First they came for the Kendall boss babes, and we did not speak out. Then they came for the clout demons, and we did not speak out. Then they came for Miami New Times and — oh, shit. Eventually, Starter Packs of Miami comes for us all. The big-time Miami-Dade meme accounts could never, but Starter Packs goes there, with niche references to Liger's cookies, Andrew merch drops, and the literature available for purchase at Paradis Books & Bread. Flanigan's-loving Salt Life bros and Éliou-wearing microinfluencers get equal play. If astrology is your personality, natural wine is your hobby, or Carbone reservations are your currency, beware.

@starterpacksmia

After hosting a rager at her $6.7 million Miami condo during Miami Hack Week — complete with lemurs, tech bros, and one massive snake — tech developer-turned-investor Lucy Guo tweeted a scathing letter she received from her homeowners' association that detailed how the party spiraled out of control and violated a handful of rules. "My HOA did not appreciate my Miami Hack Week party and the wild animals," she wrote in the since-deleted tweet, which included the note from One Thousand Museum Inc., the private corporation that enforces the bylaws at the striking 62-story luxury high-rise where Guo resides. After laying out Guo's various alleged offenses, the pissed-off association concluded, "All while your Instagram account provides evidence of the events of the night and your brazen attitude toward the Association's policies are reflected in the caption of your Instagram Story "MY HOA HATES ME."

@lucy_guo

$800,000 for that shithole? That's pretty much the entire premise of Menephta Fernandez's darkly hilarious TikTok videos. The self-appointed chisme real estate critic provides ruthless takedowns of the most indefensible listings on Miami Zillow. $625,000 for a log cabin in Biscayne Park that "might be" made of Dade County pine? Sure. $1.9 milli for a geodesic dome with a pink bathtub in North Miami Beach? OK. $895,000 for a Pinecrest home with shag carpet and an avocado-colored dishwasher? That's the market, baby! South Florida real estate agents are already freaking out about Fernandez's videos — at least one has objected to her use of "private" photos. "The MLS is not the Illumi-fucking-nati!" Fernandez clapped back. Then she let out her signature cackle — and kept recording.

@menephtaf

Best Local TikToker
Photo by Stian Roenning

Miami City Commissioner Ken Russell may have lost some fans in Miami following a swing vote that cinched approval of the contentious Inter Miami FC stadium project, but he has no shortage of TikTok followers. The former international yo-yo champ-turned-politico, who recently pivoted from the U.S. Senate primary race to a run for Congress, shares daily clips on his account @kenforflorida that cover everything from cannabis policy to how to solve a Rubik's cube with one hand. Despite occasionally giving off "How do you do, fellow kids" meme energy in his videos, which usually are taken in selfie mode and follow popular TikTok trends, Russell actually seems to be engaging community members on topical issues like medical marijuana, police reform, and the rent being too damn high. As of late May, he'd amassed more than 250,000 followers.

@kenforflorida

With its postcard-perfect images of the Brickell skyline and art deco buildings, Miami has long been ready for its close-up. But no one has shot the city more intimately than artist, photographer, and graphic designer Laura Paresky Gould, who runs the popular Miami Color Theory Instagram account, launched in January 2021. Using just her iPhone and a drone, Paresky Gould captures the colorful shapes and shadows of the city's unique architecture and composes them as if they were works of modern, abstract art. For example, at first glance, the bright orange eyebrow of a South Beach apartment and the worm's-eye-view of a Brickell skyscraper take on the geometry of a Mondrian painting. It's this perspective — exaggerating the smallest of details — that often stumps locals, who then peek at the comments to figure out what they're actually looking at.

@miamicolortheory

A year ago, Eliana Salzhauer might have been named "Best Politician." She was then an elected commissioner in Surfside during the town's most trying time — the aftermath of the Champlain Towers condo collapse. But her true calling at city hall was holding developers at bay while acting as the chief dissenter to Mayor Charles Burkett, whom she (in)famously flipped the double bird during a Zoom meeting in 2020. Then came the elections in March, and both she and her nemesis lost their seats in a near clean sweep by newcomers. After the loss, Salzhauer indicated that she wanted to take a break from city meetings, but that turned out to be impossible. "I don't have the ability to take it easy when someone is taking a shit in my living room," she said with characteristic bluntness. Salzhauer says the new slate of commissioners is more pro-development than ever, especially the new vice mayor, Jeffrey Rose, a prominent home builder in the sleepy seaside burg just north of Miami Beach. So Salzhauer is bird-dogging the new commission like never before, calling out every potential conflict of interest and attempt to skirt setback rules or height limits. "They just put this entire town in a cage with the snake and nobody wants to look," she says. Her efforts and means may not always be polite or popular, but Surfside, you want her on that wall, you need her on that wall.

