International Women’s Day 2019: Women We Featured This Year

Happy International Women’s Day! As a staff of made up entirely of women, we know the importance of empowering and supporting the women in our community, families and circles of friends. We’re fortunate enough at Mud & Mag to meet many of these amazing ladies through our work, and we love sharing their stories with our readers. Take a look at some of the women we’ve featured over the past year — from artists to entrepreneurs to educators — in this International Women’s Day 2019 roundup.

Shadow McKnight, Kaleidoscope by Shadow

The 27-year-old artist takes textiles back to their most primitive forms through weaving. McKnight weaves yarn — mostly wool and cotton — into patterns and textures hung from decorative dowels. Her tapestries got enough attention that she started Kaleidoscope By Shadow, an online shop to sell her wares and take customer orders.

Marjorie Jacobs, Master Grafix

Marjorie Jacobs and her husband, Sam, founded Tupelo screen-printing company Master Grafix. The couple, with the rest of the staff at Master Grafix, design and print T-shirts at their West Tupelo workshop. 

Amber Higgins, Hali + Cora

Amber Higgins decided to start Hali+Cora, an e-commerce retail company, after her beloved Scottish terrier passed away. Named after Hali and Higgins’ other dog, Cora, the company sells clothing and accessories online. Proceeds from the sales benefit sick dogs and their owners, as well as animal welfare organizations.

Jeri Carter, Queen’s Reward Mead

Jeri Carter brought mead to Mississippi with the state’s only meadery. Queens Reward, located on McCullough Boulevard in Tupelo, is similar to a winery or brewery. Queen’s Reward makes mead at its Tupelo location, and theres a bar-style lounge area in which customers can hang out and enjoy a drink. Mead is also sold by the bottle. 

Marshandria Denise Grice, Edible Bliss food truck 

In 2016, Grice and her husband, Eugene, relocated to Baldwyn for his trucking business. After working as a chef in Chicago, Grice decided to jump back into the culinary field with Edible Bliss food truck.

Kate Bishop, Chicory Market

Kate Bishop, along with her husband John Martin, opened Chicory Market, a grocery with a focus on local food makers, in 2017. 

Misbah Ullah, Cooking As A First Language

A teacher with Tupelo’s Cooking As A First Language, Misbah Ullah taught the appetizer portion of the Indian/Pakistani class. We featured Ullah and her vegetable samosas recipe in May 2018.

Emi Ueda, Cooking As A First Language 

Emi Ueda volunteers as a teacher with Cooking As A First Language. In 2018, she taught a class on how to make sushi.

Iffat Huq, Cooking As A First Language

Iffat Huq is a licensed doctor in Bangladesh studying to be an occupational therapist in Tupelo who has a love of cooking. At a Bangladeshi Cooking As A First Language class, Huq taught attendees to make a few popular recipes such as polao and beef and chicken curry with daal.

Mollie Bradford, University of Mississippi student

Mollie Bradford is a Tupelo High School graduate and current student at the University of Mississippi. She spent her spring 2018 semester studying abroad in Bilbao, Spain, and shared her experiences with us in a guest column.

Judy Tucci & Maria Tucci-Hughes, artists

Judy Tucci and Maria-Tucci Hughes are mother and daughter, but they have more than genes in common. The two women are talented artists with two very distinct styles of painting.

B.J. Lewis, teacher at Hickory Flat Attendance Center 

B.J. Lewis teaches third grade language arts at Hickory Flat Attendance Center. She is in her 12th year as a teacher, and she loves seeing her students succeed.

Sandra Pannell, teacher at New Albany High School 

Sandra Pannell has been teaching for more than 20 years, constantly adapting and learning new ways to teach as education and students change through the years.

Felicia Pollard, Lafayette County Schools administrator

Felicia Pollard is the assistant principal at Lafayette Upper Elementary School. A lifelong learner and passionate educator, Pollard, 35, credits the example of her mother, a particularly memorable kindergarten teacher and her own enduring sense that she belonged in education.

