Telling people’s stories — that’s what inspired me to become a journalist. It’s also why our annual Most Interesting People issue has become a perennial favorite for me, not only to write and edit, but to dive into as a reader.
I learned so much about the 30 individuals who are working in various ways to make our city better — from 10-year-old Brady Snakovsky, who raises funds to outfit police dogs with bulletproof vests, to Cleveland Public Library executive director and CEO Felton Thomas Jr., who announced a $100 million makeover of all 27 of its branches.
There’s so much good stuff in this issue, yet we couldn’t fit all we found out into the pages of this magazine. So here’s a few extra snippets.
Dorothy Silver, actress: When memorizing lines, 90-year-old Silver wastes no time. Starting three months prior to a performance, she’ll practice the play every day in its entirety, speaking her lines out loud to get them just right. “About 10 years ago, I realized I shouldn’t rely on the fact that I have always been able to memorize lines.I must start early. I must go into that first rehearsal knowing lines.”
Jeremy Umansky, Larder Delicatessen and Bakery chef and owner: With his friend Rich Shih, a Taiwanese American engineer and home cook, Umansky is working on Koji Alchemy: Rediscovering the Magic of Mold-Based Fermentation, the first English- language book about koji (the Japanese mold), to be published this spring. “It’s the most important ingredient in a dozen Asian cuisines, but no one outside of Asia really knows about how to work with it.”
Ezri, hip-hop artist: A freezing cold Brite Winter last February didn’t stop Ezri from setting the Flats music fest stage ablaze with his headlining performance. “I had just come off of a tour, and the crowds were sometimes as small as 20 or 30 people, so to come to Cleveland and see 12,000 people or something like that in 20-degree cold weather was so dope.”
Nwaka Onwusa, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame director of curatorial affairs: Onwusa has a hard time answering the age-old question, “What did you want to be when you grew up?” — mostly because she wanted to be everything, including a journalist, teacher, lawyer, singer and news anchor. “I never thought in a million years that I would work in a museum because I didn’t even know it was an opportunity."
Read More: Click here to read the full list of Cleveland's 30 Most Interesting People of 2020.