One to watch: Grammy Award-winning artist, Estelle will perform at Face Forward Foundation’s Fifth Annual Gala, “A Venetian Masquerade” September 13, at The Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.
Lana Parrilla (Once Upon a Time) and Missi Pyle (Jennifer Falls) also join Estelle and other stars to bring awareness to this cause.
Estelle’s #1, double-platinum hit song “American Boy” featuring Kanye West ensured her place as an R&B sweetheart. Now slated to release her highly anticipated fourth studio album, True Romance, November 4th, and out with a triumphant and inspirational single “Conqueror”, the international sensation teams up with Face Forward in their mission to spread awareness and mend the physical and emotional wounds of domestic violence.
Founded by Deborah Alessi, Face Forward Foundation provides pro-bono reconstructive surgery for victims of domestic violence. As its most important fundraising and awareness-building event of the year, The Fifth Annual Gala, “A Venetian Masquerade” will raise funds with a goal of $500,000 for 2015 to support their patients and celebrate the lives and accomplishments of survivors.
Her husband, plastic surgeon Dr. David Alessi is a caring soul who did a significant amount of charity work. As the chief of head and neck surgery at Cedar Sinai Medical Center, he was often referred patients who were uninsured. But it was Deborah that changed both his life and created a path for women with these disfiguring injuries to get help.
According to his interview in westsidepeoplemag.com, “It was my lovely wife who had the idea that if you’re helping these people with all their scars and you’re sending them back out you’re not necessarily dong anything,” he said. “You really need a whole organization to get them rehabilitated and get them back into society. “
Deborah, who had a personal experience with an abusive boyfriend at a young age, wanted to start the non-profit and take their philanthropy and expand upon it.,
“I think it’s hard to move forward when you’re disfigured,” Deborah to the magazine. “We’re a team, so it would be terrible if we didn’t give back. I’m the marketing person and he’s the surgeon. When you put it together it can change someone’s life. You can see the darkness in their eyes and then the light. And when you see that it’s really overwhelming.”
Since its creation in 2007, Face Forward has worked with advocates around the nation to identify victims of domestic violence who are working towards recovery, yet carry the physical evidence of past abuse. Face Forward does more than just provide pro bono reconstructive surgery to adults and children who have suffered from traumatic and physical abuse; they also create a welcoming and safe environment for the victims to start a new life and reclaim their confidence.
Alongside the special performance, the star-studded event will be masquerade-themed, with celebrity guests, a silent auction and an honorary awards ceremony dedicated to raising funds and awareness for this increasing epidemic. Face Forward Foundation will honor celebrity and community leaders for their inspirational work and on-going efforts to draw awareness to domestic violence. Confirmed guests include: Missy Piles (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Artist), Jennifer Coolidge (American Pie, Legally Blonde), Shohreh Aghdashloo (24), Bonnie Sommerville (Ugly Truth), Shaun Toub (Iron Man).
Deborah Alessi says “The work that we do turns our victims of abuse into victors in life and we have been fortunate to impact many lives with profoundly life changing results. Changing the outward appearance gives them the confidence to address the scars on the inside and move beyond their past to obtain fulfilling futures. ”
With domestic violence occurring every 15 seconds in the United States, Face Forward Foundation strives to alleviate the internal and external scars of victims and those affected. Ninety percent of all rape and abuse cases lead to physical disfigurement and Face Forward provides treatment to victims who are not able to afford medical assistance.