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Portraits of South Carolina

It’s more important to understand someone than to judge them. We think the first step to understanding someone is asking them the fundamental questions about who they are and how they became the person they are today. Understanding and empathy are essential building blocks for a better, more compassionate world. We’re incredibly fortunate to be able to ask these questions each week through our interview series. Below you’ll find inspiring interviews from in and around South Carolina.

Steph Gallo & Julia Asselin

We first met in college, six years ago at West Chester University of Pennsylvania through our sorority, Delta Phi Epsilon. After being named Big & Little (we still laugh about that now), we became close sharing similar interests; fashion, marketing and travel. While planning a girls trip for us and our three best friends to Napa, an idea struck us. We both LOVE planning and researching trips, and have been doing it for friends and family for years – we NEED to make this a job! And the rest is history 🙂 Read more>>

Tyler Fisher

Since I was a kid, I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mindset. Most of my family, from my grandparents down to me, have all been business owners. Naturally, this cultivated my passion for business at a very early age. Although having grown up in the real estate industry, it was not always my “game plan” to continue on in the family brokerage. However, chapters of my story helped me realize that my journey was actually leading me right back to my true passion. Real estate.​ Read more>>

Zendre’ Hicks

My desire for jewelry making began after moving to Greenville, SC about 4 years ago from WI. Shortly after arriving, I was approached by an artist in the art crossing district asking if I was looking for a job. Although I initially declined the first offer, I decided to inquire more of what was entailed with working at her studio. After much consideration, I decided that this would perhaps be something I might enjoy. There is a saying…” Someday, everything will make perfect sense. Read more>>

Arthur/Andrew/Jonathan/Peter/Stephen Athens

We are five brothers from a family of 10 children who know what it means to serve, protect, and defend our nation and freedoms. Our father retired from the United States Marine Corps, and we saw at a young age the selfless service and sacrifices that servicemembers make. We have continued to follow in those footsteps as we have grown and started our own families. In September of 2021, we decided to start up One Fire Fight Apparel Company to support and give back to Military, First Responders and Medical Professionals. Read more>>

A’Veon Davis

I always had a love for fashion since a little girl. I would always play dress up with different pieces of clothing. Growing up my family and friends would always ask me to help them find outfits for different events. At that point I knew I wanted to do something dealing with fashion in the future. In the low country, I never met any personal or wardrobe stylist, so I didn’t know where to begin. I would watch different stylist on YouTube for months to learn more information. I started Couture Ten as a junior in college at the age of 21. I was still in school at the time majoring in Biology. When I began receiving clients, I realized I had a passion for medicine and fashion. Read more>>

Ryan Smart

I graduated from NCCU and found my new passion in 2015. first Love was the idea of making a commercias. I still have a write up of a commercial written for Coca Cola.Big Dreams, Gracious to be able to provide excellence to small business. Im preparing to write up and produce a commercial for Cremalicious ice cream brand made by ms. L.Rogers. Deciding to return to Big Dreams i had and utilizing the curiosity. However, I love being considered a creative being, photography captivated my interest for quite sometime. instagram profile Smarexcellence where Smart is the brand and Excellence is what i provide.. trying new things and created a space where I could highlight people in the community. the bit is called “In the Neighborhood”. Hosted by me Neighborhood Ryan. . instagram NeighborhoodRyan. Read more>>

KingFx Graphics

I’ve always had a thing for art i could never really draw with pencil and paper but i knew how to play with pngs & pictures on the internet, I always liked to make edits for me and my friends when i was like 13 years old for our MySpace & Facebook they would always ask me to make them for them i never thought of being a professional graphic designer or nothing because i have lots of other talents, i started transitioning into cover arts,flyers and lots of other graphics once i got better at, it I’m still not a professional in my eyes because i can still get better but i make it work & people like my work. I started KingFxGraphics in 2020 once i started getting a lot of attention towards my art & I’ve been going with it since. Read more>>

