There are a certain set of expectations that go with a well-recognized family name. In the case of Katherine Schwarzenegger — author and recent USC graduate — she not only lives up to those standards, but she also does it gracefully, by inspiring women with her written word and life experience.
Schwarzenegger was in town for the eighth annual Life Lessons Luncheon. Event co-chairs Ellen Cook, Anne Besser, Caroline Cook, Jackie Moore and Hannah Moore were honored to host Schwarzenegger during a patron party at Forty Five Ten — on a day when she could have attended the presidential inauguration.
As Rhonda Sargent Chambers, Lauren Kendrick, Ashley Calhoun, Thom Faust and Keith Laycock sipped on cocktails and noshed on mini tarts, they cooed over Schwarzenegger's natural beauty and book, Rock What You've Got: Secrets to Loving Your Inner and Outer Beauty From Someone Who's Been There and Back.
The next day, Schwarzenegger and devotees — including Tanya Foster, Mary Gill, Brooke Shelby, Lisa Ogle, Kristi Hoyl, Barenda Hino, Sunie Solomon and Jennifer Clyde — headed to the Omni Dallas for a warm meal and inspiration at the Life Lessons Luncheon, which supports The Elisa Project. The organization, started by the parents of Elisa McCall, who died from bulimia, is dedicated to preventing and treating eating disorders through education, awareness, support and advocacy.
Right off the bat, emcee and WFAA news anchor Gloria Campos said, "[Eating disorders] affect men too," as she shared her son's struggle. After the introduction of the co-chairs and their daughters, guests watched a video created by Parish Episcopal student Paul MacDowell just before the Star of Hope Award presentation.
Then Alvin Wade, board president of The Elisa Project, invited award recipient and local jewelry designer Elizabeth Showers to the stage. She told us of her battle with anorexia and her difficulties overcoming the disorder. Showers asked the audience to stop, breathe in and out, and "just feel beautiful in this moment.
"This is how you'll be a good role model to everyone around you," she said.
While attendees finished their chocolate cake, the lovely Schwarzenegger stood up in front of a captivated crowd. She shared experiences growing up with a loving mother who continuously boosted her confidence and a family who stressed the importance of giving back.
Schwarzenegger's words resonated with the audience. Among the more memorable:
- "No matter your age, everyone struggles with perfection. We must stop thinking we need to be perfect."
- "Listen to your gut, your inner reasoning."
- "Give the gift of laughter. With humor, all self doubt will slip away. You will not only survive, you'll thrive."
- "Rock what you have in all aspects of your life."
The luncheon finished with an informal question-and-answer session with Schwarzenegger. One audience member asked Schwarzenegger whether her siblings look up to and learn from her.
"Not my brothers," she responded, smiling. "They've always had a great self image. They really love the way they look."