For Sophisticated Skin

A conversation with makeup artist Rick Bancroft

By Janice Carter Levitch

Photos by Andrea Hutchinson

Rick Bancroft is a renowned makeup artist who has worked with several celebrities and oodles of local notables. Over the years, he developed a skin care and makeup philosophy for women over the age of 40 who have what he calls “sophisticated skin.” Well versed in the art of conversation, Bancroft has the ability to help clients relax as he leads them through private makeup application and skin care lessons.

We got up close and personal with the expert to get his input on how best to address sophisticated skin.

Do you recommend powder or no powder?

“Yes, but it should be used carefully. What worked when you were 20 or in your 30s isn’t going to work in your 40s, 50s or 60s. I have clients who are 70 and older who wear a full face of makeup and look fantastic as long as they use the correct blending and powdering techniques. I think you should pick a formulation that works for your skin type. If you have oily skin, lightly powder the oily areas. If you have dry skin, avoid powdering those areas unless you have used a good moisturizer and hydrating foundation prior to applying powder. Even then, powder sparingly so that it doesn’t become too thick and unflattering.

“You don’t need to set your entire face with powder because it can settle in the fine lines and can actually accentuate areas you would rather soften. I believe as we age that less is more, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you should wear nothing. The main thing is making sure you don’t try to follow the trends too much.”

Which trends should be avoided?

“The trends that should be avoided are those highlighters that have a solid coverage or are heavy looking. (They) actually have an aging effect and do not look good on the fine lines around the eyes and the texture lines on the cheek. I highlight with a liquid foundation or concealer that is lighter in color than the natural skin tone color. That brings out the more natural highlights and the result looks just as nice without all that heavy frost and intense look. I think sometimes the frosty-looking highlighters have the opposite effect: Rather than smoothing out and having a more natural look, it can age the skin because of the way the light reflects off of it.

What are the techniques clients need the most help with?

“Most of the time, it really is a technique issue and not what someone wears. A lot of time it’s not a color issue; it’s actually placement. So where someone places eyeshadow can make their eyes look heavier and weighed down versus if they place it in a different way that can make their eyes look more open. You really want to have an upward, softer look instead of a heavy (one). And, of course, the more open your shadow makes your eyes appear, the younger you will look.”

What are some of the common mistakes made?

“Mistakes can be made in several areas. One issue is that people follow trends too much, and that has an aging effect. Usually the trends are for a much younger face. Another issue is that far too many people believe they can’t wear any color and they go straight for the matte finishes in neutrals and brown tones. I see that all the time: a lack of color and a lack of a soft shimmer. On the cheek area, just the right shade of color can make such a positive difference. What we need to stay away from is the thicker, more solid frost application.”   

What is the difference between a frost and a shimmer?

“Frost is a silvery, metallic-looking shade that takes on an almost solid-looking foil quality. A gold, silver, white or pearl tone doesn’t allow the natural light to pass through easily and reveal some of the surface of the skin. Shimmer is more refined, super soft with tiny flecks of a reflective glitter. It has to be ever so tiny. The shimmer looks more like a subtle glow where frost or metallic is more like a gold foil and is too shiny. A refined shimmer allows natural light to reflect off of the skin with a more transparent, softer, youthful and healthy-looking quality.”

How do you select a foundation for clients?

“Many people make the mistake of choosing a foundation that is actually too light. A lot of people match the skin tone on their face when choosing a color, but they also need to be aware of the neck and chest area. If someone has been wearing sunscreen just on their face and not other areas, they are going to have different skin tones. The best solution is to warm up the foundation a little for the face so it has a more youthful look about it.

“Take the foundation up at least one shade darker and start by applying it in the center of the face.  Blend it up and out with a buffing brush or beauty blender. Be sure to continue buffing and blending lightly on down the neck area as well. Sunscreen doesn’t stop at the face, and it should be applied to the neck and chest area. If the skin on your face is lighter, remember to select a foundation shade that is slightly darker. It will blend and won’t create such a stark difference between the skin tones. It will definitely add a more youthful glow.”

What are the rules for lip color?

“Rules are meant to be broken and that certainly goes for lip color. I don’t think people play enough with lip color and it should be fun. Everyone should have a red lipstick, even if you think you can’t wear red lip color. You can put it on with a white shirt, a pair of jeans and heels and you’ll be surprised how stylish you will look. It can change your entire look.

“People are afraid to do that because some may think it looks garish when it gets too bright and bold. The truth of the matter is that you want to wear the lipstick; you don’t want the lipstick to wear you. Make sure the lipstick is a bold color that you can handle according to your skin tone and overall coloring. One of my famous sayings is, ‘Get out of your box and get out of your comfort zone because after this life, you’re in a box for a very long time.’ I just think lip color should be fun. There are rules but they can be broken.”

How should we treat our eyebrows?

“I have found that most women do not fill their brows in enough and use a shade that is too light, which actually ages them. They start going too soft because their brow is naturally getting lighter and thinner.  Don’t be afraid of being too dark or too strong when filling in the brows. It can make you look five years older if the brows are left too light or thin. They don’t have to be extremely dark, but fill them in with a shade that complements your natural color. Taupe or medium brown is always a good color to start with if you don’t know which one to choose.

“Measure your brow accurately to complement the shape of your eye. Start at the inner corner of the eye. Up from there is where the brow should begin. The highest arch of the brow should be over the outer edge of the iris and toward the outer edge of the eyelid. If you use a makeup brush with a thin handle, you can angle it from the outer corner of the eye to the outer edge of the brow. With one end of it resting on the lower edge of the nose, that is where the brow should end. It is amazing how much it can change your look by filling in your brows.”

What are your thoughts on eyeliner?

“Don’t use liner on what we call the waterline, which is the area under the lash line near the eye, unless you’re going for a smokey look. This can close the eye up and it won’t look as bright. I prefer the top to be lined with a black pencil. You can brush in and blend after you apply it. Then on the bottom, just line the outer edge because it opens the eye up the most.”

How important is a good skin care routine?

“Your makeup will look awful if your skin isn’t cared for. If you don’t exfoliate bi-weekly, apply daily moisturizer and a use good sunscreen, the most expensive makeup won’t help.”

How do your step-by-step lessons work?

“I have a face chart that is used and everything is written down on it as I go through the lesson. The client does one side of the face as I do the other side. I watch the clients through the lesson and offer a list of products. I also help my clients with the products they currently use and find out ways they need to improve. Step-by-step instructions arm them with a little more information, and it helps them be more open to trying new things. I find that clients walk away from my lessons with a new attitude. Sometimes, I will run into someone that had a lesson with me and they have more eyeshadow color on. And let’s face it, makeup can be washed off and it goes down the drain. Who cares if it was just one day that you wore red lipstick? That’s why I am passionate about what I do. I love to help clients discover something new that they love too.” V

To contact professional makeup artist Rick Bancroft, visit or email

A first-hand experience with the ‘Vampire Facial’

By Angie Fenton

Photos by Kathryn Harrington

I have a confession to make: I am a closeted Kim Kardashian fan. I find the reality star-turned-mogul fascinating with her flawless makeup and hair, enviable boldness, and I’m pretty sure that despite the criticism and online cattiness constantly hurled her way, she’s laughing all the way to the bank.

I once sat listening to Mozart on 90.5 WUOL while reading about Kim K’s favorite wigs (I’m a fan of those, too) and stopped mid-sentence to laugh at myself. But hey, who says a gal can’t be enthralled by a pop culture icon and appreciate classical music?

Even though I’d never cut it as a Kardashian – I rarely take the time to get a manicure or color my hair and have whittled my morning routine down to less than 30 minutes – I’ve been known to try out a beauty product or two when Kim has given it her seal of approval. But when she endorsed what’s known as the “vampire facial,” I got a little queasy…and immediately wanted to try it.

Thankfully, you don’t have to head to Hollywood to try out what’s become one of the hottest procedures. Corbett Cosmetic Aesthetic Surgery and Medi Spa offers the treatment, so I made an appointment to experience it myself.

When I arrived at Corbett Cosmetic, I was greeted warmly by Practice Manager Misty Perschau, who is one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met. I knew that the facial involved getting poked in the face hundreds of times with 36 micro needles, which made me nervous for obvious reasons, so Misty’s calm kindness was much appreciated. I took a moment to look around the gorgeous lobby before changing into a spa wrap. It was time to begin.

Licensed Aesthetician Allyson Beam gently cleansed my face as I lay on a table so comfortable that had I not been conducting an interview throughout the procedure, I would have fallen asleep.

Next, Allyson applied a numbing cream to my face as Misty explained that Corbett Cosmetic doesn’t use a typical numbing cream but instead has a compound created so it is basically extra strength. “You will want to use a straw when drinking over the next few hours,” Misty instructed. 

The Collagen P.I.N. contains 36 micro needles

(A couple hours later, I forgot to heed her advice and wound up dribbling water all down the front of my dress.)

During the 25-30 minutes we waited for my face to numb, Misty and Allyson explained benefits of the treatment and the procedure itself. Clients could expect improved skin texture and tone, diminished age spots and discoloration, reduction of fine lines and wrinkles and even diminished scars.