Hailey Rush, children’s book author 

Hailey Rush has always been a writer, but in January 2018, she became a published author when she self-published her first book, “My Little Brown Boy.”

Brittany Rogers, children’s book author

Brittany Rogers wrote “Goodnight Tupelo” as an ode to some of Tupelo’s most iconic spots. Rogers published the book through a self-publishing company, so it can be bought online at and at several locations in Tupelo including Reed’s, Strangebrew Coffeehouse and Tupelo Hardware.

Sarah Frances Hardy, children’s book author

Much like the main character in her latest book, Oxford-based children’s book author Sarah Frances Hardy tried on a few careers before finding one that fit. Hardy is the author of three children’s books: “Puzzled By Pink,” “Dress Me!,” and “Paint Me!” 

Vicky Burnett, Burnett Art, Cowbells & Calligraphy

Vicki Burnett has always painted — since she was 12 years old, in fact — but it wasn’t until 2013 that she decided to make her love of painting a full-time gig. Except she doesn’t paint canvases for walls and frames. She paints cowbells for cheering on the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

Morgan Tibbens, Da Bombs

High school senior Morgan Tibbens hasn’t let Down Syndrome get in the way of her dreams. Morgan, along with her mother, co-runs the bath product company, called Da Bombs by Morgan. The company has products sold in 21 stores across the United States, and the mother-daughter duo are hopeful profits from Da Bombs will allow Morgan to have a true college experience.

Sarah Hutto, The Cookie Canvas

Sarah Hutto spends her days (and nights) mixing up batches upon batches of cookie dough, which she then lovingly transforms into colorful, custom sugar cookies for her business The Cookie Canvas.

Vanessa Blackford, Blackford River Company

Vanessa Blackford has been making all-natural candles under the moniker Blackford River Company for about two years. As her business has grown, it’s become a family affair.

Charis Brightwell, Taproot Pottery

Charis Brightwell’s handmade pottery pieces range from plates to mugs and wine glasses to platters and pie dishes. Brightwell has worked hard to build Taproot Pottery. She’s been selling her pieces at local events and markets as well as showcasing her work on Instagram (@taproot_pottery). Her pieces are also being sold at George-Mary’s in downtown Starkville and she’s started an Etsy shop.

Daniela Mawufemor Rogers, Mawufemor

Daniela Mawufemor Rogers decided to turn her talent for sewing into a full-time gig after her son was born. African fabrics with bold, colorful patterns are her signature style, and many of her pieces are inspired by her home country of Ghana.

Devin Mitchell, artist

Baldwyn based artist and teacher Devin Mitchell loves capturing the beginnings of couples’ parenthood journeys. She does it through carefully sketching the heartbeats from sonograms and bringing them to life with color and her abstract painting style.

Jacuana Sykes, fitness instructor and business owner

Jacuana Sykes does it all: She not only owns her own fitness studio in Tupelo, but she also teaches classes and keeps herself in excellent shape. We went to SELFish Fitness Studio to get fitness advice from her earlier this year for our Health & Wellness issue.

Stephanie Rhea Barcia, business owner

Stephanie Rhea Barcia and her husband Juan Carlos own two wedding and event rentals together: Campertini and Oh Hippie Day Foto Bus. The two business endeavors were born out of the couple’s love for vintage campers and trailers.

Vanessa Jackson, owner of Seven Acres Farms

What began as a few raised beds and growing produce for her family has become a full-blown flower farm for Vanessa Jackson. In the summer of 2017, Vanessa started a local subscription flower delivery service called Seven Acres Farm. She’s also supplying flowers to local florists and doing arrangements for events. 

Amanda Kelley, owner of Jamison Fry interiors and retail

Amanda Shafer Kelley opened Jamison Fry’s brick-and-mortar space in 2016. Jamison Fry is part retail space, part interior design services. The shop sits on the corner of University Drive and Fellowship Street between Starkville’s downtown and Cotton District. Now, Amanda and her brother, Austin, have filmed an HGTV pilot and could be the network’s newest home renovation duo.




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