Hollywood actors Eva Longoria Baston (Desperate Housewives) and Gary Dourdan (CSI) mingled with Bollywood stars such as Shabana Azmi (Masoom) and Shilpa Shetty Kundra (Celebrity Big Brother) on Thursday evening in Dubai for a charitable cause, at the Global Gift Gala in Hotel Grosvenor House.
Make-up mogul Huda Kattan (Huda Beauty) and internationally renowned spiritual author Deepak Chopra were also in attendance.
I am looking forward to tonight. It’s an important cause ... it’s not always necessary to pay forward to society with money. Spending time with each other also counts.
“I’m such a feminist, and Eva is such a really wonderful example for women, so I’m really excited to be here. I always think it’s really important to lead by example. We take our responsibility and our following very seriously,” said Kattan, whose HudaBeauty Instagram account has nearly 30 million followers.
“I also think if you ever get the opportunity to give back, you absolutely should. And so I’m going to hopefully follow in Eva’s footsteps and we would love to create some type of movement as well. I think what she does is so amazing,” she added.
Author and public speaker Chopra added: "This is my third or fourth time at the Global Gift Gala, but my first time attending it in Dubai. I am looking forward to tonight. It’s an important cause ... it’s not always necessary to pay forward to society with money. Spending time with each other also counts."
Azmi was set to award Iraqi-American entrepreneur and beauty blogger Kattan with the Global Gift Women Empowerment Award.
I am always ready to be a part of any charity that helps women and children.
“I am delighted to be giving the award to Huda for her role in empowering women... when women are educated, they are empowered and can be the agents of change” Azmi said ahead of the red carpet.
Actress and founder of the non-profit Global Gift Gala, now in its sixth Dubai edition, Mario Bravo, said: "“My mum taught me always that you have to be compassionate with everyone around you and to put yourself in the shoes of other people. I remember my mum putting some more water in the lentil soup [because] all our neighbours didn’t have anything to eat, especially the older people, and my mum would serve food everyday. That showed me the compassion that you have to give back.”
Dourdan also named his mother and his older sister, a midwife, who was vocal about the problems with the medical industry in America, as his inspirations. “Strong women around me has definitely helped me, so this continuation with Eva Longoria and Maria Bravo, they’re family. It feels natural,” said Dourdan.
Meanwhile, Global Gift Gala’s honorary chairperson Longoria is no stranger to Dubai, often visiting the city for this charitable cause.
I love coming to Dubai because it’s really a fun place to visit, but also the people are very generous here. It’s a very international population, so we get all cultures, all walks of life, everybody who’s very caring and generous with their time, energy and their inspiration tonight.
“I love coming to Dubai because it’s really a fun place to visit, but also the people are very generous here. It’s a very international population, so we get all cultures, all walks of life, everybody who’s very caring and generous with their time, energy and their inspiration tonight,” said Longoria, who turned up at the event with her infant son Santiago Baston, who turns five months old this month.
The evening saw a live auction of items including collectible art, jewellery and luxury travel packages.
Sports lovers were able to bid on the chance to watch English football club Manchester City train and play a match at Etihad Stadium, as well as meet-and-greet the team. Other items included a glove signed by Muhammad Ali and a cricket bat signed by both the India and Pakistan cricket teams from the 1985 B&H World Championship Final.
British contemporary artist Sacha Jafri was also auctioning off a piece of custom artwork. Last week, a piece by Jafri, created in collaboration with Hollywood actors Susan Sarandon, Ben Stiller and Madeleine Stowe, secured the highest bid at the Brilliant is Beautiful Gala in Dubai. According to Stiller’s Instagram, it sold for $250,000.
Azmi, an award-winning Indian actress and activist, was due to speak at the black-tie gala dinner on the subject of human rights and women empowerment. The veteran actress has been vocal about art as an instrument of social change.
Actress and fitness enthusiast Shetty Kundra spoke about women’s rights and empowerment before heading inside the glitzy auction.
"“I am always ready to be a part of any charity that helps women and children,” said Shetty.