25 Most Beautiful Houstonians 2013
by Warner Roberts
When we think of female beauty in art through the ages, we might recall the robust beauties of Rubens, the soft gentility and femininity of the women painted by Monet and Seurat, the graceful ballerinas of Degas, the sexuality of Goya women, the naturalism of Gauguin and the abstract compilations of women
Many great artists found women among their favorite subjects: Ingres, Renoir, Manet, Modigliani, Delacroix, Rodin, Dali. And, who painted the most famous woman in history? The Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo da Vinci around 1503 may be, if not the most beautiful, certainly the most famous and mysterious portrait of a woman.
Male beauty has also been captured in art through the ages; think Michelangelo’s famous statue of David or the ancient Greek demigod, Heracles. Then, of course, we have our own Superman. Recently, I asked a group of men to ponder their idea of a beautiful or handsome man that came to mind in their lifetime and after a few minutes of honest deliberation, they collectively came up with Paul Newman, specifically because of his blue eyes. This was surprising to me, because this group of eight men ranged in age from 22 to 50.
Plato considered beauty to be the idea about all other ideas. Aristotle saw a relationship between the beautiful and virtue, arguing that “virtue aims at the beautiful.” Beauty is a characteristic of a person that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure or satisfaction. The “experience” often involves an interpretation. Because the experience is subjective, it is often said that, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
While standards of beauty have changed dramatically through the centuries, the bottom line is this: it still comes down to what our mothers taught us, “beauty is as beauty does.” Those in our community spotlighted within these pages are beautiful—through and through, inside and out. It is our opinion that their commitment to community service blankets them in a cloak of splendor.
MARGARET ALKEK WILLIAMS inherited her parents’ interests and passions for philanthropy with a commitment to community service through deeds instead of words. Margaret chairs events, serves as honorary chair of many events and serves on numerous boards, including the following: The Houston Symphony, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Texas Heart Institute, Baylor College of Medicine, Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, St. Joseph Hospital Foundation, Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, Hospice at the Texas Medical Center, Special Olympics, Cancer Fighters of Houston, University of Houston Moores School of Music, University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the University of Texas System-Austin. Along with her late mother, she endowed the Alkek-Williams Distinguished Professor at UT Health Science Center. She is being honored by UNICEF at the Audrey Hepburn Society Ball.
MICHELLE BAIN’s service to the community emphasizes performing arts, women’s issues and education. Currently, she serves on the Board and Executive Committee of The Houston Ballet. Since 1987, she has been an active member of the Blue Bird Circle that supports the Blue Bird Clinic for Pediatric Neurology at Texas Children’s Hospital. She has served on the board, chaired the gala and volunteered over 150 hours a year for 15 years at the resale shop. Michelle has also chaired the Houston Museum of Natural Science Gala and served on the Board of The Women’s Fund for Health Education & Research. She chaired the premier fundraising event of The Houston Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary, “Reflections On Style.” She has endowed a Distinguished Professorship in the School of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center, and with her husband, Lorne, she initiated the founding of the Episcopal Seabury Institute Southwest for training in evangelism and lay ministry. This year Michelle chaired the inaugural Chrysalis Luncheon for the Hope and Healing Center at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church.
DR. HEATHER BROWN is a wife, mother and the business owner of a thriving orthodontic practice, yet she is an avid humanitarian with a strong belief in giving back to the community. Dr. Brown is the founder and executive director of the Houston chapter of the Smile For A Lifetime Foundation, a national non-profit charitable organization that provides free braces and free orthodontic services to financially disadvantaged children. Additionally, she has partnered with the Houston Texans Ambassadors to form the “Play It Safe” Campaign where she and former NFL players visit local schools to educate student athletes about sports injuries, concussions and the importance of wearing mouth guards. Dr. Brown has developed The Smile 4 Education Scholarship Program, which offers college scholarships to those who have a desire to pursue a career in dentistry.
