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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.

Elizabeth Ross

The Savannah Junior Derby Taunts started back 2012. And skated in the Garden City Gym. We are coached by members of the Savannah Derby Devils, which is our adult sister league here in Savannah. We are an all girls team and we are also a non profit. Our team has traveled to South Carolina, Florida, and North Carolina to play other junior roller derby teams. We are always looking for skater between the ages of 10-17. We have our open enrollments in Feb. and Sept. Read more>>

Cyrille Carofano

Very dynamic by nature, I love and overcome all challenges with professionalism and a certain desire for perfection. Driven by an unfailing passion to achieve the highest level of service, I learned the importance of teamwork. I have acquired more than 25 years of experience in various tourist establishments: Relais & châteaux and Michelin-starred tables, Leading Hotels of the World, and boutique hotels, all positioned in Europe, the United States, and in the Indian Ocean. Read more>>

Monica Burgstiner

My name is Monica and I am the owner of Monica Jean Photography. I was raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan and moved to Savannah, Georgia in 2009 to attend SCAD, where I later received my bachelors degree in Photography. My inspiration started with my parents. Despite their busy work schedules in the medical field, they always made it to every sporting event and piano recital, with a camera in hand.  Read more>>

Candice Emerson

I grew up with the camera constantly in my face. My Pa was the designated photographer of the family, then it passed down to my Mom. She was always taking videos and pictures of me and my siblings, even to the point of it being annoying at times, to be honest. But because of that, we now have countless “home videos” and priceless pictures of our childhood taped to homemade scrapbooks and I absolutely love looking at them. I was probably about 12 years old when I got my first point and shoot camera, and I said right then that I was going to be a photographer one day. Read more>>

Patrice Morgan

I am originally from Gulfport, MS. I came to Savannah in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. I fell in love with makeup at an early age. I used to watch my mom and sister put on makeup growing up. I used to sneak in my mom’s makeup all the time. I wasn’t allowed to dabble in makeup until I turned 13 years old. I was only allowed to wear eyeshadow and lip gloss back then. I’ve always loved watching makeup tutorials and always admired those who had the gift of makeup, but never knew it was inside myself until my late 20’s. Over the years I would do my family and friend’s makeup for different events. Read more>>

Udlin Etienne

Well I use to play basketball up until I got injured, then I had to fall back on to my plan B sadly enough I did not have a plan B so I took a year off from college hoping I would find my purpose in life. Shortly after that Covid struck and I was really stuck at home, I believe that Covid helped me realize that I wasn’t meant to work a 9-5 for the rest of my life, Once I lost my job due to Covid I started to venture out and tried to start a few business online, granted that they all failed but that made me more determined to be successful. A few months later I moved to Gainesville Florida to live with my cousin who is a photographer, he became my mentor and helped me grow in so many ways Read more>>

Heather Bloomfield

My interest in photography first began when I was 13 and attending a summer camp in McCall, Idaho. I remember using a tiny blue point-and-shoot Kodak camera to photograph flowers, plants, and people around the camp. Not surprisingly, these photos did not turn out as spectacular as younger me would have liked to believe. Eventually, a few of my friends convinced me to take their photos for fun and I instantly fell in love with portraits. Read more>>

Gene Brancho

I started providing social media management and instruction to local business owners in the Lowcountry in 2010. I created some tourism based media and it grew over the years into a large digital media outlet that was republished throughout the world. Focusing on hyper-local stories and events, and promoting the people, places and happenings in the Lowcountry with over 3,000 published articles about history, culture, food and more.  Read more>>

LaTasha Abraham

Growing up, I was always a lover of community. I come from a military family, so I was raised around people of all walks of life. My most formative memories involved being surrounded by groups of people in a community aspect. Girl Scouts. Band. Harry Potter Book and Movie Releases. Bowling league. You name it. So, I naturally knew my career would involve direct work with people. In fact, my intention was to become an event coordinator and wedding planner after completing college. Read more>>