Sarah Acord

I fell off my young horse in 2008 and broke 3 vertebrae in my back. My mother died of Leukemia at 59 years old. I was a ICU nurse at the time and knew I needed to get healthier. I would have thought I would have flown to the moon sooner than becoming a Yoga Studio owner. I had tried Yoga before and hated it. When the student is ready the teacher appears. My intention changed and my resolve now was strong to heal myself. Read more>>

Hameen Shabazz

I was a product of my environment as it relates to extreme poverty, Criminal role models, a school system that diagnosed me with a learning disability, and emotional disturbance disorder. I took to the streets at a young age and sold drugs at Fourteen. Hameen experienced significant traumatic events that led to a life of drugs and violence. Consequently, Mr. Shabazz was convicted on several charges, including trafficking crack cocaine, and earned a 20-year prison sentence. Read more>>

Marcus Boyd

Who am I I am more then just a African American, who am I I am more then a individual that grew up on poverty, who am I am more then just hopes and dreams, I am a 39 year old that is proud to have Autism. My name is Marcus Leonardo Boyd I was born in Atlanta raised between Atlanta and Brooklyn Ny I have a Northern Swag but I can cook a southern meal, I come from drugs watered cereal Feins in front of your door moms had 22 mouths to feed so it was hard to focus on one that was different, I was diagnosed with Autism April 12th 1993 by Dr King at Clifton springs mental health center I was 10 I was non verbal until I was 13 or 13 1/2 years old. Read more>>

Olivia Sade’ Wideman

My true love for make-up started after I had my first born in 2018. After dealing with postpartum depression. Watching makeup videos on YouTube sparked my interest. Playing in makeup and creating beautiful looks is what brought me out of that dark place. Even before then as a young girl I constantly got picked on by how I looked or by how skinny I was. I always tried to fit in but never did. As I got older I realized that God made me different for a reason. Dealing with postpartum depression was probably the most difficult thing I have been through.  Read more>>

Jim Seidel

It started with a family vacation to Topsail Island off the Carolina coast in North Carolina. There was a small open air fish market there. Nothing fancy, but they had amazing high quality seafood. All fresh, local and wild caught off the coast of Carolina. We lived in Fort Mill, South Carolina and in this area and the Charlotte, North Carolina metro area there just wasn’t any fresh local seafood like we saw and ate in Topsail Island. No grocery stores, specialty store or even more local or regionalized stores carried fresh seafood like this. This is how we started. In a small store front with the hopes that people would appreciate fresh local seafood. Read more>>

Elizabeth Elkins

My career in the event industry started in college when I interned as an assistant wedding planner for a small mom & pop wedding and events venue. It was the first time I really got to learn all the behind the scenes planning of events. After graduating with my degree in Hospitality Management I worked as a Banquet Manager for a year and then was promoted to Assistant Director of Catering for almost two years at a club in Charleston. This is where I really developed all of my managerial skills and gained strong connections with local vendors. Read more>>

Maeomee DeVos

As an educator with more than 20 years in the classroom, creativity was always part of my teaching practice. However in my early years, I dedicated more of my spare time to art. I would dabble in watercolors or attend a 2-hour painting session with a group of ladies and come home with a completed artwork. It surprises people to find out that I was almost an art major. My college career advisor talked me out of it, stating that art budgets are always the first to get cut in education. And so as life got busier and I became a mother, my inner artist was pushed to the side. Read more>>

Keefe Miller

The catalyst for the nature park was the covid stimulus check which was used toward insurance and a new entrance/parking area. Several other factors that encouraged the decision to start the farm and nature experience included overcrowded existing parks and covid’s push of people to the great outdoors. Plus Silva Terra’s land already felt like a park with its towering trees, clear sandy bottom creek, friendly farm animals, local farm history and recently completed trail system comprising of 3 miles of trails. The main attractions are the holiday themed trails designed to keep kids entertained while hiking. Read more>>


