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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Greatest Chefs 2019

Chefs are invisible artists. They keep us salivating, our minds fixated on the last time we ate at our favorite restaurant, and when the next time we plan on going. Nominate your favorite chef now!

Greatest Pets 2019

Man's Best Friend can be South's Greatest Pet with the right amount of love. Enter your pet and get those votes! Limited to southeast Georgia and the Lowcountry. Voting begins June 10 and ends July 1.
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Events Calendar

  • Summer Sea Camp

    May 27, 2019
    9:30 AM - 4:00 PM @ Tybee Island Marine Science Center

    Kids 6 to 11 years old * Morning and/or Afternoon Modules * After Care * Curbside Drop-off/Pick-up   Summer FUN for the kids…designed to fit...

  • 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,...

  • Ready. Set. Summer. at Bluemercury!

    May 13, 2019
    10:00 AM - 8:00 PM @ Bluemercury

    Summer is quickly approaching – stop into your local neighborhood beauty store Bluemercury for all the essentials you need to refresh your...

  • "Keita Takahashi: Zooming Out" Exhibition at Telfair Musuems

    Jan 24, 2019
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Telfair Museums hosts the first museum survey of the work of visionary videogame designer Keita Takahashi (Japanese, b. 1975). Takahashi is noted...

  • "The Prints of Dame Laura Knight" Exhibition at Telfair Museums

    Jan 19, 2019
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Telfair Museums' Jepson Center

    Telfair Museums exhibits nine prints by Dame Laura Knight (British, 1877-1970), together for the first time since they were acquired by the museum...

  • Summer Reading Program

    Jun 01, 2019
    10:00 AM - 5:15 PM @ Live Oak Public Libraries

    Reach for the stars with Summer Reading Program at Live Oak Public Libraries! Explore "A Universe of Stories" from June 1 through July 31...

  • "Mary Poppins Returns"

    Jun 25, 2019
    3:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    This critically acclaimed reimagining of the timeless classic, Mary Poppins, features Emily Blunt In the lead role. The new storyline, set in...

  • Suzanne Jackson's Sippin' Social at Two Tides

    Jun 25, 2019
    5:30 PM - 7:00 PM @ Two Tides Brewing

    We’re partnering with Savannah’s beloved Starland brewery Two Tides to celebrate local artist Suzanne Jackson and her...

  • Hot Rods and Rescues

    Jun 25, 2019
    5:30 PM - 7:00 PM @ Savannah Classic Cars Dealer and Museum

    A networking social and fundraiser for Coastal Pet Rescue.Minimum $10 Suggested Donation to Benefit Coastal Pet Rescue Guests will enjoy:...

  • French Moderns: Monet to Matisse, 1850-1950

    Jun 15, 2019
    All Day @ Consumer Museum of Art and Garden

    The biggest names in French art such as, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir will be showcased...

  • Coastal Heritage Society Summer Camps

    Jun 03, 2019
    All Day @ Tricentennial Park

    Each week-long camp: “STEAM Studio Camp,” “Jr. Chef Camp” and “Jr. Engineer Train Camp” will take place in June...

  • FYZICAL® Savannah Celebrates Anniversary with Open House on June 26

    Jun 26, 2019
    5:00 AM - 6:30 PM @ FYZICAL Savannah

    FYZICAL® Savannah, a local center providing balance therapy and fall prevention treatment, will hold a community open house Wednesday, June 26,...

  • cSpot @ Ghost Coast Distillery

    Jun 26, 2019
    5:30 PM - 7:30 PM @ Ghost Coast Distillery

    Come mix & mingle with locals over unique craft spirits and signature cocktails made in Savannah’s first distillery since just before...

  • Pelindaba Lavender Grand Opening

    Jun 27, 2019
    5:00 PM - 7:00 PM @ Pelindaba Lavender

    Join us to celebrate all things lavender in Savannah - ribbon cutting, product sampling, lavender refreshments and special prizes! During this...


    Jun 27, 2019
    5:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Deep South Photopoint

    The Arts on the Coast (AOC) is proud to present its 2019 Annual Exhibit hosted by the Photopoint Gallery and Elmgren's Garden Center in...

  • Yacht Hop 2019

    Jun 27, 2019
    5:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Savannah Yacht Club

    Join us for the 2019 Leukemia Cup Regatta Yacht Hop! Help us kick off the 2019 Leukemia Cup Regatta Series of Events! While you tour beautiful...

  • Let's Talk Community Discussion Series: Mental Illness and the LGBT+ Community

    Jun 27, 2019
    6:30 PM - 8:30 PM @ Asbury Memorial United Methodist Church

    The fifth event in The ELLA Foundation’s Let’s Talk Community Discussion Series will feature a panel of local experts and will be...

  • "Rocketman"

    Jun 27, 2019
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    The epic musical story of Elton John, his breakthrough years and his transformation from shy piano prodigy to international superstar. Set to his...

