Catching the tail end of 2014’s year in reviews, I thought I’d share highlights of my own performance.
As someone who considers herself a modest dreamer, I surprised myself with a lot of proud moments and ballsy pursuits in both my career and personal life.
I formed creative partnerships, developed beautiful web projects, traveled to new places, ate great food, read more, slept less, tried my hand at poker, failed at it comically, loved hard, fell hard, got back up and entered 2015.
Looking back with a sound heart, 2014 is a year well-lived with very few regrets and wasted opportunities – beginning on January 1, 2014, when I made my first purchase of the New Year: janaykingsberry.com.
It was my $18.00 pledge to fill my digital canvas with stunning self-produced web content, humorous tales of my journalistic excursions, sarcastic attempts at poetry and photos of all the countries I was certain I would visit that year.
As modesty often does, it deceived me with greater opportunities and blessings well beyond my worth – some of which were procured by an unknown source of ballsiness.
Such as that time I led the development of Savannah Morning News’ special interactive project commemorating the anniversary of Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil. As someone with limited coding experience, I don’t know where the courage came from. But it’s now my proudest moment: an impressive standalone feature of savannahnow.com and a new submission this year for the annual Georgia Press Awards.
Somewhere in this timeframe, I also accepted an internship with an ambitious world sourced clothing company, Serengetee. As a south region ambassador, I was tasked with developing creative marketing strategies and promotional ideas to help grow the brand and promote its worldly causes in my area.
I created a website to showcase all of my Serengetee projects, which included cool shoelaces and a video campaign with my good friend and StupidDope producer Richard Williams. Overall, my package took 1st runner-up in Serengetee’s end-of-the-year contest, meaning it fell short in winning a community outreach trip to Guatemala.
On the other hand, it earned the attention of Serengetee founder Ryan Westberg who invited me to remain a part of the company as south region rep captain, a position I proudly still hold today. Now, I lead a team of new reps and I help them develop creative marketing approaches in the hopes that they’ll make it even further than I did.
In February, I traveled to Germany to visit family, watch my brother close out his final season of high school basketball, and road trip to France where I ate authentic macarons, crepes and shopped at a H&M in the heart of Metz.
Later that month, I learned that a video I shot for Hodge Elementary School teacher Bynikini Frazier as part of her submission for Gov. Nathan Deal’s Innovation in Teaching competition won! She received a $2,000 stipend and earned Hodge Elementary a $5,000 grant. Look out for Ms. Frazier! She’s also our 2015 Savannah-Chatham Teacher of the Year!
In March, I helped transition Spotted® Savannah onto a new, responsive and speedy platform which improved both the viewer experience and upload process for our volunteer photographers. The program was also useful in aggregating photo vignettes from staff members during Savannah’s biggest event of the year, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
May offered a rare opportunity to see me step from behind the camera and down the runway for Savannah Fashion Week. I modeled for two local boutiques, donned gold eyebrows and took selfies with some of the most gorgeous girls I’ve seen up close.
Later that month, I shot photos and captured the vibrant life of my colorful neighborhood The Starland District. Recently named as “an incubator for creativity” by the New York Times, Starland was a perfect start to a funky, alternative tour that I led for Richard and his gal Yasmin Lawson. It later inspired our Serengetee / StupidDope collab and we continued the cultural excursions with a trip to Zunzis, a shoot at Tybee and a video profile of my favorite watering hole Foxy Loxy Cafe.
5,000 miles later, I returned to Germany where I watched the same little brother I picked on years ago graduate high school as a star athlete and brilliant adult-kid making his family proud. I also fed a baby goat, tried (and choked on) hookah for the first time, cruised shotgun in my parents’ new Audi and scouted photo locations at dawn with my dad.
I began the second half of 2014 as the face of Savannah’s yearly tourist publication, Our Savannah. Produced by the Savannah Morning News, the free magazine occupies stands around Savannah for an entire year and provides an insider’s guide to Savannah’s impressive history, culture, cuisine and arts. Along with yours truly, the cover features friend Malcolm Love Randall as a striking tuba player and a canine companion, Belle, fixed at his feet — all complemented with the beautiful backdrop of Alex Raskin Antiques. The concept was developed by SMN’s commercial content producer Christopher Sweat and photographed by Adriana Iris Boatwright. The entire experience is one of my favorite moments of the year.
Where work took the lead in the first half of 2014, I’d say the latter half was dedicated to play. I made personal trips to Arizona and California, which was completely new terrain for me. Arizona’s reclusive setting and feverishly atypical climate felt like a strange paradise. I think it was there that I began understanding how creativity can be birthed from isolation. Endless deserts and a brutal sun may seem barren of artistic value for some. But on the contrary, gorgeous landscapes of sandy windswept roads and rocky plateaus were just around the bend. I also hiked Telegraph Pass at dawn, a roughly 5-mile trek and 1045 feet incline that led to a breathtaking view.
Whereas Arizona brought a humbly sublime experience, California felt like a burst of cultural infusions and lofty dreams.
With beautiful people, beaches and sunny boulevards, California is just as you imagined. All the things you’ve heard and seen on TV and yet so much more. Of its many popular destinations, I explored San Diego. Everything was photogenic. But I wasn’t as shutter-happy as I expected to be. I was too distracted by the feel of it. I remember wanting to cling to every moment, sensation, every small fiber of detail so I could recall it all later. It was like trying to savor ice cream even though it’s quickly melting. Of the photos I did take, they required little to no editing at all.
California has mastered the art of #NoFilter.
Favorite movies of 2014
- Gone Girl
- Big Hero 6
Favorite music artists
- Future Islands
- Sam Smith
Favorite current TV shows
- Silicon Valley
- How to Get Away with Murder