Dawol Homes has been building quality custom homes along the Grand Strand since 1996. David Wolons was the founder of Dawol Homes. Dawol Homes was one of the very few custom home builders that survived the Great Recession that began in 2008. In 2019, after many successful years in the custom home business, David Wolons retired and his daughter Kristina Mauldin became President of Dawol Homes. Dawol Homes continues to thrive. In December of 2020, Dawol Homes relocated to 9404 Hwy 17 Bypass in Murrells Inlet. Read more>>

Kati Wilhelm

I started doing hair when I was 18. My first “hair job” was at the Hair Cuttery that used to be located in Seaside Farms in Mt. Pleasant. I worked at that location for 6 years, including a few years as an assistant manager. I stepped down from my management position when my first child was born, as I had decided to work part time so that I could spend more time with her. Read more>>

Ross Barnett

Two Fly Guys Media began much like many other small businesses – with an idea and a little bit of passion. While working in the restaurant industry in 2017, Ross approached Adam, one of the managers, and revealed his desire to learn the ins and outs of video production. Upon agreeing, they began working on smaller video productions around Georgia. Once these projects started to take off, Two Fly Guys Media was born. Slowly, this transformed into larger business projects and later transitioned into getting their feet wet in the wedding industry. Read more>>

Thea Zeppone

Well, as a child I grew up in a family full of healthcare professionals. As a child I enjoyed going with my aunt to patients homes to help them with daily living needs to maintain a healthy life while at home. The more I was able to have hands in and assist the more I started to realize this was a field I truly enjoyed. Fast forward I graduated a Certified Nursing Assistant and began working in the nursing homes but couldn’t really understand the way their care was being handle, so I transition back into what I grew up in and that was doing In- Home Care. Read more>>

Riley Rutland

Riley Rutland Photography has changed my life for so many reasons. I started taking photos when I was sixteen. I never intended for photography to become my job, let alone a potentially full time job. I started taking photos of my friends and family, but senior photos really made my business take off. During senior sessions, I learned how to become more comfortable around people and ultimately learned how to make them feel comfortable in front of the camera. Read more>>

Dianne Kosto

I am a mom on a mission. My mission is to help other families avoid the trauma that my family experienced as a result of my son’s brain dysregulation. I do everything in my power to ensure neurofeedback is a household word just like the names of commonly prescribed medications for ADD/ADHD, anxiety, depression, and a host of other symptoms linked to dysregulated brainwaves. Read more>>

Nicolle D. Surratte

Health and wellness has been an imporant part of my life since high school. I never smoked or drank, monitored what I ate and exercised regularly. These practices continued into adulthood as part of my lifestyle. I even decided to get certified as an aerobics instruction and completed two marathons as a racewalker. Imagine my surprise in June of 2011 when I heard two words that forever changed my life – “It’s cancer.” Read more>>

Jermaine West

On my 35th birthday I was saying it’s all about D’ME ( da me) being funny. Then I realized how much my friends and family hated it ,but laugh at the same time when I said it. So I continue saying it over and over. Until one day I was like I’m going to put it on my shirt to be funny. After that i was like imma start my own brand with d’me. I created D’OOME that’s represents I’ll do me in my creative way and everything else is history after that . Read more>>

Kenya T.

I was born in Brooklyn, NY and raised all over NYC. My father, who is a DJ, would play, mix and scratch music all day long. It was and is life for him. He exposed me to all genres of music and taught me to appreciate the composition of a song. My mother, a true lover of music, would listen to an artists full album over and over and over again. She wasn’t a fan of sharing her musical gifts and talents but she always encouraged mine. Inadvertently, They taught me how to listen for every instrument and admire the melodies used to create something beautiful.  Read more>>

