Be More Like Bre

Bre Payton was an amazing writer, friend, and “big sister”

The last time I saw Bre was at my house in early November. A few weeks before that day, I emailed my BRIGHT writers that I would be out for a few days because I was having surgery. She immediately wrote back and asked if she could visit me in the hospital. I was hesitant because I had decided not to tell my family and most friends about the surgery and didn’t want visitors. I tried to brush off the offer and told her that I wasn’t sure how long I would be in the hospital. She persisted and asked if she could visit me once I got home. I reminded her that I lived in Northern Virginia, not DC. She persisted again and said that was fine.

Two days after I left the hospital, she took an Uber to my house. She was wearing a beautiful red dress and brought me several multi-colored roses. For the next hour or so, she listened to me talk about my hopes and fears following the surgery. She humored me when I showed her a YouTube video about one of the issues I was worried about and was confident that I could overcome it. There was no judgment, only support.

Then we talked about our favorite subject — makeup. After a recent hit on Kennedy, I had tried the Kat Von D liquid lipstick after Bre recommended it to me. The makeup artist told me Bre had also recommended the brand to her and she loved it. I bought a couple shades, but decided they would look so much better on Bre. So, I gave them to her that day, along with a couple other items. A few days later she texted, “The Tarte palate and CC Cream have changed my life.”

Almost three weeks after she visited me, I posted a photo of a single red rose she had brought me that day. It still looked perfect. I wrote that it was giving me “Beauty and the Beast feeling.” It was just unbelievable that the red rose still looked so perfect. She replied, “Omg, is that one of the flowers I gave you? How is it still alive? Hahaha.”

Bre was a wonderful writer and person. (It hurts so much to write, “was.”) She was a frequent guest writer for BRIGHT. I wanted her to be a permanent writer, but she was already spread thin with her duties at The Federalist, Problematic Women podcast, and frequent TV appearances. Still, she always wanted to do more and I’m thankful BRIGHT was one of those things she made time for in her already busy life. A few weeks ago she asked if she could do a feature on the First Lady once a week for BRIGHT. We named it “Mondays with Melania.”

On Problematic Women with Bre Payton and Kelsey Harkness.

Kelsey Harkness wrote, “At just 26, Bre Payton was younger than me, but felt more like my big sister.”

I’m 41 and I feel the same way. She was spiritually mature, confident, and an unfailing friend. All things I often lack. She encouraged me to be more self-confident when I was on TV. She supported my books and projects without asking for anything in return — a rarity in DC and media. She told me about the perfect red lipstick.

It has been just over two years since I lost my best friend. As someone who is already guarded and only has a few close friends, my first instinct after losing Bre is to become even more isolated. However, the right thing to do is to be a better friend. It’s to live a confident and Christ-centered life, be persistent in being a good friend, and appreciate the beautiful things in life, like a simple red rose or red lipstick. The right thing to do to honor her memory and life is to be more like Bre.

Bre’s family has set up the Bre Payton Scholarship Fund. This fund will go toward college scholarships to support other young, rising Christian leaders who share in Bre’s passion for truth, purpose, and life. Click here to donate.