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Men of the Moment 2018

BY Laura Eckstein Jones, Meg McGuire and Allison Mitchell | March 19, 2018 | Feature Features National

Meet six inspiring men making their mark on Los Angeles and paving the way for a remarkable and career-defining 2018.

JIMMI SIMPSON
WHAT'S NOW
I’m appearing in Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.

WHAT'S NEXT
I’ll be seen in season two of HBO’s Westworld, which premieres April 22.

“I’m one of the very few actors I know that had no intention to be an actor growing up. Halfway through college, I took an elective acting course because I could skip it, but my professor, Karen Anselm, was going to fail me unless I aced the final­­—a performance. I worked my butt off on Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins, and after that performance, Karen asked me to be a theater major. Post-college, I spent the next few years performing at the Williamstown Theater Festival and doing free plays in NYC. When I moved to L.A. in 2002, I was instantly happy. Over time, parts started coming in, and I couldn’t believe that they even let me in the room. Even now, I’m just as stunned. I think work and talent are essential, but the third element is luck. I couldn’t restructure my career in a way that would make me more happy: I’ve always been lucky and feel so grateful with each thing in front of me. My mission now is to be a part of stories that move a social dial toward a better place, with more clarity and understanding of what we’re doing and who we are. Things will change, inevitably, and then I’ll adjust, but for now, that’s what I’m looking for.”

VALTER LONGO
WHAT'S NOW
Using my Create Cures Foundation to identify creative and cost-effective solutions to help treat and prevent disease

WHAT'S NEXT
Many clinical trials focused on promoting regeneration to treat major diseases, in addition to trials on muscle strength, memory and physical performance

“Growing up in Italy, I wanted to be a rock star. I grew up listening to Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, and reaching the United States or England had been my goal from the time I was 12 years old. I attended the University of North Texas College of Music when I was told, that as part of my jazz performance degree, I had to direct a marching band—I refused. As a rock musician, that was embarrassing to me. However, this gave me the opportunity to do what I think deep down I really wanted to do. So, I switched to biochemistry and started studying aging under well-known Texas scientist and professor Robert Gracy. I then began working on nutrition after joining the laboratory of Roy Walford, M.D., at UCLA for my Ph.D. Through my research, I created the fasting-mimicking diet, a plant-based program that is low in protein and high in good fats, which reduces risk factors for diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease, that can be done just three to four times a year. Over 25,000 people have now done the diet with many reports of excellent results. My book, The Longevity Diet, aids in preventing and treating disease, improving function and performance, and losing abdominal or visceral fat without losing muscle mass. Our individual diets can have a major impact on the way we look and feel—I’m optimistic that my lifelong research will continue to help many people with major diseases or those that want to prevent them.”

JOEL CHEN
WHAT'S NOW
I recently wrapped up the JF Chen Collection auction with Christie’s, which celebrated my 40-year career.

WHAT'S NEXT
Together with my daughter, Bianca Chen, I’ll continue to collect and develop relationships with emerging artists.

“Back in the day, I had no clue about anything in life, much less the art and furniture businesses. It all happened gradually. The story is that I spotted a shop full of Chinese antiques on Melrose Avenue. I knocked on the door, and the owner refused entry. I was persistent, and he finally opened up and said that the store was for the trade only. I took it as a racial slight and decided that I wanted to open my own antique store. I eventually did—right behind the shop that refused to let me in. I started with 800-square-feet, but kept running out of space and expanding. Now, we have several buildings filled with a mix of midcentury, Asian and European pieces—many from the Eastern Bloc. I buy what I like. It’s hard to describe why or how I choose, but when I put a Chinese vase with a Danish chair and a modern bronze table on the side, they speak to each other. I’d like to be remembered as someone with a good demeanor in trading arts, and for my artists to remember me as someone who helped them get started. Trying to distinguish what works can be very difficult, but after 40 years, I think I have the hang of it.”

JOHN FRIERSON
WHAT'S NOW
As president of Fred Segal, I’m innovating the traditional retail model by overseeing the new Sunset Boulevard flagship as a true collective of curators, artists, designers and makers—not a department store.