@esalzhauer

When resident demagogue Ron DeSantis announced, in the midst of our national gun-violence epidemic, that he wanted to make it legal for basically any yahoo to pack heat in public without a permit, it was gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried who immediately smacked him down. "This is absurd political pandering from the governor of a state that has experienced some of the worst mass shootings in our country's history, in a nation where we have the highest rates of gun violence in the world," she stated. On the same day, Fried, using her power as the state's commissioner of agriculture and consumer affairs, suspended the concealed-weapons permits of seven January 6 insurrectionists. Need more convincing? How about someone who denied DeSantis' order to lower state flags to half-mast when corrosive hate-talker Rush Limbaugh passed on to Hell? She did that, too. Someone who's leading the charge on adult-use cannabis, you say? Check. The big question now is whether she can beat Charlie Crist, the all-time king of showing up, to secure the Democratic nomination for governor and square off against DeSantis one on one. It's a major task, but remember that back in 2018, she beat a rifle-toting Republican to become the only Democrat to be elected statewide. Translation: She has surprised before.

@NikkiFried

Best Local Girl Made Good
Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Image

Ketanji Brown Jackson hasn't just made good, she's made history. In fact, no South Florida girl or boy has made a more profound mark on history. Yes, the late great Janet Reno, the first woman to serve as U.S. Attorney General, comes close. But to be the first Black woman named to the U.S. Supreme Court? Epic. And awe-inspiring. Jackson was born in Washington, D.C., but she grew up in Miami and her roots here run deeper than a live oak's. Johnny Brown, her father, was the lead attorney for the Miami-Dade school board; her mother, Ellery Brown, served as principal of the New World School of Arts. An uncle, Calvin Ross, was a Miami police chief. Jackson herself graduated from Miami Palmetto Senior High School, class of 1988. Not surprisingly, she's remembered by many as highly driven during her South Florida youth and made good during her senior year when she won the national oratory championship. From there it was on to Harvard — and now, history.

Best Local Boy Made Good
Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Yes it's true that Mario Cristobal is the second consecutive University of Miami football coach to "come home" to great fanfare and big dreams. And it's also true that the first one — the super-hyped Manny Diaz — lasted three excruciating seasons before the axe fell. Might Cristobal follow in those regrettable footsteps? Don't count on it. Cristobal comes here with an edge Diaz lacked, one sharpened during his last somewhat bitter exit from town. You might remember that back in 2006, at age 36, Cristobal was named head coach at Florida International University, a fledgling program coming off a winless season. He significantly improved the team, which won a bowl game in 2010 and went 8-5 in 2011. But after a losing record the following year, he was abruptly canned. The decision was widely considered rash and unwise, and Cristobal has since proven it so. After being snapped up by a small football program called Alabama as O-line coach, he landed the head-coaching post at Oregon, where he went 35-13 over the last five seasons, was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year, and won a Rose Bowl. Now the second-generation cubano comes back to his hometown to coach the ex-powerhouse school with the big duck as a mascot (yes, we know it's supposed to be an ibis, but at games it looks like Donald Duck's slightly shady cousin and don't try to tell us otherwise). Will he return UM to its long-lost glory? Who knows, but it's a good bet he's gonna prove any doubters wrong.

There was a time when Jody Tagaris wasn't infamous for being crazier than a shithouse rat. In fact, as a former member of the GOP executive committee and Palm Beach County Commission candidate, she was a member of Republican royalty before it went totally in-your-face-death-cult fascist. Like so many of her ilk, it was January 6 that really brought out her Dark MAGA soul. On that day, the 67-year-old Tagaris put on her MAGA cap, her U.S. flag scarf, and her flag windbreaker. How do we know what she was wearing? Because she posed for photos while she was breaking into the Capitol, of course. In one she posed while climbing through a smashed window to the building ("Got tear gassed but okay!" she posted on Facebook.) Tagaris pleaded guilty in December to violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds — a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of $5,000.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®