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Savannah’s Most Inspiring Stories

The heart of our mission is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our communities. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some incredible artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with the incredible group below.

Ashlyn Cathey

My story started back in my sophomore year of high school when I got turned down for my first job at Zaxby’s. Without a job, I was looking for other ways to stay busy so I joined the yearbook staff. It was there that my incredible yearbook teacher gave me access to a camera to photograph Friday night football games and would let me take home the camera on the weekends. From there, I started taking pictures of my friends and fell in love with the way a good picture made them smile and feel confident. Read more>>

Ashley Sapp

Hi, my name is Ashley Sapp and I am the founder of ASAPP Glitzy. Before I started my business, my story started way before. I grew up in a small town, in Savannah, Georgia. My biggest inspirations would have to be my parents considering they both own small businesses. Throughout my life I have watched my mother flourish her salon, helping women and men feel beautiful and comfortable in their own skins. It is because of this that she is my biggest inspiration. Growing up, I was very unsure as to what I wanted to do for a career. Read more>>

Ashleigh Frost

I am a 33 year old South African immigrant to the US (immigrated to be with my now US hubby in March 2019). We met online in May 2017, met in person for the first time in September that year, and well, the rest is history. I was born in the North-west province in South Africa in a little mining town called Rustenburg. I spent most of my life in Pretoria, Gauteng though. I’m a lover of Jesus, animals, my daily almond milk coffee and anything that makes me laugh from the belly. I am an online health & wellness coach and my passion is helping women find their self-worth, realise their value and overcome their past hurts and self-limiting beliefs through health and wellness. I am also an artist, graphic designer and newbie photographer, I love being able to create things and use my imagination to get creative. If I’m not creating at least one thing a week I feel empty and bored. Read more>>

Rick Ornelas

In mid-2020, when the world was in crisis, I was suffering myself. I had just been laid off and was anxious and hopeless, not knowing what the future held. So, I decided to stop being a volunteer victim and looked for ways to help others who were far less fortunate than I was. This led me to write a blog article about using the pandemic as an opportunity to be grateful for all that I had and focus on ways to impact others positively. My first idea was to start writing a book that had been swirling around in my head for nearly twenty years. I decided that the time to act was now, so I began writing what would soon become 12 Hours of Heaven: Lessons for a Better World. I started my writing journey in April 2020, intending to give others hope and inspiration in a time of need. Read more>>

Roger van den Bosch III

I grew up in Sylvania, GA on a humble cow farm working as a lifeguard during the summer. I was always in love with music and owning my own company. Straight out of high school I moved to Jacksonville to pursue my music career. It showed me what life really had to offer. The same year my father passed away, after all of the feelings racing through my brain I decided to try something I never knew I was capable of. I started my first LLC. I have been building this company ever since he passed striving to make it the most innovative clothing company in the world. During this time, I still continue to pursue music, performing shows, selling instrumentals and more while working to build this company and make my father proud. Read more>>

Catalina Williams

I was the kid that drew all day. It was all I cared about. I think I had my head buried in art books all my childhood. In a sharp turn, and out of fear of not being able to make a living as an artist, I ended up going to architecture school in my twenties. But I always spent every little free time I had painting and drawing. I did as many art exhibits as I could and stayed closely connected to the art community and the galleries in my city. I come from Valparaiso, Chile—one of the most colorful places in all of South America. It is a college town where, much like in Savannah, art and culture are at the center of public life. In 2014, I got married and moved to the United States to Kingsland, Georgia, a small town about an hour from Savannah. Read more>>

McKenzie Hamby

My mom always said I had an eye. I always loved many different art forms: painting, drawing, etc, and when I picked up a camera, it was just another art medium that I fell in love with. I remember always taking pictures for my older sister and her friends, and then one Christmas, when I was 13 years old, my parents bought me my first DSLR camera. I took it everywhere with me and took pictures of my surroundings. Even though taking photos of flowers and landscapes was fun, I found out my real passion was photographing people. I spent my college days, building my brand and putting my name out there and now. Read more>>

