The South is full of live-out-loud personalities—“characters,” as we affectionately like to call them. So it’s only natural that several Southerners are featured in the new book, The Authentics: A Lush Dive into the Substance of Style, which takes readers inside the private worlds of twenty-seven creative-industry professionals, from interior designers to vintners and artists. The one thing they all have in common: a quest to lead compelling lives by their own rules. “That kind of uniqueness is more important than ever, given how homogenized the world has become,” says author Dara Caponigro. For photographer (and G&G contributor) Melanie Acevedo, documenting each person was about letting them have room to be themselves. “Sometimes being too rigid can stifle the ability to capture moments, as we all get too caught up in trying to follow a script,” she says. “I think it was this gift of flexibility and freedom that enabled us to create this project.” Georgia native Miles Redd, South Carolina native Kelly Wearstler, and Texas native Katalina Hicks appear in separate chapters to share bits of wisdom on both style and on life. Some of our favorite takeaways from each follow below.
Tastemaker: Interior Designer Miles Redd
Southern by way of: Georgia
Style wisdom: “Among the cognoscenti there is a slight disdain for ‘decorating’. It is often frowned upon as something overwrought or too considered, but I am here to defend it. I live in very decorated environments, and I can tell you that it makes me extremely happy.”
Tastemaker: Interior Designer Kelly Wearstler
Southern by way of: South Carolina
Style wisdom: “The bravest [choice in my life] was following my heart in the design industry and not listening to critics and following the course of others. I’ve always strived to do what I intuitively believe to be right.”
Tastemaker: Former digital marketing expert for Gucci, Cartier, and Chanel and Instagram sensation Katalina Hicks
Southern by way of: Texas
Style wisdom: “Style is the ability to express oneself freely apart from trends. If it doesn’t represent your personal point of view, then it’s just clothing. Luckily my extremely hardheaded and contrarian nature has always protected me from acquiescing to convention.”
The Authentics: A Lush Dive into the Substance of Style is available now.