From GA to L.A.


Television star Nikki DeLoach went from Blackshear, Georgia, to the Hollywood Hills and brought a little bit of her Southern roots with her.

It’s a Wednesday in Los Angeles and Nikki DeLoach is loading her kids William and Bennet into the car for a doctor’s appointment. It’s an almost quintessential mom moment, struggling with a car seat with a cell phone cocked under her ear. It’s also a far cry from her other life as an actress, strutting the red carpet at events ranging from Elton John’s Oscar Party to People StyleWatch’s Annual Denim Party

Depending on your viewing habits, you either know Nikki DeLoach as the endearingly self-centered Lacey Hamilton on MTV’s “Awkward,” or you know her from the slew of Hallmark movies she’s recently made her specialty, including “Truly, Madly, Sweetly,” “The Perfect Catch,” “A Dream of Christmas” and “Reunited at Christmas.”

It’s a resume that means you’ve most certainly seen her in something. And it’s almost worlds apart from the town of Blackshear, Georgia where she grew up.

“Growing up there, it was this idyllic small town, and by the way it still is,” she said. “It really was such an incredible place to be raised. I feel like in these small towns… I was raised by a community. Whether it was in church or school or sports, this whole community kind of kept their eyes on you and made sure you were taken care of. Everyone kind of came together to raise everyone’s children.”

Landing a modeling contract at a young age following a successful run on the pageant circuit, she left the one-stoplight town of Blackshear for the bright lights of Los Angeles and New York. It eventually landed her on The All-New Mickey Mouse Club, a show that launched the careers of stars like Ryan Gosling, Britney Spears and NSYNC. Fueled by her newfound stardom, she moved to LA with her grandmother full-time in 1994.

“Because I started acting and had been there young, I had been introduced to big cities like New York and LA,” she said. “But when I moved here, I think the biggest shock to the system was the size, the traffic, and it was just looking around and thinking, ‘Where’s the community? Where are the people that genuinely care about you as a human and not for what you can do for them or how much money you can make them?’”

As she built her career, she also began building her community. Inspired by the hometown she left behind and the simple mantra, “If it doesn’t exist, create it,” she began cultivating a community of actors who support one another through the difficult life of being a working actor.

“We’re calling ourselves the New Hollywood,” she said with a laugh. “And it’s made all the difference in the world. I’m just so grateful… That’s something small towns do without thinking. In big cities, if you want that in your world you have to make it yourself. It’s been a gamechanger for me.”

She’s also built a community through her writing, launching a blog with fellow writer Jen Ded called “What We Are.” Billed as a community where women “of all walks of life to share unfiltered stories and experiences on various issues women face today,” What We Are has built a strong following of women who are ready to drop the Instagram filter and revel in their shared experiences.

“There are some really good (stories on the site),” she said. “I love Jamie Lynn Sigler’s piece on asking for help. I think that’s a really big one for women. We’ve been told by society, and we also tell ourselves, we can do anything: go to work, take care of kids; we can do all of it. The truth of the matter is, we can’t. It’s hard. You’re carrying the weight of the world around. And also, you have a full-time job. It’s really difficult.”

That theme of asking for help resonated with DeLoach, who found herself in that position when her son Bennett was born with a heart defect that required open-heart surgery when he was just five days old.

“I’d never had to ask for help in my life. I was one of those women who said, ‘I have this.’ … What I had was strength to move forward, everything else I needed help on.” She also found catharsis in writing about her father’s diagnosis of Pick’s disease, a form of dementia.

“I actually find out about my dad and Bennett about a week apart. The one thing I will say is I’m a huge person of faith. It’s my rock, it’s my foundation. I never could have gotten through what I’ve been through the last two years without my faith,” she said. “And I could have not gotten around it without the people around me. I’m writing an article right now about angels; these are the real-life angels.”

These angels, these communities DeLoach has cultivated around herself, are at heart extensions of the community in which she grew up. One where everyone made sure you were taken care of and who came together in times of need.

It’s this sense of community she remembers when she talks about Blackshear, a place she still returns to as much as possible, to recharge on the family farm where she and her husband Ryan Goodell were married, and where most of her family still lives.

“I just miss being on my family farm. I miss putting my feet in the grass. There’s something in that soil that feeds me… Just being able to be there with my family, that’s what I miss the most,” she said. “I want my kids connected to earth and this specific place in the world that has meant so much to me.”

You can catch Nikki DeLoach as the lead in the upcoming Hallmark movie “Love to the Rescue,” premiered March 23 on Hallmark Channel

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Events Calendar

  • Forsyth Farmer's Market

    Jun 29, 2019
    9:00 AM - 1:00 PM @ South end of Forsyth Park

    The Forsyth Farmers’ Market vendors offer a variety of local goods including seasonal produce, eggs, honey, pastured meat, bread, cheese,...