Emily Cook

My name is Emily Cook and I am from York, Pennsylvania. I grew up playing sports all my life, especially soccer. I started playing at the age of 6 and fell in love with the game. I started off playing on my local club teams and my middle and high school teams. I eventually advanced to a high level club team located in Philadelphia, PA and also had the honor to be on the Pennsylvania State Team. From there I was recruited to play at the collegiate level for Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. I played and studied there for 2 years and during my second year I was accepted to the Spain study abroad program. Read more>>

Frankie Fashionable

My journey in fashion initially started while serving in the United States marine corps. While serving, I would come across friends that would always ask for my assistance in putting together outfits. At that time, I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed styling people, but eventually, my passion for fashion would be brought to my attention by a family member. Initially, I started on social media making an Instagram page @Frankiefashionable not having any direction on what I was going to do. After a few years of posting pictures, I started having people reach out to me for photoshoots which led to fashion modeling. Eventually, I expanded to acting and also became a brand Ambassador for different companies. Read more>>

Abby Barnhart

My small business journey started in 2019 in North Carolina. My husband was off training, and being a new military spouse, I wanted to find something to keep me busy while he was away for months at a time. That’s when I found what started my business off: macrame! Over the past couple of years, my business has evolved into different forms of art. That brings us to today where I now make sustainable cement homewares and soon, leather accessories for people and their pets! Read more>>

Crystal Dorsey and Dawn Dale

Crystal: Even at a young age, I was always making or drawing and crafting. I grew up watching Sanford and Son with my grandpa. It was a bonding point for us. I fell in love with vintage decor and interior design around the time I hit my teens. I was always moving my bedroom furniture and decor around. I didn’t know it was called staging then, but I loved the process and how I felt after a good vignette came together. Read more>>

Brittany Sessions

Growing up, I was always interested in stories. So naturally, I read everything I could get my hands on. When I look back at my passion for history, it comes as no surprise that I centered my business and my educational pursuit upon my love for Black history. My passion for all things Black history began at a young age. I was around 9 years old when I became acutely aware of the lack of Black history being taught in traditional K-12 public schools. I watched an interview on TV that featured a young Tupac Shakur; in that interview, he talked about the importance of obtaining knowledge and learning new things. Read more>>

Jiali Wang

I started my professional dance training at dance school when I was 9 years old, and did lots of Chinese traditional dances after I became a Chinese traditional dancer at Sichuan Song and Dance Ensemble. Then, changed my major to Contemporary dance choreography at Beijing Dance Academy as my Bachelor’s degree, and went on to receive an MFA at SUNY The College at Brockport 2014-2017. I have been a Contemporary/postmodern dance artist in New York for almost 8 years. Read more>>

Anna Robertson

My name is Anna Robertson, I’m a photographer, art historian, and printer. I’m twenty-three years old and from Florence, Alabama. I came to Savannah to pursue my Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography at SCAD in 2016, and now I am finishing my Master of Arts in Art History at SCAD. I want to pursue curating as a profession after I finish my masters degree. I have been working on a body of photographic work since the beginning of 2020 called “Breath Studies” that I intend to publish as a book in a few years, as well as a solo exhibition, ideally in Savannah. I am really focused on communicating the interconnectedness of the body, the landscape, and the longstanding affects of time. Read more>>

Tiara Crowley

My name is Tiara Crowley. I was born and raised in LaGrange, Ga. I’m the founder and CEO of Adore My Beauty. Prior to launching Adore My Beauty, I was enrolled in college pursuing a degree in Dental Assisting, in addition, I assisted my mother in our family owned business Splat City Paintball, LLC. I enjoyed the dental field and helping my mother but I always wanted more for myself. One day, I was conversing with a close friend about life, relationships, financial success, self-esteem, and simply not feeling good enough within my own skin. This led me to the realization that I wasn’t the only girl that felt this way. Through our conversation, I came to the conclusion that you must first love yourself before you can love anyone or anything else. I wanted to create a brand that embodied the value of self worth so that other women could have a daily reminder of the importance of self love. In my attempt to spread this knowledge, Adore My Beauty was brought to life. Read more>>

