BLONDE CHARITY MAFIA

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Photographed and written by WALTER GRIO


Collectively, when you see Katherine Kennedy, Krista Johnson, and Sophie Pyle in the same room, you can’t help but think of Blonde Charity Mafia, a reality television show that revolved around their lives and the charity events they hosted in Washington, DC. Then again, some of you might not even know about the show that was filmed by the Lifetime TV Network in 2008 because it never aired in the US.

Nearly five years later, fashiontographer caught up with them to find out what they’ve been doing and how their lives have changed since then. We also wanted to know how Washington, DC has changed and what they thought about the social scene when comparing it to other cities.

Even though the show never made it on the air, there’s no doubt that these women are still leaving a positive impression in the nation’s capital — as individuals.

 
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KATHERINE KENNEDY

Since Blonde Charity Mafia, there have been many big changes for me. This past November, I got engaged to my best friend, Grant Allen, and we are planning a Fall 2013 wedding. I also took a new job with a Washington, DC based healthcare technology company and was named to the board of the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

When we were filming Blonde Charity Mafia, Obama took office and it has been interesting to see the changes around the city as the first family is extremely social and goes to a lot of the local eateries. The restaurant scene in DC has really taken off, especially near 14th St., and it has been refreshing to see such a variety of new venues opening around town.

DONNA KARAN blouse; CHANEL pants; vintage necklace and earrings. Styled by Stara Pezeshkian. Makeup by Carlos Gallegos and hair by Ziya Gultekin from Salon Leau. Photo by Walter Grio. Shot on location at Salon Leau. Blouse, pants, and accessories provided by Ella-Rue.

 


 
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SOPHIE PYLE

Since Blonde Charity Mafia, I’ve taken the job as the DC Editor of Guest of a Guest, a society snapshot site.

My job takes me to a lot of events like charity galas and restaurant openings. DC is definitely getting more and more trendy and cool as the years go by.

However, there is also a deeper divide, I think, between the political world and the creative class, probably due to the prevalence of social media. It is my understanding that there used to be more of a mix, but now it is sort of a big deal when Vice President Joe Biden goes to a gala or a makeup artist visits the White House.

PRADA dress; DIOR vintage earrings; PUCCI scarf. Styled by Stara Pezeshkian. Makeup by Carlos Gallegos and hair by Ziya Gultekin from Salon Leau. Photo by Walter Grio. Shot on location at Salon Leau. Dress and accessories provided by Ella-Rue.

 


 
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KRISTA JOHNSON

Since Blonde Charity Mafia, I opened my own store, Ella-Rue, in the heart of Georgetown. Ella-Rue is named after my two adopted dogs, Ella and Rue. Both dogs are now seniors and I’ve always wanted to have a store named after them.

Due to the 2008 financial crash, I knew that new women’s retail was a lot harder so I decided to do high-end consignment instead and open my own store. Nowadays, I prefer consignment over buying new things because it’s so exciting and you never know what is going to walk through the door. On a more personal note, I met my significant other one month after filming BCM and fell in love!

After BCM, I’ve also noticed that our sports teams are doing much better and we have opened exciting new restaurants and hotels. I’m very excited about City Center opening up as I think it will be good for DC retail bringing clients to Washington.

OSCAR DE LA RENTA dress; CHANEL earrings; vintage beads. Styled by Stara Pezeshkian. Makeup by Carlos Gallegos and hair by Ziya Gultekin from Salon Leau. Photo by Walter Grio. Shot on location at Salon Leau. Dress and accessories provided by Ella-Rue.

 


 
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SOPHIE PYLE

If someone was visiting DC for the first time, I would spend a day and an evening in Georgetown and another in downtown.

My favorite places to bring visiting friends are Martin’s Tavern (where JFK proposed to Jackie), Georgetown Cupcake, and the roof of The Graham Georgetown Hotel if it’s nice out.

In downtown, I would also recommend Old Ebbitt Grill as it’s such an iconic restaurant and also The Hamilton if there is a good show. And we would conclude with drinks on the roof of The W hotel around the corner. During daytime hours, we would spend time visiting our incredible museums.

PRADA dress; DIOR sunglasses; DIOR vintage earrings; PUCCI scarf. Styled by Stara Pezeshkian. Makeup by Carlos Gallegos and hair by Ziya Gultekin from Salon Leau. Photo by Walter Grio. Shot on location on P St. NW in Georgetown. Dress and accessories provided by Ella-Rue.

 


 
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KATHERINE KENNEDY

I love being a tourist in my own city so having friends in town to show around is really a treat. My favorite museums are the Portrait Gallery and the Sculpture Garden — especially for Jazz nights or ice skating.

I’d suggest renting a bike from Capital Bikeshare and ride around the monuments to really see how breathtakingly beautiful Washington, DC can be. For eats, brunch is my main meal and two that you shouldn’t miss are Ardeo + Bardeo and Masa 14.

