Remember the people surrounding you in your business or organization and who make you better, fashion designer and Longview native Brandon Maxwell told honorees and more than 1,200 guests Thursday at the 20th Stars Over Longview at Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Center.
Twelve women were selected as Stars by Longview Regional and the Women’s Advisory Council because of the difference they make in their community.
“What I try to do is empower people to take their future in their hands,” said Maxwell, who is also a director, photographer and a judge on the TV series “Project Runway.” “And I’m sure being a business owner in a small town is like being a public facing individual who lives in a public arena like myself.
“There is always going to be people talking and criticism, and that’s hard,” Maxwell continued, “and I think as a business owner, I look at the people around me as family because not only do they show up and do 99% or 100% hard work all of the time, but they also are my therapist and my friends, and as good as I seem on television and interviews, I have very bad days and I’m broken.”
Stars Over Longview is described as a unique program that shines a light on those who are making a difference in the community behind the scenes.
Since 2000, the hospital has honored more than 240 women.
“Stars Over Longview highlights the exceptional women who impact our community,” Longview Regional CEO Casey Robertson said. “This event was created so that LRMC could take time to recognize the amazing efforts of women in our community — through their time, talents and generosity of motivating others to by their service, to serve in our community.”
More than 50 women were nominated this year, said Libby Bryson, director of marketing for Longview Regional.
Bryson, who has been friends with Maxwell since childhood, sat down with the fashion designer on the Maude Cobb stage for a question and answer conversation that allowed Maxwell to talk about his career.
His styling career began in 2012 as a fashion director for singer Lady Gaga, and he launched his luxury women’s ready-to-wear label three years later in New York, saying it was born out of the desire to make women feel beautiful, sophisticated and powerful.
Among the women who have worn Maxwell’s brand are Michelle Obama, Meghan Markle, Oprah Winfrey, Blake Lively, Jane Fonda, Queen Rania of Jordan, Tiffany Haddish and Nicole Kidman.
Among Maxwell’s accolades are the 2019 Womenswear Designer of the Year award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, the 2016 Fashion Group International Rising Star Award for Womenswear and a 2019 Texas Medal of Arts award.
At least a dozen of his family members and countless more friends were among the sold-out crowd Thursday as he talked about his process for dressing each individual and connecting with them to keep each moment special.
“If you were a woman in Longview and you came into my office, you’re going to get the same service that Julia Roberts is going to get because ... I’m very grateful for the opportunity to do what I do,” Maxwell said.