Kumi Hirose

When I was 7 years old, Sailor Moon’s anime was popular and I loved that manga, so I often copied it to my notebook. It was manga that made me like “pictures” rather than being interested in “art”. When I was in the 4th year of college, I drew a lot of more pictures than other students, so when I graduation ceremony, I received Valedictorian Prize and A Prize of Collection in university’s museum. That was my first award, and I remember being very impressed. At that time, I decided to “become a painter.” Read more>>

Nicki Nicole

Ever since I was a teenager, I remember telling my friends I wanted to be a bartender when I turned 21. We would go out and I would be so fascinated by what was happening behind the bar. One day a very good friend of mine (Felicia) threw her husband a birthday party and asked me if I would bartend. That was the day my dreams came to reality. I rocked it and made lots of tips and friends that night. The very next day I enrolled myself into bartending school, graduated, got certified and birthed Sisters’ Mobile Bartending (#Tipyourbartender) that was in 2017. Read more>>

Liz Juneau

In 1999, I was just starting my career as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. I attended college as an older student and was married with a middle school aged son. I have always been a creative person but I had just spent 4 years devoted to school and studying which didn’t leave much time for creative endeavors. At about the same time my two sister-in-laws had started a jewelry design business and were quite successful. They were hosting home parties and selling their stock quickly. They offered to teach me some jewelry making techniques so I could assist them with the production side of the business. Read more>>

Emily Charles

Originally, I’m from Central Florida, but moved to Savannah in 2016 to attend the Savannah College of Art and Design where I earned a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Illustration and minored in Graphic Design. I grew so much as an artist and person while attending SCAD and I wouldn’t trade my experience there for the world. Since graduating in 2020, I’ve been working a couple service jobs and some babysitting gigs, as well as pursuing some freelance illustration/design work. Read more>>

Katie Reid

I started around 5th grade when a friend brought in their sister’s sketchbook. Said sketchbook was filled with beautiful portraits so I went home and searched on youtube and began to teach myself how to draw. I started searching for simple tutorials at first, like how to draw wolves and dogs. I even got one of my wolves in my middle school’s magazines. When my English teacher at the time saw it, and one of my personal sketchbooks, she encouraged me to apply for SCAD and go to art school to get better. Read more>>

Christina Zimmerman

I made the decision to pivot away from my career in 2011 when we moved to Savannah. My kids were young and we had just arrived in a new city. My husband’s job was and is demanding on his time and requires quite a bit of international travel. Staying home with the kids was the right thing to do for our family at the time. Since 2011 I have slowly (frustratingly slow at times) and methodically been creating a new career and business. Although I didn’t really realize I was starting a new career until I kept teaching classes here and there for a couple of years after finishing my first yoga teacher training. Read more>>

Lisa Malcolm

A twenty-plus-year veteran of the entertainment industry Lisa Malcolm got her start on feature film and MOW sets with a degree in Communications. Changes to the industry led to her work behind the scenes with brands and talent. In 2020 with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lisa left a successful business to strike out on her to create a public relations firm that held fast to the boutique ideals she believes necessary to build brands. Catering to A-list celebrities, series regular and recurring television stars, social media influencers leading the way in their respective verticals, and top tier brands that has become LynkPR. Read more>>

Eliezer Garcia Gazaui

It’s Friday evening and you just held a pair of retractors in an appendectomy. “Helping in the surgery was exciting,” you tell yourself while you pack your camera gear for tonight’s music festival. Perhaps this story doesn’t make much sense, yet for me, it was a regular day during medical school. In fact, my life has always revolved around medicine and the arts. By the time I was 7 years old, I was already sneaking into my dad’s surgeries or staring at my mom’s newborn patients which sparked my curiosity for the human body and for life itself. Ever since, I pictured myself working in healthcare. Read more>>

