Each month, The Hoboken Girl highlights locals in our area who inspire us and our greater community. From artists to entrepreneurs, singers to photographers, our area is made of a blend of talented individuals who are making their mark in their respective fields and contributing to our local communities. Read on for the 10 people to watch in the Hoboken + Jersey City area for November 2023.
Marissa Herrmann | Founder of Move House
Marissa Herrmann is a Hoboken resident, professional dancer, and fitness instructor. With over five years of experience teaching fitness in local studios across Hoboken and Montclair, Marissa’s passion for movement and well-being led her to pursue her dream of establishing her own fitness business.
In September, Marissa unveiled her brainchild, Move House: a fitness brand focused on low-impact, high-energy, total-body workouts. Currently, Move House operates on a pop-up basis with two locations in Hoboken at 7th + 1st Streets. Through Move House, her passion for fitness is fueled by the dedication that her clients bring. Marissa told HG, “They show up and are always ready to move. It motivates me to find new, creative ways to challenge them while leaving them feeling accomplished and confident.” Marissa’s goal is for clients to “walk out of [her] class feeling stronger and more confident than when they showed up.”
Tarik Mendes | Artist + Podcast Host of Tarik Talks
Tarik Mendes, an artist and the host of the Tarik Talks podcast is a creative individual residing and thriving in the Powerhouse Arts District of Jersey City. His artistic endeavors are not just limited to his studio; Tarik’s passion extends to his podcast, which is a dedicated exploration of the art world.
In his own words, Tarik draws inspiration from the “magic of art and its way of connecting us all.” His goals are deeply rooted in the Jersey City community. Tarik aspires to cast a spotlight on the talent that resides there, celebrating and fostering the art scene within the area.
Dylan Marino | Director of Social Media + Influence at Loverboy
Dylan Marino is a Hoboken resident who works in social media and influencer marketing. As the Director of Social Media + Influence at Loverboy, a sparkling hard tea and canned cocktail brand. Dylan plays a crucial role in bringing Loverboy’s vision to life.
With her work with Loverboy, Dylan hopes to “bring good times and a healthy alternative to sugary alcohols as a commitment to a better way of enjoying life.”
Beyond Loverboy, Dylan uses her creativity through her work as a freelance writer for Byrdie, an online publication that brings beauty tips, product reviews, and makeup trends. When asked about her inspiration in her line of work, Dylan shared, “I love bringing a brand’s vision to life and helping capture an audience with creative and enticing content.”
Business owners Dylan looks up to: “My best friend, Alex Delaney, owner of Digitals By Delaney! And of course, the lovely ladies of The Hive.”
Leon Haber | High School Student + Aspiring Pilot
Leon Haber is an ordinary 15-year-old high school student by day and a pilot by night. Earlier this year, Leon was featured on NBC for his work on a multifaceted aviation program at Hoboken High School. He had dreams of being a fighter pilot for the Air Force and was attending a military boarding school when he received a scoliosis diagnosis that not only required emergency surgery but that he returned home to Hoboken, for good.
As NBC puts it, Leon “turned an obstacle into an opportunity.” Within weeks of returning home, Leon worked with school faculty to help build an aviation program — one of only a few in the country — with an in-school lab that has five plane simulators.
Leon shared with HG: “Being a pilot, overcoming obstacles, and sharing the dream are what inspire me the most.” He is fueled by the desire to conquer challenges and spread his passion for flight to others.
Despite the challenges, Leon is hopeful for his future. He wants to get a private pilot’s license before the age of 18. His ultimate goal is to establish his own private jet company and see the world from his favorite point of view, the cockpit.
Business owners Leon looks up to: “My mom, Lauren Ben-Meir of Attain Medspa.”
Learn more about Leon and his journey here.
Bebê Royale | Founder of Intentional Blends
With over a decade of experience as a perfumer in the fragrance industry, Bebê Royale is familiar with and has a passion for all things scent-related. Born into a family of master perfumers, Bebê’s career path was basically predestined. She has shared her work with different fragrance houses in which she used essential oils and natural aromatic molecules.
Recently, Bebê took a sabbatical, embarking on a life-changing path. During this time, Bebê had the idea to start a business of her own — and Intentional Blends was the result.
The mission of Intentional Blends is to empower individuals eager to explore the world of essential oils and instruct them in the art of effective, safe usage. As she works independently in her own business endeavor, Bebê says, “I enjoy being able to be creative and collaborate in a way that feels authentic to me. It’s never too late to try something new. After 20 years of working in corporate, I’m changing the narrative and doing what feels right for me.”
Local business owners Bebê looks up to: “The owners of The Hair Room create a very welcoming and inclusive environment.”
Karla De Epstein | Founder of MacroFit by PeruvianPrincessFit
Karla De Epstein has a passion for fitness and her mission is to transform lives through her approach to nutrition coaching. Founder of MacroFit by PeruvianPrincessFit, Karla’s journey is as inspiring as her work. In 2021, she launched her own nutrition coaching program, the “MacroFIT by PeruvianPrincessFit,” to help people discover a sustainable way of living and care for their bodies. Her goal was clear: “to transform lives through good nutrition and activity habits, making weight loss, lean mass gains, and body recomposition achievable through tracking macros.”
