Libby Floyd, '86: Living a 'Sparkelicious' Life
in November 2012
The devil may wear Prada, but Libby Floyd, '86, wears whichever hat she wants when it comes to her professional life. She writes. She sings. She hosts a sports television show. She was a longtime national television host in the home-shopping industry. She also modeled in New York and even found the time to cook with chef Bobby Flay on the Food Network. Libby now has a new title, that of author, with her newly released book, Sparkelicious. Libby proves that just because you majored in one field of study, it doesn’t mean you have to pigeon-hole yourself to one line of work.
Libby graduated from Carolina in 1986 with a BS in retail management/fashion merchandising. She’s currently co-hosting a sports show called "Sports Standouts" with former NFL coach Dean Dalton, which will begin airing on November 17 in Minneapolis.
“'Sports Standouts' is a very different kind of sports show. It's a weekly feature style show that features Minnesota prep, collegiate, professional athletes and coaches,” Libby says. “Our show highlights their inspirational stories on and off the court and field. It is scheduled to air every Saturday on KARE-11, the NBC affiliate in the Twin Cities. It’s a lot of fun. I just interviewed Kyle Rudolph from the Minnesota Vikings at the Muscular Dystrophy Gala, where he has been a buddy to a child who has a muscle disease. It was such an inspiring night.”
2012 has been a busy year for Libby. Her first novel, Sparkelicious, was released on August 15.
“Sparkelicious was inspired by one of my trips back home to South Carolina,” Libby says. “After moving away to New York and then L.A. after college graduation, I returned after several years to discover the sleepy little Southern town of Greenville was now vibrant and alive. I also found that I’d missed so many family events and still hadn’t come to term with my father’s death. He died in 2000 from cancer, and this particular trip home was closure for me. I had also missed the Southern charm and humor of the South.”
All Roads Lead Somewhere
Libby was born in Greenwood, SC, but moved to Greenville when she was five years old. Although she grew up in the Upstate, getting her education at Carolina was a no-brainer.
“I decided to go to USC because my mom went there and my sister was also a Tri-Delt at Carolina at the time,” Libby says. “I also loved the fact it was just close enough to home. The campus and the fashion merchandising program were also impressive. The list goes on and on!”
Libby decided she had found the perfect major for her to express her creativity. That inspiration is also found in her recent book.
“Ironically, the lead character in my novel, Laney Montgomery, is a successful fashion designer who graduated from Carolina and majored in fashion merchandising,” Libby says. “I guess Laney’s degree paid off, as well!”
Being with her sorority sisters, winning Miss Greek and learning about life and fashion from her instructor Kitty Strickland are among her best memories of her days on campus.
“I loved Kitty Strickland,” Libby says. “She taught me not only about fashion but also about real life. I also liked my film teacher. He was real and had an offbeat sense of humor. I was a member of Tri-Delta sorority and also a little sister for one of the fraternities that nominated me for Miss Greek.”
Although it is difficult for her to get back to campus often, Libby did return a few years ago to receive the College of HRSM’s Outstanding Alumni Award for Retailing Management in 2007.
Coast to Coast
Her road to becoming a shopping-channel host was quite interesting. After graduating from Carolina, Libby moved to New York and did some modeling and then moved to Los Angeles and worked at Bullock’s department store in the management-training program. She knew that wouldn’t be her last stop.
“The entertainment industry was calling my name, so I became a talent agent for Wilhelmina Models by day, sang in clubs at night, and got a gig hosting a basketball show for the Sports Channel with (former NFL star) Willy Gault and (former NBA star) Rick Barry. My music was still going strong, though, and I landed a summer gig, singing cover songs and originals with a band in Japan.”
Soon after her time in L.A. and Japan, she became serious about her music career and moved to Nashville to pursue a record deal. While in Nashville, she did some music video work, played music showcases for record label executives and did a couple of commercials. One day, her husband, Tony, was scouring through the classifieds in The Tennessean and saw an ad for shopping-channel hosts. He sent her photo and resume to the network, and the rest is history.
“I worked for Shop at Home in Nashville for almost ten years, then back to L.A., where I was a host for USN, and then ShopNBC called, and I moved to Minnesota to brave the cold,” Libby says. “The winters in Minnesota are brutal. I don’t think you ever get used to the cold. And, the people in Minnesota take a little bit longer to warm up to you, no pun intended, but when they do, they are very nice and unpretentious. Southerners are warm, friendly and have a great sense of humor.”
Inspired to Write
With her professional life taking her all over the world, Libby somehow found time to start penning her first novel in 2009. After a trip home to South Carolina, she sat down at her laptop in her kitchen in Minnesota and began to write. Three years later, Sparkelicious was finally released.
“I think writing the book was cathartic for me in many ways; even though it’s fiction, it’s based on a few life experiences,” Libby says. “Sparkelicious is set in my charming hometown of Greenville, SC, and my spiritual home of Los Angeles. I had missed the Southern charm and humor of the South. And, after living in L.A. for so many years, I had to relive my life there, so I decided to capture the glamor of Hollywood. Sparkelicious hits on the touchy subject of age and turning 40, which most women find devastating, especially in Hollywood. However, I decided to explore ageism in a positive and uplifting light through Laney Montgomery’s character, who finds that it’s never too late to fall in love with your true passion and your true love.”
Libby would love for Sparkelicious to make the jump to the big screen, and she is also working on several other books. One is called Prime Time Divas and is about the home-shopping industry, which she hopes to be released early next year.
Libby and her husband, Tony Cane-Honeysett, a British filmmaker and author, have been married for 20 years. The couple met in L.A. while she was singing at the famous Palomino Club. They married in Vegas on the way to Nashville.
Who knows, with all of her other plans coming into fruition, perhaps she can turn that story into a prime-time television show.