Zenobia Williams

I’m Zenobia Williams a country girl from Donalsonville, Georgia. To some, I’m Investigator Williams or Officer Williams. Those who know me from home I’m Zee. I know you all may not know exactly where Donalsonville, Georgia is located, but it’s Southwest Georgia (The 229) as we like to call it. I’m a mother of 3, and I’m a Police Officer here in Savannah, Georgia. I graduated from Seminole County High School (Class of 2008-one of THE BEST classes to grace those halls). Growing up, I’ve always enjoyed my family and friends. Walking the neighborhoods with my home girls or spending time a friends’ houses, was just a simple good time for me back then. When I was I was in school, I just knew that I would become a lawyer one day. Never once thought for a moment about being a police officer. Read more>>

Haileigh Angelle

My vision for By Haileigh started long before I reached Savannah. However, due to Savannah’s flourishing creative community & my completion of a BFA in Social Strategy and Management from SCAD, I’ve been able to make my dreams a reality. From the support of the local businesses and university, I’ve created a full-service social media management and content creation business right here in the heart of Savannah. The city’s community-oriented nature inspired me to create a company that focuses on just that – community. Not to mention the ample amount of inspiration the city provides. Read more>>

Orell’e Hollis

Hello! My name is Orell’e Hollis (pronunciation R-E-L)! I’m so excited to share my story! The Beauty Industry has been my passion since high school! After spending money with stylists and was unsatisfied with my hair, my business sense kicked in! In 2013, I made my first lace closure wig and I received so much positive feedback! I developed a passion for hair extensions and making wig units. I wanted to target women who had hair damage like myself or just needed a quick protective style! I started making wigs by hand using hair extensions and lace closures provided by clients. In 2015 I began to sell hair extensions, which lead me to making my own custom wigs for clients! The support has been amazing and I’m so thankful! Ever Read more>>

Christian Cline

I have always had an interest in the arts as a child. At first, it was used more as a means of therapy for my when I was about three after being diagnosed with autism, but after completing a full recovery it became something I genuinely loved doing. I originally was more interested in paleontology as a form of inspiration. This was until around 2008, with the airing of the discovery channel television special Alien Planet. when I then became a lot more fascinated with the idea of alien life and alien planets. Read more>>

Cassie Suppes and Hannah Agueci

Hi, Cassie here. I was born in Colorado to a mathematical father and an artistic mother. Through photography, I found a comfortable blend of those two mindsets. It is a form of creation that combines artistic technique and practical challenges. When I was 15, I noticed a lot of people at school couldn’t afford their senior photos. In response, I started a small photo company that grew and developed beyond taking senior photos to include family photos, engagements, and weddings. I believe everyone should have access to quality photography without having to break the bank. I decided to pursue schooling to further my career and earned a photography degree from Savannah College of Art and Design. Read more>>

Alyssa Lee

I have been in love with art ever since I can remember. Like many children, I was constantly drawing and painting. When I turned 6, I started taking art classes at a local art studio in Gahanna, Ohio. I grew up in these classes and continued taking them until I graduated high school. Art was a constant for me and I knew that I loved to watch worlds come to life using my own hands. No matter what was going on in my life, I created. Art helped me to observe my environment and the people around me. In middle school, I started my collection of art books from animated movies that I admired. It became my dream to do what the artists did in my books and contribute my creative voice. Read more>>

Sean Smith

My story is like a gift, one you never expected to receive. I’ve always been a pretty adventurers kid growing up. I wasn’t bad just got myself into dumb situations but also some really awesome moments. I was pretty fearless to try new experiences which in return helped me overcome disappointments and setbacks. My family has always been big on photographs and I remember traveling on vacations to beaches and just loving this new world. So by this time I was 15 -16 and loved taking pictures with my canon PowerShot “thanks mom”! I used that camera to the fullest making videos, taking self-portraits, and even small sessions. Fast forward a few years, a photographer in my community got me my first professional camera, and let me tell you. She saw something in me that I never understood. To this day I’m beyond grateful for that because that taught me how to invest in others. Read more>>

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