WHAT'S NEXT
Exporting the L.A. experience all over the world—we have six new Fred Segal stores opening across Asia and Europe this year alone.

“I played in punk bands when I was growing up. It’s how I paid my way through college and how I moved to New York from my hometown in North Carolina. This sparked my interest in design and how music, technology and pop culture all blend together. I started my own business when I was 25 and ran it for 20 years thereafter. It was a creative agency, and we worked primarily with fashion, luxury and retail clients, and had about 100 employees between New York and Paris. Honestly, I wasn’t planning to move to the West Coast, but when I found the Creative Artists Agency, I realized it was a deep well of expertise and had access to so many talented people. So, I moved to L.A., and, of course, now I’m in love. Fred Segal’s Sunset flagship was actually incubated at CAA. Our new space is over 30,000 square feet of pop culture and clothes. In the last month, we’ve had B├śRNS perform, printed custom tees with Midnight Studios and hosted the CFDA Runway to Red Carpet event for L.A. stylists. You’ll find different points of view inside, but the overall experience is discovering the spirit of L.A. all in one place. There was a sign in our store in the ’70s that said ‘Be Who We Are.’ Fred Segal has always been an incredibly forward-thinking place that celebrates creative freedom and humanity in all its diverse talents—that’s what I try to do every day.”

JORDAN BERNSTEIN
WHAT'S NOW
I recently founded my restaurant-industry-focused law firm and opened Wexler Deli’s third location.

WHAT'S NEXT
I’m gearing up for upcoming events with Phase One Foundation, the nonprofit that’s dedicated to supporting innovative cancer research.

“Within the first two years of working at a general practice law firm here in L.A., two restaurant-focused deals came my way, and I got a taste of something I really wanted to do. Slowly but surely, I was introduced to more people, started going to food events and meeting with chefs, and, eventually, everyone knew me as a restaurant lawyer. About four years ago, I had enough saturation in clientele and fully transitioned into transactional law. Last March, I left my job as Partner of Michelman & Robinson LLP to start the Law Office of Jordan R. Bernstein, P.C. Now, in addition to being a managing partner in Wexler’s Deli, I work with some of the most exciting people in the L.A. restaurant scene, like Alimento and Cosa Buona’s Zach Pollack, Sara Kramer and Sara Hymanson of Kismet and MadCapra, and more, helping them build their businesses. Because of my involvement at Wexler’s, I see things from both sides. It’s gratifying to know that I can somehow contribute to the food community and culture of L.A. I was very nervous to leave the security of my firm, but when people ask me how it’s been going, all I can say is that yesterday was great; today has been great so far; and, tomorrow—I have absolutely no idea.”

JOEL ARONOWITZ
WHAT'S NOW
Introducing our new Fresh Face program—high-def-3-D imaging that allows for precise tracking of age and stress changes in the face and body—for regular clients

WHAT'S NEXT
Perfecting the art and science of using fat and stem cells instead of foreign implants

“I knew I wanted to be a doctor at 8 years old. There were no doctors in my family, but when I was 16, my mother got me a job with Dr. Park, a general surgeon. Park took care of very sick people, including severe burn patients. Although the scale of suffering I saw could be overwhelming, it gave me a firsthand exposure to medicine—I learned you needed thick skin to take care of people, and that to succeed, you must literally care for your patients. Fast-forward a handful of years later, and I graduated from Baylor College of Medicine with a specialty in plastic surgery—I wanted to be the type of surgeon that put things together rather than take them apart. I immediately moved to L.A., set up my private practice at Cedars-Sinai Medical Towers, and the rest is history. While I am quite well-known for breast-enhancement surgery using the patient’s own tissue rather than implants, I provide the full spectrum of aesthetic procedures that range from rhinoplasty and face-lifts to noninvasive treatments like Botox and fillers that are offered at Dr. A Spa—the new medispa component of my Beverly Hills practice. My role as a plastic surgeon is to help my patients identify features that they’re unhappy with and help them navigate through the procedures that are the best fit for them. I enhance a person’s appearance in a subtle way without changing a person into someone else by creating a look that doesn’t occur naturally. Ultimately, if my patients look happy, healthy and feel their very best, I’ve done my job.”

Photography Courtesy Of: