November 2021 Issue
Photography (top) by Cassidy Dunn
Travel Photos Courtesy of Elizabeth & Becca Mandell
Hometown: Beaufort, SC
Careers: Elizabeth (age 26): Economic Analyst for The Balmoral Group
Becca (age 25): Content Director for United Way of the Coastal Empire
You two are sisters, 2 years apart, and also consider each other your best friend. Please tell us how you avoided sibling rivalry growing up and became so close.
Well, we didn’t totally avoid sibling rivalry. We had our fair share of fights over borrowed clothes for sure! But we probably became so close because we did so many of the same things—swimming on the same team, volunteering for the same organizations, going to the same college. We had similar interests for most of our lives, so we also had similar friends. You hear a lot that siblings become better friends as they get older, that definitely happened with us, too!
You both went to the same elementary, middle and high schools, then both attended College of Charleston, both joined Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and even shared an apartment during college. How did being together through all of this help you and/or influence you?
Becca: It was extremely helpful for me to be able to go to college already knowing I had some familiarity before moving to a brand new city and school. Liz helped me move in, invited me to hang out with her and her friends, helped me study, and so much more to make sure I felt welcomed. She’s really big on making sure people feel welcomed in any situation, even if she’s not the one hosting.
Elizabeth: Becca is way more social and outgoing than I am! She is always so fun and friendly with people and always up for hosting an event, or going to do something fun! So I made a lot of friends through her and had a lot more fun because of her, too.
We heard you two just traveled together for almost three-months to
the Pacific Northwest. Give us some highlights of your trip?
We really loved Glacier National Park. It was like a postcard—crystal clear glacial lakes, beautiful snow capped mountains, and some of the best sunsets we’ve ever seen. We couldn’t take our eyes off the scenery there. We traveled around the country in a tiny teardrop camper, and it’s an amazing way to see national parks and the country. We spent almost two months mainly traveling like this to Wyoming, Idaho, South Dakota and Utah, while working remotely last year.
Elizabeth... Becca told us you are an amazing singer and have a Christmas album coming out. Tell us about your singing career, how it fits into your daily life, and where you hope to go with it. Also, how can we get your Christmas album and what songs can we expect.
During college and for a few years after I played in a smooth jazz band and loved it. I learned so much and had a blast playing with the guys in the band. The last two years as a band, we played benefit concerts around Christmastime, and these were the highlight of every year for me. We stopped playing when the pandemic started (which spurred our traveling adventures) and when I got back last year, I still wanted to play Christmas music and raise money for local charities. We did weekly Facebook live concerts and they were super successful, which encouraged me to document this music in an album on my own. There’s something about it that really moves people (and myself); it’s really special. I recorded the album at a studio in Savannah, and I am currently working with Becca on reaching as many people as possible when it’s released next month. I am also preparing for performances at a few big festivals around the holidays. One of them is “Music from the Manger” in Port Royal, December 10th through the 12th. I’ll be performing Saturday night, the 11th, and we are raising money for CAPA. Tickets: musicfromthemanger.com. I am so excited! Ultimately I want to make music my full-time career, and lately I’ve felt like I can actually make this happen for myself.
You’ll be able to buy my album “A Thrill of Hope” in November from wherever you get your music. Or you can head to my website (I go by Liz Jane) lizjanemusic.com, or find me on Facebook or Instagram (@thisislizjane). The album should have all of your favorite Christmas songs: Silent Night, O Holy Night, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and tons more!
Becca...You are helping Elizabeth market her singing career, utilizing your marketing and graphic design skills. What do you hope she achieves in pursuing this path, and what is your big dream for yourself?
I hope she gets to see how much people really enjoy her music. I think sometimes she second guesses herself, which she shouldn’t because she is extremely talented! I hope through pursuing this project on her own and putting herself out there, she gets as confident in her abilities as I am (and many others are) in her.
As for myself, I just hope to create positive change—big or small. I’d love to be able to use my talents to better help those around me; that really keeps me motivated and feeling like what I do is creating good.
What do you love most about each other?
