Florida celebs’ most memorable moments from 2023

Florida celebs' most memorable moments from 2023

Photo courtesy of Tinseltown via Shutterstock

By Tyler Francischine

January 19, 2024

As 2023 comes to a close, Florida’s celebrities are rounding up a dramatic year…

With one of the most diverse—and some would say outspoken—populations in the nation, it’s no surprise that Florida soil has grown a rich crop of artists and entertainers who’ve achieved celebrity status. Today, these native Floridians leave their unique impact on the global public imagination. By no means a complete list, here are a few celebrities hailing from Florida and the achievements and projects they’ve devoted themselves to in 2023.

Ariana Grande

It’s been a decade since Ariana Grande—the Boca Raton native whose career began with a stint on Broadway at age 15 and reached star status when she played Cat Valentine in the Nickelodeon series “Victorious”—released her debut album, “Yours Truly.” The “Thank U, Next” singer celebrated the milestone by releasing a 10th-anniversary deluxe edition of “Yours Truly” this August, complete with live versions of multiple songs and a Spanglish version of “The Way,” featuring late rapper Mac Miller. Grande, whose 2019 Sweetener World Tour sold out dates throughout North America and Europe, was a student at North Broward Preparatory School and performed with the Fort Lauderdale Children’s Theater and the Florida Sunshine Pops.

Gloria Estefan

Florida celebs' most memorable moments from 2023

Photo courtesy of Featureflash Photo Agency via Shutterstock

Though Gloria Estefan was technically born in Havana, Cuba, the former Miami Sound Machine bandleader has built a rich legacy in the Sunshine State: both in South Florida, where she moved at 2 years old with her family following the Cuban Revolution, and north in Vero Beach, where her idyllic Costa d’Este Beach Resort and Spa sits. Together with her husband Emilio, the Estefans own several South Florida hotspots including Bongos Cuban Café in Hollywood, Miami Beach’s Larios on the Beach, and the Cardozo Hotel in Miami. In 2023, Gloria Estefan was recognized by the Recording Industry Association of America with the Icon Award, and she’ll close out the year by hosting “Kennedy Center Honors,” airing Dec. 27 on CBS.


Tallahassee’s own Faheem Rashad Najm, better known as T-Pain, marked 2023 by releasing his seventh studio album, “On Top of The Covers,” on his own Nappy Boy Entertainment. The rapper and singer who popularized the Auto Tune, pitch-corrected sound that topped the charts in the late aughts and early 2010s with hits like “Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin’)” leaves vocal effects behind for his latest record. A collection of varied covers like Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me,” Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come,” and Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs,” “On Top of The Covers” reminds listeners exactly why T-Pain was voted winner of “The Masked Singer” in 2019.

Tom Petty

Florida celebs' most memorable moments from 2023

Photo courtesy of Adam McCullough via Shutterstock

In his hometown, Tom Petty’s legacy lives on. In May, the University of Florida posthumously conferred a Doctor of Music degree to Petty, whose hits with The Heartbreakers include “American Girl,” “Free Fallin’,” and “Breakdown.” Petty’s family also established the Tom Petty Endowment for Guitars and Innovation Fund at the UF School of Music to support students studying guitar as well as music business and entrepreneurship. Fans flocked to Gainesville this October to honor Petty’s memory on Tom Petty Weekend, a celebration comprising live performances, a film showing, and a museum exhibition.

Bella Thorne

2023 has been a landmark year for Bella Thorne, the 26-year-old actress from South Florida’s Pembroke Pines who rose to stardom while playing CeCe Jones in the Disney Channel original series “Shake It Up.” Not only did she get engaged to entrepreneur Mark Emms at her home in California this May, she starred in two movies: “Rumble Through The Dark,” about a bare-knuckle cage fighter in Mississippi; and the dystopian, science-fiction-inspired “Divinity.” This summer, Thorne made her directorial debut at Italy’s Taormina Film Festival with “Paint Her Red,” which she wrote and starred in.

Carl Hiaasen

Hailing from Plantation, a suburb near Fort Lauderdale, Carl Hiaasen is a best-selling author and journalist who rang in 2023 by releasing the children’s book “Wrecker,” the seventh in his series for young readers that spins fantastical yarns replete with Florida’s finest flora and fauna. Hiaasen is an alumnus of the University of Florida College of Journalism & Communications, and his storied, only-in-Florida career includes a 36-year stint as an opinion columnist for The Miami Herald, during which a Miami city commissioner introduced a resolution to officially denounce him and his opinions. Hiaasen remains a proud Floridian, most recently calling Vero Beach home.

Brittany Snow

Florida celebs' most memorable moments from 2023

Photo courtesy of Phil Stafford via Shutterstock

Brittany Snow is a Tampa-born actress famous for her Y2K-era role as Daisy LeMay on CBS soap opera “Guiding Light”—a role she balanced with her responsibilities as a student at Ben Hill Middle School—who can now add “author” to her long list of accomplishments. The “John Tucker Must Die” star and her close friend Jaspre Guest created “September Letters: Finding Strength and Connection in Sharing Our Stories” in 2023. The published collection of letters and notes about topics like mental health, physical health, LGBTQ+ issues, equality, and love aims to showcase the strength inherent in sharing and hearing each other’s stories and life experiences.


  • Tyler Francischine

    Tyler Francischine is a journalist who writes about travel, arts, culture and community. She's passionate about social justice, the Atlantic Ocean and live music.



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