4 Mar

Portrait Live Auction!

What could possibly make a luncheon/fashion show with clothes from B. Prince at The Harbert Center any better? Celebrating women who have survived breast cancer and women who are currently facing the fight! On February 21, 2020, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama received over $10,000 resulting from a fundraiser featuring 7 women who were photographed, images printed on canvas, framed and ready to hang, and whose portraits were auctioned live by Michael Matheny. The twist to the live auction was that the money raised from the auction went to the Foundation, and the portrait was presented to the model! In addition, the winning bidder received a $500 studio credit from my portrait studio. The event also had a wide variety of items for the silent auction.

Kudos to Chandrel Wright-Richardson, executive director of The Harbert Center, who expertly coordinated her staff to flip the space from a large breakfast meeting to accommodate a dressing area for the models and the Beeson Room for the luncheon and silent auction. As a side note, the buffet lunch was delicious!

Our model portraits on display in the Beeson Room - ready for guests! Our model portraits on display in the Beeson Room – ready for guests!

Sara Foust is one of the models, and these are her words about her experience: “The opportunity to be a part of the ‘You Are Beautiful’ luncheon was a special opportunity I didn’t know I needed. As I am currently undergoing treatment, being around such tough and beautiful survivors was a privilege and bolstered my spirit. When a woman fights breast cancer many of the things that we outwardly associate with femininity are taken away…hair, eyebrows, breasts, ovaries, weight gain to name a few. Jodi from J. Wigs, Gretchen from Gretchen B Photography, Simin from B. Prince, and Angela from Thirty One Thirty makeup gave me back that gift of feeling beautiful and feminine. Jodi has seen me through the whole process helping me find wigs and care for them so I can confidently go out in public and feel professional at work. She has kindly let me talk and have tears and listened patiently as I grieved my hair loss. Angela help me feel and look 10 years young in a natural way for my portrait. Gretchen’s artistry as a photographer is evident in the portrait she made of me and the rest of the models…my family couldn’t believe how pretty I looked. And because of the auction I was able to bring home a beautifully framed version of myself. I am not photogenic but I felt like I was in my session with Gretchen. It was sooooo much fun. My sister was there and we had a blast laughing at my poses and letting my wig hair fly around with the fan…I was nervous at first but because Gretchen is kind and fun my nerves went away and I had fun. I have to say getting to wear the exquisite clothes from B. Prince didn’t hurt either. I want to express a heartfelt thank you to this team of very gifted women who use heir artistry and talents to bless others!”

Sara's Portrait Sara’s Portrait

The models arrived at The Harbert Center at 9:00 am and were greeted by Jodi Johnston of J. Wigs, Angela Avila of Thirty-one Thirty, and Maggie Bollinger for professional hair and makeup. Jodi who is a master at matching wigs to her clients also styled Sara’s wig.

Models' Dressing Room! Models’ Dressing Room! Jodi styling one of her wigs for the silent auction Angela in the background applying makeup while Jodi styles a wig Maggie applies makeup to one of the models Maggie applies makeup to one of the models

One table that most of our guests visited at least once was a signature drink featuring Tito’s Homemade Vodka!

Tito's Homemade Vodka Pink Lemon Drops Tito’s Homemade Vodka Pink Lemon Drops

The Executive Director of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Beth Davis, was interviewed on site for WBRC!

Beth is "Live" on WBRC! Beth is “Live” on WBRC! You Are Beautiful Luncheon/Fashion Show You Are Beautiful Luncheon/Fashion Show

Catherine Patterson of WBRC was our emcee who gave personal information about each model, and Simin Regina of B. Prince described the outfits as each model made her way to the stage. Catherine also shared personal stories of several of her family members who had been impacted by cancer. It was a day filled with uplifting stories and the energy of the models as living proof of the advances that have been made against breast cancer!

Catherine Patterson from WBRC Catherine Patterson from WBRC Guests checking out the items for the silent auction Guests checking out the items for the silent auction Simin from B. Prince has described Amy's outfit Simin from B. Prince describing Amy’s outfit

Amy shared a story that her husband compared her portrait to a portrait of her mother, and she told me “She (mother) and I both dislike having pictures made but Gretchen, you really changed my feelings about that!!!”

Amy's Portrait Amy’s Portrait

Another model, Kathryn, commented that the event “was very special. All of you ladies (referring to the other models) are an inspiration to others. I was humbled to be included. Gretchen, you, Jodi, Angela and everyone else did an incredible job of making us feel fabulous!”

Kathryne's Portrait Kathryne’s Portrait

Jill Carter is the President of the Board of Directors for the Foundation and is a breast cancer survivor. She gave her testimony about her battle with cancer and her involvement with the Foundation. What an inspiration!

Jill's Testimony Jill’s Testimony

Mike Matheny, our auctioneer, asked to have a photo with Jill and her portrait!

Jill, her portrait, and Mike Matheny, Auctioneer Jill, her portrait, and Mike Matheny, Auctioneer

In closing, Beth Davis, Executive Director of the Foundation, said:

“The Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama was thrilled to partner with J. Wigs and Gretchen B Photography on the inaugural You are Beautiful Fashion Show and Luncheon at The Harbert Center. This creative event, celebrating breast cancer survivors and those undergoing treatment, raised over $10,000 to support breast cancer research in Alabama. With one in eight women – and one in 1,000 men – being diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, there is a significant need for money to fund research…and save lives.

In addition to raising money for research, the You are Beautiful Luncheon also raised spirits and hope among the models and attendees. Several of the models in the fashion show – who have all battled breast cancer – remarked on how much fun they had picking out clothes at B. Prince, having hair and makeup done by J. Wigs and ThirtyOne 30, and then having a photo shoot with Gretchen B Photography. At the luncheon itself, they had the opportunity to form friendships as they prepared for the fashion show. Those friendships and their portraits will be something they carry with them into the future.

This event would not have been possible without: event hosts – Gretchen B Photography, J Wigs, and the Harbert Center; sponsors: CerFlux, Mayer Electric, Petra RMS, Regions Bank, and Renewal by Andersen; companies and individuals who donated items for the silent auction; emcee Catherine Patterson from WBRC; auctioneer Michael Matheny; and everyone who purchased tickets to attend the event.

We are already looking forward to next year’s luncheon!”

Watch for announcements for 2021 You Are Beautiful Luncheon/Fashion Show with Silent and Live auctions!

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Gretchen B Photography_Birmingham Portrait Photographer Diana


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