S. S. Thalia Fantasy Cruise

Throughout my life, I have been blessed with some of the most amazing friends. One in particular is a gentleman by the name of Ray Kennedy! Ray has the biggest heart, he is incredibly talented, and has been a loyal and dear friend in many ways over the years. Ray and I met through a mutual friend and I immediately loved his personality and spunk! He is witty, caring, and simply brilliant…especially when is comes to the performing arts! A native of NC, Ray was offered an opportunity to move to NYC and work for the U.S.O. in 2010. His love for the Tarheel state will never fade, nor will his love and dedication for the performing arts center in beautiful Wilmington, NC. I was incredibly honored when Ray invited me to be a part of the S.S. Thalia Fantasy Cruise, a benefit for Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.

My amazing and talented friend, Ray Kennedy

Ray and his team of experts had transformed Thalian Hall into a luxury cruise ship for an evening of world-class fun & entertainment to benefit the ongoing operation of the Performing Arts in Wilmington, where Thalian Hall is an historic gem!

I was treated like royalty the entire weekend. As Mrs. International, I greeted supporters of the performing arts center as they purchased their ticket to board the SS Thalia Fantasy Cruise. I also helped with the live auction and played the role of “celebrity bingo caller”. My bingo jokes definitely kept the game exciting. The crowd enjoyed a laughing Bingo playing time. I assume they enjoyed the Bingo jokes? Maybe they were laughing at my attempt? Either way, it was a fun time for all! For those of you who know me best, you know that I love to have a good time and laugh a lot, it’s just my personality…so if they were laughing at my attempt, that’s OK. I’m a good sport! The event raised a lot of money to keep the performing arts alive and that was the purpose for my visit! Mission Accomplished!

I enjoyed meeting Mary Katherine (far left) and seeing my long-time friend, Michelle Braxton. If only I could sing like Michelle. She is a natural performer; she always captivates audiences with her voice and charisma and is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met! The weekend was super special catching up with Michelle.

Each event that I attend, I always enjoy the great food and the glamour, but when it’s all said and done, the most memorable and special is meeting new people! You never know who’s in the same building unless you’re willing to mingle and introduce yourself! I was shocked to see the star of Mel’s diner!!! “Alice” is a regular supporter of Thalian Hall. If Flow would have been in attendance, I would have thrown a “kiss my grits” in the Bingo game for sure!

The evening featured a Captain's reception, the most fabulous gourmet buffet, and other 'ship-board' activities including casino style gaming in the ballroom, bingo, raffles and a live auction featuring David Yurman Jewelry, luxury vacations, and original art pieces created especially for the event by child prodigy & acclaimed artist Georgie Pocheptsov.

A world-renowned artist, Pocheptsov, created two pieces specifically for the night to give away for auction. His work is quite unique! He was compared to Picasso when he was a child and started painting before the age of two! His artwork has sold for more than $100,000 to people like Celine Dion, Colin Powell and Michael Jordan. Well, obviously, I didn’t come home with any of his artwork, however, the memories I have are PRICELESS!

The entire evening was spectacular to say the least! The evening concluded with a tribute to the honorary Executive Director of the USS North Carolina, followed by my favorite part of the entire event, the ever so fabulous International USO entertainers, the Liberty Bells as they presented their 'Andrews Sisters' style musical review directed by Ray Kennedy.


A special thank you to the Clinton family for opening your beautiful mansion on the waterfront!  What an amazing place, I could definitely tolerate living in a mansion…I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, being Mrs. International is the best job of service!

Ray, thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to be a part of this first class event! Your talent continues to amaze me and your friendship means the world to me.

Until next post, remain blessed,



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