Arianna Allison

I have spent most of my life trying to answer one question. What do you want to be when you grow up? First off I don’t ever want to grow up. That, I am still working on. This question however is something we are asked as kids, all of the time. There has been no avoiding it. Many kids answer will change as they get older. As long as I can remember my answer has never changed. Live life like Steve Irwin – travel the world, educate and inspire people to want to help save the planet and wildlife, and work every day towards making the world a better place. Read more>>

Amanda James

Upon graduation of SCAD, I went to NYC where I started as an intern for a food photographer. When the internship ended I decided to stay in NY and work as a freelance photo assistant. After a few years assisting other photographers I honed my computer skills and became a digital tech. A couple years after that I began reaching out to interior designers to photograph my own projects. Then, in 2017 I had family that moved to Savannah which spurred my interest in starting to spilt my time between NYC and Savannah. Read more>>

Zachary Branch

I first began my acting journey at the end of 2020 in Charleston, SC when I was notified that the popular Netflix show, Outer Banks, needed skateboarders for stunts in a few scenes in season 2. Immediately, I accepted the offer and was taking a COVID test with them the very next day. After working on that set and seeing the behind the scenes of how everything works along with being with such a great cast and crew, I was hooked. On that set, I was given a reference for an acting studio out of Los Angeles, Zak Barnett Studios, and began zoom acting classes in January of 2021. Read more>>

Juliana Castro

Just like many other artists, I started drawing at a very young age. I remember spending my free time, when I was not outside playing with my sister, sitting at the kitchen table in our house with an HB pencil and a white sheet of paper that I took from the printer. I had never taken a drawing class, but I really enjoyed it. I used to try and draw images that I thought were pretty. Most of the time, I found myself drawing animals. I believe that growing up on a farm surrounded by the Andes mountains in Colombia is the reason I am an animal lover and conservationist. My upbringing has shaped me as an artist and as an advocate for the environment, animals, and Hispanic Culture/Diversity. Read more>>

Carrie Kerns

Started in 2011 Carrie’s Bridal Collection believes a beautiful, couture gown doesn’t need to be break your wedding budget. In our intimate and lively boutique, brides meet one-on-one with one our well-trained Master Bridal stylists. We are all about making it fun, comfortable and exciting. Sometimes gown shopping can be intimidating but we focus on making the bride feel like the best version of who they are – regardless of age, size, identity, or style. Awarded “Best of Weddings” 10 years in a row by The Knot, we offer the best service and the greatest selections at the affordable prices! We love to celebrate each and every moment of our brides unique journey to the alter which is how finding your wedding gown should be! Read more>>

Janisa Camille

my birth story wasn’t the best, i felt unheard, my ob didn’t even show up, & i felt neglected while i was bleeding out on the birthing table and the doctors telling my mother that was normal… all while im nodding off from losing so much blood 🩸 not to mention im pretty small & have low iron. i will never forget it took a black nurse walking in & just putting an oxygen mask on me & i pushed my son out in three pushes…there were no interventions, no drugs, i gave birth to a healthy 9lb 7oz baby boy. Read more>>

Trelle Brown

My journey began years ago when I knew that something had to change. I realized that the limiting beliefs that I had were generational voices that I didn’t have to accept. In all, I had to find my own voice and that meant silencing everyone else’s. In 2019, I began my healing journey by seeking therapy. I had recently moved to Southern California and suddenly everything became so big, small town syndrome kicked in, and old sounds resurfaced. I knew it was time – my intuition was very loud at that point. Through healing, I went through a deep process of unlearning and relearning. This led me to ideating about how to help women break up with the limiting beliefs and adopt an abundance mindset. I truly believe that your mindset has everything do with your success. Read more>>

Karina Cruz Ortiz

I think I have always been called to arts. My mom is a really good artist herself, and as a kid as well as later years she was always supportive of the practice; she taught me those first steps. Growing up I focused on dance and sports, but always did art on the side as a hobby. That was until one day I joined a school arts activity, urged by my then arts teacher, and painted live. That night I sold my first painting, and I think that showed me that what I did had value to other people as well. Read more>>

