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A generous handful of Hollywood’s most glamorous celebrities (at least, those who weren’t partying it up with Stella McCartney at Amoeba Records) made like Cinderella and got all dressed up for the UNICEF Ball in Beverly Hills on Tuesday evening. The annual fundraiser recognized the work of the organization as well as their newest partnership with French fashion house Louis Vuitton.
This year, the guest of honor was none other than world-renowned underwear model David Beckham, whom you may also know from sports. The 40-year-old was recognized for his work with UNICEF over the past 15 years, including the foundation of “7: The David Beckham UNICEF Fund.”
While much of the praise throughout the evening was rightfully heaped upon Beckham (who, as presenter Elton John noted, “even smells terrific thanks to his own personal fragrance, which I wear myself when I want to smell especially sporty and fresh”) as well as Mariah Carey, who dazzled the crowd performing “Always Be My Baby,” “We Belong Together” and “Hero,” the true focus was on the children worldwide who UNICEF works tirelessly to protect.
In keeping with the theme of childhood, we asked UNICEF ambassadors including Heidi Klum and Alyssa Milano, as well as Beckham himself, for the best piece of advice they received as children and — spoiler — things got deep.
Nicolas Ghesquiere, Creative Director of Louis Vuitton
“Probably to trust in yourself and believe in your dreams, and believe that nothing is impossible. I know that’s cliché, but that’s what I heard when I was a kid … that anything could be possible. And I think every kid has to think that, and it will make them become what they want.
“Of course, psychologically [when you are] growing — I think it’s always hard to pick out what you want to do in life. And when a passion becomes what you really want to do and what you do as a day job, it becomes something really special. I think it’s beautiful when I see people finding that, and I wish for every kid to find that.”
“Well, my mum used to always say to me, ‘Let your little light shine’ — like, let that little light from inside shine, let your heart shine. Don’t try and be anything else, just be authentically you, don’t try to follow trends or follow what people are doing, just really feel — like go deep inside yourself and let that shine.
“I definitely feel that it’s helped me be me, and I think that growing up it’s one of the major challenges with young adults and teens because there’s so much pressure to be whatever it is — to be cool’ and what not. It’s important to really just be you.
From my mom, it was always like, to not rely on anyone. To not rely on a man to make sure that you can take care of your own life.
You know, for me, it was never, like, looking for a rich husband, it was always — I wanted to make sure I could pay my own bills, you know? No matter what it is that I would be doing. So this is probably something that I will make sure that I will pass on to my kids.
The best advice I received as a kid was to work hard. I learned that from my grandparents — you know, work hard and be humble, and I try to do both.
“My mom is incredible, perhaps the most compassionate and empathetic person I’ve ever met. I remember — I was actually talking to my mom today about this — I remember being bullied as a kid and at one point being so angry coming home and telling her that I really hated the kid and wanted to kill him, and the thing she said to me — which was not immediately fulfilling to me and not what I was hoping for — she said he probably has a really hard life at home. And of course at the time that made me angry, but in hindsight it’s really — you know, one of the things that I really credit my parents most for in their parenting is instilling sort of a priority in empathy and compassion and that’s just the perfect example of it.
“And I think sometimes even in my life when I try to confront people who I think are sexist or racist — or Piers Morgan (laughs) — I think it’s about sort of remembering that no one thinks that they’re also the bad guy. Everyone’s doing the best that they can. And so sometimes it’s about meeting people on their own terms and even though it might be more easy to give the kind of snarky answer, to get angry, I just try to meet them where they are and realize that’s just probably more effective.”
“As a kid, you have to always care about everything. My mother [told me that]. I was being a smart-ass teenager and I said, ‘I don’t care,’ and she said, ‘You know what, you have to care about everything all the time.’ And that really resonated, stuck with me all these years.”
“Be patient. I think when you’re a kid you’re so in the moment, and your world is so small and you can’t see down the road. You don’t have the understanding that things will be different and that this moment isn’t the end-all be-all of your life. My mother [told me that].”
“The thing that rings out to me that my mom always said is just to be careful, and that your greatest attribute can be your biggest detriment. So everything in moderation. I just think you have to be cognizant. Everyone always says that I never give up, like I’m very perseverant, but I think in excess that’s stubborn. So I think you just have to be conscious of it. So sometimes I’m reluctant to walk away from something because I’m so gung-ho on accomplishing it, but I think you have to know when to put the brakes on.”
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