Southern Women

Joey + Jessica; Ben Williams (left)
by Allison Glock - August/September 2011

A new generation of women who are redefining the Southern Belle

>Click to see photos of all the women

Sally King Benedict

Sally King Benedict began painting before she could read or write, so it’s no surprise she joined a growing community of artists who share space at Redux Contemporary Art Center in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, after graduating from the College of Charleston in 2007. Benedict’s vibrant abstracts have drawn comparisons to Cy Twombly and Mark Rothko, but she’s most influenced by innovative females like Georgia O’Keeffe and Sonia Delaunay, the French painter who applied her geometric vision to everything from textiles to photography. Benedict often incorporates the kaleidoscopic colors of the Lowcountry and recently began dabbling in portraiture. “I don’t want to stay in one comfortable place,” she says. The bold slashes of hue and subject matter in the painting
Gullah, an avant-garde portrait, demonstrate Benedict’s aesthetic. “I painted that face to illustrate the importance of relating to one another,” she says, “and to portray an element in history.” (To see Benedict’s work, visit

The Women of Billy Reid
The Welcoming Committee

At the Billy Reid store on King Street in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, it’s hard to distinguish the sales staff from stylish shoppers. Employees Jourdan Frye, Shelby Hightower, Addie Dorsey, and Elizabeth Robbat are prone to dropping by even on days off, and everyone, clients included, greet one another by name. “We want everyone who comes in to feel like they’re walking into someone’s home,” says Hightower, an assistant manager. “We send thank-you notes. We offer sweet tea.” Together, Hightower, Frye, Dorsey, and Robbat are a formidable foursome single-minded in their attention to service. “Our goal is to get people excited about the clothes and to offer a new experience,” Dorsey explains. “Whether they’re local or not, our customers leave here feeling like they know us and vice versa.” What’s more Southern than that?