THE HISTORIC COVER SWAP –PART I
Tawana and Amelia Stylist: Jeff Hunter • Tawana Dress: Ricki Freeman | Teri Jon collection from Glasscock $700 Amelia Dress: Park 108 from Glasscock | GlasscockToo $1200 • Tawana and Amelia Makeup: Tia Mao Tawana Nails: MoatNa with Simply Nails • JP Davis Stylist – Russ Wallace | Him & Her Boutique
MEET AMELIA FRAZIER THEOBALD
Once in a while, life has a way of bringing two souls together, like a perfectly orchestrated melody. For Tawana Bain, Owner and Publisher of Today’s Woman magazine, and Amelia Frazier, Owner and Publisher of the Voice Tribune, their journey from strangers to friends, business partners, and sisters has been nothing short of magical. Today, we invite you to join us in getting to know Amelia Frazier Theobald, a remarkable woman whose story is a testament to the beauty of friendship and the power of collaboration. In Part I, you will learn about Amelia and how these two met. Part II can be found in the Voice Tribune printed or online copy.
A Serendipitous Beginning
It all started with a persistent nudge from a mutual friend, JP Davis. He had long insisted that Tawana and Amelia should meet. However, the busy schedules and family commitments that often define our lives kept them from crossing paths. Until one day, when the winds of chance blew their way.A severe windstorm swept through Louisville, disrupting their plans to attend “Women, Wine, and Shoes,” an event that raises funds annually for the Family Scholar House.
Tawana, upon arriving home and seeing the aftermath of the storm, thought her evening was a wrap. No electricity, in her mind, meant no celebration. It was a frustrating moment, to say the least. She called Amelia with the news, fully expecting another round of rescheduling.
However, Amelia’s response changed the course of these women’s lives forever. “Well, there’s no safer place in the middle of a storm than the Henry Clay Building… Why don’t you come to my house and get ready, and hopefully, by the time our night’s over, your electric is back on.” Tawana was a bit surprised, as this gesture felt eerily like something she would have said. She could hear JP’s voice in the background of her thoughts, reminding her how much they’d love each other and had in common. After some consideration, Tawana decided that they had postponed their meeting for far too long, and now electricity during a windstorm should not stand in their way.
That evening, they both got dolled up, even sharing space in one of Amelia’s bathrooms to place final touches on their makeup, creating a memory that would last a lifetime. “I’ll never forget how she asked me to sit at the fancier makeup counter –Wait, so not only does she open up her home but she went above and beyond to be accommodating? Who is this chic?” Tawana kept asking herself. As they arrived at Wine Women and Shoes, they were greeted by the lively atmosphere of women donning their favorite shoes, all coming together for a worthy cause. They were excited to introduce their clients and friends who were out and about to one another and enjoyed the cameras capturing the rarity of these two stepping out on the town together. When the event concluded, Tawana recommended they keep the party going and head over to her restaurant for Live Music at the Black Jockeys Lounge. Tawana introduced Amelia to the delectable catfish, a dish Amelia still raves about to this day. And the two sat and celebrated as though they had known each other their whole lives.
Surprisingly, amidst this whirlwind of events, Tawana found herself unusually comfortable with her new friend. Exiting her restaurant with heels in hand, still no return of power at Tawana’s home, and an Uber ride later, they both agreed that, given the circumstances, it made more sense for Tawana to stay over in Amelia’s spare guest bedroom. The night was filled with laughter and bonding, leading them to promise that a second date was in the cards.
A Bond That Grew Stronger
Their second date was hosted by Tawana, who invited Amelia over for dinner and cocktails. As the evening unfolded, conversations flowed seamlessly from the dining room to the living room. It was during this time that Amelia uttered words that would cement their friendship: “I don’t know why, but I trust you.”
For Amelia, trust didn’t come easily, yet she felt an inexplicable connection with Tawana. On the flip side, Tawana, who had often felt exhausted from trying to prove her “trustworthiness,” found herself in new territory. She had not done anything but accept an invite during an act of God. What did Amelia experience that made her feel this way? Nonetheless, Tawana was moved by Amelia’s declaration. She found it profound but also affirming.
The turning point that sealed their friendship occurred when Amelia expressed, “I don’t see you as a mentor; I see you as a big sister.” These words touched Tawana deeply, evoking a tearful hug. Amelia’s genuine demeanor was reminiscent of what she had in the sister she had lost in 2019. “I felt safe, really safe, for the first time in a long time with a woman whose background could not have been more different,” shared Tawana.
