Inside the Star-Studded 2015 UNICEF Snowflake Ball Honoring Orlando Bloom
Stars were in the charitable spirit last night in New York City—and it wasn't just because it was #GivingTuesday. Orlando Bloom, Pink, Tea Leoni, and Liam Neeson were among those to brave the chilly, damp temperatures and turn out to support the 11th annual UNICEF Snowflake Ball, held at Cipriani Wall Street. Bloom (in Tom Ford) was being honored with the Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award for his years-long work with the United Nations Children’s Fund, which provides health care, water, nutrition, and education to underprivileged kids around the world. Before he even headed inside to accept his award, Bloom’s passion for the mission of the Fund was unmistakable.
“Time and time again, I’ve seen the work that UNICEF does to save the lives of children in some of the most remote parts of the world,” Bloom told InStyle, adding that he has witnessed the transformative results firsthand. “I’ve been there—I was in Liberia for the tail end of Ebola, and I was in a Zaatari refugee camp last year. Without this organization, at this time of year, in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia or in Belgrade [Serbia] right now, it’s really cold—dangerously cold. And what UNICEF is doing there is providing a ton of shelter and warmth.”
Bloom is proud of the organization’s accomplishments, but he stressed that there’s still plenty of work to be done. “There are 246 million children living in war-torn countries right now, and the numbers are growing rapidly,” he said. “It’s a desperate time for these people, and I’m here tonight to support UNICEF and hope that we can have everyone see what valuable work they do.”
Bloom is a huge contributor to that work, and his efforts were detailed in a speech given by Liam Neeson, who presented him with the award. Neeson, who played Bloom’s onscreen father in the 2005 film Kingdom of Heaven, explained why the actor’s recognition was so well-deserved. “As a loving father, I have to say he has a beautiful soul,” Neeson said. “He gives widely—not to attract spotlight, but because giving fuels him. He gives in his craft and he gives in his world.”
Neeson didn’t stop there when it came to praising Bloom. “His romantic outlook on life isn’t an act—there is a lot of depth, empathy, and understanding to Orlando Bloom,” he said. “It’s what makes him a very fine actor, and an even finer person. He’s a true humanitarian.” After listing Bloom’s contributions to the organization, including trips taken, telethons hosted, and initiatives championed, Neeson continued: “The depth of his heart seems endless. As the old saying goes, if you want something done, ask the busy man.”
Bloom may have been busy supporting the cause over the years, but he wasn’t the only one. The evening’s host, Younger star Debi Mazar (in Isabel Toledo), started her work with UNICEF way before she became famous for playing the resident snarky publicist on Entourage. “I was one of those kids that had the UNICEF Halloween trick-or-treat box, and I raised a lot of money,” she told InStyle before turning her attention to her hosting duties for the night. “It’s something that’s been close to my heart.” And she’s already teaching her kids to give back, too. “We see poverty in our own neighborhood, and my daughter brings extra food in her lunchbox for her friends who don’t have nutritious meals,” said Mazar, adding that she’ll do anything in her power to help kids around the globe. “Children are the next generation, and they’re the ones that don’t have voices.”
That’s why it was so important for guests to stand up for the kids by using their own voices last night—and Pink went above and beyond in that department. After attendees enjoyed a seated three-course meal and participated in a live auction that sold VIP tickets for an upcoming Janet Jackson concert and two tickets to Milan Fashion Week, the singer performed a trio of powerful songs with just one guitarist backing her.
Before performing her soulful tune “Perfect,” Pink (in Alice + Olivia) confessed to getting choked up when performing the song from time to time. And even though she didn’t appear to shed any tears during this particular sing-along, the ballroom's audience —including her celebrity fans—couldn’t get enough of Pink. Michelle Monaghan, for one, was excited to see the singer take the stage. “She’s so badass,” Monaghan (in Vivienne Westwood) told InStyle. “She’s an amazing performer and woman, and I’m very excited that she’s one of UNICEF’s new ambassadors.”
The evening had Pink feeling the giving spirit too. Even though she was there to entertain, the singer’s real goal was to do some good. “I like to be inspired, and tonight is going to be really inspiring,” she told InStyle before closing out the evening with her performance. “I like when someone lights the fire under me, and UNICEF does that.” But while the gala was a reason to focus on giving back, Pink was adamant that she doesn’t limit her good deeds to the holiday season—and she encourages others to follow her lead. “I think it’s important to give every day,” she said. “And I think it’s also important to be grateful for what you have every day.”