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Stephanie Hayes, Times Features Editor

Stephanie Hayes

Stephanie Hayes is the features editor for the Tampa Bay Times, directing features coverage and the Times' staff of critics. Previously, she was arts and entertainment editor, and before that, performing arts critic, covering plays, musicals, classical music, dance, comedy and more. She also blogs about fashion for the Times' style blog, Deal Divas. She started writing for the Times in 2003, covering everything from suburban politics to zoning to snack foods to Britney Spears. She wrote the Times' feature obituary column, Epilogue, and went on to work as a general assignment reporter, entertainment reporter and higher education reporter. She grew up near Cleveland and graduated from St. Petersburg College and the University of South Florida.

Phone: (727) 893-8716


Twitter: @StephHayes

Blog: Deal Divas

  1. Things to drink at Oktoberfest that are not beer

    Bars & Spirits

    International Bitterness Units. Dry hopping. Fermentable sugars.

    Beer, once the pale, watery symbol of casual consumption, has become bigger than itself. Everyone is an expert. The craft beer craze has Taylor from accounting explaining her home brew project on the elevator. Taylor's beer tastes like socks.

    Breweries continue to pop up on every corner of Tampa Bay, and, well, the world. (I recently tried some local brews in Greece.) It's easy to become persona non grata in your social circle if you don't imbibe. It's also true that beers have gotten way more delicious and dynamic. Between sours and hefes and stouts, it's possible for a non-beer drinker to find something that suits....

  2. See the runway looks from Tampa Bay Fashion Week


    It's hard to believe Tampa Bay Fashion Week is 10.

    Yes, our local fashion event is now a decade old, and a birthday party it did have. I've been attending the festivities for probably eight of those years, and I've seen the evolution, from scaling up to scaling down, from no runway show to two runway shows, from a wild, celebrity-filled party vibe (who can forget Kato Kaelin?) to the classier, more subdued yet celebratory event we saw Friday at International Plaza in Tampa. As it did in 2016, Tampa Bay Fashion Week presented a mix of mall retailers and local designers. The tone this year felt decidedly more elegant, with less focus on swimwear and more focus on eye-catching designs, particularly gowns. Everyone on the runway seemed a bit regal, and I left feeling inspired and energized....

    Designs by Elizabeth Carson Racker.
  3. With Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen coming to Tampa, could these celeb BFFs be next?


    Get out your emergency Cuteness Survival Kit and prepare to be charmed.

    This week's dual interview with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen — that's right, we talked to both of them — is going to make you want to pour a hot tea, curl up on your couch and wonder, is there a best friend out there for me?

    Cohen, Bravo king, and Cooper, CNN king, have been friends since a blind date 20 years ago (the spark wasn't there). They've turned their connection into a stage show, coming to Tampa on Saturday. Read Jay Cridlin's interview on Page 14 to find out why they love to egg each other on and take questions from the crowd....

    HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 26:  Actors Michelle Williams (L) and Busy Philipps attend the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
  4. 5 spooky sites around Tampa Bay that aren't at theme parks


    Don't yell at us. We know it's technically still September. But we also know, technically, that you've already seen Christmas lights for sale in your local discount store.

    That said, let's back up and indulge in some early Halloween chatter. The holiday has grown so popular that many of Florida's premiere spooky attractions are already taking visitors. In fact, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Disney opened weeks ago....

    It’s been said that the ghost of Jack Kerouac haunts Haslam’s.
  5. Reschedule, regroup, recharge: Ways to spend the weekend after Irma


    Well, it's safe to say some of your recent weekend plans got disrupted.

    Hurricane Irma put all of Tampa Bay on edge for days, and in the end, we were far luckier than others in Florida and the Caribbean. Still, it led to local closures, rescheduling and a mental switch into a stressful survival mode. A weekend that held promising plans ended in SpaghettiOs and Scrabble by candlelight.

    Maybe you found ways to stay entertained. Maybe you evacuated and got unexpected time with family. I, somehow, ended up on my honeymoon during the storm — talk about timing....

  6. These critical darling films are now streaming in September


    It's easy to get caught up in the blockbusters, the flashiest titles with the biggest stars.

    But for our Fall Movie Preview this year, critic Steve Persall took a different tack. He chose to focus on movies he thinks will be worthy of critical praise and awards when they grace your multiplex screen. Click here....

    Pocahotas in the Walt Disney animated film Pocahontas. (Disney via AP)
  7. In honor of Ed Sheeran's Tampa show, 5 more underrated redheads

    Music & Concerts

    “Is Ed Sheeran sexy?"

    Jay Cridlin, our pop music/culture critic, was on the phone with singer James Blunt, who is opening for Sheeran at Amalie Arena on Tuesday. But Jay could have been talking to anyone.

