Elements of Style

Anika Jackson: the Party Girl’s Party Girl

Jackson is taking her trademark hustle to the philanthropic level—with increasingly giant galas.

By Sarah Rufca Nielsen June 20, 2016 Published in the July 2016 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Anika photo  ahacjz

Image: Collin Kelly

Anika Jackson has been a hustler since her high school days in the early ’90s in Lawrence, Kansas. “I still have the debate win-loss record, I was a varsity cheerleader, I was in all the school plays, and I wore combat boots,” she says. “I’ve never fit into a box.” She started working as a club promoter at 16 and graduated into marketing for DJs, raves, music tours, ’zines and more, taking her from Kansas City to Chicago and San Francisco.

After starting a family in Los Angeles and moving to Houston five years ago, Jackson decided to apply that same hustle to raise money for charity on the society circuit, assisting organizations like Operation Smile, Planned Parenthood and the Catastrophic Theatre. Along with friend Staci Henderson, she recently founded Philanthropic Fêtes, a consulting firm that helps charities throw great galas.

So what’s your schedule like during gala season?

This week, Monday was my day off. It’s pretty crazy. It is a job, that’s what a lot of people don’t understand. I chaired five events between the fall and spring, and four of them were record-breakers. You can see the impact that that money has in our community. I’d prefer people to just give money, but you have to show them what you’re doing, and the best way to show them is to do a great event. They have to have their heartstrings pulled and know where their dollar is going.

What’s your get- ready routine?

I have a daughter, she’s 8, and sometimes I will show up at her school to volunteer for the library in full gala makeup, because I won’t have time later in the day to do it. The kids in her class will be like, ‘Siri’s mommy, why do you have so much makeup on?’

Favorite local designer?

I love David Peck, I love Chloe Dao, and Jio'zei Reyes is my new favorite find. I also of course love Elaine Turner—I almost always have one of her clutches or her shoes on. I was very involved in L.A., I collected local artists and fashion designers there for everything from my wedding dress to all my gala gowns, and I’m doing the same thing here.

Is that more fun than going to Neiman’s and buying an Oscar de la Renta?

It is for me. I’d rather buy pieces that are personal, where they know who I am.

I’m not opposed to shopping anywhere, but I find myself enthralled by Laboratoria and Julie Rhodes.

How would you describe your style?

Edgy-feminine. I’m a girl who used to be a club girl, go to raves, dress goth. I would theme all the parties I threw, and the friends that I have now, we love to do theme parties. So it’s consistent, but now we do it for charity. 

What’s your shopping style?

You can Google ‘Los Angeles Times shopaholic,’ and I’m in an article about the fact that I had just had my daughter and I did a lot of online shopping. She had an amazing closet. I pretty much either don’t shop at all or I binge. If I’m going to a store, I’m going to find something I like.

Favorite thing in your closet?
One of my favorites is a Louis Vuitton Neverfull with Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s wave design. It’s just so easy to take to work, and it was one of the first things that I bought myself. Also, the blue dress of Jio'zei's—it’s the most beautiful I’ve ever felt. I put it on, my hair wasn’t done, no jewelry, no makeup, and it was just, oh my gosh. I felt complete.
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