Using a Collagen P.I.N. containing a sterile, disposable needle cartridge containing 36 micro needles, Allyson would use the tool to glide across my skin while allowing it to induce micro injuries, which help to stimulate collagen and elastin production. While Kim K’s facial involved injecting platelet rich plasma extracted from her own blood – hence the name “vampire facial” – Corbett Cosmetic’s offers something even better, SkinMedica’s TNS Recovery Complex, a highly potent (albeit safe) skin treatment formula containing growth factors. “It is liquid gold,” Misty enthused. After the initial microneedling, the TNS would be applied directly to my skin, which meant it would quickly seep into the mini “injuries” created by the microneedles and increase the formula’s already proven effectiveness.

Ecstatic that I wouldn’t have to get a vial of blood drawn from my arm and excited to try the liquid gold, I was ready. And, I couldn’t feel my face.

Allyson began and at first I couldn’t feel anything, but when she got near my cheeks and chin, I began laughing. It tickled like the dickens. I was being poked in the face by three dozen needles and it tickled

Corbett Cosmetic Practice Manager Misty Perschau.

That numbing cream was no joke. (Kim Kardashian recently admitted she’d never do a vampire facial again because it was so painful. That’s because she didn’t use ANY numbing cream! She underwent the procedure just after finding out she was pregnant. Do not do what Kim K did. Use the numbing cream.)

The whole facial took about 30 or so minutes. I looked a little red but couldn’t feel a thing. Before I left, Misty handed me a care kit containing cleanser, moisturizer, a hyaluronic acid blend, TNS and sunscreen. She instructed me to use it for four days and told me I could start using makeup as soon as I wanted to, though I opted not to for 48 hours.

The numbness in my face began to wear off after a couple hours. By evening, I felt like I had a sunburn and was really red. I returned to my regular hue by the morning but still felt like I had a sunburn. It didn’t hurt, but my skin was tight. Misty had told me to expect that, but the sensation would decrease over the next few days. There were a few areas – the tip of my nose, around my eyes – that looked like I had minute abrasions, but it was nothing a little foundation couldn’t cover.

Faithfully, I followed the after-care instructions and by day five, my skin started to feel normal again, albeit smoother. One week later, I saw a perceptible decrease in lines near my eyes. I was thrilled – and the results are expected to increase even more over the next three to six months as my skin produces new collagen and elastin.

Corbett Cosmetic’s vampire facial starts at $425 and you’re advised to have three to six treatments spaced four to six weeks apart for the best results. And, unlike Kim K, I’ve already made my next appointments. Count me among those who are vampire facial fans. V

Face It

Corbett Cosmetic’s Vampire Facial starts at $425 and involves microneedling and an application of SkinMedica’s TNS Recovery Complex, skin treatment formula containing growth factors (a .63 ounce bottle can be purchased for $179). Call 502.721.0330 to make an appointment.

Fall Festival Open House

4 to 8 p.m. Oct. 18

Corbett Cosmetic Surgery

13125 Eastpoint Park Blvd. #102

Corbett Cosmetic Surgery will host its fourth annual Fall Festival Open House from 4 to 8 p.m. Oct. 18. Enjoy exclusive pricing on Dysport, fillers, spa services and products, live demonstrations cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Several local boutiques will set up shop at the event. Throughout the evening, Corbett Cosmetic will give away $10,000 worth of prizes, including a Gucci bag.

About Dr. Corbett

Dr. Lee Corbett established Corbett Cosmetic Surgery in 2003.

A Trinity High School graduate, Dr. Corbett earned his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University and his doctor of medicine degree from the University of Louisville. He completed his general surgery and plastic surgery residencies in Tennessee. Dr. Corbett joined Dr. Florman in private practice in 1998. He established his cosmetic surgery practice, Corbett Cosmetic Surgery, in 2003.

Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery in 1999 and re-certified again in 2007, Dr. Corbett offers years of experience and a thorough knowledge of the latest techniques in plastic surgery. While Dr. Corbett performs all types of cosmetic procedures, his areas of special focus include cosmetic breast enhancement, cosmetic facial surgery, body contouring surgery, Mommy Makeovers, cosmetic surgery following weight loss surgery, cosmetic laser procedures, as well as non-surgical techniques including Botox® and injectable wrinkle fillers.

Dr. Corbett is a diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery and an active member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. He is a past president of the Kentucky Society of Plastic Surgeons. Dr. Corbett is also on the clinical faculty of the University of Louisville Division of Plastic Surgery.

For more information, visit Corbett Cosmetic Surgery, 13125 Eastpoint Park Blvd. #102, go to or call 502.721.0330.

Pas de deux

A “Season of Romance” blooms for Robert Curran and Louisville Ballet

By Laura Ross

Art Direction: Cherie Pérez

Photography: Sam English

Make Up: Jessica Kelley

Styling: Miranda McDonald

He thrilled audiences worldwide for more than a decade as the principal artist for the Australian Ballet. He then took a professional leap beyond his dancing career, which landed him in Louisville in 2014 as the artistic and executive director of Louisville Ballet. His passion for dance, thirst for education and spirit of collaboration spurs him forward every day. His name is Robert Curran.

A native of Australia, Curran, 42, began dancing as a child. He later trained at the Australian Ballet School and enjoyed a career as a star and principal artist of the Australian Ballet. During his time with that company, he also gained three academic degrees in business, theater and teaching. He retired from professional dance in 2011.

Louisville Ballet’s charming and affable yet enigmatic leader is happy to promote his company of dancers and staff. “We made a choice early on that it was about the artform and company, not me,” he said. “I had my great time in the spotlight in Australia for 16 years. Our focus is on this generation of dancers.”

With his wildly successful career that spanned worldwide stages, Curran’s entry into a city the size of Louisville was a challenge. “I was working in New York City, and prior, had my career in Australia,” he said. “Coming from the population centers of Melbourne and Sydney, with around nine million people and a budget that’s more than ten times what it is in Louisville, was bold.”

He added, “I came with that background of what is possible with what can be achieved. I knew I had to do it differently here, but the boldness comes from that worldwide experience I have. I’ve danced in the U.S., Europe, Australia, Southeast Asia and China, and seeing what the rest of the world is doing with ballet has really informed what I feel is possible here. Louisville is one of the few cities its size in the U.S. that has that potential to be great.”

With that in mind, Curran is excited to launch the ballet’s new “Season of Romance.” It premieres Sept. 7 and 8 at the Kentucky Center for the Arts’ Whitney Hall with an ambitious world premiere of “Romeo + Juliet,” reimagined in a modern setting. It will be the first show held in the Kentucky Center since its devastating fire in June 2018. “Romeo + Juliet” is followed by an evening of ballet inspired by the powerful music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the return of the raw and emotional “Human Abstract.” The season also includes the holiday tradition of “The Brown-Forman Nutcracker,” as well as the timeless classic “Cinderella.” In 2019, the Choreographers’ Showcase brings audiences an intimate look at the ballet’s extraordinary dancers in a new setting in collaboration with the Kentucky College of Art + Design.

The romantic theme for this season is a natural choice. “Relationships don’t come perfectly wrapped,” said Curran.  “They can be tough. This ‘Season of Romance’ is a love letter from our company to our community.”

Curran argues that romance in all forms binds people together. “Whether you’re the prince in ‘Cinderella,’ you’re Romeo or Juliet or you’re in a same-sex relationship like ‘Human Abstract,’ romance is key,” said Curran. “It’s tragic, hopeful, progressive, brave – it’s all a part of what makes us human. I look at myself in the mirror. I’m a single guy, far away from home, and my humanity is the same as anyone else’s. I don’t want to be alone forever. We can all relate to those feelings.”

“Romeo + Juliet” is choreographed by Adam Hougland, with a classic musical score by Sergei Prokofiev and performed live by the Louisville Orchestra.

“In a world that is becoming increasingly polarized, I cannot think of a more relevant piece than ‘Romeo + Juliet,’” said Hougland. “Two feuding families whose children end up paying the ultimate price could be a headline from today’s paper.”

Curran works closely with choreographers like Hougland, and he is also stepping into the role, as well, for Mozart. “I want to create innovative dance programs,” said Curran. “I call on my international network to bring their perspective and creative process here to educate me and others and take this community into the global conversation in a way they might not think they should.”

Curran acknowledges that breaking the mold and boldly moving Louisville Ballet toward a more collaborative and experimental model can be uncomfortable for people. “I don’t compromise my standards, I commit to new work and I don’t apologize for how fast I want to go,” he said. “I think some people might be a little put off by that, but it’s not intentional. There’s stuff I need to get done now, and tomorrow I can move on to whatever comes next.”

Part of that effort is by fostering collaborations with other arts organizations and building new audiences. “The traditional ballet companies of the past were so stuck in their lane, they never really realized what was possible in terms of cross-genre collaborations, which is strange, because you go back a century ago and that was what it was all about,” Curran said. “It was mixing visual arts and dance and design and fashion. But, then, we fell into this rut of siloed mediocrity.”

Curran believes strongly in joining forces with others. “We built into our strategic plan that we will collaborate with a major performing arts group every year for one of our main stage productions,” he said. “Our city has so much to offer with its rich arts scene across multiple genres. It’s at the core of how we operate. It’s what Louisville Ballet is all about.

