L.A.’s Most Inspiring Women

When it comes to making L.A. better, those who made this year’s list of power hitters aren’t just leaning in—they’re leading the way

Sonja Rasula

The interior designer turned event producer boosts L.A. artisans—and the city’s coffers—with Unique LA, a pop-up marketplace for locally made goods

Photograph by Bonnie Tsang

Her lightbulb moment: It happened while I was shopping for gifts for friends in 2008. I went to a couple of stores in Los Feliz and then had to drive all the way across the city to some other favorite shops on Abbot Kinney. I was frustrated sitting in traffic, and I thought to myself, “Why does L.A. not have a giant show where everyone can shop local?”

Her elevator pitch: It’s about quality over quantity. You can go to the Gap and buy a T-shirt for $20 or you can buy one made here for twice that amount, but it’s better made and every dollar goes back into the community.

The ten-year plan: To help designers grow I’m opening a permanent office for Unique LA on 6th Street between Mateo and Alameda downtown. It will be a new creative co-work space for people who don’t want to work at a coffee shop and are tired of working from home, and a place where the community can collaborate. It’s going to have a full kitchen, a boardroom, a small photography studio, a lounge, a library, and a rooftop terrace.

Next: HollyRod Foundation co-founder and actress Holly Robinson Peete