In the future, she hopes to continue growing her team by adding more coaches and ultimately touching more people’s lives. Her program is for everyone, no matter their previous knowledge or experience. In her own words, Karla says “I want people to know that we hold their hand and teach them everything they need to know!”
Danielle Koppenaal + Bevin O’Brien | Hosts of Cancer Chats Podcast
Bevin O’Brien, a special education teacher residing in Hoboken, and her co-host, Danielle Koppenaal, a longtime resident of Hoboken now living in Jersey City, created a podcast called Cancer Chats. Their endeavor started when Danielle was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer.
With chemotherapy treatment underway and surgery hopefully in the future, Danni began researching her diagnosis. To her surprise, she learned that she wasn’t alone in her struggle: colon cancer diagnoses are increasing among young people in their 20s and 30s. Danni and Bevin wanted to fill the void of this virtually nonexistent conversation and be a guiding voice for a generation.
In their podcast, Bevin and Danielle openly discuss a life touched by cancer, offering updates on Danielle’s story while also featuring guests from different walks of life affected by the illness, including survivors, romantic partners, friends, and family members. Their goal is to create a deep conversation while maintaining a sense of humor. The duo wants to “inspire people to keep living, to keep laughing, and to keep fighting no matter what.”As a long-term goal, they hope Cancer Chats will help “spread awareness of cancer in young people.”
Jamie Pomeranz a.k.a “Devils May Care” | Artist
Hoboken resident Jamie Pomeranz is a multifaceted artist who has journeyed through different artistic mediums. Operating under the name “Devils May Care” since 2007, Jamie has continually pushed the limits between commercial, fine, and functional art. Her artistic evolution began in photography and graphic design, which pushed her onto the fashion scene with a line of hand-screened T-shirts and limited-edition belt buckles. These creations quickly gained recognition, landing her work on celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, television shows like American Idol, and endorsed by publications like New York Magazine.
In 2018, Jamie went on a new creative adventure, exploring the world of fluid art and capturing her progress on social media. Jamie grew popular for her unconventional technique of painting roses using alcohol ink and a hair dryer — and since then, her work has garnered over 100,000 followers across various social media platforms. Her creations can now be found on online retailers such as Target, Nordstrom Rack, Zulily, Overstock, and others.
When asked about her inspiration in her line of work and what she hopes to inspire in others, Jamie responded, “One of my absolute favorite things to see on social media is someone who has been artistically inspired to try something new by one of my posts or pieces.”
Business owners Jamie looks up to: “I’m so proud of Samantha Green and Olivia LaCaruba for all they have built at The Drip. They began doing virtual fitness classes during the pandemic when the studios were closed and not only kept us in shape but helped us stay connected to our fit family during a time when we needed community and endorphins most. When the world opened up, they began with 6 bikes and pop-up locations. Now they have 3 floors of a building, tons of classes, and a cult following. I can’t gush about them enough.”
Nico Esposito | High School Student + Sports Photographer
Nico Esposito is a passionate high school student and sports photographer from Hoboken. He’s a junior at Hoboken High School and a member of the varsity basketball team. Nico has an intimate connection to the local sports scene, which he expresses through his love for photography.
He tells HG, “I enjoy watching all types of sports and capturing athletes in action by taking photographs.” Nico’s growing business is impressive in its own right, but for the young professional, monumentalizing local athletes is truly a passion project. In the future, you might catch Nico at a football stadium or basketball arena: his goal is to be a photographer for a professional sports team.
Learn more about Nico and his photography here.
See More: 7 New Jersey Locals to Watch in October
Yahaira Urena | Founder of Figgy’s Ma + Paws
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Yahaira Urena and her husband Michael Figueroa are the minds behind Figgy’s Ma + Paws, a dog daycare service. Yahaira embarked on an entrepreneurial journey with her children at the forefront of her vision. At the age of 15, facing homelessness and postpartum depression, she took on the role of a single parent. Despite the constraints of her working papers, Yahaira Urena worked two jobs, determined to give her daughter the best possible life.
Having experienced the harsh realities of the foster care system, she resolved to reshape her destiny. Yahaira Urena made a comeback, transforming her life, and initiated a new venture not only for her sake but to demonstrate to her children that “no matter where you came from or what you have been through — you choose your path.” Today, she is raising four children, supported by her partner.
Yahaira draws her inspiration from her love for animals, which led her to spend two years working as a dog groomer. Her profound happiness in this role kindled the motivation to start Figgy’s Ma + Paws. She says, “I found such happiness in what I did and that motivated me to open up our very own business, it was almost therapeutic for me.” With Figgy’s Ma + Paws, she seeks to inspire and make a difference. Her goal is to help “eliminate separation anxiety and the feeling of loneliness that pets experience when their owners are away.”
Learn more about Yahaira and her work Figgy’s Ma + Paws here.