By: Tonya Jackson
Pensacola has a rich history of talent, either homegrown or nurtured here. For three examples, please allow me to introduce to some of you and reacquaint others of you to Kimberly Watson, Shannon Hemmings, and Tie-Bo. This trio of young professionals are defining success on their terms and making a difference in the lives of others as they blaze their trail to success.
To say Kimberly Watson is a hairstylist is an understatement. Watson is a transformer. Before moving to Pensacola, the Georgia Peach honed her craft and fell in love with cosmetology while working at Glamour Shots. She saw firsthand how simple changes could make a huge impact on how a woman feels about herself. “Originally, since I wasn’t licensed, I was just doing dry styling, but I was able to see how the changes I made brought joy to my clients.”
One of watson’s biggest transformation occurred when she left Atlanta, GA and relocated to Pensacola. Once she settled in she became a stylist at Style Downtown. Now she transforms the day for each of her clients, whether they are having an ordinary day or one of those special life changing days, and makes the dreams of her clients come true.
“I love how a woman enters the salon feeling one way, but once I’ve created that style she wants she leaves feeling beautiful. I love that I can see her smile brighten, and I can even see improvement in her posture.”
Watson styles all types of hair and shared that she also does makeup. She and the rest of the stylists at Style Downtown have been known to donate their services to bring smiles to young ladies getting ready for the prom. She has even been known to get models runway ready. That’s what a transformer does.
As an undergrad at the University of West Florida Shannon Hemmings gained a reputation as a gifted actor. The irony is, becoming a fulltime actor was not her initial career path. As a recent graduate who is not working in her major, communication arts, I wondered how the reality of life after college has been different from what she imagined.
Hemmings, originally from Miami, FL, moved to Atlanta GA after graduation. “The transition from college to the real world was definitely a lot harder than I expected. Making meaningful friendships was incredibly difficult as well as trying to find a balance between work and a having social life. I’m so incredibly happy now though, it’s not the life I imagined.“
Hemmings shared her biggest triumph, thus far, since graduation, “Choosing to fight to make my dreams come true, as cheesy as it sounds. I remember being at an amazing panel at the Sundance Film Festival and hearing the stories of Mindy Kaling, Kristen Wiig, Lena Dunham, and Jenji Kohan. So I got back from the festival and I made a commitment to fulfill my destiny.”
Currently, Hemmings is in the play, “Secret of Shahrazad” and also shooting scenes for an indie film that she hopes, “will connect people of color to their African roots.” Of course she has more in the works, but that’s all she can share now.
Pensacola native, Booker T. Washington High School graduate, and comedian, Tie-Bo, was recently in town and took the time to speak to me. “It’s always great to come back home and speak to everyone. I appreciate all of the love. I’m glad to be back home to do a show for a private event. I do adult comedy and clean comedy, I’m very versatile.”
As many of you may know, Tie-Bo is a class act who never misses an opportunity to greet everyone; this evening was no exception. While a lot has changed since he did his first set at the age of 17 and told a Snickers joke, he is a man who carry’s the values that his parents instilled in him.
Tie-Bo is thankful to Carrot Top for critiquing his jokes early on. He also notes how Rickey Smiley and Nephew Tommy helped in those early years. “Thomas Miles, Nephew Tommy will still correct me if I’m doing something wrong. Junior will also correct me if I do something wrong. They will call be up in a heartbeat and put me in line.”
Currently, he is working on two Showtime series, Ray Donovan and House of Lies starring Don Cheadle. Tie-Bo says, “Working with a talented actor like Don Cheadle is another opportunity to grow as an entertainer.”
Contact Kimberly Watson through Style Downtown at 192 N. Palafox St. You can follow Shannon Hemmings on Instagram @shanhem1 or Facebook. Tie-Bo can be found on Facebook, Showtime, and his cd “God’s Gift to Laughter.”