Samantha Bates

I have always been creative for as long as I can remember but only started to take it seriously when I began high school. I am grateful for the art department and teachers at my high school who really expanded my horizons by letting me have lots of free-range and room to express myself. There were never any limits to what I could explore and my teachers always encouraged stepping out of the box. Because the only subject or hobby that I was seriously interested in was art, I didn’t see myself going to college. It wasn’t until I discovered SCAD, that I saw myself pursuing a degree. Read more>>

Hussein Salia

With the Main aims of trying to provide social amenities for the predominantly Muslim Community which many of this above mentioned including school for the teaming children in the early 90s and in addition to the major conflict between the community of Larabanga and mole Nation park due to little or no any education about the conservation of wild life near them, as a result of poaching by community and the wide life invitation of the farms. The Salia Brothers (Hussein Salia and Alhassan Salia start organizing and mobilizing the community to engage them in various community participation and community Development services. Read more>>

Sam Steadman

After trying multiple career paths I realized my love for music was undying. Knowing this, I was on my way to creating my own sound; with influences from many genres and artists you will hear hints of blues, rock, pop, outlaw country and more. Growing up in the small town of Ringgold Georgia I was immersed in 60s – 70s rock, classic country, and bluesy soul music from my dad. Through any tribulations in my life, I could always lean on music. Coming from a talented family and singing in church during my youth, I was introduced to the piano and drums and often sang with my brother who played the guitar. Read more>>

Lindsey Christian

As a child I always had a camera in my hand. Endless amounts of disposable cameras transformed to digital as I got older, with thousands of pictures still in my childhood bedroom. When my first child was born, I wanted to document every step of the way. I had a canon camera in my closet collecting dust so I decided to get it out and start learning with my child being the subject. Months into my new hobby, I started getting inquires for photo sessions and the rest is history! I have come a long way and still have a ways to go. One thing I love about being a photographer is you always have room to grow. Read more>>

Reysa (Reich) Macaraeg

I have battled with my weight, relationship with food, and limiting beliefs about myself since childhood. It all started from my upbringing as a child when my parents (who were just doing their best at the time), never had background in nutrition or movement. We were a middle class family in Philippines and typically, meals mostly included instant noodles, soda, and lots of processed sweets. Combined with the lack of movement and being asthmatic as a child, this set me up to be 50+ lbs heavier than I am today. Read more>>

Jillian Brown

The idea of Peachy Balloon Co. sprouted when I volunteered to do balloons at my younger brothers’ graduation party in 2021. I did not know what I was doing and the balloon arch definitely was not my best but I loved making it. My family thought the balloons were beautiful and I was so proud of the art that I made with my own hands. I decided that day that I could make a business out of balloon design. Balloon designing is something that is so much fun, brings me joy and adds that extra touch to my clients special events. Read more>>

Terrie Nelson

The heart behind Lillie Mae Collection are my two daughters, Lillian and Elizabeth Mae. Lillie Mae Collection gowns are curated with a photographer and wedding designer’s perspective. With that said, Lillie Mae Collection started as a thought. As a wedding photographer, I understand the dilemma of finding the perfect dress that will photograph well, to help bring an artist’s visions to life. That’s how Lillie Mae Collection came to be. Read more>>

Elizabeth Sloas

I have always been a creative person, even as a child I was drawing, painting, or doing other small crafts. It was so ingrained within myself and my personal identity that I often have a hard time pinpointing when I started “creating”. Unlike many other artists, I did not grow up in an artistic household. My family is made up of people in the healthcare and education fields, so my passion for creating seemed to come as a surprise. Read more>>

Hannah Bang

Hello, My name is Hannah (JeongHyeon) Bang. I am an artist. I love a green color that makes me feel comfortable. I am studying Fine Art with Painting Major and Fiber minor. I love playing with colors in my artwork. I am from South Korea, lived in the United States since 2018 for Savannah College Art and Design. I love SCAD because they have several located campuses, such as Savannah, Atlanta, and Lacoste, and also there was a Hong Kong campus; for this summer, I am going to Lacoste in France. After the summer quarter, I am one of the students who have an experience on all SCAD campuses. I try to get many different experiences in my life because they relate to what I believe. Read more>>

