INSTAGRAM: @cocktailbandits | WEBSITE:

Recently named two of Charleston's 50 Most Progressive in 2016, Johnny Caldwell and Taneka Reaves are the dynamic duo known around the globe as the curly-haired Cocktail Bandits. The full-time Charleston Ambassadors met in their political science classes at the College of Charleston, and now, with their booming hospitality business and self-titled Cocktail Bandits blog, Johnny and Taneka promote female empowerment through advocacy for the food and beverage community from a feminine, urban perspective. 

The curly ladies, who talk cocktails daily, educate and entertain their growing blog audience through their own original cocktail recipes, promoting the craftsmanship of other bar professionals, and sharing their experiences at foodie events all around the Holy City and beyond. They have also been featured on Sirius XM Radio online, Metro UK online, Charleston Wine & Food Festival, Atlanta Food & Wine Festival and several other regional publications.

Deona Smith Headshot - Print.jpg


INSTAGRAM: @sistersummit | WEBSITE:

Deona Smith is the founder and executive director of Sister Summit, a nonprofit organization formed to empower women and girls of color. Sister Summit produces expos, conferences and workshops that provide education and inspiration in the areas of personal and professional development.

Prior to founding Sister Summit, Smith served as publisher and editor of Living Roots magazine - a South Carolina publication that celebrated the culture, history and lifestyle of the African-American community.

Before that, Smith spent several years as a marketing administrator in the brewing industry in Washington, D.C., working with Beer Institute and providing regulatory marketing oversight for the likes of Heineken, Miller, Coors and Anheuser-Busch. Later she served as director of community relations for Pearlstine Distributors, Inc., the Charleston area’s Anheuser-Busch distributor, where she handled media relations, community outreach, corporate communications, and charitable giving.

She has received numerous honors including being named by Charlie Magazine as “One to Watch” in the South Carolina Lowcountry and the MOJA Arts Festival’s Rising Star Award. Ms. Smith has served on many local boards including the Greater Charleston YWCA and Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce. She is currently a board member of Art Forms and Theatre Concepts, on the outreach committee for TEDx Charleston, and is a member of the Junior League.

Ms. Smith is a native of Awendaw, SC, and a proud Howard University Bison. She enjoys Lowcountry living and sharing new discoveries with her 8-year-old son, Joseph. Together, they will publish their first children’s book in the fall. Ms. Smith has worn her natural hair with pride and confidence for the past 20 years.




Victoria Rae is a lifestyle publicist and owner of Victoria Rae Public Relations. She represents clients in beauty and wellness industries as well as creative arts, entertainment, and cause-based organizations.

The former Miss North Charleston USA received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications from the University of South Carolina. After years of working in non-profit community outreach, corporate radio and marketing for a Fortune 500 company, she launched her independent public relations practice in 2012 with a single client.

In her downtime, Victoria Rae can be found journaling in one of Charleston’s secret gardens, exploring the local food scene with her husband or lounging with a cup of hot tea, a good book and her puppy, Prince Job.




Educator and mompreneur Erica Alcox is the Founder and President of Alcox Enterprises, which includes:

  • The Charleston Crunch Co., home of the best Chucktown Chewies and all old school snacks with a Lowcountry remix;
  • KnotStar, the online magazine for teens with natural hair and the only showcase that starts on social media and ends in a live event;
  • Okra Soup for Your Spirit;
  • Audacity Boot Camp, where she serves as Developer and Master Accountability Partner; and
  • Your Holy City Hostess Gifts and Apparel online store.

She has one son, Nicholas (who changed his name to Miles), and a blog on, where she documents her attempts to balance motherhood and entrepreneurship while not losing herself as a woman.



INSTAGRAM: @Tzipporah_BraidingStudio | FACEBOOK:

From braids and locs to point-cutting a 45° diagonal forward bob, Protective Stylist Tiffany Monique is a bonafide innovator in the Charleston natural hair scene. With 10 years of professional service and over 200K social media followers collectively, Tiffany's skills and creativity beautifully transform thousands of loyal clients, many of whom travel hours from other states to sit in her chair. Tiffany is a 2010 graduate of Miller Motte Charleston, and today, she is the owner of the highly successful Tzipporah Braiding Studio, an SC hair award nominee, and social media enthusiast. She is also currently enrolled in a Master Barber/Instructor program to help young stylists develop their potential and pursue their talents through a hair school venture. She also offers one-on-one sessions and group classes to help other natural hair and protective stylists develop their skills.