Meet the “Lip Sync for Lungs Live Battle!” Contestants

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Lauren Fox

President, Fox Events

Hi! I’m Lauren, equal parts girl-next-door, little general, and event planning maestro who knows how to throw one hell of a party!

A born and raised Tennessee girl, I went West after high school where I graduated from the University of Colorado with a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture and Design. Following undergrad, I moved to Charleston to be closer to family and worked my way up in the event industry for more than 5 years before making the solo leap and starting Fox Events in 2013.

Event planning was never just a hobby or “side gig” for me, it’s always been my passion to make this my life’s work. I’ve built Fox Events from the ground up, and now manage a growing in-house floral team and décor rental warehouse. I’ve had the honor working with the best chefs, talent, and vendors – both locally and nationally – to produce unforgettable events, from black-tie philanthropic dinners to weddings that last until the wee hours of the morning.

When I’m not planning the next big party, I can be found outdoors, restaurant-hopping, attending a concert, or traveling with my good-looking husband, Andrew, our son, Franklin, and our two basset hound rescues, Sandy and Sunshine.

This past May, our son was hospitalized with pneumonia and diagnosed with the early symptoms of asthma. Every night he takes two different medications to help his breathing and many nights he is up coughing or wheezing. Being first-time parents, this has been extremely scary for Andrew and me. It has also made us very aware of how important it is to support the American Lung Association in their effort to raise awareness and a better understanding of just how impactful this disease can be on young lives.

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Heather Holmquest

President, The Maritime Association of South Carolina

Heather Holmquest is President of The Maritime Association of South Carolina. The Maritime Association (MASC) is a member-based trade association which connects the maritime industry and entities who support maritime commerce. Over 2,000 ships carrying upwards of $60 billion in goods pass through our ports and across our public and private docks every year. Trucking, rail, manufacturers, warehousing and third-party logistics providers are represented, among many others.

Heather’s personal connection to initiatives of the American Lung Association relate to her daughter, born prematurely, who since birth continues to struggle with asthma and respiratory issues, which are very scary for so many families. She’s passionate about conveying the message that there is much more to the Lung Association than lung cancer alone. The support she raises (by putting on an upbeat performance for you) goes to critically needed funds for local lung health programs including support groups for people with lung disease, asthma education in local schools, smoking cessation programs and the American Lung Association’s free asthma camp, Camp Breathe Easy, for children with asthma and their families. Come cheer on Heather and her team of Hooligans, and please help support this tremendously fun event and worthy cause!

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Mike Lata

Chef/Owner, FIG & The Ordinary

Mike Lata is Chef/Partner of FIG Restaurant in Charleston, SC, which he opened in 2003 with partner Adam Nemirow. In 2009, Mike took home the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southeast. In 2015, his protégé, Chef Jason Stanhope, garnered the same award – a rare achievement for one restaurant to earn this prestigious prize twice. Additionally, FIG was nominated in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 for Outstanding Wine Program by the James Beard Foundation and took home the award in 2018. Now a local institution, FIG is consistently voted by locals as the “Best Restaurant in Charleston” in Charleston City Paper.

In December 2012, Lata and Nemirow opened The Ordinary, a classic oyster bar and seafood hall in Charleston’s Upper King district, to much local and national acclaim. The James Beard Foundation nominated The Ordinary as Best New Restaurant in 2013, and GQ, Esquire and Bon Appétit named it in the top 20 best restaurants of the year.

A native New Englander, Mike started his culinary career at an early age, working in kitchens in Boston, New Orleans, Atlanta and France before landing in Charleston in 1998. He is a hands-on, self-taught chef who is relentless in his pursuit of the freshest products, which constantly inspire and define his work. Mike’s mission is to create bright, satisfying food that is both uncomplicated and elegant, all the while paying respect to the efforts and traditions of his family of purveyors. His longstanding and outspoken commitment to support these local farmers and fishermen has cemented his position as a notable champion for Charleston’s flourishing culinary renaissance.

Mike’s food, philosophy, and contributions to the Charleston community have earned him recognition on national platform, including coverage in The Wall Street Journal, Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, Esquire, Garden & Gun, Southern Living, Travel + Leisure, USA Today, The New York Times and many more. He has been featured in several television appearances, including Food Network’s “Iron Chef America,” Bravo’s Top Chef, PBS’s Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking, and ABC’s “Nightline Platelist,” which described his food as “so good it will buckle your knees.”

When he’s not in the kitchen, Mike can be found hitting the links, riding his prized Ducati motorcycles, or enjoying life with his son, Henry. When asked why he’s participating in this event, Mike said, “I learned about this event from my friend Ryan Becknell, who is an avid supporter of Lip Sync for Lungs and the American Lung Association. It seemed like a really fun and easy way to raise awareness and support for something that affects so many families in our community.”

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Buffie Bell Lilly

Owner, Charleston Wine Pairings – Exclusive Matchmaking

Buffie graduated from Clemson University in 2000 with a degree in Sociology. She was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority during her time at Clemson. Upon her graduation from Clemson, she decided to further her education by attending the Medical University of South Carolina. She graduated from MUSC in 2004 with a Masters in Rehabilitation Science.

After living in Baltimore, Nashville and Chicago, she finally settled in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. She married her husband, Jay, in 2011 and now have 2 children together. After standing in the wedding of the seventh couple she had set up, Buffie officially started Wine Pairings in January of 2011.

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Susan Pearlstine

Susan Pearlstine Sarcoidosis Center of Excellence & Owner, The Bend

I hate to hit you with this word right off the bat, but I am very personally invested in improving lung health.  I have Sarcoidosis. Sar-coid-o-sis.  Trust me when I tell you that I feel so fortunate to be participating in Lip Sync For Lungs because there are many, many Sarcoid patients that are disabled with debilitating breathing issues.

I will never forget that moment, ten years ago, when I walked up a flight of stairs and had to double over to catch my breath.  It was one of the scariest things I’ve experienced. Since then, with the right medicines (which are both expensive and painful), I mostly live life on my own terms. Yet, about once a year I have a flare-up that exacerbates shortness of breath and a constant cough. Before my diagnosis I loved to take long adventure treks.  Having Sarcoidosis means there’s no way I could do that now. My diagnosis led me to establish the Susan Pearlstine Sarcoidosis Center of Excellence at MUSC to improve the lives of other Sarcoidosis patients and their families. There is currently no cure for Sarcoidosis, but the Sarcoidosis Center is working toward that goal every day.

Lung disease has affected me personally, and it’s also affected others in my life. Two years ago, I lost a close friend to metastatic lung cancer and my brother-in-law’s sister, Beth, is currently fighting for her life with metastatic lung cancer.

Professionally, I used to be a beer seller in a multi-generation family distribution business—Pearlstine Distributors.  Then, for a short period I was a beer seller at Palmetto Brewery.  These days I’m focusing my energy on a redevelopment project at The Bend on Azalea Drive in North Charleston.

I’m excited to share my passion for our community by participating in Lip Sync For Lungs this fall. It’s going to be such a great experience and a perfect platform to educate others about lung health. Thank you for supporting me as I take the stage on September 26th!