I was riding on the bus and saw my arch nemesis from school at the gas station. I got off and screamed that she stole my sweater. So funny.

Did she?
I wouldn't be caught dead in that.

"Why are we not all weed doctors?"

GABRIELA

FULL NAME: Gabriela Iris Medina

Where were you born and raised?
Santa Ana, California.
Where do you reside in Los Angeles and why?
Highland Park. It's home, you know? I have my routine. Early walk and Iced Figueroa from Civil...the Morning Glory Bowl at Kitchen Mouse at least twice a week. My neighbor, Pete, and I always start the weekend with a mezcal mule at La Cuevita.

What do you do for work?
I'm a photographer and jewelry maker. I used to be a lawyer...in my past life. Can you believe that? A plaintiff's side civil litigation lawyer. I practiced personal injury, consumer protection, privacy law...I loved helping people and I was good at it! But my creative side was severely suppressed. Like...my personal life was full of vibrant colors and my professional life was always by the book as structured as my black pantsuit. But once I started law school, I didn’t want to let my family down. In retrospect, that sounds stupid...




Not at all...
So on the side I was actively pursuing photography, which I’ve always loved as a hobby. Now I make a living shooting for catalogues, look books, headshots, and selling prints from my personal collections...I travel for inspiration. Jewelry making is sort of a new endeavor. I have some pieces around the neighborhood in friends' shops and up on Etsy under Iris Soul.

What is an accomplishment you're most proud of?
Following my gut. I took a major leap of faith (and pay cut) by becoming a full time creative entrepreneur. Right now, that doesn't bother me. I feel like I'm truly living.

You mentioned traveling. Any upcoming trips?
Yes! In August I'm visiting my friend, Evelyn, in Miami and we'll drive down to the Keys. Maybe even hop to Cuba.

"I used to be
a lawyer
... in my past life."

LIZ IVES

FULL NAME: Melissa Elizabeth Jansen

Where were you born and raised?
Wichita, Kansas.
What brought you out to L.A?
I came out to L.A. six years ago to be an actress.

Where do you reside and why?
I share a house with three roommates in West Hollywood. I love the energy there! Everyone is friendly in WeHo and there are a lot of places to dance.
What do you do for work?
I'm an actress. A model. A make-up artist. And three nights a week I bartend at The Den.




Who is your favorite actress?
Marion Cotillard...in everything.

What is an accomplishment you're proud of?
I had a featured ad in a Tom Ford campaign last year. Oh, and I made out with Andrew Keegan in a music video!

What do you do for fun?
I foster dogs and love a good Pimm’s Cup.

ISABEL

FULL NAME: Isabel Haya Alman

Where were you born and raised?
Haifa, Israel.
What brought you out to L.A?
I was visiting a cousin who was in med school at UCLA and going through a hard time. A week turned into two, then four, then six. I kept extending my trip because the idea of leaving L.A. didn’t feel right. The city’s siren song put a spell on me. So I stayed.

Where do you reside and why?
My husband and I live downtown...in the condo we bought two years ago. I’ve been in L.A. since 2004 and it’s been crazy to witness the transformation of that area. It’s become the art, food, and cultural hub of the city. We take advantage of that.




What do you do for work?
I’m the founder and executive creative director of Crackerjack...not the popcorn snack. (laughs) Our company connects curious people looking to practice a skill with experts of that skill. There is no money exchanged and everything is based on a structured barter system. We’re starting a division for kids providing hands-on tutoring and skill building through educational software.

What is an accomplishment you're proud of?
I pride myself on being supportive of those around me. I’m genuinely interested in people – their perspectives, their stories, where they want to go in life. My friends and family know that they can share anything and it’ll fall on empathetic ears.

What do you do for fun?
I have a podcast where I read tarot cards for guests and we talk about tapping into intuition.

###

KAT

FULL NAME: Katerina Rose Novak

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Springfield, Massachusetts and my mom and I moved to Boston when I was four.

What brought you out to L.A.?

