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As 2015 comes to a close, it’s time to look back at the women who inspired, entertained and taught us. We asked many of our Atlanta FACES of 2015 and our FACES of the South for the best advice they’d ever been given or offered others, and we’ve gathered all their words of guidance and knowledge into this year-end feature. Enjoy!

StyleBlueprint Faces of Atlanta and Faces of the South 2015

Our Atlanta FACES’ Best Advice of 2015

Lara Casey

Lara Casey, editor in chief/publisher of Southern Weddings
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
“Feel the fear, and do it anyway.” This quote from author Susan Jeffers was shared with me by a mentor many years ago. This doesn’t mean throw everything to the wind and haphazardly dive in; it means stop, be still, feel whatever you are feeling and then take action. So often, we as busy women think that slowing down means we won’t be successful. However, I believe the opposite is true. Putting the brakes on and allowing ourselves to acknowledge where we are gives us the ability to boldly move forward. Practicing this has changed everything for me.

Nyssa Green

Nyssa Green, makeup artist
What advice do you share with aspiring stylists and make­up artists?
These days, it’s “You can’t learn everything you need to know about makeup from Instagram.”

Keisha Noel

Keisha Noel, jewelry designer of KZ Noel
What advice would you give someone starting their own business?
To remember the saying, “Rome was not built in a day.” Growing a business takes time, so be patient!

Smith Sinrod

Smith Sinrod, clothing designer of by SMITH
What’s been your most treasured advice you’ve received?
Never give up. My dad regularly told my sisters and me this, encouraging us to be strong, no matter what. Even though it’s pretty straightforward, it’s pretty indicative of how my career has gone the past couple of years. I’ve had challenging times along the way, but they all lead to growth.

LeeAnn Maxwell and Carrie King

Vixen Vodka’s Carrie King and LeeAnn Maxwell, founders of Vixen Vodka
What advice do you give other women ready to take the plunge into their own business?
LeeAnn: Never turn down an invitation … you never know who you’ll meet.
Carrie: Be smart. Act smart. Think smart. Work smart. Spend smart. Listen to your gut, and be prepared to get your hands dirty!

Emily Giffin

Emily Giffin, best-selling author
What are some basic words of wisdom you can offer based on your professional experience?
I would simply say that you shouldn’t be afraid to take a risk for something you really want. Deciding to leave the law to pursue writing full time was the first major risk I ever took and one of the best decisions I ever made. As Mark Twain says in my all-time favorite quote: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” Great advice.

Factory Girls

Factory Girls’ Regina Weir and Rosa Thurner, founders of Factory Girls
What tips would you give a young designer trying to build a brand?
Know your market, learn to sew, make patterns, any skill you can do yourself will allow you to save money and not get taken advantage of. Designing is only a part of the job. You must be involved in branding, promoting, marketing, accounting, sourcing, production and sales.

Angie Harmon

Angie Harmon, actress and jewelry designer
Is there a quote or piece of advice that you have relied on that you can share with our readers today?
I really try to apply, “If you are not pretty on the inside, you are not pretty on the outside.” And to always wait on God. It’ll be worth the wait.

Emily Murphy, COO of Mother Nature News

Emily Murphy, COO of Mother Nature Network
Who have been some of your greatest mentors, and what tidbits of their advice do you hold dear?
My greatest mentors have been my parents and my older sister, Holly. My father is a self-made man with an amazing work ethic. My mother finished her Ph.D. after she had three children; she’s never afraid to try new things and excels at everything she does. And Holly is incredibly successful professionally, but remains one of the nicest and most thoughtful people I know. The favorite piece of advice came from a colleague and good friend: “Work as hard as you can, save as much as you can and don’t take it personally.”

Britt Robertson Image credit: Disney

Britt Robertson, actress
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given, and who gave it to you?
Recently, after the Tomorrowland premiere, George Clooney gave me some great advice. He has said this to me before, but he reiterated, “Make the most of your opportunities. This is a movie that could mean something for you and your career. Take advantage of the opportunities as they are given to you.”
What advice would you give young females looking to pursue their career in the arts?
Be confident in what you want to do, and don’t get too caught up in the ideas of fame. Be focused and work really hard. Most importantly, be nice to people. You have no idea how far being kind will get you. People love kindness. Image credit: Disney

Wendy Whelan Image: Kentucky Center

Wendy Whelan, dancer and photographer
Who are your mentors, and what advice do you treasure?
I have a lot of mentors from my past in ballet and some more present-day mentors, like Risa Steinberg and my teacher, Zvi Gotheiner, who now give me guidance as I move forward in this different style of more contemporary and modern dance. Mostly what I hear from them is to breathe and keep my body soft and supple, more open and free. I try to stay calm, be myself and always keep my sense of humor. I treasure all this advice. Image: Kentucky Center

Lennon and Maisy

Lennon and Maisy, singing-acting-author sister duo
What is the best piece of advice you have been given, and who gave it to you?
Lennon: Hayden [Panettiere, who plays singer Juliette Barnes on “Nashville”] always told me to be true to yourself. When we first got on the show, we were still in public school, and it was a little tough in the beginning. We were at a new school and we were on this TV show and the kids started to be mean. Hayden started acting young, and she told us you just have to be yourself and not listen to them. She told us if this is something we want to do, we just have to go for it. She is definitely the nurturing one of the bunch.