Amelia Frazier: A Woman of Strength, Creativity, and Humility
Amelia Frazier’s journey is nothing short of remarkable. As an heir to the Brown-Forman family, her life could have taken any path, but she chose one guided by humility, creativity, and a burning desire to make the world a better place, much like her dear friend Tawana Bain. Tawana sat down with Amelia for a Q & A to help Today’s Woman readers get to know her better.
Tawana: Congratulations on becoming the owner and publisher of the Voice Tribune! Can you tell us about your vision for the magazine and how you plan to make it even more impactful within the community?
Amelia: “Thank you; it has been a huge step for me to become the owner and publisher of a business that plays a huge role in documenting the history and growth of this community for the last 75 years as of next year. I’m generally a private person, but I knew when this publication closed that the thought of Louisville losing its VOICE was a much bigger calling than I ever thought it would be. This is what inspired me to be a part of this, realizing that this history could be lost to the community forever.”
Tawana: What inspired you to take on the role of owner and publisher of the Voice Tribune, and how do you see it aligning with your personal and professional values?
Amelia: “Growing up in a family where both of my grandfathers were huge advocates for preserving history or creating a space for history to be shared, definitely impacted me. One of my grandfathers sold caskets for a living and wrote a history book about our family that he pieced together little by little, and the other grandfather built a History Museum where the world gets to meet Kentucky, both from different worlds and different financial backgrounds, both pointed out that, no matter where you come from or who you are that history brings us all together.”
Tawana: The Voice Tribune has a rich history. How do you plan to honor its legacy while also infusing it with your unique perspective and creative vision?
Amelia: “When I hired an incredible employee Julie Koenig, she asked me where the history of VOICE-TRIBUNE was. I didn’t realize that about 60-plus years were missing. We were both shocked, and our new efforts became clear: find it. Julie quickly made a ton of phone calls, and I found myself answering the question: if you found the history, what would you do with it? I answered that I want to find these books, preserve its history, and find a way to share it with everyone. Apparently, that was the right answer, and so we were told it was stolen in order for it to be protected but they would tell us where to find the books. When I approached the organization that had them I was told it was unlikely I would ever be able to get them back, but when I told them the importance of what I wanted to do, a few days later they told me they would let us have them under one condition: that I stay true to my word and find a way to scan them and get them online for everyone to access them.”
“As for my vision of the publication, I wanted to bring back that local community feeling everyone grew up reading in John Henry Harralson Jr.’s newspapers, but in a modern magazine that it had become. It’s important to me that it’s the voice of our community. Not my voice, but the VOICE of Louisville. John Henry Harralson Jr.’s favorite name for the VOICE was the VOICE-TRIBUNE because tribune means champion of the people. Continuing this legacy and providing a platform for our community to have a voice made it clear that our staff and team need to be champions for our community.”
Tawana: As a woman in a leadership position in the publishing industry, what opportunities and challenges do you foresee, and how do you plan to address them?
Amelia: “Being a woman leader in this industry sadly you can see a lot of other women and people trying to tear each other down. I’m not one to tolerate this behavior, so it’s been a challenge for me to see this negativity and not do something about it. In choosing to take a different path in showing our community that more can come from uniting people together and uniting women together than tearing each other down will definitely be my biggest challenge. I plan to definitely set an example and uplift as many community members as I possibly can in order for them to pay it forward in hopes of setting an example in a community that I think truly needs it.”
Tawana: Can you share any exciting plans or initiatives you have in store for the Voice Tribune under your ownership that readers can look forward to?
Amelia: “Yes! I am excited to announce that we are launching a huge campaign to raise the money it will take to have every page scanned and made available online for everyone to view. I also plan to celebrate more Art, Music, Sports, and diversity and stories from the incredible people of Louisville, Kentucky.”
Tawana: How do you see the Voice Tribune contributing to the empowerment and celebration of women in your community?
Amelia: “Being a locally-owned media company and being a small business owner that publishes once a month allows us to be able to hear and work with our clients and customers one-on-one and really hear what their message is that they want to share with the community. We can be one of the few where their voice really counts and isn’t overlooked.”
Tawana: In your opinion, what role can community-focused publications like the Voice Tribune play in fostering connection and unity in today’s society?
Amelia: “I think it’s very hard for bigger publications and publications that have to go to print daily to get people’s messages across the way they want them. We provide the opportunity to spend more time on taking care of a story and making sure it’s heard the way that the clients want it to be heard. Most media companies are not lucky enough to have this.”
