Age: Over 50
Marital Status: Married
Education: Fashion Institute of America
As a professional party-thrower and the wife of eCorp CEO John Thrash, Becca may have an unreal life, but she’s a totally real FOF: self-made, hard-working and completely devoted to the charities she champions. We loved getting to know her generous spirit almost as much as we love ogling her collection of couture fashion.
Tell me a little about your background. School? Kids?
I don’t have any kids. I didn’t go to school. I’m very boring when it comes to all of that. I just kind of went straight to work.
How did you start your career?
In the 1970s I became one of the editors who launched Vogue en Espanol. I lived in Mexico for several years, and then I moved to Houston and opened a public relations and special events company. It grew quickly, and I took on a partner, Holly Moore.
You also started Houston’s magazine, Paper City, correct?
Yes. You know how we started? Holly and I were sitting in a coffee shop one day in 1992 and Houston Postage had closed, so the city was down to one newspaper and no decent magazine. We’re thinking, ‘Where are we going to place stories for all of our 17 clients?’
Somebody had left a copy of W lying on the floor, and we looked down and looked at each other and we knew. ‘Let’s just take this and ape it, but for Houston.’ The two of us and a designer did that magazine for the first year and it just grew. I sold out to Holly in 1996. She has extraordinary style and is a wonderful businesswoman.
So are you working now?
I work, I just don’t make money, you know? I’m a glorified volunteer, so to speak—I’m on the board of seven different groups. I’m in my office eight hours a day dialing for dollars for somebody, whether it’s the Houston Grand Opera, the Contemporary Arts Museum, Best Buddies, or the Louvre. I’ve raised tens of millions of dollars over the years for various charities–locally, nationally and internationally—through fundraisers.
You seem to really love what you do.
Well, I have to be honest; I am lucky to have my husband, who is so supportive and encourages me. He recognizes that I love to entertain, that I love to throw over-the-top parties—that it’s kind of my niche, and that it’s valuable.
How did you meet him?
I met him about 15 years ago by accident. People who knew us both never thought he would go for someone like me. He’s very private and I was ready for my next photo op. But we met and fell in love and got married three months later.
Are you still in love?
We really, really are. There’s such a synergy between the two of us. I thank him for my happiness. We just laugh all the time and appreciate one another. And there are so few successful men that are even remotely kind. My husband puts his family and his business partners before himself. That’s an extraordinary attribute.
Your parties have become legendary in Houston. What’s the secret to throwing a great party?
In my opinion, hostesses put far too much emphasis on the décor, flowers and food. I put all my emphasis on the mix of people. You want to have somebody unexpected; someone who might raise an eyebrow, someone controversial. I’ve never understood the country club concept; I wouldn’t want to be a member of a club where everybody was just like me. It’s so much more compelling to have a room full of people who know a few but not all.
My husband has a great line: “All you need is vodka and ashtrays.” People just want to drink and throw caution to the wind. In other words, sit back and let the party take on a life of its own. Mies van der Rohe once said, ‘less is more’ and he’s right. My best parties have been those that I just threw together.
How would you define your style?
Very simple clothes. I like sumptuous fabrics and beautiful, impeccable tailoring. I’ve never, ever had a garment that was not tailored to fit me, whether from a designer or straight off the rack.
I’m also a customer of the haute couture. So it’s not at all uncommon for me to haul off and buy a crocodile coat where the whole back side of the crocodile goes from the top of my shoulder to the floor.
Who influenced your style?
My maternal grandmother and my mother were very chic women. We are really simple people from a tiny town in South Texas, but both of them knew style. My mother always wore a white blouse with a simple black pencil skirt. She thought that less was more.
Do you have a signature item?
Black turtlenecks. Cotton in the summer; jersey in the fall; cashmere in the winter. And I always have a great pair of croc boots.
Arpege by Lanvin. It was my grandmother’s fragrance, and Lanvin of course has a new designer and they have new fragrances, but they still produce this fragrance from the ’50s. I’ve worn it since I was old enough to wear perfume, and I’ll never change.
Where do you like to shop?
Tootsie’s. Mickey [the owner] and I have grown up together. He started off with Goody Two Shoes and distressed jeans before distressed jeans were ever heard of. He was the first person to bring Donna Karan to Texas–and you know how extraordinary that was.
Tell me about a great book you’ve read.
Nemesis by Peter Wolf was quite compelling. It’s about the triangle between Aristotle Onassis, Bobby Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy around the assassination time. It is so footnoted and documented. I’m quite sure somebody will make a movie out of it now that Jackie is dead. It’s not very flattering to either Jackie or Lee, but it’s really something.
Who inspires you?
Eunice Kennedy Shriver. She went to her office every single day in Potomac, Maryland until she physically could not go anymore and that was only three years ago. She lived to help the underdog, not only with forming Special Olympics, but also helping Anthony form Best Buddies. Her sister Rosemary was mentally impaired, and they nurtured her and always, always treated her as if absolutely nothing was wrong.
What’s your beauty routine?
I love Dr. Pitanguy’s line. He’s a Brazilian plastic surgeon. I use his creams morning, noon and night.
Where do you have your hair done? The color is gorgeous.
Perone does my cut and my hair color. He’s the Frederic Fekkai of Texas.
Tell me a favorite restaurant in Houston.
RDG, which is the initials of the owner, Robert Del Grande. It’s been around for 25 years, but it used to be called Annie’s. It’s elegant but relaxed—a beautiful space and run by a great group of people
How do you rejuvenate?
Sleep. Sleep for me is more important than all the creams and all the shots and all the hormones and all the vitamins. This weekend, I never left my house from Friday to today. I slept, I cooked, I read, I organized my closet and I find all that so therapeutic and it’s really very healing, I think.
What is one important thing you have learned in your career?
Don’t take “no” for an answer!
What is one important thing you have learned about money?
You should give it all away. I hope my last check bounces!