When Winston Anderson, a Jamaican immigrant and owner of the beautysensation.com cosmetics website, wanted to promote his business, he thought, "Everybody and their cousin is having a concert. Why don't I have a fashion show? I looked at all the top cosmetics companies and saw what they were doing. Why reinvent the wheel? If I see somebody be successful, I do the same thing. In fact, I improve upon it."
Anderson rented out the Embassy Suites Hotel (1100 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale) and then went trolling for a spectacular hostess. "I knew I needed someone special," he says. His wife immediately suggested actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, who played Hypolyta Kropotkin in the 1994 TV movie Witch Hunt, was an "additional voice" in the Wild Thornberrys cartoon film, and most famously, played Dee Mitchell (Moesha's mom) on the TV show Moesha.
Anderson went to meet Ralph at a fancy Miami hotel. "I asked her if she wanted a drink, but then I thought, I hope I can afford what she's going to order. But she said, 'I'll just have an orange juice.' She was so humble and nice." Ralph might drink the cheap stuff, but she sure doesn't wear it. She will be dressed to the nines for the First Annual International Beauty and Fashion Show, where fifteen models will show off both men's and women's evening wear made by local designers, and of course, beautysensation.com will unveil its product line.
The evening begins with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at 6 p.m.; showtime is at 8. The price is $45 in advance, $55 at the door. Steep, no? Well, Anderson explains, first of all, it's a dress-up event. Second, you'll receive $90 worth of free cosmetics if you buy your ticket on his website. And third, "If you're expecting to mingle with movie stars," says Anderson, "you're not paying $15." And will men be there, too? "Anywhere there's gonna be elegant ladies, of course they want to be there!"