Tawana: As the owner of the Voice Tribune, how do you plan to leverage the magazine’s reach and influence to support causes or organizations that are close to your heart?
Amelia: “I plan to do my best to help and support anyone who chooses to come to us, whether it’s a story or an AD. For example, there are a lot of non-profits that change our community each day, step by step, and I think the more people know about these organizations, the more we can help Louisville and Kentucky as a whole.”
Tawana: Finally, what message would you like to convey to your readers and the community as you embark on this new journey as the owner and publisher of the Voice Tribune?”
I want the community to know that we are here for them, we are here to help their voice be heard. We are here to support businesses all over, and I’ve been known to physically bring customers to clients, to introduce people to each other, to help start collaborations in order to help more people and uplift those our team members can.”
Tawana: At one point, you worked as a blacksmith. What inspired you to become a blacksmith, and how did that experience shape your perspective on life and work?
”I had an incredible internship in high school with a local blacksmith for my senior project, and I fell in love with the process of creating just about anything you can think of from practically nothing but pure elements. Working as a blacksmith apprentice taught me several things. Hard work is daily and it never stops. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t do the work that needs to be done. There are days where working through the pain can make you feel completely defeated, but the finished product is always worth it. And one of the biggest light bulb moments I had was when I needed a certain tool but we didn’t have that tool in the workshop; I was told by my teacher if that was what I needed, then I should create it. That just blew my mind; sometimes you have to completely think outside the box or in a different way in order to get the job done. Also, drink water, drink water, and drink water, or you will pass out and get sick at work. And always having a backup watermelon on hot days makes for a good plan B if you’re not drinking enough water; let’s be real, that’s essential working in the blacksmithing field.”
Tawana: Traveling the world is a dream for many. Can you tell us about some of your most memorable journeys and what you’ve learned from them?
Amelia: “Yes, I could honestly write novels on what I have learned visiting over 48 countries, cultures, and terrains. I’m excited to share that I will be completing my goal of traveling to all seven continents by my 30th year and before this year is up. The biggest lesson is that every culture does life differently, so who is to say who does it better; the key is to listen and learn from as many cultures as you possibly can. They decide if it’s the right cup of tea for you. I’ve been in a lot of situations where two people would see eye to eye if they walked in each other’s shoes for the day. I mean, think about the concept of breakfast; some cultures believe breakfast should be cold, others hot, some believe you should have soup for breakfast while others think you should eat fish for breakfast every day. Something that sounds odd and weird to one person is completely normal to another. The truth is, that breakfast is an illusion of what one should be eating and not what is best for you. Until you see and experience it and realize the decision is actually what is good for you and what you want it to be. You won’t be able to apply that concept or idealism to every part of your life.”
Tawana: As a creative individual, can you share some of your favorite creative outlets or projects that you’re currently involved in?
Amelia:” As a creative person, I find that it is very hard to turn off. Whether I’m thinking challenging it’s a sculpture or a collaboration between clients. I simply love creating opportunities for people to work together, have fun, and benefit mutually from each other. I’m a twin, so I know more can be done and achieved if everyone works together as a team. As for future projects I’m working on, let’s just say I am beaming with excitement for next year! It’s going to be incredible and you’re just going to have to read it for yourself!”
Tawana: What role has humor played in your life, and how does it help you connect with others?
Amelia: “I have been in some pretty dark places in my life, whether it’s being in the middle of a terrorist attack, seeing a man’s flesh torn from his arm by a wild animal, or losing 6 out of 8 grandparents, and several friends and family members. If you lose your sense of humor, you actually lose the ability to connect with others. Standing in a room where no one speaks the same language as you, and having something comical happen can be one of the biggest connectors humankind has. I will never forget being in a room of foreign exchange students trying to play telephone; we laughed so hard there wasn’t a single dry eye in the house.”
Tawana: This year, we’ve embarked on a new venture together separate from our publications, leaving us in awe of our collective strength. Let’s talk about the reactions we received when we announced we were coming together to start the new venture. And boy, have people reacted!
Amelia: And boy have people reacted!
For part II of this extraordinary friendship and to get the full scoop on the new venture they’ve launched together, be sure to visit voicetribune.com and grab a copy to read on. In the spirit of unity and collaboration, let’s celebrate the beautiful friendship between two women who prove that life’s most precious treasures often come in the form of cherished friendships and meaningful partnerships –because hey, as Mindy McCready sings eloquently in her 1996 top Billboard hit – “Guys do it, all the time.