My boyfriend, Joel, got an offer to be a marketing manager at thinkThin. So we came out for that.

Where do you reside and why?

I have a two-bedroom apartment in Palms with Joel. We like it because it’s right by the 10 and 405, not far from where we work, and it’s rent controlled!

What do you do for work?

I’m a receptionist at a cosmetic surgeon’s office in Beverly Hills...Dr. David W. Chang Jr. Chang’s boobs are the best!

What do you do for fun?

We’re pretty active on the weekends. We’ll walk the stairs at Baldwin Hills or ride bikes in Venice. We hiked Mt. Whitney last summer! Would definitely do that again. Hmm...I look forward to my mani every two weeks. Boozy brunches are good too. (laughs)

Where do you take visitors when they come to L.A.?

We’ll walk to Kogi Taqueria from my place...get some kimchi fries. The Hollywood Bowl if there’s a good show playing. Skull Rock Trail in the Palisades is one of my favorite hikes with an ocean view that I like to show off.

What is an accomplishment you're proud of?

I ran the L.A. Marathon this year. Finished despite killer shin splints. I wanted to die at mile 18, but am glad I pushed on!

SAM

FULL NAME: Samantha Summer Gorski

Where were you born and raised?

Born in Bakersfield. Then we moved to Santa Maria. High school around Sacramento...now here.

What brought you out to L.A.?

The smog.

Where do you reside and why?

Kinda between spots. People suck.

What do you do for work?

Was working at this janky spa in K-town, but I haven't been in since Tuesday. They stopped calling. Finally.

What's next?

My friend just got her medical marijuana card through an app – with a video chat interview. Why are we not all weed doctors?

What is an accomplishment you're proud of?

One time I was riding on the bus and saw my arch nemesis from school at the gas station. I got off and screamed that she stole my sweater. So funny.

Did she?

I wouldn't be caught dead in that.
"Why are we not all weed doctors?"

“I used to be a lawyer
...in my past life.”

GABRIELA

FULL NAME: Gabriela Iris Medina

Where were you born and raised?

Santa Ana, California.

Where do you reside in Los Angeles and why?

Highland Park. It's home, you know? I have my routine. Early walk and Iced Figueroa from Civil...the Morning Glory Bowl at Kitchen Mouse at least twice a week. My neighbor, Pete, and I always start the weekend with a mezcal mule at La Cuevita.

What do you do for work?

I'm a photographer and jewelry maker. I used to be a lawyer...in my past life. Can you believe that? A plaintiff's side civil litigation lawyer. I practiced personal injury, consumer protection, privacy law...I loved helping people and I was good at it! But my creative side was severely suppressed. Like...my personal life was full of vibrant colors and my professional life was always by the book as structured as my black pantsuit. But once I started law school, I didn’t want to let my family down. In retrospect, that sounds stupid...

Not at all...

So on the side I was actively pursuing photography, which I’ve always loved as a hobby. Now I make a living shooting for catalogues, look books, headshots, and selling prints from my personal collections...I travel for inspiration. Jewelry making is sort of a new endeavor. I have some pieces around the neighborhood in friends' shops and up on Etsy under Iris Soul.

What is an accomplishment you're proud of?

Following my gut. I took a major leap of faith (and pay cut) by becoming a full time creative entrepreneur. Right now, that doesn't bother me. I feel like I'm truly living.

You mentioned traveling. Any upcoming trips?

Yes! In August I'm visiting my friend, Evelyn, in Miami and we'll drive down to the Keys. Maybe even hop to Cuba.

LIZ IVES

FULL NAME: Melissa Elizabeth Jansen

Where were you born and raised?

Wichita, Kansas.

What brought you out to L.A.?

I came out to L.A. six years ago to be an actress.

Where do you reside and why?

I share a house with three roommates in West Hollywood. I love the energy there! Everyone is friendly in WeHo and there are a lot of places to dance.

What do you do for work?

I'm an actress. A model. A make-up artist. And three nights a week I bartend at The Den.

Who is your favorite actress?

Marion Cotillard...in everything.

