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    ….reflections from Phoebe Sherman,
    UCSC Intern at Drawing Hope

    The Drawing Hope gala was majestic, laced with purple and green. A glamorous evening adorned with celebrities, art, entertainment, ambiance and cuisine at The Mark in Beverly Hills.

    I was so excited to attend the gala. Not only to gather for a good cause, but also to meet the celebrities, eat the delicious food, and because I was showing my own art and excited for the awesome opportunity.
    Some stand-out memories…

    David Ilan, the founder of Drawing Hope, was showing his edgy Survivor or Not photography. He was in deep discussion with various important guests and celebrities on the red carpet, adding to his Points With Purpose Portrait of a Survivor, and giving interviews to the press.

    Energetic, yet relaxing live guitar by Tavi Jinariu made the room come alive.People of all ages (13-73, at least) filled the event hall with the clink of glasses and really warm conversation. At first, I wasn’t sure I’d know what to say to the guests, but it was just easy to be with people. Models showed-off BioBody women’s wear, makeup artists painted glam masquerade faces on some guests, waiters passed drinks and cameras everywhere added to the energy. Amy Paffrath (E! News Now) led us through the evening, MC-ing with sparkle, so it felt like a private TV-show in the event hall.

    AnnaLynne McCord, who plays a rape survivor on the hit television show 90210, floated down the red carpet, interviewed by the line media and our red-carpet hostess, Jackie Christie (Basketball Wives LA). I hadn’t seen a press wall in person before…. Later, young Ariel Winter (Modern Family) presented AnnaLynne with Drawing Hope’s Heart of Hope award for her tireless work towards abolishing child trafficking.

    Laura Slade Wiggins from Showtime’s Shameless received the Heart of Courage award for her brutally honest portrayal of the struggles that many rape and abuse survivors share. Her authenticity moved the guests to the edge of their seats.

    I remember watching Chris Massey on the Disney Channel…when he read verses by Maya Angelou, you could hear a pin drop in the room.

    Kai Chase, a famous chef has cooked for the Obamas (at the White House!) and for Michael Jackson, indulged us with a gourmet feast starting with small plates and Signorello wines (Hope's Cuvee) during the silent auction (one appetizer was strawberry and mint bruschetta with soft Italian cheese and sweet balsamic!). I remember the candied nuts in the endive salad, melt in your mouth spice of tandoori chicken with mint sauce and then lava cake…mmm. One of our guests (Garrett Morris from SNL and 2 Broke Girls) commented that he attends “charity events all the time and never had such food and wine!” We were just so spoiled.

    The auction included funky-fun stuff from TokiDoki and a lavish weekend in the Napa Valley at Wine Country Inn. At the end of the night, Gavin Keilly of GBK hosted a real live auction – wish I could have sprung for the private cooking sessions with Kai the chef.

    Good music…
    Sultradelix loosened up the crowd with their funky sound before we sat down to eat at tables that were set with a woodland forest theme. Later, award-winning songwriter, Michelle Chappel added some Southern Rock to the mix and began helping us all think about how we can support survivors.

    Mary Birdsong from The Descendants performed a song from The Color Purple, then Jasmine V, took the stage and talked about youth domestic violence and sang a collection of her hits. Shantel VanSanten from the TV show One Tree Hill was stunning in appearance and as a speaker; she seemed so happy to have her picture taken with fans. Shantel presented the Point of Faith award to Pranaadhika Sinha Devburman, a survivor from India who has been a part of the Points With Purpose Portrait since its inception. She created her own survivor group in Kolkata when she was hardly a teenager.

    The audience of supporters and survivors included not only celebrity and VIP sponsors, but also Jasmine’s young fans, and sponsored-guests (thanks to our Title Sponsor, Staree) including staff and residents from Susan Burton’s A New Way of Life (a top ten CNN Hero Winner in 2010) and Peace Over Violence.

    It was different to hear so many people speak of rape and sexual abuse freely, a subject that is usually whispered. People weren’t shy about it; they really put their heart on the line and backed it up with commitment. We were pooling together strength for all survivors. I felt blessed to be in the presence of such inspiration.