An Open Letter to Honor the Memory of a Carolina Fashion Icon


Dear Donna,

As the soft breeze sweeps through the streets of the South Carolina, a palpable void is felt in the world of fashion and beauty. Your indomitable spirit, keen eye for style, and unwavering passion for all things glamorous had cast a radiant glow upon the runway of life. As we pen this open letter, our hearts are heavy, yet our memories are adorned with the vibrant stories of your remarkable journey.

You, Donna Bellah, were the driving force behind the Bellah Modeling Agency, a haven where dreams of aspiring models took flight. Your dedication to fostering talent and celebrating diversity in the world of fashion was nothing short of inspirational. From Sumter to Myrtle Beach and Spartanburg, your modeling agency became a beacon of hope for those that had a dream and you saw beauty on each person that set foot on the runway.

Fashion Week in these picturesque Southern cities will forever bear the imprint of your visionary touch. As the curator, you orchestrated a symphony of style, seamlessly blending tradition with modern trends. The runway became a canvas where your creative spirit painted stories of empowerment, confidence, and beauty. Your ability to transform Fashion Week into an inclusive and enchanting spectacle will remain etched in the memories of all who were fortunate to witness it.

Beyond the runway lights, you radiated beauty in every facet of your life. The founder of Candyland Beauty cosmetics, you had an innate knack for enhancing the allure of those around you. Your cosmetic line mirrored your philosophy – that every individual possessed a unique and exquisite beauty waiting to be unveiled.

Yet, amidst the glitter and glamour, life threw a curveball. In October of 2023, you faced the formidable foe that is cancer with the same grace and resilience that defined your entire being. Your unwavering courage in the face of adversity became an inspiration to many, a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

On December 27, 2023, the heavens gained a new star, and we bid farewell to a beloved icon. Your passing leaves a void not just in the world of fashion but in the hearts of those who knew you as a friend, a mentor, a mother, and a true force of nature.

Donna, your legacy lives on in the laughter of your two beautiful girls and your loving family, the echoes of runway applause, and the vibrant hues of Candyland Beauty cosmetics. The impact you’ve had on the fashion industry and the lives you touched will continue to ripple through time.

Always a vision of beauty, you were perfectly poised, always dressed to impress. Even as you fought a good fight, you were a perfect picture of bravery and love for those around you. In this moment, somewhere up in Heaven, I am sure that every hair is in it’s perfect place. Your wings are sparkly and shiny and your shoes and accessories are giving runway. If there is an iPhone anywhere around, you are waving down an angel walking by to ask them to take your picture in your signature poses and after thirty-eight attempts, you have the perfect one.  

 As the curtains close on this earthly chapter, we say goodbye to a remarkable woman who transformed the ordinary into the extraordinary, one runway at a time. May you find eternal peace, surrounded by the elegance and beauty that defined your remarkable journey.

With Much Love for Our Sister,

Teia, Teika, and Denise



Photo Credits: Courtesy of Donna Bellah’s family