20Q with dean of southern etiquette, Suzanne Pollak

Dean Suzanne PollakSuzanne Pollak is a social strategist specializing in home, hearth and hospitality. She is a founder and Dean of the Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits, “the CADP”, a class and lecture platform designed to foster more meaningful connections to how and where we live along with a successful website. In April, she took full reign of the CADP. Pollak wants to spread her teachings to all . Drawing from her interesting childhood in Africa, her life in the Turks & Caicos and all over the South, she shares important lessons in home keeping, cooking, raising children, surviving wars, financial downfalls and health considerations. All while hosting parties for hundreds, having weddings at home and living a beautiful and meaningful domestic life.

Pollak tours and lectures with her book, The Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits: A Handbook of Etiquette with Recipes. She’s even been on the new Bravo hit show Southern Charm dispensing her brand of advice. She is also the co-author of Entertaining for Dummies and The Pat Conroy Cookbook. She is also hard at work on her forthcoming interview series Mothers and Sons, an in-depth look at the interlocking relationship between successful men and their strongest domestic influence, along with working on a corresponding book! She has been featured in the Wall Street Journal for her restoration of a historic 1784 Charleston, South Carolina town home on the famous Rainbow Row, and in Town & Country magazine for her historic restoration of a 1780 Georgian tabby mansion and garden in Beaufort, South Carolina. She was also the former spokesperson for Federated Department Stores, appearing at seminars in seventy-seven stores over ten states, building customer loyalty with her advice columns (“Suzanne Suggests”; “Ask Suzanne”; “Home Ingredients”) and playing a vital role in brand development as point person for morning television shows and newspapers in the major markets. She was born in Beirut, Lebanon and spent the first 18 years of her life in Africa where her father was a diplomat. Today, she lives in Charleston and is a wife and mother of four adult children, including twins. She is an amazing person to meet and a taste-maker extraordinaire! We are so honored and happy to hear her secrets to living well!


1. What was your motivation or inspiration behind creating the Academy and writing the book?

I founded the Charleston Academy with the aim of empowering people to gain confidence in their ability to use their house as a tool to live a more rewarding and beautiful life, and to discover that domestic pursuits are fairly simple, but no one knows that unless they are shown how.

2. Biggest Beauty Secret?

I don’t have one! It would be eight hours of sleep if I could make that happen.

3. Grooming Extravagance?

Getting my hair cut in NYC.

4. Go-to Perfume?

I have never liked perfume.

5. Favorite Shoe? Everyday bag? Evening Bag?

Roger Vivier shoes, VBH day bags & evening bags.

6. Favorite meal, dessert and snack?

A meal someone makes for me! Lemon tart. Tea and shortbread.

7. Favorite movie?

Babette’s Feast.

8. My last purchase was?

Balenciaga navy lizard sandals on sale…kick ass!

9. When no one is home I…?


10. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Exactly where I am – on Rainbow Row in Charleston, SC!

11. Favorite Destination?

London, New York, and LA.

12. Where are you the happiest?

When I am working.

13. What do you think the definition of relaxation is?

Having a cocktail on my rooftop (lookout tower) after a productive day.

14. With whom do you like to travel or leisure?

With my husband or any of my children, but I am thinking the best of all will be with my grandchildren very soon.

15. What is your greatest extravagance?

Loving James de Givenchy jewelryfeeling-loved

16. If you could change something about yourself what would it be?

 I would have made a list of a million things a few years ago, but now I’ll keep me the way I am.

17. On which occasion do you lie? 

To try to make someone feel good.

18. What is your greatest fear?

That I won’t realize my big dreams.

19. Which person(s) do you most admire and despise?

I admire so many people, so many people inspire me. I do not despise anyone. Everyone has some redeeming quality.

20. What have you learned?

To like myself.

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