More on Social Graces: One way to act like a Princess.

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“I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” – Maritn Luther King Jr. Lets just say this post is fashionably late, honoring MLK a week after the holiday because lets face it, he should always be honored.  This man has been my hero since I read a biography about him when I was 8 years old.

I grew up with a mother who was constantly reminding me that I should “treat everyone as an equal”. She wasn’t one to dish it out and not take it either, she led by example.

When I was young we had a Maid named Mary McCants. I capitalized the “M” in “maid” intentionally, as this was her title, not a label signifying the typical stereotypes affiliated with the word “maid” in that day and age. Mary was my second mother. A sister to my mother and father. And she was a house-keeper. My mom treated her with the upmost respect. She was kind to her, courteous, and a good friend. When Mary needed someone to listen, my mother was there. When she took a second job selling Avon, my mother bought perfume. In return, Mary treated us like family and was always there for me.

Every year I looked forward to Mary’s and my annual tradition of watching The Miss America Pageant. We’d lay on my parents’ bed and study each contestant. Such diverse groups of women with talent and beauty. Things have changed because back then those women were portrayed as smart and talented and Miss America was a truly respectable position. I  was so silly when I was a kid. I would grab my mom’s bra and stuff it with tennis balls and promenade around the room, imitating each contender as if I was wearing a fabulous gown. “Oh hello darlings!” I would say, swishing through the room. Mary would laugh, and then enlighten me on issues of race and ethnicity, and the esoteric nature of defining beauty. Through my relationship with Mary I learned about other cultures. I learned how to respect people for who they really are, not for what they appear to be, to understand others and embrace their differences celebrating each individual’s uniqueness.

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When Mary and I watched Miss America, of course we would also discuss the gowns, the fabric, and how we would redesign them or design our own. We actually watched on my parents Black and White TV (don’t judge, they had that thing until 1998) so it was fun guessing what the real colors were. haha.

My father further implemented my training in equality via various stories of how he met “so and so” not knowing that they were “insert famous title here” and that it was “a good thing he was nice to (insert said famous title)”. Remind me to tell you how this ALWAYS happens to me. Occupational hazard because I’m awful with names and faces and I work in entertainment. Following his own lesson, my father was fabulous at getting along with just about everybody. My favorite example? When my father met his college roommate, George, his first day at Yale, they immediately hit it off. They joined the baseball club together and became great friends. Despite their different religious backgrounds (that was a big deal back then), they found commonalities in sports and humor, and they grew close. After his roommate moved into married housing my dad made a point to nurture and maintain that friendship. They remained friends for a very very long time. My father even helped George run his first political campaign in Cleveland. Which is why I had President George Bush’s signature on my college admissions applications (Senior. Senior. George Bush Senior. Felt it necessary to make that clear). Political agendas aside, he and my father were good friends. And since then my father always said “Treat everyone you meet like they may be the next president of a country. Because you never know, they might.” And who could argue with him?

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Yale Baseball team circa 1948

Never underestimate the power of modesty and humility. My diverse and broad minded upbringing with an emphasis on treating everyone equally has resulted in some amazing opportunities, and so far a life of many rewarding friendships.

“A point in every direction is the same as no point at all”

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Oddly, if you fit in everywhere, you will belong no where. Its important to know from where you’ve come so that you can maintain a connection to your roots. This will keep you grounded.

 

I have to interject that it is important to not push humility to the point of diffidence. Always remember from where you have come, and take humble pride in that. I don’t really want to talk about social class here because, well, I’ve been raised to see beyond the lines and fight against them so the whole topic makes me uncomfortable; which honestly is an issue in and of itself. I will say this:

To future parents or other didactics- training a person to open their heart and accept all types of people is important, but seeing the lines of socio-economic classes and accepting they exist is equally essential. Don’t only teach people to embrace and respect others, teach them to also embrace and respect themselves, because being ashamed or embarrassed of or feeling guilty about where you are from- no matter what “class” it is – will only have negative ramifications.

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With courage, confidence, and a strong heart, we can all make a difference in the fight to make the world a safer and happier place. Photo: Google search “confidence”.

