How did you become co-chairs of the event? Ellie Sanders: I've been on the committee for the past few years, and Evie asked me to co-chair with her. Meg [Miles, YAYA's executive director] and I are actually distant cousins, so it's been fun to get to know one another. Evie Poitevent Sanders: I immediately asked Ellie and Lilla [Wright Kearney, not pictured] to co-chair with me because they ... understood the organization and believed in its mission.
What about YAYA's mission resonates with you? EPS: I love ... the really grassroots mission — almost all the money raised goes directly to the programming, materials and instruction for the students. There's not a lot of overhead or administrative costs that eat up the dollars raised. It's really gratifying to know that the ... fundraising goes (straight) to the students who benefit from it the most.
Describe your sense of style. Where do you like to shop? ES: I don't follow trends too closely. ... I try to dress in what's comfortable to me. A simple dress that I can dress up with jewelry and accessories is my go-to. ... I'm a big fan of the LBD ... and fabulous earrings. I love Elle (Boutique) on Magazine Street. EPS: The way I shop is that I know it when I see it. ... I'm drawn to color and things with "wow" factor, and I also love vintage and retro (styles). As far as shopping locally, I have to say Feet First for my footwear and accessories, and really any shop on Magazine Street.
How have you incorporated your sense of style into planning the gala? ES: The decor we're going for is casual, lively and joyful — a real celebration as opposed to being stuffy. It's comfortable, come-as-you-are. If you want to wear jeans or get dressy, it's up to you. There's also tons of artwork on sale during the event (at the silent auction). The auction is a key part of YAYA's entrepreneurial training for its students — the kids are here talking about and selling their work and practicing their marketing skills, and they get to keep a percentage of the sales of their art. EPS: We're doing things that are really vibrant and colorful, like the artwork. The beauty of art for me personally is when it's full of joy and happiness and is life-affirming.
What do you plan to wear? ES: If it's going to continue to be this hot, something light and comfortable. ... And with the gravel at YAYA, it always helps to wear wedge (heels). EPS: I'm wearing something lively and colorful with a fun, casual statement necklace and some other statement jewelry because it's a lively, colorful event surrounded by a lot of creative, artistic people.