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.

Jade Luu | Natural Gardens Grower & Educator

I came to the U.S. with my family as refugees from Vietnam in 1975. We settled in the Bay Area, where I grew up from the age of 10 – went to high school and undergrad in San Jose – Silicon Valley. I was fortunate that I was brought up in a family of people who really understood the value and nature of Food. My aunt, my mother, and my uncle were restauranteurs in Vietnam, and we had a thriving restaurant business there. After we immigrated to the U.S., the adults all went to work in Silicon Valley’s factories, making computer chips and medical supplies. Read more>>

Carlos Asse | Film director & producer

I was born and raised in a beautiful place called Mexico City, surrounded by its art, culture, diversity, and obviously, its chaos. When I was 18 I lived in the Middle East for a year, and a few years after, before turning 21, I left Mexico again and moved to Los Angeles to pursue my career as a filmmaker. Growing up, I was a very active child. I spent most of my afternoons training gymnastics and getting ready for competitions and championships. Read more>>

Barbi Dorfan | Mosaic Artist

I was born and raised in South Africa. My children were born there too. It was a wonderful upbringing in a wonderful country . Sadly corruption and crime set in. Being victims in one-too-many incidents of crime gave us the impetus to move to the USA. I loved and continue to love the vibrant, casual, disorganized, cultural mesh that South Africa was when I was growing up. It certainly impacts my work as an artist – my work tends to be somewhat eclectic and funky. Read more>>