South Park Magazine

April 10, 2013

Women to Watch

From composers to creators, Charlotte is brimming with women who are innovators.

From composers to creators, Charlotte is brimming with women who are innovators. We’ve found nine up-and-comers who are leaving their mark on this city—and are sure to inspire you. Styled in spring’s latest fashions by some of the city’s top shops, these are savvy women you’ll want to keep on your radar.



Jocelyn Ellis

Soul and folk vocalist, songwriter and producer Jocelyn Ellis has performed around the world with names like Citizen Cope, Everclear and Wyclef Jean. These days, the creative indie artist is hard at work with her latest project under her new music publishing company, The Apple Seed Society. “Life of a Hologram” is a conceptual art, crowd funded album set to be completed later this year. So where does the talented musician find her creativity and strength? “Growing up around people like that showed me without even telling me to really cultivate and understand your true self,” says the North Carolina native, whose EP, “In the Beginning” is available on iTunes. “They showed me I wanted to encourage people to find their confidence, greatness and the peace within.”
Clothes and styling Dupp & Swat, 980-224-2128


Maggie Ruppert

We’ve long appreciated master chefs. But there is an emerging off-shoot of the oft-regarded kings of the culinary world. They are masters of the art of libation, adopting the knowledge of their predecessors and commanding their own canvas. Maggie Ruppert, mixologist at Halcyon, Flavors of the Earth, is one such pioneer, and she’s taking her training, her drive and her exotic recipes (pork fat infused bourbon, anyone?) to the forefront of Charlotte’s epicurean elite. Her passion? Local ingredients and the unexpected. “Savory cocktails are something people don’t think about,” she says, referencing a concoction made from celery root, horseradish infusion and certified organic, North Carolina vodka—one of many North Carolina distillation products carried at Halcyon. “This is what I really enjoy showcasing.”
Clothes and styling by Petal Boutique,


Aisha Dew

When she’s showing off her creative talents in performing arts companies like On Q productions, Aisha Dew stays busy in her role as the chair of the Mecklenburg County Democratic Party. And the budding politician has had quite a busy year from canvassing and rallying volunteers for last fall’s presidential election, to getting a close-up look at the Democratic National Convention. But Dew stands apart from the crowd for more than her round-the-clock work. She was the first African American woman to be elected to the role of chair. “I hope that it means the door is open to a lot more people of color and women,” she says. “I am glad to have been a very small piece of what I hope is an ever-growing trend.”
Clothes by Belk,; jewelry by Scout & Molly’s,


Sarah Baucom

Every woman has been there: Your best friend’s engagement party is two days away, and you realize you have nothing to wear. Sarah Baucom’s been there, too—specifically in 2010 when she and her now-husband Ryan had 13 weddings to attend, including their own. But Sarah turned problem into opportunity, and in 2012 she opened Social Dress Shop, a Charlotte-based international online boutique specializing in designer cocktail and party dresses. Whether online or helping clients by appointment, Sarah’s mission is clear. “Sometimes you need a dress yesterday,” says Baucom. “And when you are presenting yourself the best you can, that’s the most confident you’ll ever feel.”
Clothes by Social Dress Shop,; jewelry by Erin McDermott Jewelry,


Cristina “Trinity” Velez

Few people have an ear for sound like Trinity Velez. The recent Chapel Hill grad and founder of Reelscoring uses a variety of musical genres to create original scores and compositions for films and ensembles. But her relationship with music goes beyond the sound of music. “Good scores tend to meld into the image, so people don’t hear it—they can feel it,” says Velez. “That’s what I find amazing. You don’t have to listen to a film score to know it’s there. You can feel it. I’ve always been attracted to film scoring because of how it made me feel. There’s a whole lot more to music than what you hear.”
Clothes and styling by Boris & Natasha, 704-375-0079


Meghann Gunderman

Since 2004, Meghann Gundermann has placed more than 80 African orphans in local boarding schools, ensuring their physical, emotional and intellectual needs are met. It’s a passion that dates back to college, when after three summers working with an orphanage in Tanzania, Gundermann set out to raise thousands of dollars for a washing machine, power generator and a water filter to provide safe water for the children and staff. In November 2006, Meghann founded The Foundation for Tomorrow, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of orphans and the quality of education for children in Africa.
Clothes and styling by Coplon’s,


Caroline Queen

After several hours of morning coursework at Davidson College, kayaker Caroline Queen hits the water five times per week, sometimes doubling up on workouts during the weekends. “In any sport I play, I am not necessarily the one with the most refined skill, but I am definitely the one with the most heart,” says Queen, who frequently trains at Charlotte’s US National Whitewater Center and competed in last summer’s London Olympics. It’s that same heart that has led her to be a champion philanthropist on dry land, volunteering and fundraising on behalf of leukemia and lymphoma research, helping to improve education, athletic, and nutrition resources for children in Nigeria through the Access to Success Foundation, and working with the Davidson Trust, which helps ensure all students graduate debt-free. “Davidson has been integral to my accomplishments,” says Queen. “I want to do everything I can to make sure that students of all socio-economic backgrounds can take advantage of such a wonderful place.”
Clothes and styling by Monkee’s of Lake Norman,


Rebekah Newman

Playing in the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra is no small feat. And for its 27-year-old principal violist, Rebekah Newman, it’s all about the people she plays alongside. “I am constantly learning new things about people and their personality while playing with them,” says the Michigan native. “A lot of people don’t realize that everyone shows a bit of who they are while they play.” Newman, who moved to Charlotte in 2011, was thrilled by the chance to work not only under renowned conductor Christopher Warren-Green, but also with the other musicians in the CSO. “My favorite part about performing is connecting musically, emotionally and intensely with other musicians,” she says. “It’s more than just how the audience is going to like the performance, it’s all about enjoying it myself and bringing joy, fun and satisfaction to my colleagues.”
Clothes and styling by Capitol,


Erica Hanks

Erica Hanks was always the girl people went to for fashion advice. So it was no surprise when she became a wardrobe stylist, attending runway shows and staying on top of trends. But what frustrated Hanks was her inability to access what she saw on the runways—especially as a mother of three with very little spare time. Her solution: Front Row Charlotte, a fashion event company featuring front-row-only runway shows that promote local boutiques—plus on-site shops with everything from the runway, in a variety of sizes. Shows happen annually, showcasing what’s new for spring. This year’s event at Triple C Brewing Co. sold out in 10 days. “I’m interested in putting on an event that people actually want to come to and have a great time,” says Hanks. “From the 20-something girl on a budget to the fashion editor, everyone gets the best seat.”
Clothes and styling by chezElle,

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