Jill Frey

Being an entrepreneur was always in my blood. My great grandparents ran businesses including a hotel and restaurant. My grandparents owned a Pizza and Italian Restaurant, and my parents owned retail stores. So that was basically all I knew. I grew up in a small resort town in Long Island, NY. As I mentioned before, my parents owned retail stores. In 2006, my parents were ready to retire. My husband and I just welcomed our second child and I was not able to go back to working the store full time. between that and the rising cost of living in the town, we decided to sell everything and move to Summerville. Read more>>

Anna Grace Campbell

My photography journey is still such a surreal thing for me. I’ve been taking photos since I was a teenager and it’s so wild to me that this is what I do for a living now! I remember getting a canon rebel t7i in high school and my friends and I would go around and take photos and edit them for fun on the weekends. I never really thought of that as anything of it and went on to get a degree at Clemson University. While attending there, I started working at a business called Elkmont Trading Company as a sales associate.  Read more>>

Kyle Massie

A christian military brat that started in California and ended up in south Carolina. Marine Science Degree from Coastal Carolina University. 8 years of sales jobs allowed me to learn about marketing through podcasts and youtube. I started a marine science nonprofit right out of graduating college in 2016. It failed because I cared about what people thought about a new and young up and coming (imposter syndrome). My wife and I went to Bora Bora for our honeymoon and I picked up a GoPro…after the honeymoon she said “make something with the footage”.  Read more>>

Timothy Lyons

I started in Media over 10 year’s ago. I helped alot of independent music artists gain notoriety via the 16x award winning worldwide Eddie Kayne radio/TV show. I’ve since transitioned into streaming television (Alleyoop Television). We’re currently launching a new channel on our network dedicated to independent artists music videos. Latin Rock Pop Rap TRAP Gospel international and national. Download AlleyOOp Television in the Roku AppleTV Amazon FireTV app store’s. Read more>>

Don Carti

It all started from me attending a relative, “Gmf Lonnie” studio sessions every weekend since 2017. Just sitting and learning from how he came up with music gave me nothing but motivation. I finally built up enough confidence to book my own session in late 2018, September, around the time when I lost a very close loved one in my life, my grandmother, Carolyn Robinson. Over the time I tried my best to go to the studio every weekend. I made up in my mind that I wasn’t going to stop no matter what was going on around me or any situation I may have found myself in. Read more>>

Gisemonde Moise

On October 2014 Gisemonde, manages to convince her husband her ideology of being beautiful by remaining natural with the incredible results of these treatments. This is how the couple decided to share the treatment center experiences only for natural and transitions hair, creating N’happy & Beautiful in Haiti. Testimonials and living solutions to different types of cases like baldness, seborrhea and alopecia give more taste and push the determination of N’happy & Beautiful. Read more>>

Kimilee Bryant

When I was eight years old (the age my son is right now), I visited NYC with my Mom and grandmother and declared that I would live there and be on Broadway one day! My mom said , “Well in about 20 years someone will, why not you?” Six weeks shy of my twenty-eighth birthday I made my Broadway debut! I was so fortunate to have many help along the way, so many teachers and mentors and great schools here in South Carolina including SC Governor’s School, Fine Arts Center, and Converse University. Read more>>

Zhané Dupree

Um, well… after high school I went straight to the “work-force” in fashion/clothing retail. I took my first sales position at Forever21, months later Victoria’s Secret, and then lastly, H&M. Forever21 was short lived. Although I did have this fashion dream to become a visual merchandiser, where they were training me at Forever21, it was basically a summer job for me that only lasted about 2 months due to management. After I quit Forever21, I immediately switched to Victoria’s Secret. I was actually working both jobs at the same time. Read more>>

Landon Carter

I have been creating for as long as I can remember. The parts of life I have found the most meaningful are those where language fails us. Aphonic moments where we find a deeper sense of knowing. I find that I communicate my thoughts best through these mediums, whether it is through a paintbrush, musical instruments, or more. When I was 2 years old, my mother passed away from cancer. My family and home life became very complicated after that, moving around to different places, getting a new stepmother, and numerous other overwhelming changes. Read more>>

