SONYA JOVAN GRANT: Homegrown talent

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Sonya Grant

ON TV AND IN THE SKY, HILTON HEAD NATIVE IS A STAR

Sonya Jovan Grant is young, but her soul is old. She has traveled the world, is a big part of her community, and has experienced more in 29 years than many do in a lifetime.

Grant was born and raised on Hilton Head Island. A direct descendant of former slaves who lived in Mitchellville in the Civil War era, she has a passion for local history and is proud of her connection to the people who shaped it.

She recently moved back to Hilton Head from Atlanta, where she graduated from Spelman College with a degree in drama. Her time in Georgia led to an opportunity that she says simply fell into her lap.

A friend of Grant’s was close to the director of the cable series “Underground,” which ran for two seasons and was about slaves escaping the South via the Underground Railroad.

“The director, Anthony Hemingway, was telling my friend that he needed Gullah women who spoke the dialect,” Grant said. “That same day, I was sent a script. I didn’t have a headshot, I didn’t have a reel — nothing. I literally took a selfie and read lines on my phone and sent it to Anthony. I got a text within the next couple of days that said I was booked. It was the best moment of my life.”

Grant ended up with a starring role in the first and second episode of season two. The episode was filmed on Tybee Island, and when she showed up on set, she was floored to see that she had her own trailer.

Grant said seeing herself on TV was just as surreal as acting on her favorite show. She had a watch party at her house and everyone screamed when she appeared on the screen.

Even as a kid, Grant was a performer. She acted in a local TV show called “Creative Clubhouse” and danced in regional competitions.

While Grant says she will never give up on her dream of being an actress, these days she’s also devoted to her full-time job, which has helped her travel the world and experience different cultures.

“When I first started as a flight attendant, I never slept,” Grant said, laughing. “I was always out and about exploring. I hiked a mountain in Montreal, I walked across the entire city of Toronto. Now I’m what you call a senior mama, where I go in my room, I lock the door, and go to sleep.”

Grant said she wants to keep flying so that her family members and future children will have opportunities to travel.

In addition to acting and traveling, Grant recently started her own hair business, making custom wigs and extensions after friends and family began requesting her services. She launched Salon Jovan on Hilton Head and has been growing her business, crafting custom pieces for both herself and her clients.

She may be busy with several different projects, but Grant said she is rooted in her family and her community, which keep her grounded.

“I want to be remembered for the work that I put into my community,” she said. “My grandmother taught me forgiveness, my mom taught me resilience, and my aunt taught me strength. I want to be a combination of all of those things.”