  • Core Sound Christmas & Waterfowl Weekend

    Dec 06, 2019
    9:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Core Sound Waterfowl Museum

    Waterfowl Weekend is one of Core Sound's most highly anticipated events!  A entire weekend dedicated to celebrating Down East history, traditions,...

  • Volunteers needed for The Salvation Army

    Nov 14, 2019
    9:00 AM - 12:00 PM @ Salvation Army

    The Salvation Army Savannah is kicking off their annual holiday season Red Kettle Campaign on November 14, 2019. They announced an ambitious...

  • “Summon the Sea! Contemporary Artists and Moby Dick” Exhibition

    Oct 11, 2019
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Summon the Sea! Contemporary Artists and Moby Dick examines the work of six contemporary artists—Corey Arnold, Guy Ben-Ner, Patty Chang, Tristin...

  • SS Savannah (1819-2019)

    May 23, 2019
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Ships of the Sea Museum

    2019 marks the 200th anniversary of the SS Savannah's groundbreaking trans-Atlantic crossing.  In recognition of this monumental achievement,...

  • Savannah Philharmonic Chorus Auditions

    Sep 07, 2019
    10:00 AM - 2:00 PM @ Collegiate Church of St. Paul the Apostle

    The Savannah Philharmonic is holding auditions throughout the year for singers to have the opportunity to join the Chorus for the exciting...

  • Savannah Philharmonic Chorus Auditions

    Sep 07, 2019
    10:00 AM - 2:00 PM @ Collegiate Church of St. Paul the Apostle

    The Savannah Philharmonic is holding auditions throughout the year for singers to have the opportunity to join the Chorus for the exciting...

  • 7th Annual Gingerbread Festival

    Dec 06, 2019
    11:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Crystal Coast Civic Center

    Come join the fun at the Seventh Annual Crystal Coast Hospice House Gingerbread Festival at the Crystal Coast Civic Center! The Annual Gingerbread...

  • 2019 Holiday Artist Collective

    Nov 21, 2019
    4:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ Deep South Photopoint

    An upscale, holiday art market featuring one-of-a-kind collectibles, original paintings, genuine photographs, fine art prints and gifts created...

  • Savannah Philharmonic Holiday Spectacular

    Dec 06, 2019
    7:30 PM - 9:00 PM @ Johnny Mercer Theater

    This year, we’re reimagining what it means to celebrate the holiday season. In the first half of our program, we collaborate with the Savannah...

  • I Have Marks to Make Opening Celebration and Reception

    Dec 08, 2019
    2:00 PM - 4:00 PM @ Telfair Museums' Jepson Center

    Summary: Telfair’s I Have Marks to Make celebrates its 25th year as an inclusive, community-based art exhibition by individuals of diverse ages,...

  • Greenbriar Gift Wrap Center

    Dec 10, 2019
    12:00 AM - 9:00 AM @ Ogelthorpe Mall

     Once again, Greenbriar Children’s Center will celebrate the holiday season with the opening of the Gift Wrap Center and annual Celebrity wRap...

  • A Carpenter's Christmas

    Dec 13, 2019
    8:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    While The Carpenters are known for over a dozen chart-topping hits, they also won over their fans with their Christmas celebrations. And that’s...

  • Historic Beaufort Candlelight Homes Tour

    Dec 14, 2019
    5:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ Beaufort Historic Site

    Tour private homes in Beaufort and ride on the double-decker bus with carolers from local churches.  Homeowners will open their doors so that...

  • Cirque du Canines

    Dec 15, 2019
    3:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    Step right up, ladies and gents! Cirque du Canines, the Dog Circus, comes to the Tybee Post Theater stage.  Featuring fantastic dog tricks,...

  • Salvation Army Red Kettle Community Concert

    Dec 19, 2019
    6:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Georgia State Railroad Museum

    The Salvation Army Savannah is continuing the celebration of their annual holiday season Red Kettle Campaign with a community concert. At this...

  • App Ski’s New Year’s Eve Extravaganza

    Dec 31, 2019
    9:00 PM - 12:00 AM @ Appalachian Ski Mountain

    Annual celebration with fireworks, torchlight skiing, moonlight ice skating, and festive restaurant specials. Ski/ride tickets required for slope...

  • First Fridays in Starland

    Jun 07, 2019
    6:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Starland District

    First Fridays in Starland celebrates local business, art, and food in Savannah’s coolest neighborhood! Join us every First Friday of the...