Jonét Freeman

I started my swimwear business in Augusta, Ga of 2019, but I actually launched the online store in 2020! Covid had started and everything was shut down. Jobs, restaurants, and stores were closed! I was a teacher at the time and school was out and eventually closed for the rest of the year! I was really bored and stuck in the house. I wanted to open a swimwear boutique because I love Spring and Summer so much and knew there were a lot of people wanting to still enjoy their pools and beaches. Read more>>

Kelly Dunham

I started out probably like most artists by taking weekend art classes as a little kid to let out some creativity (and get me out of the house). I really enjoyed, so I kept attending classes until I graduated high school. Instead of weekend classes now, I was now going to art school! Having taken a stagecraft for theater class, I was really intrigued by set design and construction, so I majored in Production Design with a concentration in Set Design at SCAD in Savannah, GA. Since graduation I have worked on a few of film and television productions whilst also making and selling art on the side.  Read more>>

Nattaya Phongtiangtham

Hello! my name is Nattaya Phongtiangtham (mo) .I am from Thailand. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Applied art (painting) at Silpakorn University. I’m currently as a freelance and working in my family business, I also have my own business too. My painting journey began when I’m study in university. I have 2 part of my works. On the first part, I have some inspired from my illustrations. I like to doodles or capture the normal things. I have an idea to turning them to some print, so I design the character and put it into product. Read more>>

Jones Sanders Stephens

Growing up I was always obsessed with movies. The older I got, I became more and more interested in the acting aspect of filmmaking. Becoming an actor was always a thought in the back of my mind throughout middle school and high school but I never went through with it. The idea was always shot down because I saw it as something impossible. In college I was roommates with my cousin, Macay. At some point we binge watched the old tv series, Twin Peaks. Throughout the show there are many side characters with little screentime but they each had big enough characteristics that they all stood out in their own way, even if they weren’t important to the overall plotline. Read more>>

Takiya Sequoyah

I discovered my purpose during the most trying time of my life. It was while serving a 10 year prison sentence through out three different Georgia State prisons. In that Valley of the Shadow of Death experience, I realized that if I had survived all the trauma’s, pain, failures, and mistakes in my life then God had a greater purpose for me and that I was destined for greatness. My life shifted when I understood my purpose. Bound by 4 walls in a prison cell, I began to dream, hope, and heal. There was nothing or no one able to hinder me, because I realized that I had an assignment. Read more>>

Mena LaCognata

I started as a nail tech to make extra money. When a coworker asked me to wax her I instantly knew that I wanted to wax for the rest of my life. I went back to school, perfected my waxing skills, and opened my own business. I love what I do! I’m so passionate about brows that I decided to add microblading to the menu. Read more>>

Steven Lash

My culinary journey started in high school when I got a job as a dishwasher at Steak n Ale and I worked my way up through the ranks at various restaurants over the course of the next 15 years. All along I worked to hone my skills and elevate my craft. When my first child was born I began to reevaluate the restaurant lifestyle and eventually changed careers. I spent the next 18 years working in tech where I built a successful career yet I very much missed the kitchen. Read more>>

Sydney Durham

I am from the North Shore region of Louisiana and grew up a part of 4-H where I got my love of sewing. I place both my fourth and fifth-grade years of participating in 4-H. After this, I convinced my dad to get me a sewing machine, and then I never looked back, I wanted to be in fashion. Not long after this, I joined my school’s theater program where I got to make costumes and that was a sign to me that I did not want to be in fashion but in costume. Read more>>

Tyasia Collins

I always wanted to get into becoming an entrepreneur but I never was motivated I was always shy. I started my business in November and started to see great results I started to get featured in articles and collect interviews with different colleges from all over. It hasn’t been a year and I’m very excited about the progress I’ve made. Read more>>

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