What is an accomplishment you're proud of?

I had a featured ad in a Tom Ford campaign last year. Oh, and I made out with Andrew Keegan in a music video!

What do you do for fun?

I foster dogs and love a good Pimm’s Cup.

ISABEL

FULL NAME: Isabel Haya Alman

Where were you born and raised?

Haifa, Israel.

What brought you out to L.A.?

I was visiting a cousin who was in med school at UCLA and going through a hard time. A week turned into two, then four, then six. I kept extending my trip because the idea of leaving L.A. didn’t feel right. The city’s siren song put a spell on me. So I stayed.

Where do you reside and why?

My husband and I live downtown...in the condo we bought two years ago. I’ve been in L.A. since 2004 and it’s been crazy to witness the transformation of that area. It’s become the art, food, and cultural hub of the city. We take advantage of that.

What do you do for work?

I’m the founder and executive creative director of Crackerjack...not the popcorn snack. (laughs) Our company connects curious people looking to practice a skill with experts of that skill. There is no money exchanged and everything is based on a structured barter system. We’re starting a division for kids providing hands-on tutoring and skill building through educational software.

What is an accomplishment you're proud of?

I pride myself on being supportive of those around me. I’m genuinely interested in people – their perspectives, their stories, where they want to go in life. My friends and family know that they can share anything and it’ll fall on empathetic ears.

What do you do for fun?

I have a podcast where I read tarot cards for guests and we talk about tapping into intuition.
###

MEREDITH

FULL NAME: Meredith Bridget Mahoney

Where were you born and raised?
Evergreen Park, Illinois.

What brought you out to L.A.?
A red 1999 Toyota Avalon.

Where do you reside and why?
I was living in this cute back house in Playa Del Rey, but just moved to Silverlake because it's closer to my writing partner and UCB where I perform.

What do you do for work?I've sold a few screenplays and I write and star in a comedic YouTube series called Vinnie's Guest List. And just started on a new Netflix show that releases at the end of the year. Very exciting!

Is comedy your preferred genre?Apparently. I've tried to write dramas, but levity usually takes over. Life is so awkward. I can't take it seriously for long.

What is an accomplishment you're proud of?
My niece, Reagan. That's right...I just took credit for someone else's baby.

KAT

FULL NAME: Katerina Rose Novak

Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Springfield, Massachusetts and my mom and I moved to Boston when I was four.

What brought you out to L.A.?
My boyfriend, Joel, got an offer to be a marketing manager at thinkThin. So we came out for that.

Where do you reside and why?
I have a two-bedroom apartment in Palms with Joel. We like it because it’s right by the 10 and 405, not far from where we work, and it’s rent controlled!

What do you do for work?I’m a receptionist at a cosmetic surgeon’s office in Beverly Hills...Dr. David W. Chang Jr. Chang’s boobs are the best!

What is an accomplishment you're proud of?I ran the L.A. Marathon this year. Finished despite killer shin splints. I wanted to die at mile 18, but am glad I pushed on!

What do you do for fun?
We’re pretty active on the weekends. We’ll walk the stairs at Baldwin Hills or ride bikes in Venice. We hiked Mt. Whitney last summer! Would definitely do that again. Hmm...I look forward to my mani every two weeks. Boozy brunches are good too. (laughs)

Where do you take visitors when they come to L.A.?
We’ll walk to Kogi Taqueria from my place...get some kimchi fries. The Hollywood Bowl if there’s a good show playing. Skull Rock Trail in the Palisades is one of my favorite hikes with an ocean view that I like to show off.

SAM

FULL NAME: Samantha Summer Gorski

Where were you born and raised?
Born in Bakersfield. Then we moved to Santa Maria. High school around Sacramento...now here.

What brought you out to L.A.?
The smog.

Where do you reside and why?
Kinda between spots. People suck.

What do you do for work?Was working at this janky spa in K-town, but I haven't been in since Tuesday. They stopped calling. Finally.

What's next?My friend just got her medical marijuana card through an app – with a video chat interview. Why are we not all weed doctors?