JULIE BROWN devotes her energies to volunteering for many charitable organizations and spending time with her husband, Dr. David M. Brown, and their four children. She has served in many capacities at Kinkaid School and on the Yale Parents Fundraising Committee. Julie has chaired numerous fundraising events, such as the Junior League of Houston Costume Ball, Habitat for Humanity “Superbuild,” Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market Luncheon and Brunch and chaired the Crohns and Colitis Foundation “Winter Ball–Woman of Distinction” for two consecutive years. Additionally, she chaired the Citizens for Animal Protection Gala, Casa de Esperanza Gala, Camp-for-All “Camp Fest” Gala and the Baylor College of Medicine Partnership Gala. For the American Heart Association, she has served on the Guild Advisory Board and received the AHA “Volunteer of the Year” award. Julie also served as the American Diabetes Association Quilt Chairman.
RHONDA BROWN is a conscientious and hard-working volunteer and is known by all for her loyalty. She brings enthusiasm to every task, large or small, and is an inspiring leader and consummate volunteer. She has volunteered for numerous organizations that are close to her heart: the March of Dimes, Child Advocates, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the Epilepsy Association are a few that have benefited from her generosity of spirit. Last year, Rhonda co-chaired “The Emerald City” for the Child Advocates “Pull for Kids.” This year, she and her husband, Richard, co-chaired the Epilepsy Gala, “Walk on the Wild Side.” Rhonda is also very involved in her children’s schools and works at both St. Francis Episcopal Day School and Episcopal High School, chairing the booster club, teaching Art-a-la-Carte, serving as a team mom and a homeroom mom, as well as as working on the gala, auction and annual fund committees.
LUCY CARL is originally from Dallas, an SMU alumni and has lived with her well-known home builder husband, William Carl and children in Houston for many years. One of the joys of her life is caring for her mother, Fay, who is 102 years of age. Next to her family, high on her list of priorities is community service. An active member of the Lady Washington Chapter of the DAR, she has participated in many of its charitable projects. Close to her heart is her involvement in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo School Art Committee. Lucy served as Co-Chairman of the Rienzi Spring Fundraising Evening, senior coordinator of the Pi Beta Phi “Under the Big Top” fundraiser, Co-Chairman of the Herman Park “Evening in the Park” gala, Chairman of the Houston Baptist University Fall Coffee and President of the River Oaks Blossoms Club.
DONAE CANGELOSI CHRAMOSTA, owner and CEO of The Vintage Contessa, an upscale fashion and accessories web boutique, has a long and varied history of charitable, civic and trade association leadership roles. She has served in many areas for Associated Catholic Charities, including serving as a board member, Fund Development Chair, Monsignor John J. Roch Dinner Chair, 60th Anniversary Reception Chair and on the Capital Campaign Steering Committee; she served as Cystic Fibrosis Foundation “Beach Ball” Chair, Heroes for Children “Heroes and Handbags” Chair, Underwriting Chair and Honorary Committee Member. For the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, she has served on the Lamb Auction Committee, is an Over $10,000 Sales Club member, and as an event planning captain and sales team captain. Donae has served on the Board and Co-Chaired the “Green Legacy Gala” for the United States Green Building Council and is a board member of the National Association of Home Builders and the Greater Houston Builders Association. She also served as the Green Committee Chair of the American Society of Interior Designers-Industry Partner Gulf Coast Chapter.
ROSE CULLEN was born and raised in Houston and has worked tirelessly to benefit the city and its philanthropies. Rose is a dedicated member of many boards on which she serves: the Houston Ballet Foundation; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston Eye Foundation, the Advisory Board of the Friends of Nursing, St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, the Harris County Hospital District Foundation and the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors. She is the Honorary Capital Campaign Co-Chair of the Monarch School, Inc. and an honorary committee member on the campaign for St. Michael Parish and School. She and husband, Harry, give first priority to their family.
ROBIN LYNNE YOUNG-ELLIS has poured her heart and soul into supporting the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in major capacities as a life member since 1991, serving on the board starting in 2005 to date. In 2008, she founded Salute to Our Troops Houston honoring all branches of the military, wounded warriors and their families and hosted 500 active duty and reservist troops. The following year, she hosted 1,600 troops. In 2010, she transitioned the program to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and led a task force to host 2,300 troops. Last year, the event honored 3,000 active duty and reservist troops, wounded warriors, Medal of Honor recipients and WWII heroes. Also in 2010, Robin began humanitarian work trips to Uganda, East Africa, delivering educational supplies, finding water well sites, personally carrying and delivering 300 pillowcases that were made by Houston Community for the Women’s Empowerment Program, and handed out food in a distressed village. For one particular village, she took part in drilling the first water well and then, using personal funds, drilled another well, built a Christian church for the community, a two room clinic and a latrine. The next year, she provided funds for landscaping and labor, equipment and installation of a sound system and the seating and furnishings for the church.
