The Happy Hearts Gala - Celebrating Haiti in NYC
Whether I am in NYC or I’m in Haiti – my world is about Haiti right now – what can I tell you?
After my amazing trip to Haiti shooting with Russell James, David Bell and Adriana Lima, I came back to NYC to attend a Gala for Petra Nemcova’s Happy Hearts Fund, a non-profit foundation dedicated to rebuilding schools and restoring hope and opportunity in the lives of children after natural disasters. The event was creatively designed to make you feel like you had been exported to Haiti. I, of course, felt right at home. I was surrounded by so many of the faces that I have come to love, by the music I can’t help by dance to and the essence of a culture that has been an endless source of inspiration for me. We even had an Urban Zen pop-up booth filled with our Haitian Artisan wares and a design area for children to decorate artisan-crafted stone hearts.
The evening’s program began with a performance by Josh Groban. It was Ah-mazing! He is my kind of singer and I would love to bring him to Urban Zen. After dinner, Sean Penn received an award for his tireless work in Haiti through his foundation, J/P HRO. There was an impressive auction that raised over a million dollars, all to further Happy Hearts work in Haiti.
My absolute favorite part of the evening was the Rara music. Wyclef Jean and his sister Melkie set the tone with their powerful vocals, but the Rara kids were definitely the stars of the show. I had so much fun dancing with them; they were so cute!
The festive energy of the Happy Hearts Gala truly captured everything I am working toward in Haiti, every new development is an effort to showcase the endless possibility and potential of a country that is home to some of the richest creativity that I have ever experienced. This was exactly the message that was being shared at the Happy Hearts Fund Gala and it was exhilarating.