SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – For many people across Savannah, Tammy Stone is a household name. She’s the smiling woman on Facebook Live who gives anyone who asks a platform to tell their stories to her engaging audience.
But before she was a community sensation, she was a single mother trying to take care of her four young children.
“I was on public assistance and not knowing how I was going to pay my bills,” remembers Stone. “[I was] literally having to feed my kids and pretend that I wasn’t hungry because there wasn’t enough food for everybody.”
College was an option for Stone, but never a desire. She says an entrepreneurial spirit led her in a different direction.
One of her first great opportunities came from a hair salon. The staff there offered to teach her how to style hair. It became both a source of income and a source of inspiration.
Later in life, Stone opened her own salon.
“You got some that are going to be like ‘Can you do this? Or, you do that?’ she said. “And I’m okay with that, but my biggest thing is that they love how they look when they leave the salon.”
Right now, Stone co-owns Xscape Hair Studio with one of her daughters in West Savannah. She says the name fits the purpose.
When people sit in her chair, when they sense her experience and her comfort with each tool, “you escape from all the trauma and drama from outside,” said Stone’s friend Davita Capers-London.
At one point, Stone’s careful hands stopped working when she developed a condition in her muscles. She left the salon to her daughter so she could recover in Massachusetts.
Eventually, she did.
“Sometimes its not about you, it’s not about me, but we have to go through things for God to help other people,” said Stone.
That love of God often brings Stone to the Sanctuary of Praise Church in West Savannah where she is an evangelist and often leads congregants in prayer.
Stone says prayer dominates her life.
“I do know one thing,” she said. “If you’ve gone through something in life — women’s issues, divorce single parent, suffering from sickness and then you have mental stuff — I’ve been through it all. And my thing is if you haven’t gone through these things, you may not be able to help someone else go through it.”
That realization is what led Stone to Facebook live. At first, she says her show, Tee Time with Tammy, was an effort to bring people to her former church. But now, she goes live every week.
“People said ‘We love you on there,'” said Stone. “So I said ‘okay, let me see what I can do with this.'”
To this day, Stone uses her platform to talk about community events. She moderates tough conversations about poverty and sometimes, she bakes.
“I just love the feeling that if I can help somebody, I have literally done what I’m supposed to do and that’s all that matters,” said Stone.
In other words, whether she is working with tea in her hands, with flour, with scissors, or with her hands up in prayer, Stone says she is doing it for the people around her.
“That’s her character, she can’t help it. And a lot of times… she feels our pain. And that’s the kind of friend that you need,” said Beverly O’Neal, one of Stone’s longtime friends.
“I love her. Everybody’s not lucky to have a right hand and left hand friend and I do,” said Capers-London.
WSAV News 3’s Kelly Antonacci is featuring Remarkable Women every Tuesday of March, Women’s History Month.
Four finalists were chosen from more than 100 nominations from people throughout the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry.
The winner of WSAV’s contest will be announced on April 1 and will be considered for the “Nexstar Woman of the Year” award.