DONNA KARAN blouse; CHANEL pants; JIMMY CHOO shoes; vintage necklace and ring. Styled by Stara Pezeshkian. Makeup by Carlos Gallegos and hair by Ziya Gultekin from Salon Leau. Photo by Walter Grio. Shot on location at The Graham Georgetown Hotel. Blouse, pants, shoes, and accessories provided by Ella-Rue.

 


 
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KRISTA JOHNSON

If someone was visiting DC over a weekend, here’s what I would suggest. Friday night, I would go to The Prime Rib on K Street to show them “old school” Washington. After dinner, I would take them for a night cap at the Four Seasons in Georgetown.

On Saturday, we’d start the day by having brunch at my favorite place, Peacock Cafe. After that, we would play tourist and go on the Open Bus Tour! This “hop on” and “hop off” bus is great because you can be dropped off at any of the monuments and near the museums. That would take all day, but you can’t come to Washington without seeing its history.

My favorite memorial is the World War II Memorial. Both of my Grandfathers fought in WWII — one was a P-51 Mustang Pilot and my other Grandfather fought in the Pacific. Some of my favorite museums are the National Gallery of Art and the Spy Museum.

After museum and monument touring, I would go to Old Ebbitt Grill for oysters and wine! Situated right near the White House, it’s a great place to take a break. I think my guests would need a nap after trekking around the city. But post-nap, I would arrange a late dinner at Thai X-ing in the Shaw district. This place is another world in all the right ways. Thai X-ing is a hidden gem. It’s very hard to get a reservation but absolutely worth it! Post dinner, we would do a night cap at El Centro on 14th St. for mojitos!

Sunday, we would start the day brunching at the historic Martin’s Tavern in Georgetown and then head to my favorite store Ella-Rue!

OSCAR DE LA RENTA dress; CHANEL earrings; STELLA MCCARTNEY sunglasses; SALVATORE FERRAGAMO shoes; vintage beads. Styled by Stara Pezeshkian. Makeup by Carlos Gallegos and hair by Ziya Gultekin from Salon Leau. Photo by Walter Grio. Shot on location at The Graham Georgetown Hotel. Dress, shoes, and accessories provided by Ella-Rue.

 


 
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KATHERINE KENNEDY

DC has attracted a lot more attention from Hollywood the past few years and I really think the White House Correspondents Dinner is always the favorite.

DC events tend to be philanthropically minded, but the biggest difference I have noticed is a lack of real “entertainment” at DC events compared to NYC/LA soirees that prioritize A-list musicians and a variety of entertainers to keep the party engaging. Most women in DC also do not dress up as much for events. You’re not really going to see a couture gown like Elie Saab or Zuhair Murad. They play it safe, rarely trying something new with their hair, makeup, or fashion.

VALENTINO vintage dress; vintage cape. Styled by Stara Pezeshkian. Makeup by Carlos Gallegos and hair by Ziya Gultekin from Salon Leau. Photo by Walter Grio. Shot on location at The Graham Georgetown Hotel. Dress and cape provided by Ella-Rue.

 


 
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SOPHIE PYLE

There is such a wide variety events here and elsewhere that it’s hard to compare. Generally speaking, New York outdoes DC in terms of celebrities and innovation with parties, but DC pulls world leaders and royalty better than New York does.

I was pretty amazed at a New York Fashion Week party like Prabal Gurung for Target, which had an amusement park ride, Ne-Yo as a musical guest, with a wild and amazing spread catered — and it was only 150 guests.

The parties in Washington, including the White House Correspondents Dinner parties, are a little more subtle and smart, with traditional catering and drinks, and celebrities on their best behavior for the media elites and politicos.

VALENTINO vintage dress; vintage earrings. Styled by Stara Pezeshkian. Makeup by Carlos Gallegos and hair by Ziya Gultekin from Salon Leau. Photo by Walter Grio. Shot on location at The Graham Georgetown Hotel. Dress and accessories provided by Ella-Rue.

 


 
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KRISTA JOHNSON

I attended the Oscars this past February and noticed that there is definitely a network of people that all know each other just like in Washington’s network. I didn’t know anyone but three people and it felt like all the guests and people in attendance knew each other in some way.

In Washington, you can go to any corner of the city and bump into a friend or acquaintance. It’s a small city and just like Hollywood, it’s a small network and everyone knows everyone. And speaking of Hollywood and DC, I would absolutely love to go to the White House Correspondents Dinner! Here is to wishing!

GIVENCHY vintage dress; CHANEL earrings. Styled by Stara Pezeshkian. Makeup by Carlos Gallegos and hair by Ziya Gultekin from Salon Leau. Photo by Walter Grio. Shot on location at The Graham Georgetown Hotel. Dress and accessories provided by Ella-Rue.

 


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ELLA-RUE
3231 P Street NW
Washington, DC 20007
202.333.1598 | ella-rue.com

THE GRAHAM GEORGETOWN HOTEL
1075 Thomas Jefferson St. NW
Washington, DC 20007
202.337.0900 | thegrahamgeorgetown.com

SALON LEAU
3240 P St. NW
Washington, DC 20007
202.625.2220 | salonleau.com

STARA GLAM STYLING
stara@staraglam.com
301.821.6115 | staraglam.com

 

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