“You can’t do that in every city, especially in the big cities, where getting the institutions to work together is too difficult,” he continued. “I don’t think Louisvillians realize how much they’ve got right here, and how exciting it is to have that vibrancy in the arts. We’ve got to move faster, think globally and we can’t sit back and rest on our manners and how it was always done previously.

“It’s not OK for us to roll out the same productions every year,” he said. “A commitment to new work inspires our company and speaks to a new generation. We can re-contextualize the classics, but we also must tell today’s stories. Once you’ve seen three ‘Sleeping Beauties,’ you’ve seen them all. We need to create the ‘Sleeping Beauties’ of tomorrow.”

On reflection, he said, “I’m lucky, in some senses, that I have had an international career; lucky I got to be a principal dancer with one of the world’s most important companies; and lucky I had support through the educational degrees I have. But it comes with a dark side as well. I’m still coming to terms with retiring from dancing. I started when I was four and retired when I was 35, and it’s almost like a breakup, with a mourning and grieving period for that time in your life.”

But, there is no more time to grieve. Curran is ready to take Louisville Ballet to the next level. “I’m so proud of what this company has achieved over the last four years,” he said. “I have a level of impatience and a hunger for wanting to shake the city and say, ‘Come on, catch up. We can be extraordinary.’ We can do it better than others. I’ve seen the arts scenes in other cities explode and carry them forward. If anyone can do it, we can. Let’s go!” V

Subscription packages to the Louisville Ballet’s 2018-2019 Season of Romance, start at just $63.50 for only two shows, and are available at Louisville Ballet’s website (, box office or by phone at 502.58.DANCE.

Louisville Ballet’s “Season of Romance”

Romeo + Juliet – Sept. 7-8

Mozart – Oct. 12-13

The Brown-Forman Nutcracker – Dec. 8-23

Choreographer’s Showcase – Jan. 31-Feb. 3

Human Abstract – Feb. 28-March 3

Cinderella – April 5-6

The Artful Nature of Home

By Janice Carter Levitch

Photos by Kathryn Harrington

Interior design is intoxicating with its unique power to reflect personality in the elements of place while always keeping architecture within the peripheral vision of the overall plan. To be afforded the luxury of forming and fine-tuning every aspect of a home for those who will inhabit it every day is a designer’s ultimate challenge and happiest responsibility. Therein lies the possibility of realizing the ideal – a home instilled with heart and brought to life in the surroundings.

Christa Rose and Lesa Buckler.

Perched above the Ohio River, panoramic views of downtown Louisville are only the beginning of the experience you encounter upon entering the Waterfront Park Place condominium owned by Gus Goldsmith and Kim Delaney. Lesa Buckler, owner and principal designer of Details Furniture Galleries & Design, along with in-house designer Christa Rose, have manifested the unexpected for the homeowners.

“We connected with Gus and Kim after Homearama 2015 and they were ready to update the residence in their downtown Louisville condo building,” Buckler explained. “The space is the ideal place to show off an art collection.”

The moment you open the door to the condominium, you are drawn in by the luxurious view of the city just beyond the glass walls. The marble floor has a custom-designed fleur de lis mosaic as a nod to the Seal of Louisville. Buckler knew she needed to revamp the interior by utilizing the current palette of color inspired by all of the art.

“The homeowners collect art from around the world, and that was our starting point to begin the design process,” she commented. “The open living space of this floor plan in such a premier building allows you to enjoy a view of Riverfront Park and the new bridge. (Here) you have a feeling of what it’s like to live well in downtown Louisville.”

The existing vibrant colors and mix of artwork inspired Buckler to create a neutral canvas of wall color and fabrics that would elevate the art displayed throughout each room. Adding a neutral palette almost as an emotional balm to connect the homeowners with each piece of art allows a resonance to emerge. The specifics of each selection and choice influences the other. Slowly, as you walk through the open space, you get the sense of color along with a vast mixture of textures and fabrics.

Located in the main living space – above the custom-designed Emerson Bentley sofa sectional positioned for gatherings around the fireplace – is a chandelier by Visual Comfort that illuminates the painting displayed above the fireplace by Leftbank Art. The sofa and chairs are surrounded by lush pillows in Colefax & Fowler and Texture fabric choices. In the far corner of the room, Bernhardt metal chairs gleam with a bounce of light that dances around the room, catching a sparkle here and there from the Murano glass accessories.

The adjacent kitchen has modern appeal, designed with dark brown/black cabinetry that evokes a sleek yet approachable attitude. Buckler covered the Ambella bar stools in a custom sapphire and steel-gray fabric by Texture. Spectacular hanging lights by Crystorama Lighting brighten the island. Just a few steps from the kitchen, is the dining room, which features deep sapphire and azure tones with chairs upholstered in Osborne & Little fabrics that provide stately appeal.

“The homeowners love bold color, so while your eye may land on the cobalt dining chairs, it doesn’t hold you there,” Buckler explained. “You still notice all the other design statements such as the console by Global Views Furniture, zebra hide mirror and the Murano glass horse sculpture. The room takes on a sophisticated attitude with a pop.”

The homeowners have an affinity for all things tropical that remind them of being near the water, and the blue tones are a way of expressing that within their home. An artful buffet/console made with pewter steel footing reflects the light from the Visual Comfort chandelier.

“Replacing all the light fixtures in the residence also infused it with a modern flair,” Rose said. “With every fixture seen throughout this open-concept space, we had to make sure they were cohesive yet spectacular for their individual area. Although, without a doubt, the dining room chandelier is the show stopper.”

The theater room is Goldsmith’s favorite. Massoud Furniture chairs and a sectional in Fabricut fabric and JF Fabrics provide exceptional comfort. Martini tables by World’s Away and sconces by Arteriors set the mood for cinematic enjoyment in this cocooning space that is ideal for moviegoers.

The master bedroom provides serenity with design choices that also reflect the homeowners’ idea of relaxation. Buckler stayed the course with neutral tones that, again, showcase the silhouette of the architectural elements of the room.

“We went with a subdued palette in the master bedroom but not without the same luxurious feeling through layers and layers of fabric and textures,” Buckler recounted.

The luxurious bed is from Christopher Guy in a JF Fabric, which continues the neutral tone on the matching duvet and pillows by Texture. Bernhardt nightstands and mirrors punctuate the John Richard lamps and wall sconces. In the adjacent sitting area, the sofa is upholstered in fabric by Romo and well lit by chandeliers and sconces by Cyan Design.

An oasis is to be found in the master bath with rugs and towels by Abyss & Habidecor. White quartz countertops and white glass tile reflect the light flowing into the room from the large window, which provides plenty of natural light for the vanity area. The black-and-white Stria marble flooring and Brizo RSVP facets are the right touch to create a spa-like setting.

“Throughout the design process, we worked alongside Gus and Kim to ensure the designs were strong and well executed,” Buckler said. “We are into the little details, and inspiration can strike with just a swatch of fabric or a single chandelier.” V

The Shape of Fall

Anitra camel turtleneck sweater, $695; MOTHER Hustler jeans, $238; C&M pinstripe talon blouse, $299. Available at Circe + SWAG: Southern Wear and Goods. Tan wrap belt, $79. Available at Dillard’s. Resin choker necklace,  $14. Available at Sassy Fox.

Photographer: Andrea Hutchinson

Creative Director and Stylist: Miranda McDonald

Hair & Makeup: Joseph’s Salon & Spa

Models: Katie Tarr and Alex Hendrickson

Stylist Assistant: Jessica Malloy

Photo Shoot Assistants: Jessa Mayhew & Emilie Haupt

Wardrobe Management: Hilda Carr

Set Design: Andrea Hutchinson & Miranda McDonald

Props for Shoot Sourced from Architectural Salvage

Carlisle black sweater with ruffle accents, $98; Zara grey sleeveless dress, $38; Arturo Rios vintage headpiece, $22. Available at Stella’s Resale Boutique.

7 For All Mankind jeans, $169; Lauren by Ralph Lauren white puff sleeve top, $80; Vince Camuto side ruched gown, $188. Available at Dillard’s. Jerome Dreyfuss metallic handbag, $655.  Available at Circe + SWAG: Southern Wear and Goods.

Romeo & Juliet Couture silver pleated midi skirt, $28; Gap sleeveless turtleneck sweater, $22; bow stud earrings, $12. Available at Stella’s Resale Boutique. Diane von Furstenberg ivory cuffed blouse, $240. Available at Circe + SWAG: Southern Wear and Goods.

H Halston red print dress, $45; Eileen Fisher grey sweater, $248; Eileen Fisher grey knit leggings, $198; black wrap belt, $79. Available at Dillard’s.

Antonio Melani Eva navy jumpsuit, $149; Antonio Melani Ava white blouse, $109; Robert Lee Morris metal flower earrings, $45. Available at Dillard’s.

Antonio Melani periwinkle dress, $159;  Antonio Melani pale blue Brian blouse, $109; Antonio Melani Gaza navy striped pants, $119; Robert Lee Morris blue stone ring, $48. Available at Dillard’s.

Jane Post black-and-white grid raincoat, $595; Milly black one-shoulder dress, $375; Vintage Chanel mini red quilted flap bag, $2,950. Available at Rodes For Him For Her.

