In Los Angeles County, free spirits and creatives alike flock to the vibrant streets of West Hollywood for a reason. Whether it’s the dynamic cuisine, rich music history, or the latest trends in design and fashion, WeHo and its diverse residents are a bedrock of innovation. To highlight these distinct voices, Visit West Hollywood has launched a new video series spotlighting six locals from different fields. Below you’ll find a snapshot of each of the six creatives; to get a more complete picture of each and what West Hollywood means to them, click on their names to watch a compelling self-narrated video.
The Chef: Raphael Francois of Tesse and Fanny’s
West Hollywood attracts people from all walks of life and inspires them to flex their creative muscles. For Chef Raphael Francois, the city’s vibrancy proved the perfect launchpad for his culinary stylings. “The dining scene in West Hollywood is booming,” says Francois. “We are happy to be in the middle of that popping movement.” The world traveler is part of a new school of chefs and restaurateurs shaping the area’s ever-evolving food landscape, including Merois, Night + Market, and Francois’ French-inspired Tesse.
West Hollywood is not without its iconic eateries though. Dining institutions like Dan Tana’s, Formosa Cafe, and Sunset Tower Hotel are still going strong with loyal customers spanning multiple generations. Francois pays homage to WeHo’s storied past with his newest restaurant Fanny’s, located at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Most mornings, you can spot him biking through the neighborhood.
The DJ Poet: Mia Moretti
Mia Moretti is not your typical DJ. On top of hunting down obscure B-sides and curating just the right vibe for the room, the Hollywood Hills resident is also a poet who most recently published the collection Low Touch Economy. Moretti started her music career DJing at spots like The Standard Hollywood. “West Hollywood is the city that welcomes everybody,” she says, “and it welcomes everybody for their uniqueness.” Moretti’s very own unique brand of cool has led to collaborations with luxury brands like Dior, Louis Vuitton, and L.A. Eyeworks.
As Moretti can attest, WeHo’s world-class nightlife scene is not to be missed. The Roof at The West Hollywood Edition and the aptly named E.P & L.P showcase dazzling views of the city for the perfect group outing. Legendary LGBTQIA+ bars The Abbey and Micky’s are also a must-stop for those looking for handcrafted cocktails, top-notch drag performances, and epic tunes.
The Tastemaker: Mary Ta of Minotti and MASS Beverly
Mary Ta is in the business of inspiration. She is the woman behind two of the world’s most influential design showrooms, Minotti and MASS Beverly. “We wanted to introduce Los Angeles to Italian design, and we chose West Hollywood because we wanted to be in a community,” says Ta. Covering the southwestern portion of the city, the West Hollywood Design District (WHDD) is a trendsetter’s dream come true. Drift into upscale restaurants, famous bars, and more than 200 swanky storefronts.
Looking for some stylish visuals to help get you started on your next design project? Do as Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and Calvin Klein do and drop by the showrooms to “feel inspired, learn, and just kind of hang out and read magazines,” says Ta. On an average day, you can catch her cruising down Beverly in her vintage Bentley, soaking up inspiration from around the city.
The Heavy Hitter: Kirk Myers of DOGPOUND
After overcoming obesity at the age of 21, Kirk Myers quickly found his purpose in helping others accomplish their own fitness goals. His infectious energy, positivity, and undeniable results have gained the attention of X-Men star Hugh Jackman, Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine, and supermodel Christy Turlington. Since 2016, the gym/lifestyle brand has evolved into a growing community, where Myers, his team, and fellow gym members can be their true selves.
In fact, West Hollywood’s famously accepting reputation played a big part in what attracted Myers to the area. “[In West Hollywood], you can walk down the street and wear whatever you want, be who you want to be. And people will high-five you for it. For being yourself and standing out.” Learn to train like the Wolverine himself with a personal workout session at the DOGOUND’s WHDD location. Afterward, take a short stroll to Gracias Madre for outstanding vegan Mexican fare.
The Designer: Adair Curtis of JSN Studio
The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in West Hollywood, and former New Yorker Adair Curtis wouldn’t have it any other way. “I’m really inspired by the small-business owners who have a dream,” says the interior designer. “They have a passion, and they follow that passion, and it brings them to a place like West Hollywood.”
Curtis and his husband Jason Bolden are the creative directors and cofounders behind JSN Studio, a multidisciplinary design studio in the heart of Los Angeles. He finds that, like his hometown of New York City, West Hollywood contains a similar electric energy and offers endless creativity. “West Hollywood is steeped in design. And I’m able to find inspiration around every corner, in every nook and cranny,” he shares. Tour the first-ever modern home at The Schindler House or head to celebrity haunt Chateau Marmont, designed in the French Gothic style.
The Musician: Tommy Black of The Viper Room
Like the many rock stars before him, it’s not hard to imagine why Tommy Black found solace in the tattooed arms of The Sunset Strip. As he describes it, “On The Sunset Strip, there’s a soul, there’s a vibe here that’s palpable, and it’s in everything. The Whisky, The Roxy, The Rainbow… there’s history here. It’s a special place.” Just 1.5 miles long, The Sunset Strip has been an entertainment hub since Prohibition.
Over the years, the strip has seen gangsters, movie stars, reclusive billionaires, and metal heads flock to its neon-lit streets. The Comedy Store has launched the careers of comedians like Jim Carrey, Howie Mandel, David Letterman, and countless others. Black, a longtime musician, moved to West Hollywood during what he dubs “the musical Gold Rush” era of the 1980s, along with the likes of of Mötley Crüe and Guns n’ Roses. This year, he celebrated 20 years as the general manager of The Viper Room, whose stage he has graced many times before. “It’s a little room with a really big name,” said Black. That little room remains legendary and continues to be a launching pad for up-and-coming musicians from every genre.