Just call her a model citizen. Lexington, N.C. native Ann Tarwater started out her career as a model for famous American fashion designers Oscar de la Renta, Mary McFadden, Alpert Nipon, Geoffrey Beene, Bill Blass and many others. More recently, she’s admired as a philanthropist with grace and style who serves as a volunteer for many community groups including being a part of the Craft and Design board of The Mint Museum and the advisory board of Charlotte Ballet. In May, she’ll take her resume to a new level when she graduates with a Masters of Divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary.

Fresh from a trip to Guatemala (she was part of a group from Carolinas HealthCare System and the Heineman Foundation who were there to dedicate a new neonatal intensive care unit), she took the time to share some of her favorite things. And lucky for us, she also revealed a few of her best beauty tips.

Where is your favorite place to vacation?

France, because it is full of everything wonderful — fashion, amazing food, “chicness,” magnificent cheese, and a beautiful rhythm to life.  


What are your winter wardrobe staples?

Turtleneck sweaters and fun coats.


What are your must-have beauty products?

Primer and foundation from MAC, a lip pencil from Aveda and Nars lipstick - Blonde Venus. I also found a secret weapon wrinkle eraser, Freeze 24/7. It’s a cream that you put on your lines when you’re going out or need to look great. It plumps up the skin for some time. i’ll moisture heavily and then dab it into my lines. it gives you this youthful face


How would you describe your personal style.

Streamlined, modern, tailored.


What are some of your favorite pieces in your wardrobe?

My old Donna Karan cashmere sweaters. The off-the-shoulder, twisted and tied pieces are my favorite. They are feminine and tailored at the same time. Karan is a master of that.


What are your favorite fashion labels?

Actually, I like them all for different reasons. I am a purist when it comes fashion, but I think everyone has something wonderful to contribute. if pressed to pick a few, I would choose Carolina Herrera for her feminine approach, Zac Posen for his modernity, and Elie Saab for his imagination and creativity, along with Tom and Linda Platt for sheer simplicity and beauty.


Who's your biggest style influence?

Linda Evangelista — she is a chameleon...and my beautiful daughter-in-law, Julia.


Do you have a uniform?  



What's your favorite restaurant for dinner?

It is between Capital Grille, Halcyon and Lumiere.


What’s your favorite restaurant for brunch or lunch?

 I love Halcyon.


Have you bought any art recently?

Yes, a painting by Larry Gray. His work is so moody.


What's your favorite hotel?

Michaelangelo in NYC.


What's your favorite flower?

It is between the Peony and Gardenia.


Any museum exhibits or arts performances you’ve either seen recently, or plan to see soon?

Moschino at the Mint Museum, a must-see!. Also, Sam Francis at the Bechtler — radiant! We also travel to NYC for fabulous performances by Fellowship of Performing Arts.


Who's your favorite famous person you've met?

Margaret Thatcher. She was elegant and strong.


What inspires you?

Beauty, and honesty...and Scripture.


Any words of wisdom?

Kindness, kindness, kindness.


Is there anything you loved as a child that still influences you today?

Milk Duds...the perfect truffle! Clothes from the '40s, '50s and early ‘60s. And a sense of adventure.


What are your favorite colors?

Mostly neutrals, with robins egg blue thrown in.


What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?

Listen before speaking.


How do you stay in shape?

By the grace of God.  I don't enjoy exercising. But eating well is important to me and drinking lots of water.


How do you protect your skin from the sun?

Turtlenecks, long sleeves, and minimal exposure to afternoon sun.


What brings you joy?

My husband, family and friends, and french fries.


What’s one of the best beauty tips you’ve learned?

Putting your makeup on in stages. I never do it all at once. You have to let make up settle into the skin to make it look natural. I wait at least 10-15 minutes in between putting on my moisturizer, primer, foundation, etc. If you do that, your makeup looks so much better because your skin has absorbed the product and it doesn’t look like you’re wearing a mask.


What do you love about this stage of your life?

Making authentic choices.


Where are your favorite places to shop?

Coplon’s for evening wear, Circa for their unique furniture finds and Bergdorf Goodman’s for everything else.


Who has influenced your style the most?

Grace Kelly. She was the embodiment of virtue and modesty, and yet mysterious.


Was there any beauty or style advice your mother or grandmother gave you that you’re thankful for now?

Everything in moderation.


Is there anything you learned in your modeling days that has stuck with you?

Walk with your hips and legs, not your whole body. Be contained. And always walk in a single foot in front of the other.  Men walk in two lines.