Soweto Moody

GR Productions LLC started in October of 2020 shortly after my release from prison and a month after the loss of someone very dear to me, my dad. George Rouse. My dad was always on me about the people who I hung out with and leaving the street life to do something legit so I can lead a better life and not have to worry bout going back and forth in the system. Sadly, it was 9/4/20 which was also my dad 70th birthday when i lost him to cancer. I was in a prison cell when I got the news. But it was then when I made the vow to be the men that I knew he wanted me to be. Read more>>

Derek King

I have always had an interest in cooking. I graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in 2011 and it has been an adventure since then. I have cooked in a variety of places from hospitals to country clubs and I am on my way to opening up my own restaurant! No it has not been a smooth road. Covid has put a tremendous halt on my progress. I am an up amd coming personal chef. I specialize in bbq, smoking, grilling, and sauce making. I am most proud of is my smoked brisket. What sets me apart from others is my flavor profiles and my creativity. Read more>>

Jasmine Pilgrim

Hello, I am Jasmine Pilgrim. I am a model, entrepreneur and an actress. I was born in Spartanburg, SC where I graduated from high school at Spartanburg High School. I started modeling my senior year. Chris Kelly, a local celebrity photographer hosted my first photo shoot. Shortly after that, I received a couple opportunities; such as runway and print. College was a priority for me, so I relocated to Charleston to pursue a four-year degree and advance my modeling career. Read more>>

Tanis Evans

Well I graduated from James Island Charter High School in 09′. I wanted to take a break from school before thing about going to college. So I got into a relationship then had my first child…when you have kids you have to work start working at Sally beautiful supply needed more money then went to Paul Mitchell got fired from there then work at iqor a call center working on the phone for Direct tv…realized i was at work more then being home with my kid so after having my second child while at Iqor I made a decision to trust in God and walk on faith and i started doing loc I went to get my business license and started working for myself and started doing loc from family and friends to Brandon Shell and NFL football players Im home with my kids and working when I want to work and spend time with my kids without any issues. Read more>>

Melissa Nicole

My name is Melissa Parsley, Co-Owner of RoMen Enchanted Events. I’ve always been thought of as the creative one. I think I grew my inspiration from my grandmother. She was always big on decorating and catering. She’d decorate for other people and throw parties of her own. She even ran a local bar and pool hall when I was a teenager. Helping out with these events that she created was not an option lol. Nonetheless, I wanted to be there. Read more>>

Patrick Lydon

We are a band formed by two brothers and their mutual friends. 4 out of 5 of the members attended UNC Chapel Hill for college but we did not all meet there. We span age ranges of 23-30yo. I think the pandemic has been the biggest struggle thus far. In 2019 we worked really hard to get into a really good place, had a really awesome tour planned for the Spring/Summer of 2020, opening for some bands that I have dreamed about playing with, and then the pandemic hit and it felt like we had lost all our progress. Read more>>

Octavia Edwards

Hello Camila, To help move things along, please see below. I have shared with you my story on my non-profit website and business website. I would like for you to extract from both of them to present my story that displays my story as a whole.  Founder and Executive Director, Passion Project Initiative Inc. Co-Owner, Acute Heating & Cooling Mother, wife, education activist, social change advocate, businesswoman, and many other words could be used to describe Octavia Edwards, but none of them would fully capture her passion and drive. Read more>>

Christi Johnson

My business journey began in 2009 as a high school senior. I started doing photo sessions for my graduating friends for $50 each and also shadowed another local wedding photographer. I continued to photograph whatever I could and landed my first solo wedding for a friend in 2011. I remember hand editing 4 different versions of every photo because I wasn’t sure which one the bride would like the best. I had no idea that it was my job to make those creative decisions as the artist. I am eternally grateful for that first couple taking a chance on me!! Read more>>

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