SCOTT EVANS, owner and publisher of The Social Book and PolitiCalendar, is always willing to help any cause that has a need. He was co-executive producer for Voices for Life: a Celebration of Houston Music and brought together over one hundred Houston celebrities to sing on the video: Voices for Life–Shades of Gray. The effort benefited AIDS charities and had a major impact on varied organizations. Scott served for several years as Advisor on the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation board; he is one of the original steering committee members for the Men of Distinction Awards Luncheon which provides support in biomedical research, education and patient care for children in the Texas Medical Center. Scott has served on numerous committees for various non-profit organizations and has taken a leadership role in the four Mission of Yahweh Gala auction committees.
CAROLYN FARB’s name is synonymous with volunteerism, and her interests vary from medical research, children’s charities and women’s issues to the arts, education and the environment. She has worked for UNICEF for 25 years, the Texas Neurofibromatosis Foundation, Houston Ballet, Museum of Fine Arts, United Cerebral Palsy, SPCA, I Have a Dream Houston, San Jacinto Girl Scout Council, HSPVA, University of Houston, The Chinese Community Center, Children at Risk, Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre, Stages Repertory Theatre, and the Indian Film Festival. She established the first inclusive children’s playground in Memorial Park, San Jose Clinic and has supported AIDS research efforts since the late 80s. Carolyn was the first gala chairperson to raise a million dollars in a single evening for the Stehlin Foundation for Cancer Research in 1983. She has served on numerous boards, including Chairman of the Board of UNICEF, the Northwood University Executive Board, the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Huffington Center on Aging, the Texas Innocence Network, Children of Nicaragua Rotarian Project and Rotarian International Efforts and the Jefferson Awards Selection Committee. Carolyn has authored three books: The Fine Art of Fundraising, How to Raise Millions, Helping Others, Having a Ball, and her latest, Lucas Comes to America
MARY GRACELY started her community service career by volunteering at her children’s schools and expanded as they grew older. She has chaired various fundraising events and served on committees for Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston Children’s Charity, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, Pink Ribbons Project, March of Dimes, Easter Seals, Houston Hospice and The Mission of Yahweh to name a few. Her favorite sharing moment comes when she and her husband, Tony, host events in their home, hoping that highlighting a particular charitable organization might spark interest in attendees and activate a stronger level of community involvement. Mary has said that her goal is “to be of service and a light to the world.” Recently, she was ordained as Reverend Mary Gracely of One Spirit Interfaith Seminary.
Attorney JEFF HENRY is a litigator and a specialist in estate planning and wills. He also serves as editor and legal counsel to The Social Book and PolitiCalendar. He has a profound desire to help others, and he quietly goes about his day and his life doing just that. In addition to providing legal services to people who can’t afford to hire an attorney, Jeff volunteers for many charitable organizations, including Bering United Methodist Church, Trees for Houston and various AIDS charities, such as Bering Omega and others. Friends were struck by the amount of work Jeff did during the disasters of Hurricane Katrina and Ike. He could be found at the George R. Brown Convention Center and the Astrodome every single day for months donating, delivering and distributing food and clothing to those in need.
MARSHA HYSLOP has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry, including a strong clinical and business background. After serving as head nurse of neurosurgery at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, she worked as a clinical nurse specialist for a group of neurosurgeons in the Texas Medical Center. Her latest endeavor, Liaisons for Health Care, provides an outcome-focused, individualized approach to assisting patients and their families in the coordination and facilitation of all healthcare needs. Friends say, and her husband Bill agrees, that she has an instinctive need to “nurse and nurture.” Continuing, they said, “She is an angel here on earth. Marsha welcomes friends and strangers into her life whether they are looking for a job, seeking medical treatment or fighting ALS. She provides encouraging words and actions, including furnishing food for the family, taking them to cancer treatments or simply welcoming them into her home.” Marsha works for her church and Pure Sound, which is a youth choir where she spends countless hours raising funds for the organization.
