Revelations: Celebrity event stirs praise
Jennifer Lee Preyss
Nov. 15, 2013 at 5:15 a.m.
My heart was pumping as I stepped down from the SUV limousine Saturday and walked into the lobby of the Hyatt Regency in Dallas.
The limo driver assisted my exit from the vehicle, allowing me to lean on him to avoid snagging my floor-length gown on my 5-inch, rhinestone-bedazzled heels.
I was still sweating from my first two attempts at squeezing my legs and stomach into a pair of fresh Spanx.
Between myself and the two women who went with me to the Women That Soar Awards dinner, there were about 14 boxes of assorted Spanx in our hotel room - the best girdle invention ever invented, I'd say.
First impressions are always a big deal, and when making them at a black tie, red carpet affair, the stakes are somewhat higher. You never know who you might run into.
The Hyatt was littered with gown and tuxedo wearing strutters, each of them ready to walk the red carpet and have their pictures captured by the paparazzi.
I walked the red carpet in my royal blue ball gown, adorned with the most lovely diamond and crystal blue jewels that my Houston designer friend, Michelle Colletti, of Colletti Threads, gave me to wear at the event.
I felt like a celebrity among the crowd.
But my attendance at Women That Soar was purely decoration.
The 11 women who were being honored for their efforts in entertainment, music, philanthropy and business, among others, were the true celebrities of the evening.
And, of course, there were actual celebrities in attendance, including former First Lady of Mexico Marta Fox; former president of the WNBA Donna Orender - both of whom were honorees - Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child; actress Regina King; Egypt Sherrod of HGTV's "Property Virgins"; and gospel recording artist Wess Morgan, to name a few.
I was just thrilled to be invited. And I was thrilled to be celebrating the achievements of women, their rise to the top and their passion for equality in the workplace.
Everyone I met at the event seemed humbled and excited to be in attendance.
And each of the award recipients seemed to be driven by family, faith and a desire to make the world a better place.
But there was one part of the show that truly made my heart soar - when Wess Morgan took the stage to sing, "You Paid it All."
I remember seeing Morgan earlier in the evening and passing him off as another Dallas socialite.
His hair was spiked, his teeth were white, and his tuxedo was the perfect fusion of spicy and classy.
I had no idea he was a gospel singer. I had no idea he had a voice on him that would blast the audience into church worship mode at a women's awards banquet.
I remember looking over at my friend, Stacy Killian, who attended the event with me, and saying, "Oh my God, that boy can sing."
I'd never heard a white man sing gospel music like that before. I was moved beyond words, and I was dying to know his story.
As it turns out, Morgan is the son of two Christian preacher parents. He was raised with the love the Lord.
But a cocaine addiction nearly ended his life, and it wasn't until he ended up in jail that he surrendered his life to Christ.
Today, he's an associate pastor at his parent's Celebration of Life Church in Tennessee, and he travels the country sharing his testimony about recovery and victory in Christ.
What I realized the next day, after the Spanx came off and my dress was hanging up safely in the closet, is that celebrities and fame are fleeting.
Our mission in this world is to make one man famous because he gave it all for us to do so.
"You gave up your image, you sacrificed, so that this ol' boy could have everlasting life. You gave up your glory so I could have my story. And I want to tell you, Lord, you paid it all."
These are the words of Morgan.
And I hope one day, I'll have the chance to thank Morgan for his journey and honesty in song. And I hope one day, I'll have the chance to thank Jesus for his celebrity.
Because he truly paid it all for this ol' girl to have one fantastic life.
Jennifer Preyss is a reporter for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach her at 361-580-6535 or firstname.lastname@example.org or @jenniferpreyss on Twitter.