Beverly (Bevy) Smith has gone from advertising executive to a social media maven, entrepreneur and TV personality. She is known for bringing guests together from the arts, entertainment, sports, media and fashion industries at Dinner with Bev.
Please tell us about your personal style and dare I say — flair?
My personal style is centered around my mother’s love of fashion. To this day she never wears jeans (I own one pair). The other influence I lean on heavily is the “peacock” style I witnessed growing up in Harlem. My love of color and being unafraid to be noticed, that’s definitely Harlem’s influence.
How do you handle high profile personalities?
The same way I handle anyone else, especially when I’m in charge. I long ago stopped being “star struck.” As a young Media Director I presented advertising plans to Bill Blass (someone I idolized). After I finished presenting he said “You have good ideas, you know your stuff, but speak up.” After that I never allowed anyone’s fame to intimidate me.
What do you enjoy most about entertaining?
I love to entertain people from diverse backgrounds and watch them connect over the most unexpected things! Once I hosted a dinner for Ashanti and Michael Carl of Vanity Fair (at the time he was Fashion Director of Allure) attended. It turned out that Ashanti loves Jamaican music and Michael spent part of his formative years there. They proceeded to sing reggae songs and dance – who would have thought!
How often do you host Dinner with Bev?
I host about 10 dinners a year, normally about one a month. This year I hosted a dinner during the Sundance Film Festival, the Oscars and also a dinner for The Barnes Foundation of Philadelphia all by February.
You have been named Brand Ambassador by companies including Range Rover – what do you offer these brands?
Brands are starting to use “real people” with a platform because we connect with consumers. I only work with brands which I believe in and that I can chat about ad nauseam. A celebrity endorsing a brand is just about a check most times, but for me it’s about enlightening my “friends” about a product I believe in.
What is it that you love about bringing people together?
I love organically connecting people! My greatest joy is watching people have in depth conversations at my dinner parties. I never introduce people by their profession and rarely by last name. Dinner With Bevy has been around long enough that people understand anyone you sit next to will be a great dinner companion. Photographer Terry Richardson attended the dinner I hosted for Pharrell, and he said he normally hates dinner parties but my dinner was so much fun and very easy.
What is the most outrageous conversation that’s taken place at your table?
I can’t really divulge anything outrageous that’s been said at Dinner With Bevy, but I can share one of my most poignant moments. I hosted a dinner for actress Sanaa Lathan on the day that Michael Jackson died. Our guests included directors Robert Townsend and Lee Daniels, Gabrielle Union, Dwayne Wade, etc. Instead of letting everyone wallow in the news, I put on a Michael Jackson playlist and the entire table proceeded to sing Michael’s songs all night.
How often do you tweet? Who makes up the majority of your social media followers?
I tweet Monday through Friday, usually from 9am to 12 pm. Weekends are a little less structured as are evenings, yet I never tweet in depth from an event. I’m a big believer in “living in the moment” and if you’re at an event, tweeting every moment, you are missing subtle happenings. I’m always shocked by how many people follow me, including celebrities. It still freaks me out when I meet a celeb and they say they love my Twitter feed! The people who chat with me the most on Twitter are young people of color and fashion pros. It seems that I’m a role model and while I didn’t sign up for it, I accept the role and try to dispense credible information interspersed with my opinion daily.
How do you pick which events to attend? How many nights a week do you go out on the town?
I select events much in the same way I select my clients, am I actually interested in the event. Usually, I’m out about 4 times a week and then I come home to Harlem and finish off my evening with full on debauchery. On the weekends I rarely leave Harlem. I like to say “I’m in the hood and up to no good.”