Teacher by Day, Princess by Night

Teacher by Day, Princess by Night

Durham Academy preschool music and lower school drama teacher Elizabeth South has become a viral star thanks to her dreamy pipes and hand-designed costumes.

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Photo by Jeremy Cowart.
Photo by Jeremy Cowart.

Originally from Greenville, Elizabeth attended the N.C. School of the Arts and Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She has two undergraduate degrees in theater and music therapy, and also has a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in music education. Elizabeth settled in Durham 14 years ago. She attends both The Church of the Good Shepherd and The Summit Church and names Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Spartacus Restaurant and Kanki Japanese House of Steaks & Sushi as some of her favorite spots around town. Tight-knit with her parents and brother, Elizabeth is thankful they all now call the Bull City home.


In addition to teaching at Durham Academy, Elizabeth is an Internet sensation. Just search her name on YouTube – one of her Disney princess song medleys has nearly 14 million views. Her covers of these well-known tracks are engaging, partly due to her dreamy pipes, but also thanks to her spot-on costuming – all designed and created by Elizabeth herself. And her star is only rising: She’s produced six albums, all available on elizabethsouth.com. Among the highlights of her singing career include recording a track she wrote, “I Love You,” with Vince Gill and winning first place for her cover of the song “Let it Go” in an online contest for “On Air with Ryan Seacrest.” She’s also rocked out locally as a member of Durham Academy’s “The Substitutes,” which participated in Triangle Corporate Battle of the Bands to benefit the nonprofit Book Harvest last year. “Never give up on the things in life you want to do and know you can do well,” Elizabeth advises. “Surround yourself with great people that you can learn from and who can help you. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.”