During a week of champagne-filled celebrations in honor of Sunday's Academy Awards, Unite4:Good and Variety took the opportunity to celebrate the philanthropic efforts of the Hollywood community at the third annual Unite4:Humanity gala.
This year’s honorees included Matthew McConaughey for his work with teenagers through his Just Keep Livin Foundation, Gina Rodriguez for empowering young women through her We Will Foundation, Olivia Wilde for her work with Save the Children and Seth Rogen and his wife Lauren Miller for their battle against Alzheimer’s through the variety show Hilarity for Charity.
Camila Alves arrived in a stunning Paule Ka design with a matching Tyler Alexandra clutch, ready to celebrate McConaughey. "It was just classic, elegent," she said of her dress, "but it's about my husband tonight, so [I'm] just honoring him." For the actor, the night served as an opportunity to dole out some motivating words. "Take risks. Being afraid of failure holds a lot of us," McConaughey told InStyle. "I know it's held me back many a time. Being afraid of failure, being embarrassed to fail—forget all that stuff. That's a drop in the bucket. A giggle later on. Try it. Take a chance. And then take time to get to know yourself."
On the red carpet, Wilde, a longtime philanthropist, told reporters that motherhood had such a major impact on her life that it led to her work with Save the Children. “It's made me a better human being. It's made me a better artist. It's made me a more grateful person, a more tired person,” she said of life with her young son, Otis. “No matter who you are, you become a mother and you go through kind of the same experience. It's just something that unites us. And that's a really wonderful, powerful thing. So I wanted to channel that into a role that would help me be really helpful in some way.”
Also inspired by personal events, Rogen and Miller, whose mother suffers from early-onset Alzheimer’s, shared how their annual fundraiser that came out of such personal experience had a surprising silver lining for the couple. “It's crazy that something so sad has also brought us so much joy, and we feel so lucky to get to do it,” says Miller. “My mom would be really blown away by [the event]. She'd want to be a part of it, but that's the hardest part. She would be out there yelling louder than anyone.”
Though the star-studded three-course dinner at The Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills didn’t lack any of the usual awards season glamour, the theme of the night was gratitude. Rodriguez, who took the stage with tears streaming down her face, thanked her parents for teaching her that helping others is something you simply do, without asking for anything in return. “[Philanthropy] means a responsibility that should be standard. Something that doesn't need to be praised,” Rodriguez told InStyle moments before accepting her award. The reward, she says, is the ability to be of help. “Acting fulfills my ego. Helping others fulfills my heart.”