Thursday, April 3, 2014

2013 Unbridled Eve Gala

Text by Gioia Patton
Photos by Gioia Patton and Julia Michal

The Gala’s founders and co-hostesses Tammy York Day (L) and Tonya York Dees (R). “We’ve had an absolute blast tonight with this the second Unbridled Eve Gala,” enthused Tonya York Dees at the end of the night. “I think we set a new standard, and we also sold out!”

It was the perfect mix of Hollywood and Nashville celebrities meets charitable event on an entire floor of the Galt House for Derby Eve 2013.

Louisville sisters Tammy York Day and Tonya York Dees threw their second annual Unbridled Eve Gala benefiting Blessings in a Backpack-the organization which feeds six meals over the weekend during the school year to 70,000 children across the United States and in 37 countries. “One of the best charity events I’ve ever attended!” and “everything about this event was first class!” were just two of the praises I overheard at the end of the evening. These remarks referred to not only the dinner, the decorations and silent auction items but also the portion of the night when country music stars Luke Bryan and Jo Dee Messina followed one another on stage and performed a couple of their hit songs with The Louisville Crashers before an enthusiastic crowd standing just inches away.

I’ve covered charitable galas for the past 17 years, and I was most impressed by the fact that even though 2013 was only the second Unbridled Eve event, everything about it ran with the precision and caliber of a Swiss watch.

2014 Unbridled Eve Gala
When: Derby Eve, May 2  7pm-1:30am
Where: The Galt House
Contact: 502.548.5094 or 502.419.6370 or

You can win tickets to this year's Unbridled Eve Gala right here from Today's Woman!

Betsy Schneider, a graduate of University of Louisville.

Louisvillian Amber Youngblood of the American Red Cross and her escort, Randy Correll

Two beauty queens sitting at their table.

Louisvillian Mary George Meiners, posing with her husband Terry Meiners.

Donna Vaughn of Nashville.

Singer Nicholas David, a fan-favorite and finalist  of “The Voice” singing competition, posing with actress/jewelry designer and artist Jane Seymour:  On the Red Carpet, I told Seymour that I think of her as a Renaissance woman because she excels at multiple artistic fields. As to the actress’s other two artistic endeavors, she explained, “Well, I’m an artist, I paint, and that’s what I do for me. And out of my paintings came the jewelry. So the inspiration is really very much what I grew up with…with my mother. And the designing was just something I wanted to do for me, and it ended up being something Kay Jewelers wanted to do and spread it around America. So I’m very excited to be able to do that.”

A beaming New York Times bestselling novelist Nora Roberts and her husband Bruce Wilder, seen here at the very end of the night. When I asked Roberts her secret for keeping the passion alive for writing after all these years, she exclaimed, “Oh, you have to love what you do. And what I do is like the greatest job in the world. I get to make up stories every day. No matter how hard it is you’re still making up stories…probably in my pajamas.” As to whether there’s any downside that comes with Roberts’ worldwide fame, she shook her head no, then said, “I have the best kind of fame, because mostly fans don’t recognize authors. You can go anywhere you want, so that’s the best type (of fame) there is.”

Lisa Albritton of Atlanta, GA

Country music star Jo Dee Messina performed her up-tempo hits I’m Alright and Bye Bye Baby on the heels of Luke Bryan’s performance.

Actress Patrika Darbo.

Actress Jennifer Tilly, wearing a Dolce & Gabbana cocktail dress. After I told the vivacious actress that I love the fact that she’s never been pigeonholed as a ‘type’ when it comes to acting roles, she said with a laugh, “I’ve always considered myself a character actress who could be attractive if I had to be in a pinch! And, you know, that helps me in the long run because when your attractiveness starts to wane, you’re still a character actress." She continued, "The acting roles that always interested me were never ‘the girl next door,’ or ‘the girlfriend,’ but rather the ‘psycho’ or ’strange’ acting roles, which I prefer, because I’m a little strange.  I’m pretty happy with my career and the way it’s going. And I like comedy roles the best. I think it’s easy to make people cry, but it’s very difficult to make people laugh.”

Actor William Fichtner of NBC’s “Crossing Lines” TV series.

Country music star Luke Bryan and his wife Caroline

Former Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County-reality-star-now-fashion-designer Lauren Conrad. When asked to describe her greatest strength as a fashion designer, she replied, “I think that I have a strong sense of my own brand. My goal is to be able to design a line that if (you) see a piece, you know it’s from my line.” When I mentioned how much I liked her stunning hair accessory, Conrad smiled and said, “It’s actually a pin from the 1920s. I found it at a vintage expo just last week.”

Charlsie Horton of Louisville

“Best Dressed Couple”-Shawn & Kellie Pean of New York, NY

Jennifer Hoffman and her husband Ryan Fowler.

Songwriter Linda Thompson.The Memphis native and mother of reality stars Brody and
Brandon Jenner enthused about her experience in Louisville for the 2013 Unbridled Eve Gala: “The people of Louisville have been such lovely and hospitable people. And everything Tonya and Tammy have done in regards to this event has been first class!” Thompson first gained fame as the girlfriend of Elvis Presley from 1972-76 following the end of his marriage to Priscilla Presley. 
Thompson received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song for a Motion Picture” for co-writing I Have Nothing, sung by Whitney Houston in the 1992 blockbuster film The Bodyguard. She also co-wrote the Christmas classic Grownup Christmas Wish, most notably recorded by Natalie Cole.

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