    It's the quest he's taken this week, trying to unlock the appeal of a divisive figure in pop culture. Somewhere between the guitar, sweet warble, cargo shorts and tats, some think Sheeran has a certain something. Some people, uh, do not....

    Rose Leslie
  8. August marks the deaths of both Elvis and Princess Diana

    Music & Concerts

    I was in a restroom at a Palm Harbor pizza shop last weekend, with Elvis.

    A collage of his photos was staring back at me. In the way that pizza restaurants like to decorate with glamorous dead celebrities of a certain era, there were also posters featuring James Dean and Marilyn Monroe. It was kind of a solemn restroom break, to be honest.

    The Elvis poster went through all his phases. Young upstart King, movie star King, puffy '70s King. Elvis would be 82, had he not died 40, yes 40 years ago on Aug. 16. I couldn't help but wonder what a modern-day Elvis would be like. What would he make of our political climate? Would he still tour? What kind of music would he like? Would he have an opinion on Despacito?...

    Princess Diana and Prince Charles, pictured in 1990, are featured in tons of new TV specials this year marking the 20th anniversary 
of Diana’s death.
  9. Trivia about Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga and Luis Fonsi to bring us all together

    Music & Concerts

    One of my favorite stories we've published this year involved a Pitbull and a Dad.

    Mr. Worldwide, to be specific, and the father of Times staff writer Divya Kumar. Divya took her 55-year-old professor pops to see Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias at Amalie Arena in June. She knew her dad liked some of Mr. Bull's upbeat tracks, including, as he described it, "I know u want me, nanna nananana."...

  10. Head outside this summer, rainfall and all


    Go outside, we said. You'll have a great time, we said.

    This issue was all ready to go when Tropical Storm Emily crept up and surprised everyone. Forecasters knew it would rain that day, but they didn't know how much, a confluence of factors fooling the prediction software. You probably felt it. My shoes were filled to the top with water as I squished-squished-squished into the office after navigating some serious B-roll from the Weather Channel. A maintenance worker mopped the muddy floors, sighing....

  11. We're big fans of keeping it cool with fun inside this summer


    It's safe to say we take the complex, mysterious unicorn of air conditioning for granted.

    In Florida, most public places are set to a crisp subzero year round, and we know we can duck into a store or a Starbucks to get a little relief at almost any time. My office is pretty much an arctic tundra. I have a Snuggie on hand at all times. Going outside into the heat is so shocking sometimes, it feels like that scene in Fantasia where the dinosaurs all die out to Stravinsky's Rite of Spring....

    How cold is too cold? Researchers have tried for years to determine an ideal thermostat setting for offices, and it’s a hard question to answer.
  12. From PetSmart to Home Depot, take your kids boring places


    Who remembers being kind of bored as a kid?

    You went with your parents to the hardware store, to the DMV. You went to Kmart and put back to school clothes on layaway. You went to Blockbuster and fought with your brother about who could pick the new release. Then you went home and ran around with your neighbor, the one who always dared you to eat things from the questionable grain field out back of the house....

  13. Get ready to freak out. National Ice Cream Day is coming.

    Food & Dining

    One of our editors came dashing over to Features the other day. I feared some major news had broken, a celebrity had shuffled off this mortal coil or a Kardashian had married a QR code while I'd glanced away.

    But, no. It was National Fried Chicken Day.

    Of course, it was imperative that we inform readers of places to get the best crispy bird, and STAT. Another editor turned around in her chair and reminded us that, when she'd told us National Piña Colada Day was coming, we had ignored her....

    July 6 was National Fried Chicken Day.
  14. In honor of 'Sharknado,' 5 more movies so bad they're good


    You might be surprised to learn that, even on its worst day, the Sharknado franchise brings in nearly 3 million viewers. That's "million." Not a typo.

    Learn that and more fun facts in this week's story from movie critic Steve Persall, who interviewed Sharknado director Anthony C. Ferrante. The purveyor of Syfy's staple series is appearing at Tampa Theatre, along with a screening of his original finned film. It's all tied to Shark-Con at the Florida State Fairgrounds....

    The Room, 2003
  15. Ways to get involved with Tampa Bay's LGBTQ community after Pride is over


    The most colorful parade in Florida is this weekend, and it's a fun time, to be sure.

    St. Pete Pride is back with a new location along St. Petersburg's waterfront. June is Pride month around the country, a time for the LGBTQ community and allies to come together, have a good time and show love. Check our report for details about this year's parade, events and trends to look out for. (Did you know horror icon the Babadook is making the rounds at Pride festivities?)...

    The Pride riders roll down Central Ave. during the St. Pete Pride Parade in St. Petersburg.  [Saturday, June 25, 2016] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]