Being from the South is a lifestyle, especially when it comes to tradition. Even though I haven’t lived in Kentucky since my college years, I’ll never lose my roots. I love the gentleness of people; I love the openness. The hospitality—and of course, the food.
Every month, I’ll be sharing my Southern roots with stories and sentiments over at Style Blue Print. From manners to even my own favorite recipes, I’ll be sharing everything I love about the region I love the most.
Depending on where you grew up, certain things were expected of you. I grew up in the South (Murray, KY to be exact) and being in a sorority was a way of life. We get two questions our senior year in high school: “What school are you attending?” and “What house are you rushing?” It’s like clockwork.
In 1991, I headed to Vanderbilt to study pre-law. As a girl from Murray, Kentucky (a town of only about 18,000) I was so excited to meet new girlfriends and of course, go through recruitment. At the time I attended Vanderbilt, about 80% of the campus was in a sorority or fraternity. We had to wait until second semester to rush but I didn’t waste any time getting to know everyone. In the dorms, before going through recruitment, we all started mingling and making friends. Actually, in those dorms, I met Michelle Lokey—one of my best friends still today! And, yes. I did start dating an older Kappa Alpha but that’s beside the point.
Even with all my years of modeling, hosting, and acting, I can honestly say I’ll never forget sorority recruitment. The nerves I felt walking up to the houses, the pressure of not knowing which house to pick, and the excitement of finally being able to call girls that you’ve never met before your “sisters.” I know that sounds strange to people who’ve never been in a sorority but I’m serious. These girls really do become your close friends, confidants, and sisters. They also become your lifelong connections—personally and professionally. Four women in my son’s preschool class in Los Angeles went to Vanderbilt and were in sororities around the same time. Um, how crazy is that? No matter what school you went to, if you were in a sorority there is a common bond.
Around the same time that I pledged Delta Delta Delta was also around the time that Saturday Night Live performed their famous “Sorority Girl” sketch. But don’t let that stereotype confuse you. As much as sororities are about going to events and fraternity parties, they’ve also made a huge impact on my relationships with women throughout my life. Oh, and maybe the “Delta Airlines” skit that my best friend Michelle and I performed for recruitment may have helped with my acting career, too. Hey, you never know! Yes. We acted like we were stewardesses in front of incoming freshman while singing “I Saw The Sign” by Ace Of Base. If that doesn’t bring a group of people together, I don’t know what does!
I ended up leaving Vanderbilt after my sophomore year to pursue my career but I’ll always remember my days as a sorority girl. It was truly one of the most rewarding experiences. The connections, the lifelong friendships, and the memories are something I will treasure forever.
I’ll leave you with one last sentiment: “Delta Delta Delta, Can I Help Ya Help Ya Help Ya?”
For more Southern sentiments, hop on over to Style Blue Print where I’ll be sharing stories monthly.
Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.