Shawna Thompson

Shawna Thompson, singer Thompson Square
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given, and who gave it to you?
That would definitely be from my [late] dad. When I first moved to Nashville, I was scared to death and was 18 years old. Moving from such a small community, I was worried that people weren’t going to accept who I was and how I talked; my accent was thick, and I was pretty country. He just always told me, “Just be yourself, and if they like you, they like you, and if they don’t, they don’t.” Image: Joseph Llanes

Holly Hollingsworth Phillips

Holly Hollingsworth Phillips, interior designer and blogger
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? What is one thing about you that would surprise people?
I am a cowgirl at heart. I think I could be equally happy with life on a farm, as long as UPS still delivered. I dream of a big, beautiful ranch out west with horses, cows, llamas, chickens and the like. I do think my caftans would look a bit out of place though.

Jen Hatmaker

Jen Hatmaker, blogger and author
Who are your mentors and what advice do you treasure?
I get to stand on the shoulders of so many amazing women who’ve gone before me. What a lucky generation we are. Luci Swindoll tells and texts me this message constantly: “Just be you.” I cannot tell you how liberating it is. I want to tattoo that on my forehead. In a season marked by so much striving, the idea of relaxing into who I am and who I was made to be with no regrets or apologies or guilt or comparison is just the bee’s knees.

Molly Fletcher

Molly Fletcher, sports agent, author, motivational speaker
What is one piece of advice you’ve been given that you treasure?
That when you say “no” you say “yes” to something else.
What is your best piece of public speaking advice you can offer someone?
Know your audience, and know their world. What are they worried about? Excited about? Be prepared. Be authentic. Be relatable. Be humble. Make them cry, laugh, and try to have them on their feet when you end.

Holly Ranney

Holly Ranney, founder of Sunshine on a Ranney Day
What is some valuable advice you’ve been given?
Take one day at a time, and take some time off for yourself.

Robin Henson

Robin Henson, photographer/owner of Robin Henson Photographs
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
My father told me to always give 110 percent, and people will have your back. I do and they have.
If someone was just starting out in a photography career, what wisdom would you impart on them?
Take classes and assist photographers, if you can. I assisted a number of photographers for three to four years before going out on my own. Work in a lab or other business related to photography. People skills are very important. Building trust and strong relationships by meeting deadlines, budgets and expectations of a project will help secure your place within a company. I have been shooting for a few of my clients for 10 to 20 years. And learn the business side of photography; shooting is only half of the job.

Jessica Smithgall

Jessica Smithgall, owner of DEFINE body & mind in Buckhead
What advice would you give someone looking to open a business?
Stay persistent! I can’t count the number of times that I have achieved something simply because I refused to give up. Learning is often painful! I feel that persistence might be even more important than brains.

Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin

Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin, CEO and executive creative director of Tribe
What’s your best advice?
Life is long and the world is small, so be nice to people. You may cross paths again someday.

Ruth Franklin

Ruth Franklin, artist
What is your best piece of advice you can offer?
Remain hopeful. Try not to think too much about the fact that we’re just a virus with shoes.

Lee Thomas

Lee Thomas, deputy commissioner of Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office
What is your best piece of advice?
Keep at it. It is not easy to get your first job in the film industry, but when you do and you work hard and do a great job, it will be easy to get the others!

Sarah Cyrus

Sarah Cyrus, owner of Sarah Cyrus Design
What is your best piece of advice?
Ask for help. So many people who are where you want to be would love to offer their advice or support.

Jenna Shulman

Jenna Shulman, CEO of Jewish Educational Loan Fund and co-founder of juLuv
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Follow my career “gut.” Since I had moved to Atlanta to study law (and graduated with my J.D.), it was a difficult decision to pursue a different field early on in my career — and there were many people I met who literally told me I was crazy for deviating from the path that I had studied. I knew deep down that I was going to be much happier doing something different, and, at first, it was difficult to be confident in that. Ultimately, though, following my instincts has led me to find a perfect match for my skills and have the inspiring career that I am proud of today.

Kathleen Bertrand

Kathleen Bertrand, jazz vocalist and former vice president of Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau
What is your best piece of advice?
Love with passion and live life with excellence in everything you do.

Thank you to all of our lovely FACES and a special shoutout to Catrina Maxwell of CatMax Photography for the beautiful photos she takes of our Atlanta FACES. Happy New Year!

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