BEN JOHNSTON, co-founder and a designer of Avondale Design Studio, is a sixth generation Houstonian. This history, coupled with his family ties and deep civic pride, led him to dedicate his time and talents to community service. As a volunteer coordinator with Live Consortium, Ben helps to organize volunteers to educate the Houston community about HIV and encourages individuals to talk about the disease and become aware of their status. He has volunteered with the Montrose Counseling Center, BARC, SNAP, the Houston Zoo and AIDS Foundation Houston. Ben is currently helping the Mission of Yahweh, a homeless shelter for women and children, with a vision to develop a master plan for their 11-building campus that will increase the number of residents they can assist. As a professor of interior design at Houston Community College, Ben mentors design students with the American Society of Interior Designers, as well as raises funds for design scholarships. He frequently volunteers to conduct educational seminars on a variety of design related topics.
CHRIS KASE has been likened to Florence Nightingale by many. She very quietly ministers to friends who have been confined to their homes for varying reasons; but the word has gotten out about her generosity. How beautiful it is that she never talks about these random acts of kindness. For Chris, these “kindnesses” are almost a full time job. But much of her community service is well documented, such as chairing events for Seven Acres for many years and co-chairing, with her husband, Walter, the Holocaust Museum Gala. Chris has volunteered many years for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Ronald McDonald House and Joyful Toyful. She now serves on the board of Houston Parkinson’s Society, the Huffington Center on Aging at Baylor College of Medicine and has served on the advisory board of the Furniture Bank for twenty years.
PAMELA LOCKARD is the founder and CEO of DMN3, one of the largest independent direct marketing agencies in the southwest. She is also deeply involved in philanthropic work and focuses on helping homeless and abused women and children. She is an active board member of The Mission of Yahweh, a Houston-based shelter for women and children in crisis. Additionally, she and her husband, Ron Sterlekar, have maintained the organization for the last 25 years of its 52 year existence. For the past four years, Pamela has been responsible for overseeing every area of the Mission Incredible Gala. She is the recipient of the Houston Business Journal Enterprise Champion Award for her philanthropy.
Honorable WILLIAM E. “Bill” KING is a life-long resident of the Houston area, born and raised in Kemah. Currently he is counsel to Bracewell & Giuliant, LP, and an investor and principal in several companies including Global FBO Holdings, Inc., PolitiCalendar, LLC, and EmLogis Systems. His civic involvement has been extensive; in the early 1990s, he returned to live in Kemah, where he was elected to city council and eventually served two terms as mayor. He has served on numerous charitable and community boards including the Fire Fighters Foundation of Houston, Galveston Bay Foundation, Interfaith Ministries, Bay Area Houston Economic Partners and the HGAC Transportation Policy Council. During his years in public service, he developed a keen interest in public policy issues, serving on numerous committees and task forces studying issues related to the efficient delivery of public services, especially in the areas of public infrastructure, mobility, environmental stewardship and emergency preparedness.
BRADLEY H. (BRAD) MARKS is president of I. W. Marks Jewelers and continues the legacy of community service he learned from his father and mother, I.W. and Diane Marks. A member of the boards of Society for the Performing Arts, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Symphony, Houston Ballet, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, TIRR, American Cancer Society Holiday Shopping Card Advisory Board, Community National Bank, Better Business Bureau, and the Greater Southwest Houston Chamber of Commerce, Brad takes great pride in carrying on I. W. Marks Jewelers’ long-standing tradition of supporting the community. The store is a five-time recipient of the Business Committee for the Arts, Inc., and Forbes magazine’s National Business in the Arts Foundation’s Award for Excellence and Winner of Distinction and recipient of countless other community and arts awards. Brad is happily engaged to be married to Joanna Hartland.
KIM PADGETT serves as president of the Padgett Group, a strategic marketing and public relations consulting firm and serves as principal of CORE (Community Outreach and Readiness Education) Conceptions, a firm that provides government organizations with strategies and tools to motivate targeted audiences to act. Kim’s community service spans a wide range of worthy causes. She has served as a board member of Evelyn’s Park Conservancy, City of Bellaire, Parks and Recreation, the Partnership for Baylor College of Medicine, Goodwill Industries, Escape Family Resource Center, Houston Achievement Place, Joyful Toyful, the Galleria Chamber of Commerce, Technology For All, Houston, and the Greater Houston and Women in Technology International. She is the co-founder and a board member of Houston Entrepreneurs Foundation and is a founding board member of Professional Women of Wine. In addition, Kim serves on a multitude of advisory boards and has chaired numerous fundraising events.
