After moving from downtown Los Angeles to Inglewood suburbs during her early teenage years, Leslie Martinez’s world shifted and she looked to the arts to express herself.
From an early age, Martinez described herself as overwhelmingly left-brained which she used in her illustrations and writing, which soon translated to journalism. Martinez, 17, discovered a love for journalism through Vice News, where she was fascinated by their coverage of cultural perspectives and World News.
“Now that I’m looking back, she’s always been the type to write small letters for people, and she’s always expressed how she’s felt through writing and art,” said Michelle Antino, Martinez’s close childhood friend.
Her art and perseverance have even sparked notes of entrepreneurship among her and her close friend Christopher Ekong. The two are working on a company called Honor roll which will feature signature Leslie illustrations on T-shirts, skateboard decks and stickers.
Martinez’s love for art and her desire to learn new things has resulted in endless doodling, illustrations, photography, and eventually, writing.
“At first she would draw and do little comics,” Ekong said. “And that turned into songwriting and poems. And that turned into journalism.”
Since then, Martinez has been trying her best to explore journalism in depth and enjoys having a platform where she can use her voice to tell stories that matter. At first, she said it was difficult for her to talk to people, but journalism is what forced her to step outside those comfort zones and become more social.
I like having a platform where you can share other people’s stories,” Martinez said.
As for her future in journalism, Martinez hopes she is able to grow more confident in her work to the point where she can pursue the field seriously.
Both Antino and Ekong believe that Martinez’s hard work and perseverance will take her great places in life, no matter which field or career.
“She has gotten a lot more confident with herself,” Antino said. “Whenever she puts her mind to something she can do it.”
Honor Roll designs can be found at @honorcll on Instagram.