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Savannah Boan

Radio star and wildlife educator | For demolishing assumptions about blondes, gators and Orlando

Though Savannah Boan is not an Orlando native, she is a uniquely Central Florida phenomenon. The 6-foot platinum blonde has one of the most recognizable voices in Orlando and a knack for self-reinvention up there with David Bowie. But her latest incarnation as an ambassador for Gatorland is her most rewarding and personal mission yet.

Boan moved to Orlando after a four-year stint in the Marines as an air traffic controller and soon enough landed a spot on Real Radio's "Monsters in the Morning." "One of my most favorite things about Orlando was from the time I hit the ground here, people were so welcoming," she says. "It was almost like coming home."

This was at the height of talk radio's popularity, and the Monsters were a local equivalent to Howard Stern. Boan, dubbed "the Sexy Savannah," was anything but mere ear candy, going toe-to-toe with her co-hosts in epic verbal beatdowns made all the more memorable by her thick Southern drawl.

Eventually it was time for a change. Boan left Orlando for California, working in a reptile zoo at one point and realizing that she'd found her true calling. She returned to Orlando and secured a dream job at old-Florida tourist stalwart Gatorland (and also returning to the WTKS airwaves). In her role as Gatorland's International Ambassador, Boan runs and stars in the park's various social media outlets – their YouTube channel is particularly eye-popping.

Boan is not at all afraid to get up close and personal with the park's feature attractions; she is the only woman in the park who handles the big gators, and her infection and enthusiasm for these reptiles is beyond infectious. "Every day I work in the most magical place in the word," she enthuses. "I'm so excited when I wake up in the morning!"

Besides doing a heroic amount of local outreach and helping develop a conservation arm for the park, she's taking her mission to all sorts of unlikely places. Last year she journeyed to Cuba to share ideas and supplies with crocodile experts there as part of a continuing partnership. Then she took a trip to the Crocodile Specialist Group in Belize. There is serious talk for a journey to India to work with the Madras Crocodile Bank.

Closer to home, at the end of 2018, she took the nerve-wracking plunge and presented a TED Talk at TEDxOrlando (find it on YouTube, naturally). Her enthusiasm and energy are seemingly boundless. And Boan credits the love and support she gets from the city at large as a large part of all of this.

"I've lived so many crazy lives!" she laughs. "I never would have pictured all of this for myself. But I'm so happy for it!"

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