International and local celebrities walk the red carpet in Hong Kong at the inaugural gala for the Foundation for AIDS research.
HONG KONG, CHINA (MARCH 14, 2015) (REUTERS) – Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow and dozens of other international and local celebrities walked the red carpet in Hong Kong ahead of the city’s first fundraiser for the Foundation for AIDS Research (AmfAR).
As the night’s honorary Chair, Paltrow said she’s flown in from the United States to support the foundation’s inaugural event.
“What brings me here tonight? Tonight I’m here in support of AmfAR which is an incredible organisation working very hard to end the AIDS epidemic. So I’ve come from California to help support their first big event in Asia,” she said.
Since amfAR’s first international benefit, held in 1993 during the Cannes International Film Festival and hosted by Dame Elizabeth Taylor, the Foundation’s international galas in Milan, New York, Cannes, India, Venice, Rome and São Paulo and beyond, have become some of the most high-profile and eagerly anticipated charity events in the world and have helped to raise millions for AIDS research programs.
Designer and co-Chair of the event, Victoria Beckham, said she was honoured to attend the event.
“You know I’m just happy to be here tonight. I am a United Nations goodwill global ambassador for UNAIDS. So for me to be here tonight, supporting AmfAR, is hugely exciting,” she said wearing one of her own designs.
Long-time supporter, model Naomi Campbell who was helping to host the night, said she was excited and nervous to attend.
“I’ve been involved since ’93 and HIV, AmfAR, is something that doesn’t discriminate anyone in the world. And we still haven’t found a cure. So it’s an ongoing process and we still have to keep awareness and keeping people aware and maintaining funds in trying to find that cure,” Campbell said.
Asked if she was nervous about hosting, the model said she was always afraid of speaking in public.
“I’m always very nervous to speak in front of people, it’s not my thing. I’m a model. But I’m very happy and very honoured to be asked to be MC,” she added.
Model and co-Chair Kate Moss greeted AmfAR’s Chairman of the Board and designer, Kenneth Cole, on the carpet and posed for photos but refused interviews.
“I’m looking forward to see how culturally our message resonates. And there are language barriers but I’m not sure they’ll be barriers. And I think there is a global receptiveness to our message and we’ll see that tonight,” said Cole.
Actress Michelle Yeoh, who was to receive special recognition for her contributions to the global struggle against HIV/AIDS, said she hoped she would be alive to see a cure.
“Because we hope in our lifetime we will be able to say that AIDS is eradicated. HIV is no longer, children are no longer born with HIV. I mean it’s a global epidemic that we want to see the end of,” Yeoh said.
amfAR’s annual events play a critically important role in raising funds for the Foundation’s research programs and provide an important platform for raising awareness of HIV/AIDS, a disease that affects more than 35 million people around the world today, and infects more than two million every year.
Socialite Paris Hilton said she hoped to continue to raise awareness.
“AmfAR is an amazing organisation, they do incredible work. We need to find a cure for this. So the more people come to support it, spread the word, raise money, tomorrow we’ll find a cure,” said Hilton.
However, one arrival on the red carpet turned heads for all the wrong reasons.
The notorious daughter of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, arrived late an appeared to need support walking.
Leaning against the backdrop for support, she ignored pleas by the carpet host to leave before stumbling off to laughter and jeers from the local media.
The 23-year-old law student has gained notoriety for a series of explosive social media pictures and messages, one in which she appears to show her slashed wrist, and another saying she feels no shame living luxuriously off taxpayers’ money.
Accounts have since been deleted.