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Sophia's surprise

Published:Sunday | January 3, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Chester Francis-Jackson, Gleaner Writer

Birthday girl Sophia Max-Brown and beau Richard Russell at her surprise birthday party, hosted by Ruth Hussey and daughter Angeline Hussey-Harris, on Christmas Day at the Terra Nova All-Suite hotel.

She is known and celebrated as a world-class beauty, a woman of impeccable style, grace and charm, and a very dear and loyal friend to those having the honour and/or privilege of her friendship.

Born in Jamaica, the talented Sophia Max-Brown was raised and schooled in Canada, and returned to Jamaica in the early '80s with her family, determined to make a positive contribution to the development of her homeland.

Upon her return, she established the brand MaxBrown, as the islands' leading 'high-end' boutique, providing the very best in international brand names and designs for those with that discriminating sense of style.

She has stamped her class and undisputed élan, as the reigning queen of haute-fabulissimo and avant-garde men's wear, with a client list that includes a number of prime ministers from Jamaica and the Caribbean, as well as other public- and private-sector leaders.


This success has not been without its personal sacrifices. Over the years her clients have come to depend on her personal service and attention, especially at Christmas. As her clients seek her out, she has had to forgo most of the Christmas celebrations. Sadly, for her family, friends and loved ones, this has led to ignoring one of the most special days in her life: her birthday. Born on Christmas Day, the style doyenne has spent many Christmases recuperating from the hustle and bustle of the season, instead of celebrating.

Well, that was then. This year, a number of friends intervened and decided that she would have a merry Christmas and a happy birthday, whether she wanted to or not! To guarantee that it would not be another season of 'all work and no play', her dear friends, Ruth Hussey and daughter Angeline Harris, went about organising and planning a surprise birthday party.

Planning a surprise for anyone takes some doing. But Hussey and Harris certainly know how to throw a surprise! And on Christmas Day when the birthday girl got all dolled up for what she thought was a dinner with her family (her mom, two brothers and niece), at the très chic Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel on Waterloo Road, she was completely overcome with emotion when she walked into the hotel's El Dorado Suite and was greeted by the 'happy birthday' chorus belted out by her closest and dearest friends.

It was a very joyful moment to see the surprise on her face as her tear-brimmed eyes took it all in - the enormity of the occasion and effort dawning on her, as her eyes set on her beau and friends, all gathered and singing heartily in her honour! Amidst the outpouring of well-wishes, the popping of bubbly, a tear here and there, friends and family lauded themselves for making the affair a true surprise, there was a marvellous sense of warmth, family and camaraderie that made for a fabulous celebratory occasion.

special memory

As the evening wore on, guests toasted Max-Brown, each speaker bringing his or her own special memory and story to bear on the gathering. There was no escaping the sense that Max-Brown's beauty was not merely skin-deep, but was rather a beauty of mind, body and soul, which has endeared her to all!

Among those sharing in the felicitation and camaraderie were Laurie and Ruth Hussey; Gloria Harris, her son, Anthony and wife Angeline Hussey-Harris and their fab daughter, Christelle; her companion Richard Russell; the birthday girl's mom, the très elegant Karlene Max-Brown; her brothers Carl and Raul Max-Brown and niece, the beautiful Karina Max-Brown; Charlie and Alicia Hussey; Mark Berry and his flawless wife, Jenny; Percy and Eleanor Hussey; the lovely Nicole Custer; Allan Milburn; Phil and Erroleen Powell; Dan Kelly and Mitzie Pratt, plus a number of others.

From left: (Back-row) Richard Russell, Angeline Hussey-Harris, Sophia Max-Brown, brother Carlos, niece Karina and Christelle Harris. Front: Raul Max-Brown, with mom Karlene Max-Brown and host Ruth Hussey, share a portrait to mark the occasion of Sophia Max-Brown's surprise birthday party.- Contributed photos

From left: Carlos Max-Brown, his daughter, Karina, his sister and birthday girl, Sophia Max-Brown and sibling Raul Max-Brown.