Hillary Clinton Surprises Katy Perry at Unicef Fundraiser in New York Cityby
Mary Erdoes, David Wassong help raise $3.9 million for kids
U.S. Fund for Unicef Chairman Lamm says support is bipartisan
On Tuesday night in New York, president-elect Donald Trump dined at Jean-Georges with potential secretary of state Mitt Romney, while Hillary Clinton received over a solid minute of gleeful screams during the Unicef Snowflake Ball at Cipriani Wall Street, which raised more than $3.9 million for the U.S. Fund for Unicef.
Was it a roomful of Democrats? Likely, though the organization’s board members took pains to be nonpartisan. They emphasized Clinton’s role as a champion of children and Unicef, including during her time as secretary of state, supporting U.S. aid to refugees in Syria and other relief efforts.
"We’ve had very good bipartisan support, I believe, because the cause of children is pretty universal," Peter Lamm, the chairman of the U.S. Fund for Unicef and a co-founder of the private-equity firm Fenway Partners, said in an interview.
And under the next president? "Trump, I think he’s got humanity, and I think ‘Children First’ is hard to argue with," he added, using a Unicef tagline.
Clinton, for her part, made the Unicef fundraiser her second public appearance since her election loss. Unlike her Nov. 16 speech at the Children’s Defense Fund gala, this one was unannounced, a surprise for one of the honorees -- pop star and Unicef Ambassador Katy Perry, whose support of Clinton’s candidacy included singing on the closing night of the Democratic National Convention.
As Perry’s “Roar” played, Clinton, looking rested and relaxed, walked onto the stage to present the singer with the Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award. Perry watched from her dinner seat between her parents and her boyfriend, Orlando Bloom. She teared up. ("Does anyone have a tissue?" she said when she arrived at the lectern.)
Clinton, though, had no tears. Perry, she said, is "someone whose powerful voice and creative lyrics remind us, when you get knocked down, to get back up."
And her slightly smirking, confident smile from the campaign trail reappeared during an allusion to her election rival, when she described Perry as "the social media queen with the most Twitter followers in the world -- although she’s getting some competition."
Perry, after a long hug with Clinton, noted that her work as a Unicef ambassador "started with a special focus on influencing young people. I am sure my handful of Twitter followers had nothing to do with that, right? L-O-L."
Their remarks highlighted a mutual respect and affection, undimmed in the wake of Clinton’s defeat.
Perry, with Unicef, has "visited the poorest places on Earth and lent her voice to kids who would otherwise be voiceless," Clinton said. "She has put a spotlight on child poverty and has encouraged the empowerment of women and girls." Noting that Perry raised more than $1 million for Unicef on her most recent global concert tour, Clinton added, "we need champions like Katy now more than ever."
Perry credited Clinton for helping her develop a public persona beyond entertainment. "I’ve always had a voice, a singing voice, right? But I’ve never had a voice like I’ve had before, and Hillary has lit that voice inside of me, and that light will never go out," Perry said.
The event itself almost had too many bright lights on the bill. The cast of "The Color Purple" and Sara Bareilles performed. Actress Octavia Spencer emceed. Designer Vern Yip did the decor of snowflakes atop turquoise and silver tablecloths.
And guests talked of Trump’s selections for cabinet: Andrew Hohns of Mariner Investment Group said he hoped Steve Mnuchin would focus on reducing child poverty as secretary of the Treasury. David Wassong of Soros Fund Management said he’d like to see Trump pick Romney for secretary of state.
"I have a lot of respect for him, and he brings a level of gravitas," Wassong said of the former Massachusetts governor, adding that he saw a spark in the Republican when he spoke out against Trump months ago. "He didn’t have a veneer: you saw who he really is. I liked that."
Guests included Mary Erdoes, Kelly Coffey, Aryeh Bourkoff, Alexandra and Claudia Lebenthal, Colin Callender, Allison Williams, Tea Leoni and Kyle MacLachlan, who agreed he resembles Romney enough to play him on TV. Gillian Miniter and Desiree Gruber (MacLachlan’s wife) were the gala chairs. Moll Anderson, author of the forthcoming book "Change Your Home, Change Your Life with Color," wore a Unicef armband over her black velvet gown as she was honored with the Spirit of Compassion Award.