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The 10 Most Interesting People I Met in 2018

A crossing guard, beekeeper, and a couple with 20 suitcases—Associate Editor Sarah Pfledderer interviewed all of these subjects and more


The Vet Saving an Entire Species

Barbara Durrant, director of reproductive sciences at San Diego Zoo Global’s Institute for Conservation Research, was no easy source to track down. Then again, her schedule was tight for an important reason—she's the first vet ever to use southern white rhinos as surrogates for northern white rhinos, which are facing extinction. When she picked up the phone for our interview, she'd just wrapped up rubbing a few rhino bellies.

Featured in "15 Coolest Jobs in San Diego and How to Get Them"

The Farmhouse Owners Whose Dogs Laid on My Lap

Comfy on the couch for an interview with homeowners Jim and Mary Brinson, a Pacific Beach couple who'd just renovated a farmhouse in Julian, their lovable rescue pup, Lucy, plopped on my lap. I used her back as a lap desk for my notepad the remainder of our chat.

Featured in "Inside an Idyllic Julian Farmhouse"

The Chef Who Made Me a Scone from Scratch

When Holly Haines, of NBC’s Food Fighters fame, initially took me into her "impossibly tiny kitchen," she was a little nervous about the interview. So she did what soothes her nerves most: cook. As for me? I ate... the most delicious strawberry chocolate scone I've ever tasted.

Featured in "8 San Diegans Take us Inside Their Favorite Spaces"

The Salon Owner Who Gave Me a Head Massage

It only made sense to chat in the salon chairs for an interview at the newly opened Green + Anchor in Bankers Hill, but what I never expected was for owner Briana McDonald to do a full-on wash and blowout of my mane during our discussion. With recorder and notepad in my hands, she massaged my scalp, combed my strands, and styled my locks as I asked questions. I'd never looked better leaving an interview.

Featured in "Green + Anchor Brings Holistic Hair Care to Bankers Hill"

The Beekeeper Who Saw Me Get Stung

Among the most hospitable subjects of all, Hilary Kearny provided photographer Paul Body and me with bee suits, had one of her clients agree to let us climb onto their roof to inspect a hive, and she even gave me a chunk of fresh honeycomb to try at the end of our photo shoot and interview. But, what I'll never forget is getting stung in front her—on my single piece of flesh exposed that was my hand taking notes.

Featured in “On the Job: Meet Beekeeper Hilary Kearney”

The Florist with a Heart as Big as Her Estate

Bridget McKenna and her family, literally a band of boys (her three sons and husband have jam sessions together), uplifted my day both times I swung by to interview them. "The twins," Frankie and Jojo directed the style of the family portrait, firm that all of the boys wear suits. And McKenna once sent me out the door with a bouquet so big I had to separate it into three vases. 

Featured in "Inside a Florist's Historic Point Loma Home"

The Totally Humble Worldy Couple

By the time our photo shoot and interview had wrapped, I felt like I'd received 30 some stamps in my passport at Bonnie and Rick's Encinitas home. Every memento from their jet-setting—a tribal mask collection, shadow puppets, teak murals, etc.—has been purchased and placed with a purpose. As for all of their other garments and details? Bonnie calls herself the "dime store decorator."

Featured in "This Encinitas Abode Doubles as Both a Home and a Gallery"

The Crossing Guard Who Gives Everyone’s Day a Positivity Boost

I may start taking the long way to work, just to see Moray “Mr. Mo” Black's positivity in motion in the mornings. He takes his duty as a crossing guard at Albert Einstein Academy Charter Middle School to a new and fully enlightening level so that students and teachers alike begin their day just like him—with a smile on their face.

Featured in "On the Job: Meet the Crossing Guard"

The Art Curator Who Helicopter-Parents Paintings

Who knew a portrait required an escort? I sure didn't... until I met Michael Brown, San Diego Museum of Art Curator of European Art. He escorts SDMA pieces of art around the globe, keeping his eye on the prize from the time it's taken off the wall to when it's hung in its borrowing institution.

Featured in "What Does It Take to Transport a 111-Year-Old Painting?"

The Boy Band Member Who Played Along

My ’90s youth came full circle when the opportunity to interview Jeff Timmons of boy band 98 Degrees panned out. Still, I was a little nervous to call out what would be entirely obvious to our readers: The band is, technically, no longer "boys." Thankfully, Timmons played along.

Featured in "98 Degrees Heads to Balboa Theatre 'This Christmas'"

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