She’s My Hero

Women Embody Their Heroes in New 2019 Calendar 

Mell Bell and Wanda Cavazos of mellBella Photography have always been committed to empowering women through photography. The duo specialize in boudoir and pinup portraits and their motto is “beauty at every age and every stage of life.” Earlier this year, the two decided they wanted to do something special to help women grow and gain self confidence and to give back to the community. During a coffee-fueled brainstorming session, they developed the idea for a She’s My Hero calendar. The calendar features 10 local women photographed embodying the spirit of their heroes.  

“We loved the idea of having women tell us about who inspires them, about who their heroes are,” Wanda says. “What better way to put it all together than a calendar, I mean, it fits in with everything we do, as photographers who specialize in women’s portraiture.”  

Join Skirt at the launch party 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 10 at the Cotton Dock at Boone Hall Plantation when mellBella unveils the calendar. Proceeds from the calendar go to the Center for Women, which works to help women achieve economic success and leadership. 

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The woman: Amanda Gorzsas
Amanda is a freelance communications consultant and the mother of a 1-year old.  

 Her Hero: Lucille Ball
“Besides being the very definition of a television icon, National Women’s Hall of Famer  Lucille Ball was smart, witty, savvy and funny,” Amanda writes in her submission. “Lucille was a go-getter, problem-solver, tour de force — writing her own success story, punctuated with punchlines, and she’s my hero not just for the records she set, but for why and how she set them.” 

Lucille Ball was the first woman to run a major production company, the first pregnant woman to be depicted as pregnant on-screen, a pioneer of the three-camera film style, first to include an interracial couple on television and the first millionaire TV star. 

The Inspiration
“She used business and trade acumen to succeed in a male-dominated industry. She divorced before it was socially acceptable. And above all, she brought joy to countless lives through laughter. Finally, Lucille Ball found most of her success after her 40th birthday, proving that it’s never too late to pursue your passion, start a family, or just live your best damn life.”  

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The woman: Sherry McIntire
Sherry is a 37-year-old mother of four. She is a full-time bookkeeper and human resources representative as well as a part-time student.  

Her Hero: Her grandmother Catalina Wilson
“She’s a survivor like no one else I know,” Sherry writes. “She was born on the island of Guam in 1933. She was only a child during the Japanese invasion and occupation of the island, becoming a prisoner of war from 1941 until 1944. She lived and witnessed horrors most of us will never know. She overcame her nightmares and grew to be a loving, caring, hardworking woman.” 

Catalina raised seven children, as well as her granddaughter Sherry. She held down multiple jobs while taking care of her home and family. Sherry says her grandmother has the work ethic of a true survivor and an abundance of joy and love. Her legacy is one of perseverance and laughter through life’s many challenges. Even now as she fights Alzheimer’s disease, “she still manages to make us laugh and smile from time to time,” Sherry says.  

The Inspiration:
Sherry’s grandmother’s drive and unfailing positivity have inspired her life in every possible way.  

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The woman: Erin Bootle 
Erin is a female engineer working in the IT field, as well as being an officer in the Navy reserves.   

Her hero: Admiral Grace Hopper
“My hero is Admiral Grace Hopper, a pioneer in computer programming and a Reserve Navy officer,” Erin writes. “During World War II, Grace joined the Navy Reserve only one month after women were allowed to be commissioned and served for over 40 years. She interwove her dedication to the Navy and her dedication to advancing the computer industry throughout her life. She has always been a pioneer. She chose to serve her country during a time when the idea of women serving in the military was not widely accepted or supported. She chose to push the boundaries of the computer industry and pull others up behind her.”  

The inspiration:
Erin says the courage and dedication of her hero, Grace Hopper, have helped her pave the way to follow her own passions fearlessly.  

MellBella Photography

The woman: Patricia White
Patricia is a 31-year-old South Carolina native who works as a caregiver for medical research animals at MUSC.  

Her Hero: Kay Hyman
“Kay is an amazing lady and she really cares for what she does. She is one of the biggest voices for Charleston Animal Society,” Patricia says. “She speaks out for all the hurt and abused animals in the Lowcountry and even in other parts of the state. She is a kind and gentle soul and you could see that when animals would come in.” 

Hyman’s overwhelming passion for animals has led her to take an active role advocating for laws pertaining to animal abuse. Her work in fundraising and raising awareness of animal rights has been crucial to the Charleston Animal Society, Patricia says. 

The Inspiration:
An avid animal rights activist, Kay Hyman’s work has inspired Patricia to pursue her dreams with the same passion and compassion as her female hero, who she worked with at the Charleston Animal Society in 2007.