Society / Featured Parties

Model of the Year Awards Take Over the River Oaks Area’s Hottest New Restaurant With a Serious Twist

These Role Models Can Still Bring the Glamour

BY // 01.02.23
photography Henry Adegbite, Visual Influence

What: The inaugural Model of the Year Awards dinner benefiting The Doll Foundation

Where: Ciel, the hot new restaurant within spitting distance of River Oaks

PC Moment: Lest you be confused by the awards nomenclature, these 10 honored women were of the role model variety rather than the catwalk embodiment. Nevertheless, they were glamorous as each adhered to the red carpet dress suggestion with enthusiasm. To be exact, Met gala was the requested attire.

Co-chairs Qiana James and Rosalina Tran Lydster welcomed the 250 guests to the restaurant where funds were raised for the foundation, which provides education and resources for seniors as well as for their caregivers.

Diversions included an aerealist swinging overhead while swooping down to fill champagne flutes, a 360-degree video opportunity, the display of a smashing 2023 BMW 7 Series car and a silent auction of items from Jewelry by Rosalina and Danny Nguyen Couture. In an unexpected moment, the Ciel dancers strutted their stuff on a platform in the center of the dining room then moved to the elevated VIP section of the restaurant.

Maria Moncada Alaoui & Omar Alaoui at the Model of the Year Awards dinner at Ciel. (Photo by Henry Adegbite, Visual Influence)
Maria Moncada Alaoui & Omar Alaoui at the Model of the Year Awards dinner at Ciel. (Photo by Henry Adegbite, Visual Influence)

Chanteuse Lady Laurana warbled the tunes that invited guests to take their seats for the dinner and program, which was led by reality TV star and local TV producer Alexis ‘Fly’ Jones.

Jones introduced the evening’s honorees: Johnte’ Archer-Adotama, Petra Bergstein-Higby, Melanie Dinh, Perla M. Guerra, Lissette Kadlecek, Dr. CleRenda McGrady, Maria Moncada Alaoui, April M. Salazar and Victoria Tai. Receiving the Model of a Lifetime award was Harriet Gertner.

Closing out the evening was the live auction in the talented hands of Johnny Bravo and another musical interlude from Lady Laurana.

PC Seen: Deborah Duncan, Dr. Jorge Salazar, Rosyln Bazzelle-Mitchell, Anna and John Reger, Terri Ho, Crystal Sarmiento, Miss Houston Samantha Havenstrite, Omar Alaoui,  Sami Khaleeq, Debra Laws, AnnMarie Benard, Marissa Walsh, Melanie Dinh, and Thuylinh Nguyen.

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