Elizabeth: Becca really is the sweetest. She cares so much about everyone around her and the world in general. She’s always doing what she can to make things better. Whether raising money or volunteering her time or skills, she’s always going to do anything she can to help someone! She’s also extremely organized, and I wish I was, too.
Becca: Liz is always very kind and patient with others. I often find myself envious of how well she handles certain situations that I know I wouldn’t handle with as much grace as she does. She is just so nice to everyone.
Okay. We envy your closeness but there has to be something that you rib or tease each other about. Spill it!
Elizabeth: Becca needs a GPS to get anywhere, even places she might have been to quite a few times. And, I could definitely be cleaner!
Who has been the most influential person(s) in your lives so far and why?
Becca: For me, I’d have to say my parents. They are the ones I turn to for advice, or for a shoulder to cry on, and they have always helped me when I needed it most. They never hesitate to help others in the same way, and they go out of their way to make sure to reach the people who may feel the most left out. I have always admired how generous they both are. They have always taught me to choose love in every situation, and I can’t thank them enough for that!
Elizabeth: I totally agree! Our parents are amazing people. The best ones I know.
What’s the big thing on your Christmas Lists this year?
Becca: We got really big into mountain biking on the trip, so I think I may save up for a bike of my own!
Elizabeth: I want as many people as possible to hear my music!
Does your family have a Thanksgiving Tradition? What is it and what are you most thankful for this year?
Becca: This year, I am most thankful for my family. I had a really rough time this year and started to doubt myself. My family helped me more than I could imagine. They all helped me feel confident in my abilities, lifted me up when I felt down, and just listened. I couldn’t have been blessed with a better family unit!
Elizabeth: I agree, definitely our family. The pandemic has given us a chance to spend a lot of time together we wouldn’t have and I’m really grateful for it. Thanksgiving we are always together and since high school we’ve been going down to Tampa to spend the holiday with our grandparents on our dad’s side.
What are you currently ROARING about?
Becca: We have really enjoyed watching “Ted Lasso” on Apple TV. Such a good feel-good show!
Elizabeth: Yes, “Ted Lasso” is AMAZING!
Do you have the same tastes in…
Food: Yes. Dad is an amazing cook and has been making most of the meals for the family since he retired. We both love everything he makes, especially his salmon and grits.
Clothes: Yes. We actually have a lot of the same shirts. We have to check the tags to be sure whose is whose when we do our laundry together on trips!
Music: No. Elizabeth: Becca has introduced me to a lot of great music!
Shoes: No. Becca: At one wonderful moment in our lives, Mom, Liz and I all wore the same size shoe and could trade out of each others closets all the time. Sadly, we all wear different sizes now.
Ice Cream: Yes. We’re both suckers for a good dipped cone from Dairy Queen.
Movies: No. Becca: Liz is a fan of Hallmark movies; I like to make fun of them a bit. Elizabeth: But we like a lot of the same movies, too :)
Who’s better at....
Being on time: Elizabeth . Elizabeth: Becca is always running a little late and sleeping in; she’s definitely a night owl! But I’m a procrastinator, so each of us is timely with something different.
Cooking: Both. We think we’re both at a similar cooking level. We both have 3 to 4 dishes that are our go-to meals. So, between the two of us, we have about a week’s rotation of food.
Making Friends: Becca. Elizabeth: Becca can talk to a brick wall.
Being Humorous: Neither. We’re not sure! Neither of us try to make jokes, but I think we make each other laugh often.
Saying they’re Sorry: Elizabeth: I’d say Becca is better at it, but maybe it depends haha.
Showing Affection: Becca. Elizabeth: Becca is definitely more affectionate.
Being Patient: Elizabeth. Becca: Liz is much more patient than me.
Keeping things Tidy: Becca. Becca: When we lived together, I would sometimes come home to find Liz taking a nap in my bed because hers still had unfolded laundry on it. Elizabeth: This was usually when things were super busy, and I didn’t have time to fold my clothes! I’m generally pretty tidy, just not Becca level tidy! Her bed was also super comfortable.
Being Assertive: Becca. Elizabeth: Becca is definitely better at saying what she thinks. It’s something I have to work on.
Being Grateful: Both. Elizabeth: I think we’re both pretty grateful people! We have a lot to be thankful for.