BRUCE ROBERSON, interior designer, lost his beloved sister, Susan, seventeen years ago to breast cancer. He had for many years hosted a fun car rally every spring for his friends, and Susan had always flown from her home in Tulsa to Houston to attend. Bruce’s car rally abruptly stopped with Susan’s death. It was Susan’s friends who successfully urged Bruce to re-start the rally and turn it into a vehicle for fighting his sister’s disease. Bruce formed a committee, and a non-profit entity was born; the rally took on a new life and a new meaning. From that first Susan’s Rally, which raised $4,000, it has grown to raise millions in cash and in-kind donations with over 90 percent of what is raised going to fight breast cancer through education, research and patient care and support. Bruce recently opened a Susan’s Secret ReSale Shop and will hold the first Health Fiesta with sponsorship from Susan’s Rally, in conjunction with Baylor College of Medicine OB/GYN department and Dia de la Muher Latina, this year.
MIYA SHAY, popular ABC, Channel 13 news reporter, is a familiar face in charitable circles in Houston, having served on the board of Women of Wardrobe for Dress for Success and chairing one of its events. She has volunteered her time and talent to emcee innumerable charitable events including the Houston Dragon Boat Festival and the Chinese Community Center Chinese New Year’s Festival consistently for 10 years. Also, she emcees or participates in as many community events as her schedule will allow, for instance the Alzheimer’s Walk and the Women’s Fund Brunch. She has served as auction chair for the Asian American Family Services Gala and lent much time and talent to the “Dancing with the Stars” fundraiser for the Asian Pacific American Heritage Association. Another favorite charity that she wholeheartedly supports is Citizens for Animal Protection. Miya recently wed Gene Wu.
MICHELLE SMITH started volunteering for the Gulf Coast Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in 1995 when she realized her sister, Laura, had the disease. She has since chaired many events for the organization. In addition, she has served as an executive guild member for the March of Dimes; a guild member and committee member for numerous Covenant House events; auction committee and underwriter committee member for several “Stoney Creek Ranch” events, a Christian camp providing scholarships for urban youth; Texas Children’s Lifetime Ambassador Committee and has served on host committees for the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute and the Pavilion for Women. Michelle also co-chaired the Houston Ballet Nutcracker Brunch/Fashion Show. She has served on the host and auction committees for several events for the Center for Hearing and Speech and this year is chairing, along with her husband, Alan, the organization’s annual gala.
MARTHA TURNER, president and CEO of Martha Turner Properties, is a dynamic businesswoman, innovative entrepreneur, life-long educator, and a wife and grandmother who passionately adheres to her principle of investing in people. Philanthropy and service to the community are second nature to Martha and are as deeply ingrained in her ethic as her drive to achieve. Her belief that no problem is without a solution has initiated her involvement in a large and diverse group of charitable organizations in support of healthcare, women’s organizations, the arts and education. She has supported Houston’s Yellowstone Academy, the Aldine Youth Afterschool Program, Darla’s School for Retarded Adults and the Women’s Home. She has served the United Way, the Houston Hospice and the Alex Tocqueville Society Women’s Initiative for over 11 years. She and husband, Glenn Baugass, quietly support innumerable charitable causes. The accolades and awards she has received are multitudinous and Martha says, “I live by faith and give God all the glory for my life and my many successes.”
DAVE WARD, ABC news anchor, is not only the longest running television anchor in the city of Houston but he also holds that same distinction nationwide; no other news anchor has been on the same newscast program as long as Dave. He has also distinguished himself as one of Houston’s most dedicated community servants, lending his expertise at the microphone to serve as master of ceremonies for innumerable charitable and civic events. Dave was instrumental in establishing Crime Stoppers of Houston and he is a past president of Houston Easter Seals Society. He is a lifetime member of the 100 Club, Endowed Lifetime Member of Partnership for Baylor College of Medicine, and a lifetime member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. He is a board member of the Houston Police Foundation and on the advisory board of the Houston Children’s Charity where his wife, Laura, serves as executive director. Last year, Dave received the Lone Star Regional Emmy for Lifetime Achievement in Television.