Chiara Boni La Petite trumpet sleeve tunic, $395; Jane Post red patent leather raincoat, $375; Christine A. Moore Millinery Chris Parker hat, $132. Available at Rodes For Him For Her.

Polka dot tie neck blouse, $335; black lapel dress, $635. Available at Rodes For Him For Her. Kate Spade brown square satchel with black bow, $128. Available at Stella’s Resale Boutique.

Patriot blue tulip skirt, $48; black sweater, $18; cream blouse, $18; Kate Spade black wallet bag, $28. Available at Sassy Fox Upscale Consignment. Black patterned scarf, $14. Available at Stella’s Resale Boutique.

Sea white bow blouse, $125; Diane von Furstenberg high-waist draped maxi skirt, $225; A.L.C. Diller black skirt, $475. Available at Circe + SWAG: Southern Wear and Goods. Bow stud earrings, $12. Available at Stella’s Resale Boutique.

Cream dress, $23; white button down, $16; Kate Spade black coat, $92. Available at Sassy Fox Upscale Consignment. 7 For All Mankind jeans, $169. Available at Dillard’s. Black vintage hat with bow netting, $22. Available at Stella’s Resale Boutique.

Letter from the Editor

In 2019, The Voice will celebrate its 70th anniversary thanks to your support and our advertising partners.

As the times have evolved, so have we. Yet, our team remains committed to covering the best of our community and continually refining how we accomplish this heartfelt mission.

We hope you enjoy this issue, which features dream cars in the Derby City, the Louisville Ballet’s new director Robert Curran, an inspiring story from Wiltshire Pantry’s Susan Hershberg, fabulous fashion – some of which was shot by renowned photographer Clay Cook – a special story about Antonio Pantoja, a Louisville gem whose work is putting us on the map, and I experienced a “vampire facial” at Corbett Cosmetic.

I could go on, but I’d prefer to keep it short and dedicate as much space as possible to showing you the people behind the scenes who feel like I do: This is your Voice.


Photos by Jessa Mayhew.


Photo by Antonio Pantoja.



Photos by Clay Cook Photography.

Drivers, Start Your Engines

Jason Schmidt.

By Steve Kaufman

Photos by Andrea Hutchinson

Slide behind the wheel of a Lamborghini Huracán or a Rolls-Royce Phantom. Derby City Dream Cars provides the rental. You provide the fun.

Founder Anthony Miller and Jason Schmidt, whose title is co-founder, understand the allure of fine automobiles.

“As a kid, I remember my nose pressed up against the window of our minivan as the expensive cars drove by,” said Schmidt.

“I could identify all the luxury cars at night, just by their tail lights,” said Miller.

Both went on to other careers, but Miller had a dream: “Why not make the most luxurious automobiles available on a short-term rental basis to people who were interested?”

Easier said than done, however. Miller thought it was a great idea, but the banks, lending institutions, investment groups and insurers? Not so much.  “They thought the liability far outweighed any benefits,” he said. Liability for the millions of dollars in depreciating inventory. Liability for the health and welfare of putting these sophisticated cars into the hands of inexperienced drivers.  Liability for anyone driving or standing in their way.

“Besides,” he said, “they all wondered whether there was really a profitable market in Louisville for this kind of venture.” Miller was confident there was. “It’s an image thing,” he said. “To drive a Ferrari down Bardstown Road can be a big thing. Everyone waves, takes pictures and videos. Any exotic, flashy car – Lamborghini, Ferrari, Maserati – is going to get eyes.”

He finally appealed to a group of investors to get the half-million-to-a-million-dollar seed money he needed.

Schmidt had already been providing cars to Louisville for a few years as co-owner of CFI Auto Leasing & Sales out of the physical locations at Hikes Lane Auto Sales and Sellersburg Auto Sales.

The Dream Chasers

In April, the gears meshed and the two entrepreneurs took the auto leasing game to a whole new stratosphere when they started Derby City Dream Cars. You can get a Toyota Camry or Nissan Maxima pretty much anywhere. But where else can you get the keys to a Ferrari 458, for the day, the weekend, the week – or even longer?

“Our business model is based on the simple premise of tapping into people’s expensive desires,” Schmidt explained. “Everybody has the urge for something luxurious, whether a Louis Vuitton handbag or an Armani suit. They didn’t need to spend $2,000-3,000 on a handbag, but they wanted it. The same for a luxury car, only ten-fold.

“Certainly not everybody wants to spend $360,000 for a Lamborghini, whether he or she can afford it or not,” he continued. “But that same person would probably not mind driving one of these cars for a little bit and simply paying for the use of it. We’ve tried to make it very simple. Just drop in, sign a couple of pieces of paper, provide us with what we need, take the keys and you’re gone.”

Spring Fever

The business started at the end of winter with an initial trickle of customers. “But once the cold snapped and the sun broke,” said Schmidt, “we’ve been booked out almost 100 percent.”

Especially during Derby, one would think. Surprisingly not, he said.  “That was our thought, to open in time for Derby, when all the high-rollers were in town. But actually on Derby weekend, people are out late and doing a lot of drinking in large groups, and they’re really more interested in some kind of chauffeur service. They don’t want to be bothered driving around town, back and forth to parties, restaurants, Churchill Downs, and then to wherever they’re staying.

“We thought we’d crush it, and we didn’t. But the Monday after Derby, we started renting cars like crazy and, by the following week, we were almost completely sold out.”

The Cars are There

“Sold out” is not always what merchants want to be. Not these merchants, certainly. Schmidt likes to keep six or eight cars on the lot at any one time. But they’re also associated with a twin business – Music City Dream Cars in Nashville – so they bounce cars back and forth. Miller and Schmidt have bought cars to add to their fleet, and they also have a profit-sharing membership arrangement with a local group of like-minded luxury car owners who trust Derby City with their dream cars.

“Their travel schedules are so hectic, and they’re out of town a lot,” Schmidt said. “It can be expensive to simply park a bunch of expensive cars for a week at a time. So they let us use their cars, and we pay them for the mileage we use.”

The idea is to keep cream-of-the-crop sedans and sports cars. That’s how credibility is built. “So right now, we have Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Bentleys,” Schmidt said, “a varied selection of styles, colors and sizes, appealing to everybody’s tastes. Enjoy them for what they are – they are a novelty. Fun to drive, fun to be around.”

Jason Schmidt with fiancée Madison Ewing.

The Six-Figure Price Tags

Two of Miller’s favorite cars in inventory are a couple of four-door sedans. One is the Rolls-Royce Phantom, which he calls “the mother ship of vehicles,” and some have pronounced “the most luxurious car ever.”

“The Queen of England is driven around in one of these cars,” said Miller.

The other is the 523-horsepower, 193-mile-per-hour Maserati Quattroporte GTS with a twin-turbo Ferrari engine, a matchup of Italian automobile design and engineering excellence. “It’s the original race-bred luxury sedan,” according to Miller.

“Both cars are well into six figures,” he said. “The Phantom can exceed $400,000. It’s the most expensive sedan you can buy, which makes it ideal for a more-affordable short-term rental.”

Schmidt said the Lamborghini Huracán, without question, has been their most popular car to rent. “It’s so flamboyant, it’s cartoonish,” he said. “Wherever you go, people are staring.”

Everybody has the urge for something luxurious.” — Jason Schmidt

But, like most of their cars, the Huracán starts at $200,000 and zooms higher from there. Is it risky to have so much expensive inventory out on loan? No question.  A lot can happen to a $300,000 car over a weekend. Besides, as Schmidt said, these cars are not all easy to manage, especially at high speeds, if you have no experience driving them. So they’ve built in some rigorous up-front demands.

“For one thing, all drivers must be 25 or older,” Schmidt said. “We also require 50 percent of the total cost up front, a security deposit of anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500 and comprehensive insurance coverage.”

“That security deposit goes up to $10,000 if a customer can’t prove any employment,” Miller added. “We’re letting individuals drive a car that costs more than most homes.”

The High Cost of Insurance

Since most people don’t have adequate auto insurance to cover a Lamborghini or Maserati, the company also offers its own umbrella coverage. “That’s where your cost is,” said Miller. “Your overhead is not the upkeep of these vehicles – it’s the liability insurance.”

When the cars are out on the road, Schmidt tracks them with GPS. “We always know when the car has been turned on, where it is and how fast it’s being driven.” He said they’re also going to start adding dash cameras.

“If I get an alert on my phone in the middle of the night that somebody’s speeding, I’ll text them on the spot: ‘Slow down or I’ll come get you!’ We also have behavior clauses that give us the right to shut that car down and keep their money.”

So meticulous is the care and handling of these cars that there is a strict “No Smoking-No Eating-No Drinking-No Pets” policy. Renters are also asked to use no perfumes, colognes or body sprays in the cars.

“If there is evidence of any of that,” Schmidt said, “they could be subject to a $500 cleaning fee.”

Not everyone is prepared for just how much car they’re working with, so Schmidt trains all renters beforehand, especially on the Formula One transmissions, “so we know people are ready and well-informed before they get out on the road.”

