Dallas’ Selwyn Rayzor Talks Defying Gender Norms and Takes Us Back to 1989
This Businesswoman and Philanthropist is a Forever InspirationBY Billy Fong // 04.14.21
Selwyn Rayzor is a constant presence at the podium of charity events around Dallas, speaking with such passion that I often see guests whip out credit cards to donate on the spot. I’ve just left her spectacular modernist home designed by architect Steven Holl, where we chatted all afternoon about everything from art to horses and the fact that taxis in London are large enough to fit a stroller. I’m now completely enamored.
“I was named after my aunt on my father’s side,” she says of her Welsh name. “I had hair that stuck straight up when I was a toddler, so my grandmother called me Wispy. That nickname stuck, and it was what all my classmates knew me as: Wispy Rayzor. Particularly since Selwyn was hard to pronounce.”
Born in Fort Worth, she was a Country Day lifer, straight through her senior year. “I was a cheerleader in sixth grade,” she says. “But while in line for tryouts in seventh grade, the athletic director saw the massive group and said, ‘Why don’t some of you try out for sports. For once, let the boys watch you play.’”
She left the cheerleader line and made the basketball team. It was a watershed moment that began her journey of viewing life through a feminist lens. Selwyn’s face breaks into a wide smile when reflecting on her collegiate years and living her best twentysomething life in New York City. She hightailed it to Manhattan upon graduating from Duke University and was a trader on the stock-market exchange floor.
A post-grad memory that stands out for her was when a woman on the trading floor said, “That’s gutsy of you” — because Selwyn was wearing pants. Mind you, this was the mid-’90s, not the 1950s, but antiquated notions of how professional women should present themselves still existed.
“Feminism for me is not just equal rights for women but changing the paradigm of how success is defined,” Selwyn
says. “Our society values the rugged individual that starts a company far more than the individual that raises kids, takes care of aging parents, and leads the school PTA, yet both are equally important for a successful economy and society. Women are financially penalized, and their careers limited, because they give birth and are generally default caregivers to their families.”
Selwyn met her husband, Rich, on the trading floor in New York City. He moved to London a year later for a job, and soon she followed. Shortly thereafter, they married. Their children, Jack and Adair, were born in London, where the family remained for 10 years before work brought them back to Texas. These days, most of her time is spent raising money virtually, primarily for UNICEF and Planned Parenthood.
Unfortunately, the annual UNICEF Gala — one of the last black-tie events in Dallas in 2020 before orders came to shelter in place — was canceled for 2021, but she’s thrilled that February 4, 2022, has been pegged for the next fundraiser. I’m looking forward to that night and hopefully seeing Selwyn at the podium once again.
Approximate date of photo.
Post high school graduation, my parents took me to London. We were in a cab.
What you were wearing?
A suit blazer, but with shorts.
What price fashion?
I don’t recall the designer or even the price. I do remember falling in love with Barneys after moving to NYC. However, I usually only bought their in-store brand, since I couldn’t afford most of the designer lines.
Why this is a Bomb.com picture?
I had finished high school and matriculated at Duke (my first-choice school), and my eyes were wide open to the world in front
of me. Plus, I had also graduated from big hair.