Breakout Stars

The Austinites you should know right now— we invade downtown with our predictions for who will shape the future of our city.


Mia Carameros


She draws, paints, writes in beautiful calligraphy and is an accomplished designer in her own right. We are wondering if there is anything in the art world this girl can’t do. Last month, she became a featured artist on Buddy Editions, and we all swooned over her collaborative show with photographer Kate LeSueur during E.A.S.T. The exciting thing is that she is just getting started—“I feel like my career is just beginning and before this, I was a student,” she says. “I’m still learning about myself creatively.”

  • What do you love most about Austin?
  • The people. I absolutely adore them.
  • What has been the best moment of your career so far?
  • All of it. It’s been a whirlwind of highs and lows, but I’m just so grateful for all of it—even the tiny victories and the major losses.
  • What do most people not know about you?
  • I’m half Hispanic and am fluent in Spanish. Olé!
  • What’s next for 2015?
  • Grad school is in the near future, but I’ve been dreaming of designing wallpaper and textiles for the home.

For more information, visit

Dress by ALC, $420, Jacket by Rag & Bone, $350, both available at By George; Necklace by Tiro Tiro, $135, available at Olive; Shoes, Mia’s own.


Crystal + Justin Esquivel

You can usually find this cute couple buzzing around Austin on their scooters. Crystal is the “Chief of Stuff” for Indie Chefs Week and for Foreign & Domestic. Her husband, Justin (art director/designer) has branded some of our favorite local businesses (East Side King, Juiceland, Uchi, and more).

  • What do you love most about austin?
  • Crystal: I love that it’s relaxed, and creative, and accepting, and full of good margaritas.
  • Justin: I’m always amazed at the bravery of Austinites. I’m constantly meeting passionate, smart people diving head-first into business ideas and collaborations. Austin’s culture has inspired me to be brave.
  • What has been the best moment of your career so far?
  • Crystal: Wrangling and hanging out with chefs from all over North America with Indie Chefs Week is pretty rockin’.
  • Justin: Every day that I’m able to be creative and independent is pretty amazing. I’d like to do this forever.
  • What do most people not know about you?
  • Crystal: I’ve written two books! Also, I think popcorn is the devil.
  • Justin: I play basketball most days of the week and have a better than average jump shot.
  • What’s in store for 2015?
  • Crystal: I’ll be planning three Indie Chefs Week events in three cities, copy editing another book, collaborating with friends on a new business idea and growing out my hair.
  • Justin: We just moved into a new studio space and I’m excited to collaborate with the crazy-talented people around me.

For more information on Crystal & Justin, visit and

On Crystal: Skirt by Hache, available at Kick Pleat, $587; Top by Alexander Wang, $695, Jacket by Veda, $850, Shoes by Rag & Bone, $525, all available at By George.

On Justin: Shirt by Dues Ex Machina, $125 Jacket by Shades of Grey, $250, Pants by Branded, $88, Shoes by Cole Haan, $228; all available at Service Menswear.


Evan Loomis


A native Austinite, Evan Loomis has done everything from working on Wall Street as an investment banker to alongside former President George H.W. Bush. He helped launch TreeHouse, a smart home improvement store, in Austin, authored a book published by Harvard on startup fundraising called Backed and his newest venture, StartupRunner Capital, targets working with early-stage ventures.

  • What do you love most about austin?
  • Austin sits at a very interesting intersection of ideas between UT, our State Capitol, technology, and an amazing startup culture. It has the best of Silicon Valley, Washington D.C., and Boston all in one place.
  • What has been the best moment of your career so far?
  • Honestly, I think my “best” moments are yet to come. I’ve learned a ton, made some epic mistakes, and have loved every minute of starting and growing new business ventures like TreeHouse and StartupRunner.
  • What’s in store for 2015?
  • Austin is at an interesting crossroads. We are growing like crazy, new businesses are popping up all over, our infrastructure is stressed out, and we are making decisions now that we will have to live with for the next 50+ years. One of the limits to our growth is our funding ecosystem. It’s nascent compared to other comparable cities. This is one of the reasons why I am so passionate about the emergence of ATX Seed Ventures, Harbach Ventures, Silverton Partners, and Tech Stars City Fund becoming successful. My fund, StartupRunner Capital, is targeting early-stage ventures founded by heroic teams, proven traction, and repeatable business models. We believe startups need more than investment and advice to succeed.

For more information, visit

Pants by Golden Goose Deluxe Brand, $475, Shirt by Rag & Bone, $275, Tie by Dries Van Noten, Suit by Golden Goose Deluxe Brand, $875, Shoes by Lanvin, $495, all available at By George.