Rates can climb to $1,500 a day, based on the cost of the car, plus upwards of $10 a mile. “I’ve calculated out depreciation, maintenance and deduced down to a cost-per-mile on each car,” Schmidt said.

If it sounds like it can cost a lot, it can, but it’s still considerably less expensive than owning and maintaining one of these cars. As Miller said, “A brake job on a car like these can run $11,000.”

One popular iteration on the basic idea has been renting it out to companies for their private events and special days. “Generally, corporations will be able to go out and find their own insurance,” he said.

Planes, Boats and Automobiles

Next up is renting planes and boats. Schmidt has his own 44-foot river boat that might be the flagship of the fleet. And there’s a Cessna Citation II listed on the web site. “We had some interest from a guy who wanted to fly it to South America for some medical treatment, but the range on that plane for international travel is not sufficient. We’d have needed a larger aircraft.”

The Cessna has a range of 1,100 miles, which would have meant a lot of stops on the way – “Every time you stop and refuel, especially in a different company, it creates a lot of logistical hurdles. And we want everything to be super easy, in and out. That’s why you fly private.”

It’s also expensive. Renting a private plane would cost almost $4,000 an hour, plus expenses. That would include a pilot, even if the renter is licensed. “So we have to get it right.”

The history (thus far) of this endeavor suggests they’ll get it right.

As Schmidt said, “We’re looking to dive into all aspects of exotic transportation for people who are willing to pay for those things.” V

Riders Up! for the Breeders’ Cup

6 November 2010: Blame, ridden by Garrett Gomez and trained by Albert M. Stall Jr., narrowly hangs on to defeat Zenyatta, ridden by Mike Smith and trained by John A. Shirreffs, for the win in the Breeders Cup Classic at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY. (Scott Serio/Eclipse Sportswire)

By Bill Doolittle

The Breeders’ Cup is one of those things that has worked out almost exactly as envisioned – a season-ending set of championship races with plenty of racing action and a touch of class.

As the show returns to Churchill Downs for the ninth time in 34 runnings, the Breeders’ Cup remains a dressed-up day – actually, two days – at the races with the stars of the sport flashing to fame and fortune.

All that was expected and hoped for, though there is one trend that wasn’t expected that could be an easy handicapping hint if you’re headed to the track Nov. 2 and 3. And we’ll come to that in a minute.

The Breeders’ Cup began in 1984 as a one-day affair of seven races but has grown to 14 races over two days. This year’s modification – a pretty darn good one – is to turn the five races on Friday into a showcase built just for 2-year-old horses. A day for the young debs and dashing beaus to strut their stuff before an audience that’s always interested in young horses. It is the Breeders’ Cup, after all. Here in Kentucky, we’re all about improving the breed – and did I mention we have some nice ones for sale?

For racing fans, it’s always the chance to glimpse the future stars of the sport.

That’s on Nov. 2.

Then, on Saturday the older horses take the track for some real rock ’n‘ roll. Such is the acceptance of the Breeders’ Cup, that the best horses are particularly pointed for these races, with the winners very often receiving Eclipse Awards as the best performers of their sex and age for that year.

Plus, that bit of élan, the touch of class.

Tweed jackets and fall fashions. A table in the Clubhouse. Nights out in Louisville restaurants. Mornings at the backside barns as the big horses and their people arrive at famous Churchill Downs. The bourbon flows, hotels fill up and sharp “handicappers” pore over morning workout reports and exotic “figs” to conquer the betting fiesta that comes with offering exactas, trifectas, superfectas, pick threes, fours, fives, sixes – plus good old-fashioned win wagers that often roll through the windows in five-figure increments. Full fields of top horses in nearly every race get the arithmetic cooking and the tote board smoking.

Plus the horses themselves, which include the stable stars of both coasts – New York and California, East vs. West. But also the often-overlooked hard hitters of the midlands of the U.S. and Canada, that every once in a while take down the tony Ivy Leaguers and surfside superstars.

Then out at the airport, plane loads of stars swoop in from Ireland, Britain and France. High-bred Thoroughbreds with manes and tails trimmed straight across like brunette bangs.

It’s a really good show.

Back in the original Breeders’ Cup days in the 1980s, the races were simply open to all those nominated and entered. When there was an overflow, they had a committee of experts to narrow the fields to a manageable size. And still do. But today there are an increasing number of “win-and-you’re-in” races leading up to the Breeders’ Cup. They’ve got them at Churchill and at tracks like Santa Anita and Saratoga. There are a bunch scheduled at Keeneland on the first weekend in October, plus overseas. New this year is a win-and-in race in Brazil and one in Argentina. It’s similar to college basketball teams playing to get into the NCAA. Or the way 3-year-old colts earn points in Derby Preps to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. The extra benefit for racing is it extends the Breeders’ Cup excitement back into the season.

The Breeders’ Cup is not like the Kentucky Derby, which enjoys a fan base far beyond horse racing. The Derby is one-of-a-kind: one horse, on one day, hoping for one shot at history.

The Breeders’ Cup is about ALL horses of all ages. At sprint distances and going longer. Races on dirt and grassy turf. It’s got races reserved for two-year-olds. Fillies have their own races. 

Mike Smith during the Rood & Riddle 2017 Breeders’ Cup Post Position Draw at Barn at the Beach at Powerhouse Park on Oct. 30, 2017, in Del Mar, California. Photo by Scott Serio/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup.

Something, in other words, for everybody, capped with a grand Breeders’ Cup Classic that carries a purse of $6 million, run at one-and-one-quarter miles.

A handy distance under the Twin Spires.

On the Road Again

There’s a well-practiced feel now to the Breeders’ Cup.

Since the first one at Hollywood Park in 1984, the Cup has made stops at a slew of revered tracks, with names like Woodbine, Arlington, Monmouth, Hollywood, Belmont, Gulfstream, Del Mar, Keeneland, Santa Anita and Churchill Downs. But currently, the series seems to be settling into to a nucleus rotation of the two top tracks in California – Santa Anita and Del Mar – and the top two in Kentucky – Keeneland and Churchill. Places where the crowds are big, the enthusiasm is solid and the weather is – well, it’s usually pretty good. (Though this scribe believes the weather would be better in the middle of October than the first week in November.)

But there are reasons (read that territorial turf and college football) that the championships must wait for November. That’s no problem here. November is a traditional Fall Meet racing month in Louisville, and Churchill Downs is all set up for it.

And you know those Euro steeds, they like a little cut in the air as they prefer a little cut in the turf – and they get both in Kentucky.

The Breeders’ Cup founders would certainly like to see more press coverage, more television and the event sparking a growing base of day-to-day fans at all tracks. But the Breeders’ Cup itself is a resounding success. A crowd of 70,000-plus can be expected for this year’s edition at the Downs. The turnstiles still spin for the sport’s top events and best venues, and the Breeders’ Cup’s biggest fans are racing’s most ardent followers.

The race to the race

But, as noted, there is a surprise.

And it’s not about horses. Or tracks.

It’s the jockeys.

The one outlier of outcomes is that a handful of jockeys win most of the Breeders’ Cup races. An elite handful. Sometimes just a couple of jocks divvying up the millions.

DUBLIN, IRELAND – SEPTEMBER 10: Alice Springs #3, ridden by Ryan Moore and trained by A P O’Brien, wins The Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes on Champion Stakes Day at Leopardstown Race Course on September 10, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Aindreas Lynch/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images)

It’s a surprise, considering that the influx of so many top horses requires an influx of top riders. And that’s happened. You look down the program and the jock’s column is a virtual list of the top riders in North America. But it seems just a handful of those win a majority of the races.

The opinion here is there is tremendous competition among trainers to sign the tip-top riders to guide their cream-of-the-crop horses in the Breeders’ Cup. And the elite handful have the most choices. That’s true in everyday racing, but super-so in the Breeders’ Cup. The best riders are on the best horses. And that might not be apparent in the odds.

Back in the 1990s, two jockeys, Jerry Bailey and Pat Day, dominated the Breeders’ Cup jockeys standings, ranking 1-2 in Breeders’ Cup races won and 2-1 in cash earned by their mounts. Bailey and Day rode far out in front of everyone else. Even years after that pair retired in the early 2000s, they remain third and fourth in all-time standings in money earned. Day is still tied for second in wins with current rider John Velazquez at 15 each.

But there’s a new sheriff in town. Today, Mike Smith is a clear No. 1. He’s won 26 Breeders’ Cup races and $35 million in earnings for the owners of the horses he’s ridden. Velazquez is now slightly ahead of Day in earnings at $23 million.

Beyond Velazquez, a number of jockeys in the standings are retired, or nearing retirement, as the 53-year-old Smith must be. Though it certainly doesn’t seem that way. There is another short list of jockeys vying to become the new go-to Breeders’ Cup riding elite.

To this writer, it looks like six are in stride. Those include Smith and Velazquez (who is 46), Javier Castellano (40), Joel Rosario (33), Irad Ortiz Jr. (26) and Jose Ortiz (24). The Ortiz Brothers both ride in New York but have gotten the attention of racing people everywhere. Trainer Bill Mott says there’s a reason: “They show up on the big days.”

