There were rumblings about writer Julia Reed. At the Chick Lit patron party on Thursday, April 3, in the Carolina Herrera boutique, Community Partners of Dallas Executive Director Paige McDaniel and her sidekick Joanna Clarke were just downright giddy. “You’re going to love Julia!”
But a half hour into the party, the guest of honor hadn’t arrived. That was okay. There were tornado warnings in the area and bumbershoots were starting to be the accessory du jour. Perhaps Mississippi-born Julia was too dainty to broach the threatening weather. That theory would later prove to be as wrong as wearing muck boots to the Art Ball.
The next day those previous rumblings of “You’re going to love Julia” had heightened to the likes of a pep rally at Brook Hollow for the Chick Lit Luncheon. The VIP party was jammed with guests. Which one was Julia? Word had passed that she had indeed made it to the Herrera party and won a whole new crowd of fans before heading to dinner at Café Pacific with former First Lady Laura Bush.
Say, “What!” She had dinner with Laura?
Finally edging through the crowd, a tall brunette with poreless skin and a thick head of brown hair with excellent highlights was spotted. She was surrounded by other women, who were not budging. After all they had come to the conclusion that they were indeed the brunette’s new very best friends in the entire world.
But the camaraderie was obvious. There was an ease about her that made her appear to be comfortable whatever the situation. Let’s just face the fact that there are people who have the gift to make others feel like they’re unique and confidantes. Julia Reed is one of those rare creatures. She makes you remember those slumber parties when you and your very bestest bud shared secrets, or at summer camp, when your camper galpal taught you how to shave your legs.
But there was no time to talk during the reception. The fundraising luncheon schedule had to be respected and hundreds like Kate Rose Marquez, Skye Brewer, Elizabeth Gambrell, Sara Martineau, D’Andra Simmons, Christie Carter, Kristina Whitcomb, Liz Tankersley and Honorary Chair Jennifer Burr Altabef were waiting throughout Brook Hollow for the program to begin.
In the ballroom Presenting Sponsor Lara Tafel’s guests like Cheryl Brown and Amanda Ward were taking their place front and center just before the stage. To the side of the stage, Paige’s mom Cindrette McDaniel was joined by Neiman Marcus Downtown’s Marjon Zabihi Henderson and Hayley Louden. That was curious. NM presence had been present in the past. Hmm.
Before Julia took over, Luncheon Chair Jennifer Evans Morris presented the 8th Annual Partners for Children Award to the Junior League of Dallas for their “commitment to meeting the philanthropic needs of our community.” Of the 25 years that CPD has been “ensuring safety, restoring dignity and inspiring hope to abused and neglected children served by Dallas County Child Protective Services,” the JLD has been involved for 21 of them.
Before Paige led the group in singing “Happy Birthday,” she had guests don party hats. At the completion of the song confetti showered the stage. Party hats were soon removed as Paige talked about the children who are helped time and time again through CPD.
Following lunch (pecan-crusted chicken on mesclun greens, dried cherries and apricots and maple-balsamic dressing accompanied by ciabatta bread with goat cheese and Southern-style cherry pie), Paige returned to the podium, where she announced that NM had sent a birthday gift to CPD. Out of a NM box, a pair of Louboutin stilettos were pulled. The message: CPD would be the recipient of the 2015 Stiletto Strut at NM Downtown. (In checking with Marjon, it was learned that NM would be taking a pass this year on the annual strut-athon and would return in the fall of 2015.) Ah, so that’s why the two NM gals were lunching.
At 12:20 p.m. Julia took over the podium. Now, this group has seen and heard some of the country’s most popular girly-type speakers including Gigi Levangie, Allison Winn Scotch and Emily Giffin, so this wasn’t their first talk-rodeo. They had heard everything from Hollywood gossip to personal challenges. Now, their word-of-mouth, built-up expectations were on the line.
With a Southern drawl that is longer than the Mississippi River, Julie connected immediately with her audience. It was obvious that she was comfortable in her skin and made everyone else in the room feel right at home with her. If she name-dropped, she did it not to impress but to share. She talked about
- her landing her job as contributing editor for “Newsweek” handling both New Orleans politics and the monthly “Food and Drink” column
- writing for Vogue and its editor Anna Wintour and fashion guru André Leon Talley
- and her latest book “But Mama Always Put Vodka in Her Sangria!”
Let’s face it. To have described in a post her stories would not do the tales nor Julia justice. Her delivery was just too engaging and hit the spot. So, for the first time, MySweetCharity is going to post a couple of video clips of Julia on highlights:
The first dealt with a previous Chanel fashion show in which designer Karl Lagerfeld focused on transparent skirts. Following the show, Julia, André and a movie producer from Clarksdale, Mississippi, attended a press conference with Lagerfeld. (Editor’s note: This clip includes some language that some might feel inappropriate. If so, pass on viewing.)
Following her talk, Julia took questions from the audience including what she thought of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West on the cover of “Vogue” and what would be [Julia’s] last meal. For your consideration, here is the G-rated video.
The videos are proof why MSC realized its own limitations in describing a situation. Julia in person was simply indescribable. If you were there, you know it. If you weren’t there, you missed a great time.