Originally from a small town in Canada, Marissa moved here with her parents when she was in her early 20’s. There she was studying dental assisting and she was fighting tooth and nail to not move here. She was applying to get into a dental program to further her career objectives but life happened. Even though she got into the program her parents were moving. She wasn’t able to afford a home on her own and go to college at the same time. She also became newly single. So what could she do?

She decided to move down to Tampa with her parents and start over. At first she didn’t like it. It was to BIG and she was afraid to cross the street for fear of getting run over. As time went on she grew to love this city. Marissa has become a mother of two, who are 13 and 18. She loves that there are so many things to do here in Tampa. She has been parasailing, paddle boarding and the plethora of work out groups to say the least.

Even though she has had a rough year in the beginning she is quickly turning things around by not giving up! Marissa is a joyful person to talk to. She worked nights before becoming a leasing agent. She had to move out of her home at the beginning of the year, had a pet St. Bernard Lab mix that passed away in May and her father passed away in August. She lived with 3 roommates who were her guards and helped her out when she needed it.

Marissa has a strong, resilient and joyful spirit about her. Now in St. Petersburg, she has picked up her artistic side by drawing and painting. She just recently got her first canvas and is excited to create something. When she is not painting, drawing or working she is cooking. Her parents who are Jamaican have taught her to cook some traditional dishes. She loves her Jamaican heritage and is quite the amateur cook. Among her favorites to cook are the ackee and saltfish, curry goat, jerk chicken and meat patties.

Tony Romo is originally from Oklahoma City. He moved here to the Tampa Bay area from Louisiana where he was working as a commercial photographer for a world wide baby company. His background in the arts industry consists of screen printing, commercial artist, graphic designer and as he is now a photographer. He has studied at both the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma and the Hallmark Institute of Photography in Turners Falls, Massachusetts. He has worked as a photographer's assistant, cruise ship and school day photographer, commercial photographer and is a freelance photographer. He also co-owns a portrait and wedding photography business called Dark Light Portrait Studios. You can see some of his work at www.dlportraitstudios.com.