Covering our bases, we could note young California prospects Flavien Prat and Drayden Van Dyke, both 26. Prat was born in France, Van Dyke in Louisville. Maybe those two more for next year when the Breeders’ Cup is run at Santa Anita.

The top European rider in the Breeders’ Cup is Ryan Moore (34), who rides “first call” for Coolmore and trainer Aidan O’Brien, who annually send over the most European contenders for the Breeders’ Cup.

Moore is a definite for the list, which gives us seven jockeys.

We’ll see if that’s the new right list. The list you can take to the betting window at Churchill Downs.

What’s interesting is the elite riders’ story may offer an inside look at the sport of the Breeders’ Cup.

It starts by working backwards. That’s what the trainers of the top prospects do. They circle Nov. 2 and 3 on the calendar, then work the schedule backward. Maybe planning a race for a month out in late September or early October and a race maybe three weeks before that. Owners will wish to see the horses run at Saratoga or Del Mar. Before that, the trainers might pencil in a month off in June to rest up for a fall campaign. That’s after a spring campaign to begin the calendar. The trainers are thinking about distance and competition and maybe zeroing in on one of the win-and-you’re-in races. Along the way, they’re blending in workouts to build stamina or hone speed. All that is plotted backwards from the date of the Breeders’ Cup.

The jocks and their agents, however, are looking forward. They’re dotting around, riding prospects and entertaining requests to commit for the Breeders’ Cup.

No. 1 Mike Smith

And so, here’s Mike Smith with 26 Breeders’ Cup wins. On the lookout for more.

“We want to ride high quality horses, and help prime them for their big races,” says Smith. “A lot of times you have conflicts of one horse or another (for longtime clients), and one date or another, and we (he and agent Brad Pegram) have to be good at making it work and keeping everybody happy.”

Eventually, Smith makes his choices, and concentrates on preparation for the Breeders’ Cup.

“I can’t wait,” says Smith, whose first Breeders’ Cup winner was Lure in 1992 for Claiborne Farm and trainer Shug McGaughey. “I get pumped up for these kind of races. When you get to prepare for the Breeders’ Cup, that’s what it’s all about. But you’ve got to handle all that energy. If you can slow things down and focus, great things happen. But in saying that, you have to be on the right kind of horse.”

But not necessarily practice with the horse. Top riders often win big races the first time they get boots in the stirrups.

“Sometimes the first time you ride a horse is the best time,” Smith says. “You know you just get along with them and don’t worry about any of it.”

Of more concern is the competition – the rival riders.

“I’ve got to handicap the rider as much as I do the horse,” Smith says. “I know who’s in there and who’s tough when the money is down. And in a lot of cases, they’re coming well mounted.

“You keep your eye on them, you know.”

A Wild Day

And speaking of first time in the stirrups, we go back to Pat Day and Jerry Bailey to see how they did it.

Day won the very first Breeders’ Cup Classic in 1984 on Wild Again, a 31-1 shot that he had not been riding.

That first Breeders’ Cup was run on a warm, sunshiny day at Hollywood Park, with the final quarter mile of the Classic full of back-and-forth, close-quarters action.

The Daily Racing Form chart caller noted that Wild Again was “rated” on the pace for six furlongs, then “resisted gamely when challenged by Slew O’ Gold around the final turn, brushed repeatedly with that one through the final quarter mile, was severely bumped near the finish but held the advantage.” Meanwhile, Gate Dancer, ridden by Laffit Pincay, came from behind, but “lugged in” on favored Slew O’ Gold, ridden by Angel Cordero, causing Slew to bump Wild Again. Gate Dancer finished second, but was placed third by the stewards for interference behind Wild Again and Slew O’ Gold.

This scribe was down on the rail near the finish, but I couldn’t tell which of the three had won, especially with the banging around that left them separated at the wire. I remember the jocks riding all hell-bent for leather, the horses flying. Day was a little harder for me to see on the rail across the track on Wild Again. He was a horse I hadn’t considered and expected him to get caught. The big noise was Gate Dancer thundering from behind. You could hear his hooves. I remember being shocked that Wild Again was hanging around to finish with the well-regarded favorites. Why was this unknown horse still alive after a rough mile-and-a-quarter?

Pincay and Cordero were already famous. Now, Day was getting his name called.

There was a photo, then an inquiry, then the numbers went up: Wild Again, $64.60.

LOUISVILLE, KY – MAY 04: Jockey Mike Smith says a prayer before joining other jockeys in honoring cancer survivors during the Survivor’s Parade on Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs on May 4, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky. Jockey’s join as a show of support for Corey Lanerie’s wife, Shantel. Several jockey’s wore “Fight with Shantel” bands around their boots. (Photo by Scott Serio/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images)


Of course, that was just peanuts compared with Bailey nine years later in the ’83 Classic at Santa Anita. The horse was Arcangues – a French horse that you, me and everybody else had never heard of. I think he was kind of an unknown even in France.

Bailey tells the story that he didn’t have a mount in the Classic, but prominent French trainer Andre Fabre was bringing over some grass horses for the turf races with this Arcangues – pronounced Ar-KONG, if you can believe that – entered to run in the $2 million classic. Apparently Fabre had no rider for Arcangues and simply wrote in Bailey’s name when he entered the horse.

Which was all right with Bailey. But come race day, he still hadn’t talked with Fabre about the horse.

“When I came into the paddock for the saddling, Andre (Fabre) wasn’t there,” said Bailey. “The ‘lad’ had the horse saddled, but he only spoke French, so I was waiting for some instructions and didn’t even have any hints.”

Finally, it’s time for “riders up,” and the French lad gives Bailey a leg up into the saddle aboard Arcangues, and off they go for the $2 million race.

“All of a sudden I hear, ‘Jer-ree,’ and it’s Andre waving at me from the crowd along the way to the track. He’s saying, ‘Good luck, Jer-ree,’”

Bailey allowed Arcangues to coast along near the rear in a field 13. Coming off the backstretch, Bailey got Arcangues rolling and steered him to the inside to pass horses around the turn for home, splitting more horses into the stretch and finally running right by 6-5 race favorite Bertrando to win going away – at 133-1.

That’s right, 133-1. The payoff on a $2 win ticket was $269.20.

What does it all prove?

Well, who knows?

But maybe this Breeders’ Cup we’ll have more of an eye out for the riders. Could use a little of that 133-1, myself. V

Through a Lens, Brightly

By Laura Ross

Photos by Antonio Pantoja

Antonio Pantoja has a shy grin at first that quickly explodes into a Barnum & Bailey, take-no-prisoners, all-in, brilliant smile. “I don’t think my story is that important, but some people can get things out of it. Others have it a lot worse than me,” he said.

But, what a story it is.

“I’m a Peruvian-Italian horror filmmaker and conceptual fine
art photographer.”

It’s hard to sum up Pantoja, a complicated, creative force who is a photographer, videographer, filmmaker and budding artistic genius.

Today, he sits in the uber-stylish office of a colleague and humbly, yet excitedly, tells the tangled story of his life thus far. It hasn’t been an easy ride for this 34-year-old, who has a backstory out of a Hollywood playbook. He’s lived a lot of life and has much more to tackle.

Dozens of professional awards herald his current work as a filmmaker and photographer. His cinematic wedding videos are coveted by brides across the country. His avant-garde fashion photography is stunning, provocative and in high demand on both coasts. His music videos set the soundtrack for a generation. His passion for horror films would chill even Steven King and bring a nod of approval from Linda Blair of “The Exorcist.”

“The Cylinder and the Cellar” by Antonio Pantoja. Hair and makeup by Raina Trimble. Model: Bethany Hood.

The young Antonio, beset by a broken family riddled with addiction and poverty, never dreamed any of that would be possible. His mother suffered from addiction and mental illness, and his father, a Peruvian immigrant, was a laborer who was rarely home. 

“I was out of the house and homeless by the time I was 14 years old,” Pantoja explained. “I lived in a car, which was crazy. I didn’t go to school; I just worked from that point on. I was driving by age 14 illegally, and I was couch surfing with friends’ families just to sleep somewhere.”

He had nowhere to go. With only an eighth grade education, he sought out odd jobs. “I was 15 and sleeping in my car,” he said. “One night, it was dripping rain on me and eventually the rain stopped, and I thought, ‘Man, this is awful.’ I heard kids behind me, and they were all dressed up beautifully, probably headed to a party, and I thought, ‘God bless, how different our lives were. They’re partying, and I’ll wake up tomorrow and wonder, will I eat today?’ That was such a big division and I knew how different my path was.”

He never veered into the “street life,” but instead, sought out mentors who were older. “They probably felt bad for me. They gave me a lot of good advice that I keep close today – most importantly, always be nice,” he said. “That’s fundamental to who I am today. I was the guy with no place to go, and I saw things people should never see. That was my reality. I would go to a friend’s house and think, ‘This is crazy, is this how families operate?’”

He worked at random places so he could eat and survive. “I met all kinds of people and that helped fuel my creativity,” he said. 

“You are the ocean and I am drowning” by Antonio Pantoja. Styling and setup by Heather Rous Weeks. Makeup by Nicole Mclinnahan. Model: Katherine Lewellyn.

“My photos and videos today draw inspiration from those life experiences.”

