Meet Courtney Davis Schlesinger: Funnywoman, Fashion Fixture, And First Lady Of Palm Beach’s Brazilian Court

by Freya Drohan

If your New Year’s resolution for 2023 is to be less envious—sartorially speaking, at least—well then we suggest you look away now. But while it might have been Courtney Davis Schlesinger’s covetable closet that initially had us hooked to her Instagram feed, you can rest assured that this mom-of-two has lots more up the sleeve of her treasured YSL blazer. Indeed, the Texas-born, NYC-seasoned, and Connecticut-based comedian has been further flexing her creative muscles as creative director of Palm Beach staple, Brazilian Court. High up on her agenda is infusing the divine 1920s-era boutique hotel with even more glamour, tasteful additions, and meaningful partnerships to cater to PB’s increasingly cosmopolitan scene. We called her up to get the scoop on what’s to come! 

What are some highlights this season at Brazilian Court Hotel?
There’s nowhere better than Palm Beach in the winter—and Brazilian Court has always had that real ‘getaway’ feeling. This season, we’re offering a Friday evening sunset yoga class with a live DJ in our North courtyard. We’ve partnered with my favorite yoga instructor, Holly Miller from The Yoga Society. I really wanted guests to arrive for the weekend, wind down with yoga under the palm trees, and then grab our signature wellness cocktail—Namaste Buzzed—right after (drinking has always been a great workout motivation for me). We’re also so proud to be celebrating our 20th anniversary with Chef Daniel Boulud, and we’re hosting a big event in January to honor all that we’ve accomplished together. We’re currently completing the redesign of all of our guest suites on property (check out Instagram for a reveal this month) and, of course, continuing to partner with fashion and wellness brands that I love to curate our boutique, Casa by Brazilian Court.

What have been some personal highlights recently?
I somehow survived 2022 while having a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old. Congrats to all of you who managed the same! I also think I’m still married—so that’s a success! I’ve mostly enjoyed exploring comedy as a mom living in the ‘burbs, and really getting to know mySelf (that’s “with a capital S” as my therapist would say). I always thought when I left New York, I may have to give up doing stand up, but I have been performing comedy all over Connecticut and back in the city since moving to Westport. I do morning radio on Star 99.9 where I give out unsolicited dating advice; my favorite kind, of course. I hosted my first live auction, and we raised over $1 million for breast cancer patients—that truly felt like a big calling for me. And last summer I began hosting secret comedy shows in my backyard. The last one had about 80 people, a full bar, a DJ, and some of my favorite comedian friends and I putting on a show that suburbia can actually be proud of. It really feels like I built an underground comedy club back there, so I’ll definitely keep that going once it gets warmer. The only problem was my nanny finally heard all the jokes about her….

You’re known for your humor. Where do you think your funny bone comes from?
I think the way I most connected with my mom growing up was through humor, which I’m not sure is totally healthy, but that’s how you make a comedian! Ever since, I’ve always sought connection through making people laugh. Before I knew what stand up was, I thought I wanted to be a clown, but when they told me I had to take the bus to the Bronx for training, and I decided that may not be the ‘journey’ I had planned for my life. Lo and behold, I’d end up at shows near Yankee Stadium just a few years later. I just think humor helps in so many situations. When I’m able to be vulnerable and tell awful stories about myself, people seem to feel more comfortable doing the same, and I kind of live for that.

Who or what always make you scream laughing?
My husband. He is hands down the funniest person I’ve ever met. I feel like it’s my duty in this world to share his humor with others, but he loves turning ‘off’ when I try. He and I like to go for bike rides to our local coffee shop in the mornings, and the entire time I ask him to do impressions. One of my favorites is a character he created named Dr. Bobo Choses, pediatric plastic surgeon to the stars. He’ll take your baby from a 7 to a 10 by 12 months. One of these days those, we’re going to start talking about real things.

Let’s take it back. What was your first ever job?
I wanted to be like The Babysitters Club, so I started a camp at my house and invited my whole neighborhood. Completely unlicensed of course. One of the ‘activities’ I offered was zip-lining (already installed by my dad). I guess one ambitious little kid broke their nose the first day trying the thing out—I forgot I was hosting the camp at all and I went inside to watch TV— and, so, that venture ended pretty quickly. I’ve been a waitress so many times (always pushing the vegetarian option, even if there wasn’t one), worked at Saks Fifth Avenue for years (but spent all my earnings on clothes), and lastly was the assistant to Jared Kushner (do I even need a parentheses here?). I’ve always been very easy to fire.

What does your role as creative director at the hotel entail? And why is it a job perfectly suited to you?
First, it’s the only job I can’t get fired from since it’s my family—so I have that going for me. But this role really brings together a mix of all the things I love—hospitality, fashion, wellness, humor, design…it’s all there. The job really changes day to day, which is also perfect for my personality. I oversee our social media content, create unique pieces with designers for our hotel boutique, establish partnerships with different wellness brands to enhance the guest experience, and I’m always on the hunt for good entertainment. I have been planning a dream project that involves bringing a curated closet to our guests. Our guests are already so fashionable, that I just envision someone checking in, opening their closet doors and finding a world full of beautiful clothing waiting for them to explore. And of course, I hope to host more events on property for companies that fascinate and inspire me.

