Home Eating Out “Return of the Lady.”

“Return of the Lady.”

Photograhy by Gordon Ho.

Decorated in soft pastel pinks, sunflowers and Audrey Hepburn memorabilia, I felt as though I had entered a haven for all things related to womanhood at the “Return of the Lady” tea party.

Carol Causieestko-McCollum, the evening’s host, embodied the definition of a lady in her long lace gown, white elbow-length gloves, pearls and tiara.  She proudly introduces herself as “The Lady” and her daughter, L’Oreal McCollum, a sexuality educator, writer and media consultant, as “Lady 2.0.”

As tea was poured and delicately sipped, I put my pinky up and prepared myself for a lecture on proper etiquette and manners.  However, there was nothing delicate about the topics discussed.

“The Lady” and “Lady 2.0” are a mother-daughter team committed to providing and promoting strong life skills through open discussions that assist in the healing and empowerment of all female relationships within socio-economic groups on a global scale.  With an emphasis on education, particularly the education of young girls, the “Return of the Lady” campaign has touched hearts across the nation through tea party seminars and speeches.

S&V:  What inspired the “Return of the Lady” campaign?

The Lady:  I realized I couldn’t just be in the fashion business all my life, I couldn’t just be a makeup artist all my life, I wanted to do more. After seeing so many negative images of women in the media, such as the recent Chris Brown and Rhianna fiasco, I felt inspired to motivate young women to act in a self-respecting, positive way.  

S&V:  How do you define a “Lady?”

The Lady:  I always say you must think like a woman, but act like a lady, and that’s what we’ve forgotten.  The woman is hardened by society; she comes from everything we must deal with in everyday life.  The lady knows when its time to walk away from a situation.  The lady respects herself and because she respects herself, she expects others to do the same.

S&V:  Why do you feel it is important to educate young women on these topics?

The Lady:  Young girls and women are always watching us, most of the images they see teach them a negative perception of women.  With my southern upbringing, I was raised looking up to women who always acted like ladies, I feel that it is my responsibility to give young girls a proper image to look up to.

S&V:  Was it hard to give up your previous career to do this?  How committed are you to the “Return of the Lady?”

The Lady: It is my birthday tomorrow, and on my birthday, all I wanted was to give back to others.  I wanted to give the gift of healing and empowerment through education, which I feel is the best gift. My life is not my own, it belongs to those I help.  I sleep, drink and eat this.  Helping mould young women into ladies is my life mission.

S&V:  What do you have planned for the “Return of the Lady” campaign for 2009?

The Lady: We are focusing on domestic violence issues, verbal/sexual abuse, and gender issues, among the other things we tackle. 

S&V:  How do you tackle such issues and what steps do you take to educate the public?




  1. Hello Carol from Karris TJ HS class of ’81. Not sure if you remember me. I always thought you were very beautiful, classy, and extremely elegant… so not all of us were filled with hate. Your daughter is stunning and so are you. With that said, as the mother of 20-, 18-, and 6-year old daughters, I too realize and stress to them how important it is to be a lady and lady-like in all situations. Granted, it’s extremely difficult, especially with society’s glamorization of scandalous women. Too often we sell ourselves short, pitting one against the other. We must hold each other up!
    Currently I am in NC, so please bring your message of empowerment to Greensboro, NC, and especially to the campuses of NC HBCU’s, where it is greatly needed. So many of these young women have false bravado and very low self-esteem.
    Take care,

  2. Carol, this is my second tea party extravaganza facilitated by you that I had the pleasure to be a part of. I can not express to you how much I’ve treasured this time of hearing others, including myself, release feelings that we women allow, for the most part, to be hidden. Your model of “Women are like tea bags; you don’t know how strong they are until they are in hot water” exemplifies who we are as women. It was even more special to me to meet your beautiful daughter whom we share common professions; however she has certainly surpassed my goals of traveling the path that she is now travelling. I pray to God that the two of you will always remain who you are individually, socially, and emotionally. Tell L’Oreal I am certainly looking forward to her mentoring my daughter Destinee as I know that Destinee too will follow her path to succeed in life. Love you, Cecilia.

  3. To my sister Carol:
    I’m so proud of you and all you do for women, young and old or should I say seasoned and unseasoned. Continue on your path let no one stop you, as you know I live by the title of my book”You’ve Got The Power” that is the power to do what ever you need to do in this world.
    God Bless You My Sister.

    Love you Your Big Sister.

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