  • 14th Annual MLK Youth Parade In Midtown Houston

    Jan 18, 2020
    12:00 PM - 1:30 PM @ Midtown

    The MLK Youth Parade In Midtown Houston Will Kick-off The 2020 MLK Holiday Weekend. Learn More @

  • 19th Annual MLK Battle Of The Bands Competition Houston

    Jan 19, 2020
    3:00 PM - 7:00 PM @ W.W. Thorne Stadium

    The MLK Battle Of The Bands Competition Houston Is One Of The Largest High School Marching Band Competitions In The U.S. Featuring Award Winning...

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Scenes of the South

14th Annual Pearls to Pluff Mud Fundraiser

The 14th Annual Pearls to Pluff Mud Fundraiser was held on Friday, November 1st at the Swamp Fox Farms. Guests enjoyed listening to the Fabulous Equinox Orchestra while tasting New Orleans themed dishes. There was a silent and live auction held to raise money for the Focus Fund Campaign for the Cross Schools in Bluffton, SC.

Brews for a Cause November at Savannah Octane Bar

South magazine in collaboration with Southern Eagle Distributing hosted the last Brews for a Cause of 2019 at the Savannah Octane Bar on Thursday, November 21 in a successful effort to raise money and awareness for Georgia Police K9 Foundation. The night featured tasty chicken appetizers catered by Himalayan Curry Kitchen, and special brews from Wicked Weed and Monday Night Brewing provided by Southern Eagle. These events provide good food, fun entertainment, refreshing drinks and most importantly – raise money for a great cause! Be sure to be on the lookout for our next Brews in January!

6th Annual First Responders Luncheon

Harris Lowry Manton LLC hosted its 6th Annual First Responder Appreciation Luncheon on Monday, Oct. 28 at Daffin Park. Free lunch was offered as a “thank you” to local paramedics, firefights, police officers and emergency medical responders.

DineSouth's VIP Icebox

DineSouth 2019 VIP room sponsored by IceBound was a hit at this year’s event! With a special performance by Ken Roy, guests enjoyed exclusive vendors such as sushi from Rue de Jean and popsicles from Savannah Square Pops. Made complete with a full-serve bar, the VIP room was chillingly spectacular!

Inside the Best of DineSouth 2019

DineSouth 2019 was a huge hit - by far one of our best ever! Thank you to all of our vendors, sponsors, entertainers and patrons. The Equinox All Stars rolled us into the night with fabulous tunes while Savannah for Morons and The Stardust Pixies treated guests with show-stopping amusement. Hunter Cattle came through with bells, livestock and a petting zoo. But of course, the event was topped off with some of the best flavors Savannah has to offer followed by mouthwatering cocktails. It was a night to remember, and we couldn’t have pulled it off without our amazing clients, supporters and staff. Thank you to Savannah Station and Events Work for helping us pull off anything great year. See y’all next time!

Anne Pappas Grand Opening

Anne Pappas Interiors celebrated the Grand Opening of their new full-service design studio and showroom at 101 W. Liberty St. in the heart of Savannah’s National Historic Landmark District, on Thursday, Oct. 10. “This inspiring space will allow our talented team of designers to provide exceptional creative services to clientele who appreciate the art of design,” said Pappas. A member of Coastal Living and Southern Living’s exclusive Designer Network, Pappas offers a fresh, inspired approach to interior design, incorporating a variety of textures and design elements inspired by nature, travel and global style. Pappas and her team welcomed guests with light hors d’oeuvres and cocktails at the event.

Savannah Film Alliance Honors Gala

Glitz and glamour were galore at the Savannah Film Alliance Honors Gala celebrating the Savannah Entertainment Industry as Charles (Bo) Bowen and his team orchestrated the event of the year. The night was unforgettable for all, but even more so for many hard-working and deserving individuals who were recognized for their contributions to the local film and television industry

Bitty and Beau's at Kendra Scott

Kendra Scott gives back with Bitty & Beau’s Saturday, Sept. 28. Kendra Scott gave 20% the proceeds of their sales from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to Bitty & Beau’s Coffee. Bitty & Beau’s, which aims to provide jobs and change the way people see those with special needs and disabilities, provided muffins and coffee.

Brews for a Cause September at Mansion on Forsyth

South magazine in collaboration with Southern Eagle hosted Brews for a Cause at Casimir’s Lounge at the Mansion on Forsyth Park on Thursday, Sept. 26 in a successful effort to raise money and awareness for CURE Childhood Cancer.

Savannah Hospice Gala

Hospice Savannah celebrated 40 years of the “Art of Living” at the Landings Plantation Ballroom on Thursday, Sept. 25.