In paying tribute to Charlize Theron at Thursday’s amfAR Inspiration Gala, Chelsea Handler praised the Academy Award-winning actress for her honesty, influence, dedication to her Africa Outreach Project and its, perhaps, unique fundraising methods.
“She slips you a drink, and when you come to, you’ve found you bought a school in Malawi,” Handler joked, adding, “I have three schools now.”
Held at Milk Studios in Hollywood, amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, honored Theron and Jeffrey Katzenberg, chairman of DreamWorks New Media, for their exceptional contributions to the fight against AIDS.
If you didn’t get to the gala, here are six things you missed.
1.) Lea Michele, Victoria Justice, Angela Lindvall, Erica Pelosini and Theron gave new meaning to the term “glitterati,” draped as they were in diamonds from Harry Winston, the night’s presenting sponsor along with MAC Viva Glam.
In a conversation between courses, Michele used the word “ecstatic” to describe her feelings Thursday night. She attributed them to the 180 carats’ worth of diamonds she wore in her rings, earrings and Secret Combination by Harry Winston necklace and bracelets, valued, according to stylist Brad Goreski, at $2.5 million.
“I was born and raised in the Bronx,” said the “Scream Queens” star in her Elie Saab gown. “And here I am now wearing over $2 million in diamonds. It’s pretty amazing.”
2.) After an introduction by Barry Diller, Katzenberg acknowledged the progress made in the fight against HIV/AIDS and for LGBT rights but expressed concern about the “hateful” speeches in today’s politics, saying, “Let’s make no mistake, if intolerance wins, amfAR and all it stands for loses.”
3.) Theron, too, called for “an end to the intolerance and bigotry that’s driving this disease,” adding, “Unfortunately, it’s pretty clear from this election that when it comes to ending intolerance and bigotry, we’ve got a long way to go.”
4.) After thanking Jane Lynch and Cheyenne Jackson for opening the night’s festivities — they did so with a song and a kiss — event co-chair Heidi Klum welcomed guests, encouraging all to “dig deep” during the night’s live auction. “You’ve got to wake up and fork up that cash,” said the “Project Runway” host.
Indeed, the auction, which offered artwork, luxury trips, jewels, a Paris fashion show and a “Madge in Miami” package (concert tickets and a photo with Madonna), which alone brought $50,000.
5.) Before dinner began, burlesque queen Dita Von Teese said she’d contributed to the cause most recently by participating in an album of ’80s cover songs. “I’m a reluctant singer, but I’d do anything for amfAR,” she said.
6.) This was a shindig with no shortage of star power.
Guests included Jon Hamm, Courtney Love, Kelsey Grammer, David Foster, Shemar Moore, Cara Santana, Jesse Metcalfe, Paris Hilton, Estelle and Jason Derulo, who closed the evening on a lively note with a performance of his hit songs.
The gala raised more than $2 million, thanks to the auction, tables ranging from $20,000, individual tickets beginning at $3,000, and additional contributions. Kenneth Cole and Aileen Getty served as chairs for the gala.
Ellen Olivier is the founder of Society News L.A.