As his teen years faded, he continued to work hard. He joined the military and served in the Army National Guard. As he entered his early 20s, life evolved rapidly for Antonio Pantoja.

A chance meeting in a restaurant set his destiny in motion. “I was working in a restaurant playing music, and I saw this server. I said she was the most beautiful person I’d ever seen, and if she’d just give me a chance, I’d marry her in a heartbeat,” he laughed. “I lied and told her I was in a band that played all the time. I was horrible, the worst bass player of all time. I had no business playing music, but I liked it, and amazingly, she gave me a chance. I got the craziest opportunity ever with her.”

That server, named Jordan, became his wife in 2010. In time, his daughters Mia, 10, and Echo, 4, were born. “I’d have a million of them if I could,” Pantoja said. “I love parenthood; it’s all I live for. I want to be there for everything and I want to support them 100 percent.”

He also landed his first “real” job as a sales trainer at Sprint during this time. He borrowed a suit for the interview and scooped up the entry-level job with gusto. “I thought, ‘Holy crap, I’d clean the trash out of this building if I could.’ I’d never had an opportunity like that. I got the job and I’d stay after hours and I worked nights, weekends and holidays,” he said.

Antonio with mentor Lloyd Kaufman of Troma films. Photos by Steve Squall.

He also met his boss and now mentor and friend, Lee Kiper. “I have watched Antonio grow personally and professionally for nearly a decade and to be honest, it has been one of the greatest honors of my life,” said Kiper, general manager of Sprint Business. “His stamina for work is unrivaled. His positive outlook is something I admire. No matter the size of the challenge he must overcome, he walks through it with an equal amount of confidence and humility. That is extremely hard to find in talented people.”

His hard work paid off when Pantoja was promoted to sales manager and given a team of 15 employees. “I looked at it as I was helping people like myself find work,” he said. “If I could help another person get a paycheck, I’d work as hard and as long as I could to make that happen.”

Life was working out for Pantoja, but he wanted more.

“Losing teaches you so much more than winning.”

Simultaneously, Pantoja faced older demons. He had recently reconciled with his father, who passed away eight days before Pantoja’s wedding. “I was devastated when my dad passed,” Pantoja said. “I realized I only had a few seconds of video of him, and through video, you become immortal. I’ve watched that video a million times. Your story will always go on. If you capture that moment, that image stays long after they are gone.”

He also realized that he desperately wanted images of his infant daughter, Mia. “I thought my wife was going to kill me, but I dropped $600 for my first camera,” he said. “I learned how to use it and begged people to let me shoot them.”

With this, he found his calling. He began shooting weddings and branched into video work. He convinced his wife Jordan to leave her accounting profession and join him in photography. 

“Clavos” by Antonio Pantoja. Makeup/SFX/Hand by Matt Goodlett. Hair by Rian Miller. Model: Amanda Terry.

Together, they worked as a team, with Jordan shooting photos and Pantoja videoing weddings. They caught the eye of wedding planner Lauren Chitwood just as her high-end wedding and event business was taking flight, and he partnered with Chitwood, shooting many of her events nationwide.

He then landed a job as creative director at WDRB-TV. “I sent in a reel of my video work, got connected with people in the industry and it just took off,” he said. “Then, I started shooting weddings and music videos and commercials, and I did fashion and fine art photography on the side. Everything is through connection, and Louisville is the perfect place for that.”

But, the excitement came with a price. “Two years into it, I had to make a decision,” said Pantoja. “My daughter drew a picture and it had my wife, my other daughter, the cat and the dog. But, not me. I was working so much. I said ‘Where’s your daddy?’ She said, ‘Daddy, you’re always at work.’ I thought, ‘Oh man, I’ve lost my baby.’ So, I quit my job (at the TV station).”

It was a risk he knew he had to take. “I’ll choose my daughters every time,” he said. “I didn’t want my girls growing up without a family like I had done. Now, I do my own thing on my own schedule. I take work as it comes and spend as much time as possible with my family.”

And the work comes. As Pantoja’s reputation grows, he has quickly accumulated countless clients and dozens of photography and video awards. He works coast-to-coast and is highly respected in the visual arts community.

Posters by Nathan Thomas Milliner, illustrator for “Halloween II,” “Halloween III,” “Dawn of the Dead” and other horror films.

“Antonio’s constantly striving for perfection is what truly makes him tick,” said Kiper. “He feels like an underdog the majority of the time, which keeps him hungry, but helping others achieve and grow gives him sustenance.”

“The awards put you in an awkward position,” said Pantoja. “You want to put it out there professionally because that’s what people expect. I lose more than I win, but losing teaches you so much more about yourself than winning.”

“One Must Fall”

“At some level, I was always creative,” said Pantoja. “I’ve always loved movies. It was the one thing we did together as a family when I was little. My dad would get my brothers and me on the couch, and we’d watch horror movies. It’s funny, but that’s the only family unity I remember.”

A part of Pantoja always nurtured the dream to write and produce a horror film, perhaps as a throwback to those memories. His wife encouraged him, and with prodding, Pantoja went after that dream one year ago. “She took the kids to Florida and I locked myself inside and wrote the script in a week,” he laughed. “Then, I spent months cleaning it up.”

He pulled from old memories to plot the film, titled, “One Must Fall.”

“I was alone all the time as a kid,” he said. “I decided I wanted to be a priest, so I read the Bible and I came across (the Book of) Revelation and it scared me to death. I changed my mind about becoming a priest then! Revelation is scary, but by the same token, I fell in love with the horror aspect of it and now, later, I’ve even based one of my film characters on it. I think the passages can be interpreted as scaring you into doing the right thing. It all comes from somewhere – very dark places with redeeming stories. Inspiration is weird.”

Pantoja picked the horror genre from a strategic perspective: It typically doesn’t rely on an “A-list” actor and most audiences watch horror based on the concept. “One Must Fall” is set in the 1980s and follows the story of a woman who experiences sexual harassment at work and is wrongly fired. She teams up with a friend and together, they create a crime scene cleanup business. A serial killer is on the loose, and the team finds themselves locked in a warehouse with the killer while they are cleaning up a recent crime scene.

The film was shot entirely in Louisville, mostly in a warehouse in Portland. But, even with local ties, Pantoja used his industry connections to build national support and participation in the film. Special effects artists, directors and film professionals who’ve worked on blockbusters like “Rocky” were part of the production team. Pantoja traveled the country, painstakingly picking up vintage 1980s accessories to ensure authenticity in the film.

Antonio and Jordan with daughters Mia and Echo.

He created a business plan, started a crowdfunding campaign and approached mentors and industry professionals for support. It all worked.

Louisville-based entrepreneur and film producer Gill Holland took note. “I stumbled across his work and his visual flair struck me immediately,” said Holland. “I basically became a fan and thought, ‘Wow, I really need to figure out a way to meet this creative genius.’ As soon as I found out he was working on a film, I told him I would do anything I can to help him make it have the best possible outcome in the film industry.”

As Pantoja puts the finishing edits on the film, Holland is helping line up the film’s journey on the festival circuit. If all goes according to plan, “One Must Fall” will hit screens by the end of the year.

“Everything good in my life has come to me because I was nice to someone else.”

Sometimes, all this success scares Pantoja. “I wake up with nightmares that I’ll lose everything,” he said. “I’ve been at that point, but then I realize this is my reality now. I’m lucky. The success is terrifying (because) I don’t want to let anyone down.”

In those quiet, dark times, Pantoja knows life could be much different. “What stopped me from becoming another negative statistic was love for people and what I’m doing,” he said.  “If I was lucky enough to get this opportunity, maybe there is someone else out there who needs the same kind of opportunity. Maybe I can help them.”

“I see Antonio achieving whatever he desires,” said Kiper. “He has overcome so many things in his life where most people would have folded. He smiles through the tough times and always moves forward with optimism and positivity. He is one of the best human beings I know, and I cannot wait for the world to know the Antonio I do.”

“Antonio is one of the hardest working folks I know,” added Holland. “He is a key part of the amazing creative fabric of Louisville. Like the directors Richard Linklater and Robert Rodriguez are to Austin, or John Waters is to Baltimore, I predict that Antonio can have that same kind of success for Louisville.”

How does Pantoja define passion? “It’s doing something you love unconditionally,” he said quietly. “I didn’t realize that growing up. I met my wife and learned what unconditional love is. If you can find passion, whatever it is, you must go full force on it. You’ll cry. You’ll want to give up on it most of the time, but if you find it, it will give you life if you let it.”

He stared off into space for a moment and then said, “It’s all about the path you take. Just because you’re dealt that hand, it doesn’t have to be your destiny. Every decision you make could be one that changes your life forever. Don’t ever give up on what gives you life.” V

Behind the scenes of “One Must Fall,” which was filmed in Louisville.
Photos by Steve Squall.

Mr. Owen’s Neighborhood

Local historian and retired politician Tom Owen talks community and identity

By Rick Redding

Photos by Andrea Hutchinson

As Louisville’s unofficial historian, Tom Owen makes it his business to know the city’s neighborhoods. In fact, he’s so confident in his inventory of knowledge that he plays a game during some of his talks. Participants get cards with the name of a neighborhood printed on them. Owen has them turn over the cards, and he offers a little-known fact about the place.