Confidence a kind  heart and humility. That is so key.

With all this being said, next time your checking out at the grocery store or paying your bill at a restaurant, don’t forget to ask the clerk/waiter how their day has been, or to thank them for their help and wish them a nice day. You never know, they may be the next president of America. Or Prime Minister of Canada or the next King or Queen of Genovia. OR (for those of us who work in entertainment) the next CFO of Paramount Pictures. 🙂

xoxo

QJ

QJ

 

Jermaine Jackson Jr and the Asa Kaftan fashion show.

Untitled Number Eleven, 2011 by Gilles Bensimon, the first fashion photographer I ever loved.
Untitled Number Eleven, 2011 by Gilles Bensimon, the first fashion photographer I ever loved.  Click here to browse some of his work: Gilles Bensimon 

Once upon a time, a million years ago, when smog was not a worry,  children didn’t have to wear bike helmets, and there was no such thing as auto correct, a shy 13 year old girl (me) discovered Seventeen magazine. She read each issue back cover to front, taking in all its photographic glory, reading every article including the letters to the editors. As the images permeated her imagination, she could escape into the fantasized fairy tales. She was on the other side of the looking glass, wearing the beautiful clothes, running amongst the nymph models through alternate bewitchingly created universes. Also the articles provided sage advice and funny anecdotes. Her love, or obsession if we dare, with fashion was born.

A few weeks ago my friend Emily invited me to a fashion show benefitting City of Hope, an LA based cancer research and treatment hospital. Since I was on my work hiatus, I could excitedly RSVP “yes”, despite the event being held at one in the afternoon on a Friday. I don’t watch much reality television, so the fact the event was being televised on The Shahs of Sunset meant nothing to me- other than heavier than usual makeup and an immaculate outfit. How exciting! My first fashion show!

Asa’s Kaftans for City of Hope:

The Four Seasons Beverly Hills is nothing short of fabulous.
The Four Seasons Beverly Hills is nothing short of fabulous.

The event was held at The Four Seasons Beverly Hills. Wow this venue is beyond gorgeous. The Penninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills is one of my all time favorites. It’s posh but feels somehow approachable. It’s sort of like a little bit of a dream brought to reality. The Four Seasons, alternatively, is a little slice of heaven. Lush greens with well groomed gardens ensconce the hotel. Soft flowing lavish fabrics hanging from colums, dancing in the wind.

Traffic was terrible- who knew so many people would be out and about at 1pm on a Friday? I mean it is LA, I guess. Home to the rich and famous who don’t, apparently, need to work- or at least don’t need to go to the office to work. Anyways, I digress…..as I was saying, traffic was awful and I arrived not so fashionably late- 73 minutes late, to be exact.

I was signed in by a very gregarious man who explained he was one of the producers of Shah’s of Sunset, and then escorted me to the party. Luckily, as commonly expected in television production, everything was running behind. I hadn’t missed a thing! There was a silent auction table including wonderful items like a Skinny Girl libation basket, stunning pearl earrings, and a day trip to a world renowned spa. I put bids on the Skinny Girl and the Earrings. Little tip when it comes to silent auctions- be careful of what and how much you bid. Choose wisely. Three years ago I bid on 6 items at the Junior League of LA’s Harvest Boutique and I won every single item, totaling well over a thousand dollars! I mean yeah, it was for a good cause but that was  a lot more than I wanted or had expected to spend!

I love how lately I've been seeing a lot of fruit infused water offered at parties. They look so pretty and add just that little touch of flavor to tickle the palette.
 Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of fruit infused water offered at parties. They look so pretty and add just that little touch of flavor to tickle the palette. Very classy. 

I knew no one attending the party, only my friends Emily, Victoria, and January- who were working the party. I took a deep breath to get a grasp on my courage and began to tour the “room” (it was an outdoor patio area) and start conversations with a bunch of strangers. I met two women that own a PR agency and seemed to really love their jobs, a lovely editor in chief of a celebrity lifestyle magazine,  and a  group of well dressed co-eds.  I did glance around the room and noticed that Latoya (I thought it was Janet) Jackson was there. Cool!