Cristina Tzintzún


When Cristina Tzintzún started out as a volunteer at Workers Defense Project at 21, she thought she would help out for two months...ten years later, she has helped lead their efforts to empower low-income workers to achieve fair employment through education, direct services, organizing and strategic partnerships in three Texas cities.

  • What do you love most about Austin?
  • I love exploring all the great places to bike and swim. And 300 sunny days a year!
  • What has been the best moment of your career so far?
  • Helping win a federal investigation into Texas’ deadly working conditions, that, and getting to be interviewed by Alec Baldwin about how Workers Defense Project is making a difference in the lives of thousands of hardworking people. The New York Times naming us “one of the most creative organizations for immigrant workers in the country.”
  • What do most people not know about you?
  • I love Punk music and used to be the lead signer in a Feminist Punk Band called La Fuerza.
  • What’s next for 2015?
  • Texas is going through a lot of changes. I hope next year will be an opportunity to win more for working families in our state’s major cities, even in a tough political climate. Next year will also be filled with big personal changes like starting a family.

For more information, visit

Dress by ALC, $530, Shoes by Loeffler Randall, $350, both available at Valentine’s Too.


Ross McLauchlan


After working in the wine business in the Texas Hill Country, California and abroad, Ross McLachlan, at age 25, started The Austin Winery, a boutique, urban winery that handcrafts small-lot wines from Texas, California, Washington and Oregon. “My Italian roots (my mother’s maiden name is Calamari and my older brother lives in Milan) helped me gain an early exposure to wine and led to my passion for wine and soccer,” he says.

  • What do you love most about Austin?
  • Austin is the Barcelona of Texas: Culturally unique, beautiful, and casual (and dog-friendly).
  • What has been the best moment of your career so far?
  • Opening The Austin Winery (Austin’s first urban winery) at 25.
  • What’s next for 2015?
  • Introducing urban winemaking to Austin and developing an eco-friendly wine bottle solution for our city’s massive events. Playing as much soccer and making as much good wine as humanly possible.

For more information, visit

Cardigan by dries Van Noten, $655, Shirt by Save Khaki United, $66, Pants by Officine Generale, $330, Shoes by common Projects, $506, all available at By George.


Nikki Johnson


After college, Nikki Johnson went on what she calls a career downward spiral, so she quit the job she loathed and started a radio show on millennial finance called “Young Money Today”. “It really was the start of everything. I got to interview local business owners, finance authors, young entrepreneurs, and App developers. I created financial content for a generation that really needed it,” she says. Inspired by the bootstrapping, resourceful bunch she interviewed, she started her own blog and landed a gig as a content creator for, one of the most popular natural hair blog/platforms in the country.

  • What do you love most about Austin?
  • The city is beautiful—the trails, the fests, the people, the food. But what I love most about Austin is that it’s a city that hasn’t stopped improving. Where some cities see they have an affordability or diversity problem and move on, Austin has really stepped up by working with companies and community organizations to not just have conversations about these issues, but to put plans into action making the city a place where everyone can take part and enjoy.
  • What has been the best moment of your career so far?
  • I have to say just being able to do what I love is the best thing. So many people my age can’t say that. I’m grateful. And of course, being able to meet new people and connect with other bloggers and inspire young women to go after it.
  • What’s next for 2015?
  • I’m super excited about becoming a Big Sister with the Big Brother Big Sister organization. I was a Little for over 10 years, and I know the impact a sister can have in a young girl’s life. It’s so important to have a good role model and teach girls to become smart and strong women. I hope that I am able to do that with my Little.

For more information on Nikki, visit

Top by clover canyon, $262, Pants by Vince, $1175, Shoes by Hudson, $315, all available at By George




Native Austinite with Ethopian roots Mélat is getting buzz from the likes of Fader magazine and and being compared to Solange Knowles and Alicia Keys along the way. Her eclectic, soulful sound is sure to make waves in the R&B world and beyond.

  • What do you love most about Austin?
  • I love that you have the freedom to be as eclectic (or not eclectic) as you want and still be accepted. It’s so different from most urban areas in that Austin maintains this homey feel despite the hundreds of people moving in and out of the city each day. Plus, our winters only last a few months!
  • What has been the best moment of your career so far?
  • The moment that still gives me chills is when I played at one of my dream venues, Stubb’s.
  • What do most people not know about you?
  • From the eighth grade through my senior year of high school, I was on a bowling league and participated in a handful of tournaments across Texas. I received scholarship money for bowling, so that was pretty amazing.
  • What’s next for 2015?
  • I’ve got some projects with some great people in the works and am really looking forward to doing bigger and better live shows. All in all I want to continue to bring attention to myself and my hometown and the flavors of music that come with it.

