The December Edit: Team Soirée’s Favorite Moments of 2022

All biases aside — and there are plenty — 2022 was a banner year for Little Rock Soirée. We celebrated our 20th anniversary, added some amazing new team members and got to share the stories of the city we love as it slowly began to look a bit more “normal.”

Near the end of the month, we’ll release the most-read stories of the year on our website, but to make things a bit more personal, I asked Team Soirée to share their favorite moments from 2022.

I’ll go first.

Getting the technicolor treatment from the Jollys, digging through the archives for our anniversary, celebrating community icons like Paul Leopoulos, meeting new-to-me volunteer groups, getting schooled by Mason Gillespie on modeling for Easterseals — there were so many top tier moments. (And yes, I’m cheating a bit, but it’s my editor’s letter.) 

That said, bringing back our Day in Little Rock series to keep the anniversary vibe going all year has resonated much more than expected. Old colleagues, new friends and longtime readers have all shared personal snippets of their lives in LR — from weathering the pandemic to reminiscing about Ray Winder Field — and I’m deeply grateful for their open hearts and thoughtfulness. Read this month’s installment here.


Mandy Richardson, Publisher

“Our March issue celebrated 20 years of the magazine. It was so fun to revisit so many of those memories and stories while putting together the commemorative issue, and even more touching to visit with various people in the community who shared stories and memories with us after the issue hit. Our community is so giving, and I’m thankful we have been able to, and will continue to, share the work these individuals and organizations are doing in the city.” 


Credit: Jason Masters

Madeline Martin, Advertising Coordinator

“I really liked the Brunch is Back cover story/shoot from the June issue. All of the images really pop right off the page with the fun colors and the retro diner setting. It really made me want to read the story, and that’s a good thing since it’s about a nonprofit organization’s fundraiser.”


Emma Devine, Art Director

“One of my favorite memories from this year was shooting in the historic William E. Woodruff House for the spring fashion feature. Despite there not being any running water or electricity, we did have amazing natural light, peeling antique floral wallpaper backdrops, gorgeous clothes and, best of all, a talented and enthusiastic team.”


Todd Traub, Contributing Writer

“As a history nut I could really immerse myself in the April issue story of Little Rock’s tricentennial and the 300 years since the site was discovered by explorers. It was interesting to learn of the notable historical figures who passed through on their way to destinies good and bad, and to realize that the city today is still what it ever was: an ideal, centrally located site for business, trade and commerce.”


Betsy Smith, Account Executive

“My 2022 favorite section has to be our Women to Watch feature. Each year I am so excited to work on that issue and get the chance to meet so many amazing women who are making an impact personally, professionally and in our community. When that issue drops, I ride that wave of inspiration from these ladies for the rest of the year.”


Bethany Robinson, Account Executive

“My favorite issue of this past year was our 20th anniversary issue in March. I loved looking back at some of the covers and favorite stories and photos throughout the years.”


Credit: Jason Masters

Sarah Dixon, Online Content Specialist

“I loved the Business is Blooming piece from the August issue. I was immediately drawn to the unique and colorful shoot — the photos are great! I also love to see women being featured for starting their own businesses, especially in creative fields.”


Josie Burnett, Editorial Contributor & Stylist 

“One of my top favorite shoots this year was the Family Chic story on Jenanne Filat and Naseem Hankir of Souq. They were so inspiring and easy to work with. It was fun getting to hear about their stories from the Middle East and see all of the beautiful clothes they designed. I love getting to see through the lenses of other creatives and learn from them.”


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