“Every neighborhood has its story,” he said. “It’s like picking up a rock, and there’s going to be a story under every rock. Do I prepare for that? You’re at the end of a gangplank and you’ve gotta jump. That’s fun, that’s invigorating, that’s exciting for me.”

Three years ago, Owen decided to end his career in politics after serving in local government for 23 years, including 2002-2016 as a member of the Louisville Metro Council. Meanwhile, he’s in year 43 as an archivist at the University of Louisville. He estimates he gives several dozen walking and bus tours annually in various neighborhoods.

“It was the right decision,” he says of the 2015 choice not to run for re-election, though he likely would have easily won another term in District 8, which covers the Highlands. “There’s been a little decline in energy level. I’m drinking a lot less Maalox now. It was an increasingly frustrating job. I thought I had pulled as many rabbits out of a hat as I was going to be able to pull. I thought it was better to go out while you’re still decent at your game rather than being driven out with pitchforks and sticks. All of those dynamics played into it.”

Nearing his 79th birthday, Owen does not own a car. He arrived at our interview in Cardinal Towne on his bicycle, which he rode from his Tyler Park home, something he does on a regular basis. Other times, he takes the bus.

“I’m fortunate,” he said. “Apparently I have fairly decent genes. But you never, ever know. I take every day at a time. Be grateful for every day you’ve got, but I know how fortunate I am to have the parts working.”

During his time as a politician, he was frequently spotted riding around Metro Hall and his district, where he created the idea of front-porch talks with constituents.

Several of his walking tours are available on video and are occasionally shown on KET. For 20 years, he did a public radio show called “Sidewalks.” Knowing local neighborhoods, he says, is the accumulation of knowledge gained in nearly eight decades.

“Part of it was always preparing for gigs,” he said. “I was always preparing for a small story. I have gigantic buckets of information, and I pour them into my skull. A lot flows out, and inevitably something, hopefully, is going to stick. There’s a lot there.”

One such story involves the origin of Pleasure Ridge Park, which he explains was known as Paynesville. That was until the steam locomotive came down Dixie Highway in the late 1870s, and the Payne family, which operated a hotel at Greenwood and Dixie, established a park there they called Pleasure Ridge.

It’s as if there’s no topic in the city Owen doesn’t have a story about.

Clifton, Owen explains, is named for the home built there by Joshua Bowles in the early 1800s. It was on the Louisville-Shelbyville-Lexington turnpike. Owen is fascinated by the names of places and how they originated, whether they come from people who lived there or geographic features. Asked to reel off a few interesting ones, Owen mentions that Fisherville, Douglass Hills, Hikes Point, the Russell neighborhood and Seatonville are all named after individuals. Watterson Trail, he said, is how Henry Watterson went to work at the Courier-Journal from his estate in Jeffersontown.

“It’s entertaining, it’s history,” he said. “I come from a very, very broad historical perspective. I was raised in this community. I have loved this community. My dad and grandfather had post office jobs but were interested in small-time, speculative real estate. I got around the community at the time. I heard their stories. I’ve always been interested in the relationship between geography and history.”

Owen is in demand to give talks about a variety of topics, not just neighborhoods. One of his favorites he calls “The stink that will not die” about the city’s history as a meat producer. He also has one about the way creeks and streams affected the development of the city.

In his work at UofL, Owen oversees a library that includes 2.2 million photographs. Rare books include Latin and Arabic manuscripts from the 12th century. All historical records of the university plus regional history collections are housed there. If you want to conduct research there, Owen is the man to see.

“I enjoy my work. I’m wallowing in it, delighting in it,” he said. “I’m not choosing to retire. There’s no automatic retirement at university. I enjoy coming to work every day. It’s good for me, and my long-standing marriage to (my wife) Phyllis. We tease, but there’s some truth in it. My marriage has been strengthened by me not being home during the daytime.”

Owen loves talking about the city’s neighborhoods – he says his favorite is Portland – and believes that where you’re from is a key part of who you are.

“I’ve always thought that people take some identity – they build nests, in part – based on where they live and the stories about where they live,” he said. “If you were in (another city) and were asked where you’re from, you would say Louisville, even if you lived in Simpsonville. Once you’re here, you tend to say I’m from Clifton, I’m from Okolona, I’m from Fairdale, oh, I’m from Eastwood. Or I’m from South Dixie, I’m from Pleasure Ridge Park or Orell, you’re from the Highlands, or wherever.

“My theory is the bigger the community gets, the more you need to identify and nest into a place that is closer to home,” he added. “Everybody’s gotta be from somewhere.” VT

Tweet Thy Neighbor

The Nextdoor App Brings Neighbors Together In Helpful And Sometimes Hilarious Ways

By Brent Owen

Images by Emilie Haupt

Did a group of wayward teens egg your house over the weekend? Are you looking to unload some used lawn chair cushions on a presumably cushionless neighbor? Perhaps you’re just compelled to instantly inform your neighbors of such goings-on in the neighborhood. Well, there’s an app for that – and it has your back.

Nextdoor is an app that connects you with, well, people you should already be connecting with: your actual, physical neighbors.

It’s kind of like the tackboard at the old general store mixed with the proverbial watercooler, but on your phone. The app uses your address and then connects you directly with other users who are in your immediate area. You can make the geographical circle it pulls from larger or smaller, depending on how big of an area you want to be connected with.

The Nextdoor app has created an entire network of virtual socialization among neighbors, at least it has for some users. “For me, it’s the opposite,” explains Kelly Anderson. “I know my neighbors on there in real life. I don’t particularly interact with them on the app. I interact with strangers, which has led to conversations with people I may have not otherwise ever talked to.” Anderson follows neighborhoods outside of her few-block Audubon Ridge neighborhood, including Germantown, Audubon Park, Highlands and Douglass Loop.

“I love the Nextdoor app for what it was designed to do,” adds Rosie Cameron, another local user. She uses it to extensively interact with her Falls Creek neighbors. “It’s great to communicate about neighborhood issues, create friendships with people who have common interests, get gardening tips, find childcare or other recommendations that we just wouldn’t be able to get due to time and logistical restraints.”

As you scroll through Nextdoor, the posts can be erratic – from the legitimately helpful posts about lost animals or strangers lurking in the neighborhood to mundane inquiries like, “Is there a good security system without contracts?” And, of course, local real estate agents advertise nearby homes that are on the market as if the app is a digital bus stop bench.

And then there are more, er, interesting posts. For instance, random questions are regular occurrences (i.e. a post with a picture of an antique chair beneath the headline: “What kind of chair?”) or questions of an existential nature about long-gone neighborhood venues (“Where is Austin’s when we need it?”).

Basically, it’s the Wild West in the Nextdoor app, folks. You never know what you might come across.

The relative free-for-all content generated by users raises an obvious question: How does the user-based app keep from getting sucked down the morally devoid Craigslist pit of pornographic posts, catfishing con artists looking for a bite or blatant solicitations for all manner of services? Well, that’s where users in the app’s lexicon – known as “leads” – come in.

Cameron, along with her husband, are both Nextdoor leads. It is the app’s way of self-governing content. When a user’s post is reported for violating the app’s guidelines, the complaint is passed to the leads, who are all people in your neighborhood group. As a group, they vote on whether the post violated the app’s terms of agreement or not and try to handle the issue on that level. If things get nasty beyond the point of internal resolution, the leads ultimately pass the issue to the higher-ups at Nextdoor.

While the leads do a good job of keeping out the riff-raff, there’s not much they can do about the more quirky posts. Enter: Jenn Takahashi. As a Nextdoor user who saw an inordinate number of funny, weird or bizarre posts, she saw a hole that she could fill. And in a moment of quiet genius, the Twitter handle @bestofNextdoor was born. (Takahashi was not available for comment for this story.) The Twitter account she helms is a hilarious little corner of the internet where she scans neighborhood groups across the country and highlights some of the most wonderfully weird posts that pop up.

Some recent highlights culled on @bestofnextdoor include a post selling a “four-year-old painting on canvas of Van Gogh’s Starry Night” for $70. The caption on the post reads, “Not sure of authenticity.” Another post is from a user trying to find a lost cat named Daisy who “answers mostly to the name Nazi, obviously because of the fact she looks like Hitler.” Or one of my personal favorites: “(This) doesn’t have to be weird, but lightly used wood casket for sale.”

Takashi’s wacky Twitter account aside, locally, both Rosie Cameron and Kelly Anderson have seen the app work for its intended purpose, which is to bring communities together. “People who generally wouldn’t be talking to each other are sharing information,” said Cameron. “Kind of like over-the-fence talking, but digitally. Funny as it may seem, I was talking (digitally) to someone and during the conversation we realized he was my new backyard neighbor.”

Anderson furthers Cameron’s point. “People are really good about helping others find lost pets,” she said. “Also, I’ve seen when people have had lawn mowers stolen, neighbors offer to mow their lawns. There are many examples of good neighbors and community.”

Ultimately, one of the drawbacks of the internet age is that while it connects us instantly with the entire world, it has distanced us from the people who are in actuality closest to us – our neighbors.

But Nextdoor is using the internet and social media to fix that and pull communities together, whether through hilarity or helping neighbors in need. VT