Make us your home page

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. 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....

  2. 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)
  3. 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....

    Domhnall Gleeson
  4. 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.
  5. 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."...

  6. 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....

  7. 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.
  8. 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....

  9. 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.
  10. 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
  11. 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]
  12. Get ready for Father's Day with some A-plus Dad Jokes


    Cue the loving groans.

    Our star this week is Tig Notaro, the comedian known for her "bone-dry, low-key observations," as Christopher Spata writes. She performs at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts on Friday. In a different Straz theater on the same night, Jim Jefferies cracks his brand of controversial funnies.

    If Pops can take a joke, either event would be a lovely date this Father's Day weekend. We have some other ideas to mark the occasion, from museums offering free admission to dining ideas that step outside the box at

    Jim Gaffigan and his family attend the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them world premiere at Lincoln Center in New York last year. [Getty Images]
  13. Why 'The Great British Baking Show' is the best thing on Netflix

    The Feed

    It's officially TV catch-up season.

    As Chelsea Tatham writes in this week's Couch Planner, Fear the Walking Dead is back for a third season, so brush up on the first two. And, before the TV reboot starts in June, she suggests watching the movie adaptation of Stephen King's The Mist, an endeavor that left me horrified. I can still hear Thomas Jane's tortured screams.

    But these dark shadows are not why I called you here today. I am here to advocate that you play catch-up on a series with much lower stakes, and a much happier disposition. A series that will caress your head gently and calm you like a red wine....

    Follow 12 amateur bakers in their quest to be named Britain’s best. As judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood create 30 new challenges to test their skill and creativity, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins are with them every step of the way
  14. Here's what you need to know before you buy that Groupon vacation deal


    There are times in life that call for caution, for using that chunk of money in savings to renovate the bathroom because the bathroom is from 1974, and not in a cool way.

    But then, there are times Groupon comes along.

    A few years back, it happened to me most notably right after a bad breakup. A trip to Paris and Rome, including hotel and airfare, breakfasts and rides to the airport, appeared in my in-box. It was $1,500 for all. A stock photo of the Eiffel Tower danced off the screen. Buy it now, a voice said, a voice wearing a beret. Ask questions later. I enlisted a friend and we clicked oui, oui....

    ALI DOUGLASS   |   Special to the Times
  15. From podcasts to singing, finding small joys in commuting Tampa Bay

    Human Interest

    There are some things to get out of the way. Before you finish the wine, you have to do dealbreakers. I killed a man in Cincy. I collect clown socks. I have a lower back Gwar tattoo.

    For this conversation, here's what needs getting out of the way:

    Commuting is mostly terrible.

    I drive 25 miles each way, five days a week, from home in Dunedin to work in downtown St. Petersburg. There are many reasons, but it boils down to this: I love my home and my job. There is road between us. ...