It was such a pleasure meeting and speaking with the stunning and gracious Ms. Mimi, Editor in Chief of Celebrity Style Magazine. I adore her, and her outfit! xo
It was such a pleasure meeting and speaking with the stunning and gracious Ms. Mimi, Editor in Chief of Celebrity Style Magazine. I adore her and her outfit, particularly this necklace. So pretty! xo
Guests waiting for everyone to be seated. Typical LA, most are killing time on their cell phones- or booking their next appointments. I definitely feel like I know this man from somewhere....
Gift bags underfoot, some VIP guests wait while everyone else is seated. Typical LA,  killing time on their cell phones- or booking their next appointments. I definitely feel like I know this man from somewhere….and I LOVE that woman’s pink hair!

Finally the fashion show was to begin. The party progressed onto the adjacent lawn, resplendent with sunlight and brilliantly saturated greens. How gorgeous this area was! I could imagine a princess getting married here. Emily and Asa both stood and spoke for a moment, explaining the event. As the music played, the models amusingly walked by, the fluid fabrics flowing behind as a light wind took grasp of the kaftans. Asa’s Kaftans of multitudinous colors perfectly contrasted the green setting. I appreciated the designer picking models of all shapes and sizes. They walked with such confidence. I could tell everyone was having fun.

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I just loved the colors of the Kaftans, and how well the fabric flowed. They look so luxurious. I can imagine someone wearing one in Santorini. I told that to Asa's mother who exclaimed
I just love the colors of the Kaftans, and how well the fabric flows. They look so luxurious. I can imagine someone wearing one in Santorini. I told this to Asa’s mother who exclaimed “There is one named Santorini!”. They are made NOT of silk- so easy to care for, but appear to move like silk. They look and feel luxurious. If your interested in purchasing one, I’ve included a link below.

After the fashion show I spoke with Emily and met a very attractive colleague who was introduced as Asa’s “soul mate”. He was kind, spiritual, and very intelligent. I asked if he worked in fashion as well. He mischievously smiled and answered “No, I work in music. Mostly on the business side, but I’m working on an album.” We discussed the significance of music and music therapy amongst other things. When we parted ways I told him “good luck on your album! I hope to hear it and see it sometime!” Later I found out he was Jermaine Jackson Junior. Ha! I hope its a good thing I never know who anyone is prior to meeting them! (AKA I’m totally embarrassed).

What the heck to wear to a benefit Fashion Show held in the middle of the afternoon:

I seriously had NO clue!  I mean for me this event was at the oddest time of day. Cocktail attire seemed too dressy, business attire too casual. Plus I knew friends of the fashion industry would be in attendance, so I wanted to make sure my outfit had edge and was a fair player. And on top of that it was to be televised!

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Blazer: Theory Top: Alice and Olivia Skirt: Stella McCartney Shoes: Christian Louboutin (the first pair of designer shoesI ever bought! I will keep them forever). Not Pictured: Handbag: Celine Handbag Karlito Charm: Fendi. <because you can’t go to a fashion show without Karlito!

Danielle definitely pulled through. I’m not sure why, but I’m always impressed when she throws out an outfit idea without looking through my wardrobe. How does she remember what I own? This time she really surprised me because she suggested a pair of shoes I bought nine years ago. A pair with which she’s never truly admitted are acceptable! I guess fairy godmothers remember everything :).

My friends and I after the show.
My friends and I after the show. As mentioned previously, I will never get rid of these shoes. 

I had a fantastic time at my first fashion show. I look forward to hopefully one day attending another! I ALSO look forward to watching this episode on Bravo. It will be fun to see if I made it in the cut!

Asa’s family and friends were all so lovely. I hope her line sells exquisitely. If you are interested in purchasing an Asa Kaftan, please click here: Asa Kaftans

If you are interested in learning about or donating to City Of Hope, please click here: City Of Hope

{PS} Happy November everyone!

xoxo

QJ

QJ