For more information on Mélat, visit

Shirt by Jonathan Simkhai, $195, Skirt by Tibi, $998, Shoes by Rag & Bone, $550, all available at By George.


Christa Palazzolo & Timothy Willis Sanders

Christa Palazzolo has been multi-talented from the start. Growing up, she was a ballerina who played competitive soccer. As a studio art major at UT, she pursued art and music (while even working some construction on the side). A member of MASS Gallery and in the bands Veil Divide and Boy Friend, she met her perfect creative counterpart in her boyfriend, writer Timothy Willis Sanders, who published his first novel, Matt Meets Vik, this year.

  • What do you love most about austin?
  • Christa: The community here and breakfast tacos
  • Timothy: Food and art!
  • What has been the best moment of your career so far?
  • Christa: Touring in Europe and having Cathy Horyn buy my artwork
  • Timothy: Getting my novel published has to be the highlight.
  • What’s next for 2015?
  • Christa: Creating more art and music!
  • Timothy: Starting a new book. Traveling somewhere with a beach.

For more information, visit and

On Timothy: Shirt by Naked & Famous, $160, Pants by Shades of Grey, $125, both available at Service; Jacket by Officine Generale, $498, available at By George; Shoes and Hat, Timothy’s own.

On Christa: Top by Ali Ro, $189, available at Julian Gold; Necklace by Hey Murphy, $45, Kimono by Hackwith x Olive, $185, both available at Olive; Pants by Mother Denim, $198, available at Valentine’s Too.


Deepa Shridhar


After cooking in restaurants including Dai Due and Lenoir, Deepa Shridhar is out on her own with Anjore, part supper club and part farmers’ market, she hosts dinners at unexpected locations every two months, teaches butchery, yogurt and spice classes and sells her delicious offerings at farmers’ markets (you have to try her ghee and hot chai). “I learned everything I know cooking in restaurants,” she says “I never went to culinary school so it was important for me to pick things up quickly, read a lot, and practice new techniques as much as I could.”

  • What do you love most about Austin?
  • It’s an ever-changing landscape; people welcome new ideas and new businesses.
  • What has been the best moment of your career so far?
  • Getting “regulars” at our farmers’ market stand. That never gets old, as I love seeing familiar faces every week. It means we’re doing something right!
  • What’s next for 2015?
  • We’re excited about getting into more markets, retailing some more products and having bigger events. I also want a grill—a big grill.

For more information, visit

Skirt by Tibi, $550, Top by ALc, $400, Shoes by Loeffler randall, $350, all available at Valentine’s Too.


Matt Randall


After Matt Randall and his wife Amanda Huras moved to Austin from NYC five years ago, Randall decided he needed to live in Austin for a few years before he would know what the city needed. Then, the idea for Pop Austin, a contemporary art show, came to him. “Any company I have started in the past has come out of pure frustration on how something is currently done, and seeing an opportunity in an industry that needs change,” he says.

  • What do you love most about Austin?
  • How people are genuinely interested to assist in any way possible. The accessibility and collaboration amongst business owners is not only unique to Austin, but it is infectious once you live here. I am originally from Dallas so to get back to southern hospitality was much needed.
  • What has been the best moment of your career so far?
  • They say the smartest business decision you will ever make is the person you marry...Amanda has been incredibly supportive in following my dreams and goals.
  • What’s next for 2015?
  • Growing Pop Austin to a nationally recognized brand, and hoping to highlight visual artists in a more unique way is my focus. My guess is a number of other projects will materialize in time, but I along with the Pop Austin team, look forward to working with the other visual arts organizations in Austin to help build a more flourishing visual arts market. And, not to forget to have some fun along the way!

For more information, visit

Jacket by Rag & Bone, $1295, Shirt by Golden Goose Deluxe Brand, $332, all available at By George; Pants and Shoes, Matt’s own.


Francesca Mari


Francesca Mari arrived in Austin for her job at Texas Monthly from Brooklyn where she worked as a literary assistant at The New Republic and as an editor at The New York Review of Books. We officially became one of her fans after reading her fascinating long-form piece “The Click Clique” from the September issue of Texas Monthly. We can’t wait to see what she writes about next.

  • What do you love most about Austin?
  • The folks at Texas Monthly. And, because I used to live in Brooklyn, having a washer and dryer.
  • What has been the best moment of your career so far?
  • Receiving a thoughtful piece of jail mail, and getting the next feature assignment.
  • What do most people not know about you?
  • I do not speak Italian.
  • What’s next for 2015?
  • Writing a true crime story, receiving rejection letters from journalism grants, destitution, and cat adoption.

For more information on Francesca, visit

Dress by Acne, $450, Jacket by Avalon, $457, both available at Kick Pleat; Booties by Loeffler Randall, $450, available at Valentine’s Too.


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