In an age of “always on” with technology, the art of conversation is easily lost. Just sitting down without our phones is a deliberate decision that we have to make if we want to enrich our relationships. Darling was founded on the importance of face-to-face conversation around issues that matter, which is why we so enjoy hosting Darling “Long Table” Dinners. A few weeks ago, we gathered with 75 women for one such dinner with the iconic skincare and cosmetics brand Mary Kay.

Set at the beautiful space of Hedley and Bennett near downtown Los Angeles, the room was graced with long, reclaimed wood tables paired with rose gold chairs and stunning vintage white table settings by Archive Rentals. To enhance the overall event atmosphere, each table was also adorned with gorgeous florals in hues of pink and white designed by Lovestruck Blooms.

As guests arrived at the entrance laced with sparkling lights and a cozy fire pit, we chatted over Winc wine and had time to ‘shop’ a gorgeous Mary Kay product display, placing our beauty selections in adorable pink canvas makeup bags by Mary Kay, which were customized by on-site calligrapher Betty Ling. One of the most beloved products of the evening was the Mary Kay Limited-Edition Lash Love® Mascara—a beauty must-have that gives back. From now through Dec. 31st, the Mary Kay team will donate $1 from each sale of this product to The Mary Kay Foundation, which supports women’s shelters and survivors of abuse.

Before we took our seats, we got the perfect selfies with the SnapBar photo booth and posed with our friends for Marissa Boswell, the fantastic photographer who captured the evening.

Darling’s Founder, Sarah Dubbeldam, opened the evening by telling the story of Darling and the intention behind the dinner—the “conversation rules” being that each table splits into groups of four—to provide a feeling of intimate conversation as she posed the first table question:

What formed your definition of beauty? Was it your family, the media, magazines, or movies? How do you think culture is changing regarding what is “beautiful?”

 Answers varied from comparisons to other young girls on the playground to media messaging or opinions of friends and family establishing our opinions of ourselves early on.

As the main course was served, (a coriander roasted game hen with scallion oil & micro greens, lemon roasted broccolini and roasted dill purple potatoes) by one of our all-time favorite chefs, Felix Barron IV of KTCHN LA we prepared for the second question—given by a surprise guest, Taylor Sterling of The Glitter Guide.

Taylor shared her vision for bringing authenticity and beauty into women’s lives and then posed the following question:

What are the internal character traits that you think make women most “beautiful?” Which one are you looking to cultivate more in your life?

This question brought the conversation even deeper as women identified character qualities such as humility, sacrifice, kindness and generosity that make women shine.

Over strawberry and raspberry shortcake, we wrapped up the evening with a lovely overview of the history of The Mary Kay Foundation and the third table question, posed by Regena Pipkin, Director of U.S. Product Marketing at Mary Kay.

While many of us were familiar with the brand, we didn’t realize the extent of its rich heritage—founded over 55 years ago, Mary Kay has inspired women to achieve their entrepreneurial goals in more than 40 countries and is a force in the community through initiatives like the Pink Changing Lives Program, as well as The Mary Kay Foundation. Founder Mary Kay Ash built the company on the Golden Rule and emphasized the importance of giving back to others, which is why Mary Kay dedicates time and money into research that aims to eliminate cancer and break the silence for those plagued by domestic violence.

Before we heard the final question, Regena conducted a powerful exercise with all of us that left the room truly changed. She had us stand if we knew a woman who had first been affected by cancer; then she asked us to remain standing if we also knew a woman who had been a victim of domestic violence. We all remained on our feet—these issues had touched so many. Regena then posed this final thought for discussion:

What can we do as women to support other women who have experienced pain and suffering in their lives, such as cancer and domestic violence?

While every one of us had a different experience in relation to these issues and people we love, the consensus ranged from just listening well to being a bearer of hope—because hope gives the strength to persevere. We were left with deep feelings of empathy and the desire to slow down, think about who we are becoming, and most importantly, whom we are impacting with love in our individual lives.

We are thankful to Mary Kay for giving us the context and time to co-host this meaningful night.

For more information about Mary Kay, click HERE.

All photos by Marissa Boswell.

Here’s a recap video by Naohmi Monroe with editing by Max Junk and music by Jordan Lovelis.



  1. So disappointed you chose to teak up with a known MLM brand that essentially extorts individuals. Please do your research before teaming up for such a partnership. Reddit’s anti-mlm subreddit has so many stories about them.

    1. Agreed, Linz. I normally have so much respect for Darling and their message of empowerment – the exact opposite of what Mary Kay represents.

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