Heidi Klum, Melanie Griffith, Goldie Hawn, Tom Hanks, James Corden, Diane Sawyer, Kate Hudson, Sean Penn, Sophia Bush, Dermot Mulroney, Dita Von Teese, and amfAR Chairman of the Board Kenneth Cole were among those who gathered at Ron Burkle’s Historic Green Acres Estate last night for the eighth annual amfAR Gala Los Angeles. The event paid tribute to Academy Award-winning actress, Julia Roberts, in recognition of her profound commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS, as well as countless other humanitarian causes. The gala, presented by Harry Winston, M•A•C Viva Glam, and AMTD Group, raised over $2 million for amfAR’s life-saving research programs.
Cheyenne Jackson, Natasha Bedingfield, Victoria Justice, Busy Philipps, Julianne Nicholson, Ryan Murphy, Cara Santana and Jesse Metcalfe, Maria Cuomo Cole, Selita Ebanks, Bethenny Frankel, Ashley Greene, Connie Britton, Colton Haynes, Jeff Leatham, Patricia Bonaldi, Sistine Stallone, Daniel Levy, Viktor Luna, Mia Maestro, Angela Missoni, Ongina, and others were also in attendance.
The evening opened with a lively and humorous introduction by host James Corden, who announced a surprise performance by Chris Martin. Martin opened with an acoustic rendition of “Pretty Woman,” and later welcomed James Corden back on stage for a captivating duet of “Nothing Compares 2U.”
Following the performance, longtime amfAR supporter, Cheyenne Jackson, thanked the evening’s sponsors and introduced amfAR Chairman of the Board, Kenneth Cole. Cole mentioned the devastation caused by recent tragedies around the world, including hurricanes, mass shootings, and destructive fires, and remarked how “tonight, we can at least feel encouraged by knowing we are working together to address a crisis that we are doing something about.” He reinforced the importance of putting an end to the global AIDS crisis, and acknowledged the donors in the room who were doing their part in helping to make the epidemic history.
The evening’s fundraising efforts began with actress Busy Philipps participating in a Givergy pledge drive that helped generate over $130,000 in donations. The event also featured an exciting live auction conducted by Alexander Gilkes. A highlight of the auction occurred when a lunch with Julia Roberts, Matt Bomer, and Ryan Murphy generated such enthusiastic and competitive bidding that Tom Hanks, Sean Penn, and James Corden all volunteered to join to help increase funds raised. They were successful and the lunch was sold twice for a total of $210,000. Other highlights of the auction included:
· Four VIP tickets to The Late Late Show with James Corden with a backstage tour and an opportunity to participate in James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke sold for $65,000.
· Two tickets to Jean Paul Gaultier’s Spring/Summer 2018 runway show in Paris, complete with a private haute couture fitting, and round-trip airfare on Delta One™ sold for $40,000.
· Juxtapose, a work of street pop art by Mr. Brainwash, created intense bidding competition and sold for $82,000.
· An Australian wine excursion with Cape Mentelle, including luxury accommodations and an unlimited choice of unique experiences, sold for $20,000.
· Cracking Art’s Giant Rabbit sculpture was presented by longtime amfAR supporter Heidi Klum, and sold for $30,000.
· A three-night stay for six guests at Jackson Hole’s exclusive Amangani resort with round trip travel on a private jet sold for $45,000.
· A limited edition Slim Aarons print featuring Hotel Du Cap-Eden-Roc sold for $40,000.
· A luxurious eight-night journey through East Africa, organized by the renowned travel agency Black Tomato, sold for $40,000.
The night culminated with a heartfelt and entertaining tribute to Julia Roberts by Tom Hanks and a show stopping performance by Fergie. When Tom Hanks took the stage to present the amfAR Award of Courage to Julia Roberts, he opened saying “I can’t say enough good things about Julia Roberts.” He spoke about his admiration for her as an actor, a mother, a wife and a humanitarian, applauding her work with numerous causes including the One Foundation and the RED campaign, and spoke of her recent trip to Africa to deliver vaccines to children in need. He also commended the guests on their support of amfAR, saying “we’re a couple decades into this and AIDS is going to be history in time.”
In her acceptance speech, Julia Roberts remarked that the fight against HIV/AIDS is at a “tipping point,” as deaths related to the disease have halved in the past ten years due to life saving treatments. She said that facts like these give her courage and, “if we don’t take our foot off the gas – by 2020 we could ensure that no children will be born with HIV anymore, becoming the first HIV free generation!” Julia concluded her words with a call to action, to “give and give and give to assist this valiant mission to find a cure for AIDS and bring peace to the lives of those who suffer.”
The night ended with a lively performance by eight-time GRAMMY® Award-winning multi-platinum artist Fergie who had everyone out of their seats and dancing. Fergie performed “You Already Know” from her new album Double Dutchess, as well as established hits such as “Glamorous,” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” As she sang the last song of the evening, “I Gotta Feeling,” she invited guests to the stage and pledged a donation to amfAR in their honor. Julia Roberts, Dita Von Teese, Connie Britton, Julianne Nicholson, Bethenny Frankel, Selita Ebanks, Ongina, and others joined Fergie on stage for a final bow.
amfAR Chairman of the Board Kenneth Cole, Ron Burkle, and Jason Weinberg served as the Event Chairs. Kevin Huvane, Bryan Lourd, Richard Lovett, and Ida Ziniti were Honorary Chairs. Co-Chairs of the event included Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott, Matt Bomer and Simon Halls, Patricia Bonaldi, Stephen Chobsky, Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber, John Demsey, Tom Ford, amfAR Global Fundraising Chairman Milutin Gatsby, Jean Paul Gaultier, James Goldstein, Nayla Hayek, Stephen Huvane, Michael Kors, Matthew Modine, Ryan Murphy and David Miller, Gary Newman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Michael Patrick, Sean Patterson, Sean Penn, Zac Posen, Alan Poul and Ari Karpel, Billy and Stacy Ray, Vincent Roberti, Rich Ross and Adam Sanderson, Jeremy Scott, Gary Tigges, M.D., Diana Walden, Steve Warren, Pauletta and Denzel Washington, Rodney Williams, and Rita Wilson.
The event was presented by Harry Winston, M•A•C Viva Glam, and AMTD Group. Cadillac, Moët Hennessy, and PatBO were the event’s Signature Sponsors. Moët Hennessy provided champagne, wine, and spirits for the evening including a Belvedere amfAR Martini, Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label, and Cape Mentelle wines (photos: http://www.image.net/amfarlosangeles). FIJI Water was the Associate Sponsor. Delta Air Lines is the Official Airline of amfAR.
To date, the amfAR Gala Los Angeles has raised more than $13 million for amfAR’s life-saving research programs.