Think of a girl born a princess in a magical kingdom…the heiress to a unique throne that comes with all kinds of reputations from the talking villagers. The villagers form their opinions, always picturing her in her ivory tower of jewels. But behind the castle walls, this is actually the kind of princess that refuses to ride the horses side-saddle, and keeps a sharpened sword that she damn-well knows how to use underneath her ball gown. This is a princess who knows her country and can’t wait to expand the empire. This is a girl who cares less about the privilege and more about the responsibility of who she is. Though sharp-tongued and bold, she is poised and driven. She is born to rule, but will work for it anyway. The gifts in her blood have become the desires of her heart. This is my Disney-version of Charleston’s Eliza Limehouse.
The Limehouse name rings bells in this town, as loudly as the ones crying out of every steeple in the skyline. Some associate it with real estate and hotels, others with a bridge that connects Johns Island to the mainland, many with horses, and some with a sleepy old plantation out on the basin. No matter what the name stirs up for any particular LowCountry resident, it stirs, nonetheless. Being born a Limehouse means being born into the LIMElight. There’s no doubt that Eliza often finds herself under the heat of the humid South Carolina spotlight; playing in polo matches, appearing on reality television shows, walking runways, posing for photo shoots, or peppering herself across all the social events. So, that’s what a lot of people posture her as: an heiress socialite with her silver spoon always nestled inside her Louis Vuitton bag. But, I am here to tell you now…she’s more.
The great thing about when I met Eliza is that I didn’t know anything about her. I’d only recently moved down from Asheville, and was trying to find my own foothold in Charleston’s unique society. I’d had 2 (or three and a half) glasses of wine, and started feeling chatty. I spotted a smiling face in the crowd of women at Two Brunettes (sickkkkk boutique….check them out) anniversary event, so I toddled up like a milk-drunk baby and spoke to it. I don’t remember what we talked about while Eliza was manning the booth she’d set up for one of her ventures, Snafflebit Bracelet Company, but I do remember we hit off. I liked her immediately, She was young and sassy, driven and fun. We laughed and chatted while I tried on her amazing handmade bracelets, and I knew I’d made a friend. I went on to learn that she also owns a candle company, and works in her family’s hotel. We are talking about a millennial fresh out of college folks, one who could easily choose to do nothing, working three jobs, while also supporting ventures of her friends and community. Needless to say I was impressed with the young entrepeneur, not only for her almost tangible social savvy, but her sense of work ethic and contribution. As I got to know her more, I realized other people needed to know her more.
I so often write about rags-to-riches stories. I love them because they are so inspiring, but that isn’t everyone’s journey. Sometimes people born into legacies have a burden to carry too, because everyone is waiting for them to prove themselves. Eliza doesn’t apply herself for anyone’s approval. She does it out of an innate drive to do so, but in doing that she is setting an example she may not realize she is setting. She is saying to her peers, essentially, “don’t be lazy. You have a platform. Go be something.” When I write about women I have one stipulation. I must write about women doing something…and Eliza is doing a lot of somethings. She is moving, she is creating, she is thriving…and by her own hands.
When I formally interviewed Eliza, as she spoke so casually about her projects, like it was all no big deal, one thing in particular stuck with me. It was while she was talking about her deep passion for animals and horses. She was speaking about how she could ride before she could walk and was now teaching her young sister to do the same. She said to me, “I like to play in the dirt.” Then it hit me…she’s as salt of the Earth as anyone I’ve ever met. Her blood isn’t blue, and her boots have always been dirty. She still wants her boots dirty, her hands in her creations, and her soul in her work. She wants real connection; an authentic, messy life.
So yes, she may have been born the princess, but also the stable girl. She’s both, and she’s expanding her empire, on the ground, not watching from the balcony. So here is the big moral of the story…the reason I wrote about her. Here is the fable in the fairy tale: don’t ever be afraid to get your own hands dirty. ~
For more on Eliza be sure to tune in to Bravo’s Southern Charm this Spring! Also follow Eliza on instagram! http://www.instagram.com/elizadevereauxlimehouse
Shop Eliza’s brands here!
by Lorna Hollifield