Galas Galore

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On March - 25 - 2010
Niki_Adamkova_&_George_Wallner_&_Ximena_Gonzalez

Nikki Adamkova, George Wallner, and Ximena Gonzalez

The first annual Hearts and Stars Gala took place Saturday evening at Casa Malinka, the waterfront estate of Russian super-model, Malinka Max and George Wallner to benefit The Little Lighthouse Foundation and Ronald McDonald Charities of South Florida. This “un-gala” seemed like a “pretty people convention” with over 600 well-heeled, great looking guests in attendance.  Instead of assigned seating, drawn out speeches, or banquet food (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) the Hearts and Stars gala featured an informal gathering, wherein guests roamed the expansive property, danced, mingled, bid on terrific auction items, enjoyed gourmet food from food stations provided by Devito South Beach, the Chop House, The  Ivy and GREY GOOSE cocktails a-go-go and were treated to a fashion show and two incredible musical performances, one by up-and-coming superstar, charismatic, NIRnir (who we tout as a young, Israeli Justin Timberlake, except even more gorgeous) and another  live performance by the legendary Pras Michel, founder and former member of the multi Grammy award winning group, The FugeesNIR showed off his terrific vocals, which are rivaled only by his dance moves, performing his debut single “Here I Come” along with dancers from the Strip.  Can we say “HOT?!”  After a brilliantly colorful fashion show by designer Rosita Hurtado, Pras Michel and his new band AXIXS wowed the crowd with a concert which included their new single “Hipstar”, along with other classics mixed in with the requisite Gaga, and the multi-platinum selling single “Ghetto Superstar,” (mashed-up with Dolly Parton’s “Islands in the Stream”- who knew both songs have the same melody?) which was even better than the original, complete with a fireworks display in the background. 

“We have received nothing but positive feedback from all in attendance that this was a first class event, and have built a good foundation for the future.  We were amazed the resources, time, effort, and personal vestment people had in making this event a success both financially and otherwise, and the generous contributions from so many including Pras and Axixs, George Wallner, and our sponsors and hosts,” said Rob Sena, Founder of Little Lighthouse Foundation.

Jennifer_Valoppi,_Romero_Britto_&_Marisa_Toccin_at_Women_of_Tomorrow

Jennifer Valoppi, Romero Britto, and Marisa Toccin

Women of Tomorrow

On the same night, at the Mandarin Oriental, the Women of Tomorrow (WOT) Mentor & Scholarship Program’s power players Jennifer Valoppi and Telemundo president Don Browne along with Gala Chair Marisa Toccin; WOT Vice-President and State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle; and honorees:  Madeleine and Micky Arison; Lora and Fred Drasner and  Jason and Haley Binn celebrated the WOT annual gala along with nearly 500 philanthropists.  Celebrity guests and VIP attendees included tennis master Serena Williams, Victoria Secret supermodel Selita Ebanks, Latin heartthrob and Billboard nominated singer/actor JenCarlos Canela, renowned artist Romero Britto, news anchor Maria Celeste Arraras, and singer/songwriter Jamie Jo Harris.

Also on Saturday The Wellness Community presented a Night in Monte Carlo at the Eden Roc.  The elegant affair was chaired by Michael Capponi and Debra SchottensteinDavid Gandell was named the Heart of Gold Honoree and Lonnie Quinn served as the auctioneer for the second year in a row.

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Mary Jo Almeida-Shore,Jose Almeida,Maryanne Salvat
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