new york

LIANG SHI, Founder of Leroli, Dessert Goals & Ma Matcha | Experience Designer at Square

Liang Shi is a creator of Dessert Goals festival, MaMatcha matcha pop-ups, and Leroli, a sustainable clothing brand inspired by Italy. She is also an Experience Designer at Square for the Cash app.

INDRA SHUKLA, Private Equity Associate @ BlackRock Assets

Indra, or "Indy" as his friends call him, hails from The Woodlands, a suburb of Houston, Texas. He started college wanting to be a doctor and pursuing a Pre-Med track but ended up switching to Finance later down the road. I met him at Culture Espresso on 40th St where we sat at a coffee shop in the middle of the day discussing how he moved to New York and what struggles along the way helped him get to where he is today. Indy is super cheerful, always smiling, and was overall a great person to interview.


Joseph 'JJ' Johnson first fell in love with the art of cooking when he was young child watching his grandmother “prepare these extravagant meals that she would lay out on the table.” “I would be underneath trying to help her out.” Since then he’s gone to culinary school, worked at the Morgan Stanley executive dining room, helped open up multiple restaurants, and released a cookbook. His one month stint at Chef’s Club was extended another two months because the demand was so high for his menu.

GIANNI LAI, Design & Lifestyle Publicist @ Karla Otto

Gianni Lai is from Houston, Texas with roots based in Hong Kong. After visiting New York just once, she fell in love with the city and didn’t expect to move here so quickly after graduation. She’s an avid fan of boba, her corgi, her collegiate sorority, and volunteering. She works in Public Relations for luxury brands and teaches special needs children on the weekends.

SAMANTHA WU, Investment Banking Analyst @ Evercore

Sammi was one of the first new faces I met in New York when she hosted a small get together on her rooftop. Over the course of 6 short months, she's become someone I highly respect and admire. She's intelligent, ambitious, persevering, and above all, humble and grounded. She is a graduate from Western University in Toronto and currently works as a first-year analyst at Evercore. In two years she'll be doing private equity at The Carlyle Group. 


I first followed Sur Fresh (Instagram: @Sur_Fresh) on Instagram when I was searching for cool backdrops for photo shoots in the city. He is popular in the art museum scene and frequently visits all of the latest and newest art exhibits in the city. Later, when 52 Stories launched I realized that it would be cool to meet Fresh in person and interview him about his love of art in the city.

PATRICIA CRUZ JAMANDRE, Production Designer & Art Direction

I've known Patricia Cruz Jamandre since she first moved here from the Philippines during elementary school. I was her first friend in America and after high school, I didn't see her for eight years. After I moved to NYC we reunited in Brooklyn's Bushwick area where she hosted a holiday party.