Gala time: Stars give back

Gala time: Stars give back

Eva Longoria, Ricky Martin and 50 Cent party for a cause

By (Ambica Sachin)

Published: Mon 16 Dec 2013, 12:07 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 4:57 PM

WHEN 50 CENT drops in unannounced to a party, you can bet it’s going to be a good night. Dubai’s first Global Gift Gala held at the supperclub, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray on Saturday night managed to draw in not only the city’s philanthropists with a deep pocket and a bigger heart, but celebrities like Eva Longoria, Ricky Martin, Haifa Wehbe, Maxwell and Katie Kittermaster. And when the opening lot - a portrait of Eva Longoria created on the spot by artist Ghyath Mahmoud - went for $37,000, the excitement from the gathered guests was palpable.

Clad in casuals with baseball cap in place, 50 Cent apologised for his tardy appearance in the midst of the formal black tie clad guests and went on to auction off a set of his signed headphones - which was picked up by Haifa Wehbe for $15,000.

Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria, who had flown in specially to fulfill her role as Global Gift Gala Honorary Chair, was equally passionate and pushy when it came to coaxing the gathered crowd to part with their money for a good cause.

And there was no better person for the job as Longoria opened up about her own private tribulations and what prompted her to turn to philanthropy in such a big way. “I come from a very philanthropic family,” she said. “My oldest sister has special needs- she has a mental disability. So I was born into this world of thinking of someone else, of being totally selfless. Our family always thought of Lisa. Where could Lisa eat, where could Lisa vacation... and when you have that mentality, you are constantly thinking of somebody else. And there is no greater teacher in my life than my sister Lisa, who is an amazing human being,” Longoria said.

“When Lisa was in high school, somebody stole her jacket. I was maybe ten at that time and I thought, ‘Who would steal a special needs child’s jacket?’

“But when I asked her, she said, ‘Somebody who must have been cold.’

“To have that automatic reaction and to always put yourself in someone else’s shoes was a gift she had and which many of us don’t. It is our job and our responsibility to think that way and to give back.”

And Dubai did give back with the lots including a specially crafted Montegrappa Pen with an inscription of the iconic Emirates Towers, a gastronomic experience with famous chef Dalia Dogmoch, an Argentinean Polo Horse, a diamond earring and pendant set from DeBeers, a six-nights stay at the Jumeriah Maldives and a special Eva Longoria experience in Marbella being picked up in quick succession by the guests.

Cheers and applause greeted Grammy award winning pop star Ricky Martin when he got up the stage to receive the Global Gift Humanitarian Award for seeking to end child exploitation and trafficking across the world.

The night that saw performances by UAE-based songstress Katie Kittermaster and American recording artist Maxwell ended on a sultry note as Haifa Wehbe wooed the audience with a medley of her popular songs.

Founded by Maria Bravo and Alina Peralta, the Global Gift Foundation this year will benefit Noor Dubai Foundation also.

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