  • Beatles Yoga with Maggie Cunningham

    Jun 28, 2019
    5:45 PM - 7:00 PM @ Savannah Power Yoga

    Here comes the sun salutations! In this heated, 75-minute workshop, we will flow through a power vinyasa sequence accompanied by the music of the...

  • Friday Concert Series

    May 03, 2019
    7:00 PM - 12:00 AM @ Historic Courthouse, Downtown Blairsville on the S

    Come enjoy live music every Friday Night from the first Friday of May through the end of October. The Historic Union County Court House will host...

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Scenes of the South

JCB MudRun 2019

Participants hit the ground running at this year's JCB Mud Fest, climbing through tough obstacles in either the 5k or the 5 mile run. At the end of the race was a long slide where, upon finishing, contestants found themselves in the Party Pit. Winners from various age groups were presented with trophies, and all the proceeds from the JCB Mud Fest benefited the Lady Bamford Center for Early Childhood Development.

Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum's 200th Anniversary!

This past Wednesday, May 22, we celebrated with Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum for for the 200th anniversary of the SS Savannah's historic trans-Atlantic crossing — the WORLD'S FIRST oceanic voyage under steam! On this year's Maritime Day, Ships of the Sea celebrated the Savannah's 200th anniversary with a commemorative ceremony provided by the PROPELLER CLUB, where Robert Morris unveiled two eight-foot paintings. The evening also included an amazing performance by the Parris Island MARINE BAND, complimentary hors d'oeuvres and celebratory beverages!

Brews For A Cause at Top Deck

This past Tuesday, May 21 we celebrated another successful Brews for a Cause at Top Deck Bar! We joined up with Southern Eagle and a great group of like minded people to benefit Two Hundred Club of the Coastal Empire in their efforts to provide financial assistance to the surviving families of local law enforcement officers and firefighters who lose their lives in the line of duty. It was another memorable night in the South filled with great people and even greater crafted beer! This month's Featured Craft Beer: Island Coastal Lager Sponsors: Island Coastal Lager, Two Hundred Club of the Coastal Empire, Southern Eagle, South Magazine

Brews for a Cause at Churchill's

This Thursday, Churchill's was pack as we celebrated another successful Brews for a Cause at Churchill's! We joined Southern Eagle and The Coastal Heritage Society. Southern Eagle provided great craft beer, Sista Rae Rae performed live, and the silent auction was a huge success. All the proceeds from the silent auction — including a diamond necklace from International Diamond — benefitted the Coastal Heritage Society.

Nine Line Foundation Dinner

On Friday, May 17, Nine Line hosted their Foundation Dinner that included special guests WWE Superstars Mark Calaway aka The Undertaker, Dustin Rhodes aka Goldust, John “Tig” Tiegen, hero of Benghazi portrayed in the movie “13 Hours,” Chad Prather, comedian and social media celebrity, and Graham Allen, social media celebrity. Guests mingled with the superstars and bid on auction items to raise money for the foundation. Matt Lyda put on a stellar performance as the MC of the event and kept the crowd entertained and bidding.

6th Annual Nine Line Run for the Wounded

The Nine Line Foundation and Nine Line Apparel celebrate Armed Forces Day for their 6th Annual 5K/10K Run for the Wounded in Savannah, Georgia. Proceeds from the race go directly towards their newest initiative: building a transitional community, a Veterans Village, for homeless veterans right here in Savannah, Georgia. With both 5K and 10K options available, this twilight run turned out to be another great success.

Nine Line Foundation Dinner

On Friday, May 17, Nine Line hosted their Foundation Dinner that included special guests WWE Superstars Mark Calaway Aka: the Undertaker, Dustin Rhodes aka: Goldust, John Tiegen "Tig" hero of Benghazi portrayed in the movie "13 Hours", Chad Prather, Comedian and Social Media Celebrity, and Graham Allen, Social Media Celebrity. Guests mingled with the superstars and bid on auction items to raise money for the foundation. Matt Lyda put on a stellar performance as the MC of the event and kept the crowd entertained and bidding.

SCAD40 Block Party

SCAD celebrated their 40th anniversary with a grand block party. Fellow alumni reconnected with university faculty and staff. ShopSCAD had live artist demonstrations, live music at the Gryphon, keepsakes and SCAD40 merchandise to purchase at the Art’s Café, SCAD food trucks with tasty treats and much more.

Kessler Collection’s Armstrong-Kessler Mansion Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Local hotelier Richard Kessler and his company The Kessler Collection officially cut the ribbon on his newly restored home in Savannah, the Armstrong-Kessler Mansion. This iconic home celebrates its 100th birthday this year, and his been meticulously restored to its former grandeur as one of the foremost examples of Italian Renaissance architecture and design in America. Congratulations to Richard Kessler and The Kessler Collection!

The Clyde

The Clyde Venue is Savannah’s newest, most modern, wedding venue located in the Historic Landmark District. The space has been completely renovated, and a work in progress for more than a year. The venue is 5,200 square feet and includes a grande room, large marble bar, catering prep area, and restrooms. It’s located at 223 Martin Luther King Boulevard.