Brooke Lowry Maclellan is a beautiful redhead effusing charm and poise. A native of Vestavia Hills, Ala., she ended up on Lookout Mountain after finding her Prince Charming, Dr. Reid Maclellan. Brooke is the oldest of four children and grew up loving “fancy things,” adding that she enjoyed hosting extravagant tea parties for her dolls and Barbies, and dressing up in her finest frills. Brooke has always had a flair, even as a young girl. She explained, “I would set the table with my mom’s fancy china for a random Saturday lunch, and I would read about manners! My mother bought me a few staple etiquette books; “Emily Post” is my favorite. I still carry some of those lessons with me to this day!”
A graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Brooke knew she wanted to work in children’s entertainment. She felt like it was best to make the transition to Los Angeles while she was still able to build a community and make it her home. With a major in theater arts and media production and a minor in English, Brooke secured her first job at Paramount Pictures. She worked as an assistant to the COO and CEO at the time, Frederick Huntsberry and Brad Grey, respectively. After working at Paramount, she worked in an independent creative development shop for children’s media properties, managed the life of the president of Creative Artists Agency (CAA) Richard Lovett, before finally ended up at her dream job in creative development at Disney Junior. These varied experiences helped shape who Brooke is today.
While living in Los Angeles, Brooke found herself in a world of juxtapositions, both dining in the cafeteria with her co-workers at Disney Junior and that same day enjoying a posh dinner at Nobu in the company of CAA’s most powerful men and women in Hollywood. No matter the status of the company she kept, Brooke learned that “the basic rules of interaction are the same, and they can be taught at a young age.”
Her website Southern Royal states: “You’re not born with charm, but you can learn charm, and a lot of that has to do with etiquette: your poise, your posture, and how eloquently you speak. In the end, it’s all about being kind, thoughtful, and respectful to everyone around you.”
Newlywed Brooke decided to begin her new business on Lookout after marrying Reid. While working in a myriad of industries with a variety of personalities and statuses, Brooke learned lessons that she has carried with her. While working with Richard Lovett, Brooke spent time with A-List Hollywood elite, including Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Will Smith, and Ron Howard. Brooke explained that these interactions were on a different level than those she experienced in the offices of Paramount. But she relied on life lessons she’d already learned.
“I quickly learned that when you have good manners, you are considering the feelings of other people and being the kind of person that others will like and respect. I learned that if you are respectful to others, then you are more likely to be treated with respect by them. If you show good manners everywhere you go, you are more likely to encourage others to behave in the same way towards you. I found that to be the secret formula to handle any person of any status in any setting. Manners are important for making a good impression on others in everyday life. They also help you feel good about yourself and your identity! When you practice good manners, you are setting standards for other’s behavior and encouraging them to treat you with similar respect,” she said.
With these tenets in mind, Brooke began Southern Royal. She believes charm accounts for a heavy percentage of a person’s success in life, and that personality and communication skills are just as important as the prestige of the university one attended or their personal intellect. In fact, Brooke feels that “every single job position I have been lucky enough to have has not just been because of my Pepperdine degree, but because I was ‘likeable’ and put people ‘at ease’. You can learn charm. Charm is all about evoking positive emotion,” she said.
Brooke seeks to educate young ladies and gentleman in the art of charm. She confessed, “While it may all sound a little old-fashioned, Southern Royal combines the art of Southern charm with the rules of royal protocol followed by the British monarchy. This is not your grandmother’s etiquette class. After studying formal etiquette with a former aide of Kensington Palace during my time abroad, along with being certified in signature courses at America’s leading finishing school, Beaumont Etiquette, housed in the glamourous New York Plaza, I have combined the rules of propriety with practical, relevant advice.”
Brooke teaches basic manners along with etiquette for today’s changing world. “Sprinkled within my courses are rules on how to communicate digitally - how to email, whether or not to text emojis to your superior, and the best way to navigate your tech life. With digital life growing at an alarming speed, so too is modern etiquette evolving! In fact, as society loses social interaction, I would argue that etiquette becomes every more relevant. Text language bleeds into email, personal lives are laid open on social media, and employees are tagging their superiors instead of engaging in conversation. The more time goes by, the more we’re relying on our devices. Therefore, the more we are used to working online, the less confident we are when we walk into a room and interact with others,” she said.
She believes her generation, the “millenials,” have become more lax in their behavior, both personally and in business, which she believes is uncouth. She thinks this makes etiquette even more crucial, especially as her generation becomes parents and moves into leadership positions in business. Thankfully, Britain’s young royals have made the word etiquette ‘cool’ again. Additionally, the popularity of shows such as “Downton Abbey” and “The Crown” have helped bring manners into the forefront, since they portray aristocratic habits as chic and aspirational!
With a belief that the most important thing in executing proper etiquette is to be kind, thoughtful, and respectful to everyone around you, Brooke feels that even if a person does not know the protocol of a situation, good manners are always appreciated.
However, being a fan of all things royal, Brooke elaborates with these questions, “Do I believe a commoner can adopt princess panache? Absolutely! I think the proof is in the pudding. If you look at the most recent royal weddings globally in England, Sweden, Spain, and Monaco, almost all of the royals married ‘normal’ people. Yes, I do believe these people went through intensive etiquette training, but it proves that anyone can do it, and that grace and charm can be taught!” She also believes that you can never start too young. She says earning etiquette improves quality of life because once you learn simple techniques to communicate, those techniques make you instantly more approachable, confident, and polished in every sense of the word!
Brooke believes that time is of the essence when teaching children. “Children should be learning proper etiquette by the time they’re able to sit at the dining table. For example, they learn early on to address adults as ‘Mr.’ or ‘Mrs.’ or ‘Ms.,’ which teaches them the importance of respect, as well as the power of an appropriate speaking voice and good eye contact. The earlier children start to learn good manners, the more proper etiquette comes second nature to them! My goal is to teach timeless class through my Southern Royal Classes!”
This summer, Southern Royal will offer classes for ages 6- to 12-year-olds at the Lookout Mountain Club at Fairyland. Private princess classes are immediately available for up to four girls.
Contact Brooke at email@example.com or go to www.southernroyal.com.