What have been some recent projects you’ve overseen at the hotel?
I designed the first line of products for our hotel boutique, Casa, and sought out brands I knew I liked, like Business and Pleasure for the beach towels, bags and umbrellas, and Bala for the in-room weights (I’m not big on weights, but these are so comfy and chic looking, you almost want to work out). We also created some really cute BC branded sweatshirts and hats that I’m pretty obsessed with. I’m very lucky that my husband gives me a lot of leeway and trust in finding the right partnerships to work with. Even though he develops so many different types of properties, Brazilian Court is his crown jewel, and I try to make sure I keep that in mind in every person or organization we work with.

For those who’ve never visited, how do you describe a stay at the hotel?
Our guest experience is truly unlike any other in Palm Beach. First off, it’s super private and quiet, and brings you back to that old world Palm Beach feeling. Our guest rooms are by far the largest on the island, as they were designed as residences for guests who wanted to stay long term. My husband, who owns the hotel, grew up in Palm Beach, and he always stresses the core aesthetic of understated elegance that The BC is known for. His late mom was an interior designer and designed the entire property to feel like a private Mediterranean mansion, and, though updates are continuously made, her concept and design palate is always honored. She had the most beautiful and opulent taste; the finishes and furnishings used throughout the property are meant to last a lifetime, and do. Nothing is a knock off. I’ve been to the best salons in Manhattan and our team at The Brazilian Court Salon is without a doubt the most talented group of stylists and colorists that I’ve experienced. The palm lined pool is absolutely gorgeous and so private, and, of course, the food is the best in Palm Beach (you can never go wrong with Daniel Boulud, even the plating is picture perfect) and the overall vibe is just romantic and sexy.

What does a perfect day in Palm Beach look like for you?
Having my kids somehow sleep in til 10AM; taking a walk alone on the beach to clear my mind; going to Vincent’s in Lake Worth to get coffee and croissants; going for a swim in the ocean and writing or listening to a podcast; finding fun costume jewelry at Mariko on Worth Ave and then real jewelry from the vintage collection at Betteridge. Ending the day with an Aperol spritz at Sant Ambreous, and if my husband drinks enough, convincing him to take me on a Saint Laurent haul afterwards. And no day is complete without a dinner under the stars on the patio at Café Boulud.

Your social media clips about motherhood always get a LOL—but what’s the most rewarding thing about it?
I’m on social media to make myself and others feel less alone about motherhood. Hearing from other people that they relate to what I say brings me endless amounts of joy. It’s a bond like no other! Being a mom is the most beautiful thing, and I’ve learned so much about who I want to be and who I want to bring into this world…but it’s so complex. I feel like we were fed such false promises on how easy it would be! I just wrote a joke that goes “I always thought I’d get married, have kids, and be set for life—then I got married, had kids, and now I want to end my life.” Is that too dark?!

We’re obsessed with what we can see of your walk in closet on Instagram…what are five things in there that you couldn’t live without?
Thank you! I’m obsessed with what you put out every day. It’s a never ending want for me. I’m obsessed with my black Saint Laurent blazer that I can wear with both anything and/or (almost) nothing underneath. I have a pair of Chanel leather loafers with vintage coins on top that I found at Fivestory Palm Beach, and I know I’ll never find them anywhere again. I’m from Texas so I wear cowboy boots with everything—usually I like Luchesse, but I just found a pair from Dorothy Schumaker that are so comfortable. Free People jumpsuits are my go to for something easy and effortless. A classic Prada dress that I shortened by six inches and fits me perfectly now. And my most prized possession is the jewelry that my husband has given me every year designed by James De Givenchy of Taffin. Each piece is so unique and incredible; I feel very unworthy, but I accept them nonetheless. Somebody’s got to do it.

What are some newer labels you’ve discovered and are loving?
I just discovered Casablanca—they have the most awesome two piece sets that you could wear to cocktails or tennis. I also love Coperni, Piferi, Louisa Ballou, and this Brazilian designer who creates beautiful crochet pieces, Andrea Almeida. I also just found these bras by Marie Jo that are somehow fit me perfectly…leave it to the Dutch to do undergarments.

How did you spend the holidays and what survival musts get you through?
I’ve somehow been hosting Thanksgiving at my house the past couple years, and the best thing that gets me through that is renting tables and chairs, and hiring a caterer to do the hard work! I can make guacamole and that’s about it. I do love getting new table linens for every occasion and fun glassware I find from Etsy. I also worried less about trying to get everyone a gift and make everything look perfect—it just is what it is lately and I’m trying to do my best!

What’s one thing you’re leaving behind in 2022 and what you’re wishing for more of in 2023?
I’m trying to say no to more things and create space for what I really need for myself, although it’s really hard to say no to a new arrivals email on Net-A-Porter…maybe I’ll save that for 2024.

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