What is an accomplishment you're proud of?
One time I was riding on the bus and saw my arch nemesis from school at the gas station. I got off and screamed that she stole my sweater. So funny.

Did she?
I wouldn't be caught dead in that.

"Why are we not all 
weed doctors?"

GABRIELA

FULL NAME: Gabriela Iris Medina

Where were you born and raised?
Santa Ana, California.

Where do you reside in Los Angeles and why?
Highland Park. It's home, you know? I have my routine. Early walk and Iced Figueroa from Civil...the Morning Glory Bowl at Kitchen Mouse at least twice a week. My neighbor, Pete, and I always start the weekend with a mezcal mule at La Cuevita.

What do you do for work?
I'm a photographer and jewelry maker. I used to be a lawyer...in my past life. Can you believe that? A plaintiff's side civil litigation lawyer. I practiced personal injury, consumer protection, privacy law...I loved helping people and I was good at it! But my creative side was severely suppressed. Like...my personal life was full of vibrant colors and my professional life was always by the book as structured as my black pantsuit. But once I started law school, I didn’t want to let my family down. In retrospect, that sounds stupid...

Not at all...So on the side I was actively pursuing photography, which I’ve always loved as a hobby. Now I make a living shooting for catalogues, look books, headshots, and selling prints from my personal collections...I travel for inspiration. Jewelry making is sort of a new endeavor. I have some pieces around the neighborhood in friends' shops and up on Etsy under Iris Soul.

What is an accomplishment you're proud of?Following my gut. I took a major leap of faith (and pay cut) by becoming a full time creative entrepreneur. Right now, that doesn't bother me. I feel like I'm truly living.

You mentioned traveling. Any upcoming trips?
Yes! In August I'm visiting my friend, Evelyn, in Miami and we'll drive down to the Keys. Maybe even hop to Cuba.

“I used to be a lawyer

...in my past life.”

LIZ IVES

FULL NAME: Melissa Elizabeth Jansen

Where were you born and raised?
Wichita, Kansas.

What brought you out to L.A.?
I came out to L.A. six years ago to be an actress.

Where do you reside and why?
I share a house with three roommates in West Hollywood. I love the energy there! Everyone is friendly in WeHo and there are a lot of places to dance.

What do you do for work?I'm an actress. A model. A make-up artist. And three nights a week I bartend at The Den.

Who is your favorite actress?Marion Cotillard...in everything.

What is an accomplishment you're proud of?
I had a featured ad in a Tom Ford campaign last year. Oh, and I made out with Andrew Keegan in a music video!

What do you do for fun?
I foster dogs and love a good Pimm’s Cup.

ISABEL

FULL NAME: Isabel Haya Alman

Where were you born and raised?
Haifa, Israel.

What brought you out to L.A.?
I was visiting a cousin who was in med school at UCLA and going through a hard time. A week turned into two, then four, then six. I kept extending my trip because the idea of leaving L.A. didn’t feel right. The city’s siren song put a spell on me. So I stayed.

Where do you reside and why?
My husband and I live downtown...in the condo we bought two years ago. I’ve been in L.A. since 2004 and it’s been crazy to witness the transformation of that area. It’s become the art, food, and cultural hub of the city. We take advantage of that.

What do you do for work?I’m the founder and executive creative director of Crackerjack...not the popcorn snack. (laughs) Our company connects curious people looking to practice a skill with experts of that skill. There is no money exchanged and everything is based on a structured barter system. We’re starting a division for kids providing hands-on tutoring and skill building through educational software.

What is an accomplishment you're proud of?I pride myself on being supportive of those around me. I’m genuinely interested in people – their perspectives, their stories, where they want to go in life. My friends and family know that they can share anything and it’ll fall on empathetic ears.
What do you do for fun?
I have a podcast where I read tarot cards for guests and we talk about tapping into intuition.

###
* These characters are fictitious. Anyone resembling them just lives in L.A.
Copyright 2017 - Words & Images by Michelle Bujan