Have you ever walked into a dark room with zero clue as to what was going on? That’s exactly how I felt when the doors opened to Ascott BGC’s grand ballroom during the book launch of Zara Carbonell. It was diving into the unknown head first—mysterious, thrilling, and exciting in all the good ways.
It was pitch black, with no tables or chairs that you’d expect when you walk into a book launch.The fact that we had to use our senses to find our seats made us more alert.The spotlight slowly crawled to find Zara on stage, reading her book on stage. While it happened, she was unbothered by the fact that a hundred people were staring at her. We got a preview of the room’s arrangement; it was similar to seeing an actual living museum in Amsterdam. We hurried and sat on lounge chairs before they were occupied.
Zara Carbonell sharing her life experiences at her 20’s.
There was a certain hush that cued everyone to settle in and settle down. Meanwhile, there was a moment of silence that enveloped the whole room. And just before anyone could say it out loud, we all heard a melody that took us by surprise.
She stood up and gracefully walked towards the microphone. Right before our eyes, she took us through the rollercoaster of a decade she’s been through. She sang a rendition of Sara Bareilles’ “She used to be mine”. I’ve heard this song many times, but for the first time, I finally understood the pain it caused. The amount of art employed to portray these deep feelings was what made it truly unique.
And as she walked past the last chapter and told us how she went into a full circle, we had the opportunity to walk through that same path with her, but this time alongside a specially curated menu by Scott BGC’s Executive Chef – Chef Prince Patino and a perfectly paired glass of wine from Ralph’s Wines & Spirits as if meant to embolden the emotional thread we were all pretty much on.
Every setting we had imagined came to life with each taste. Our taste buds experienced a flavor assault with every sip. Gossips’ Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, if poured into a glass filled with optimism and forgiveness, would create an outstanding pairing. If mystery and zest were to invade, they’d be infused with Gossips’ Moscato and Pink Moscato. And if we had to express freedom, we’d declare it as boldly as an ice-cold Corona Beer on a hot summer day.
It was nothing I ever imagined. I anticipated an author reading a few pages off of her new book, a 4-walled library or bookstore, some sandwiches, pleasantries and that’s that. But what I saw was nothing like that. I wasn’t meeting an “author.” I met a woman who had to reinvent herself to survive. It was versions of her that looked too familiar but also sounded so differently from one chapter to the next.
It took me to a summer day across the Eiffel Tower where she pledged allegiance to herself, it took me to Marie Antoinette’s halls in Versailles where she dreamt extraordinary dreams, it took me to Germany where she had almost fallen in love, it took me to national stages that tore me to the bones. Where she was, we were and it was as if I had felt the pain, the longing, the love, the joy, the victories with her through those years.
And while we were there basking in all these moments, savoring every bite that came with each chapter: “Keep me guarded; I fight to keep my peace of mind.Constantly curious, never really know where I’ll land.” One of Zara’s best friends, Kiana Valenciano, ever so gracefully gave us a snippet of their friendship and how growing up felt like knowing they had each other.
The words she sang spoke so much truth and gave another perspective of the last decade.
While most book launches tickle your curiosity to hook you into buying a book – this one revealed its value then compelled its audience to listen to a story that used to also be theirs.
At the end of this journey, we were all transported back in time to experience life as she did. Book: Lost You, Found Me can be ordered here: Bookshelf
Mari Zhar Carvill is a celebrated journalist and proud lifestyle mom. Her story is a tribute to strength, determination, and empowerment. She is deeply interested in and loves art, poetry, fashion, travel, and the way of life and culture in Europe. She uses a variety of platforms to advocate for women's rights, using her creativity and skills as a journalist to do good and live with fairness and equity. Mari Zhar is an acknowledged figure in the media and in advocacy because she works hard to give women a greater voice. She encourages others, especially moms (especially the battered and single ones), abandoned daughters, and women, to accept their power, rebuild themselves, and rewrite their stories with grace.