Passersby on 42nd Street were treated to a parade of celebrities this past Thursday as sports stars, TV and movie personalities, and well-known philanthropists strolled a red carpet outside of Cipriani 42nd Street in support of the evening’s Operation Smile Smile Gala. Operation Smile is a not-for-profit that provides free-of-charge, life-changing surgery to children with cleft lip or cleft palate.
Inside the event, Private Practice’s Kate Walsh emceed with support from legendary New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning as special presenter, and guests mingled among celebrities like Jay Manuel, Jonathan Cheban, Wendy Williams, Maggie Q, and many more. The evening kicked off with a live auction led by Caroline Rhea and guests also experienced a heartfelt live stream showing a Colombian child who was about to undergo surgery made possible by Operation Smile.
The evening’s entertainment included a live performance from the Broadway Boys and Alexandra Richards in the DJ booth. CEO of Johnson and Johnson Alex Gorsky was honored with the Corporate Humanitarian Award for Johnson and Johnson’s tremendous support of the organization, while philanthropist Barbara Majeski and her family were awarded with the Founders Circle Award for their work with the cause.
The enthusiasm was infectious and many celebrities were eager to share their love for the cause. “You can be involved in this and not be a [billionaire],” The Blacklist's Michael Rapaport said. “You can see the results immediately, and you can just change the course of their life. Everybody should be comfortable smiling.”
Meanwhile, America's Next Top Model talent and beauty guru Jay Manuel was excited to unveil a special Jay Manuel Beauty lip stain at the event. “I’ve done different things over the years but tonight we’re unveiling ‘Smile,’ which is a part of Jay Manuel Beauty. A portion of the proceeds of every ‘Smile’ go to Operation Smile,” the seven-year Smile Ambassador shared.
And some, like Miss Universe 2014 Paulina Vega, were excited to attend the event for the first time. “I want to see all the people, but I also want to support the cause,” Vega said. “We’re trying to spread the message and I’m here to support and help.
Whether the event-goers were new to the cause or steadfast supporters for many years, they had one thing in common—their smiles all told the story of how good if feels to support such a genuinely amazing organization.