Face Forward LA 2018 Gala La Dolce Vita: Hollywood Steps Out for Domestic Violence

Written by Dana Jacoviello

The 9th annual Face Forward gala of the year was held on September 22, 2018 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, and what an event it was. Everything that it was hyped up to be, was certainly delivered. The theme this year was La Dolce Vita, which translates into ‘the sweet life’ in Italian. The theme and ambiance of the entire night was embraced fully from the music to the food.

The night began with talent arriving at 6 pm for the red carpet along with open bar cocktails for guests and attendees, which then led us into the main room where we it was as if we walked into a gorgeous Italian restaurant with a stage. Once everybody was seated the night started off with cocktails and appetizer while mingling among with other guests in attendance, which included quite the list of celebrities that came out to support the cause: Lana Parrilla, Global Ambassador, Caitlyn Jenner, Sara Gilbert, Jeremy Piven, Brett Dalton, Ne-Yo, Jon Savage, Brigitte Nielson, Christina DeRosa, and more. Just to name a few. Multiple international survivors were also in attendance.

The opening number “Mambo Italiano” kicked off the night, followed by emcee welcome by Christine Devine and host Jeremy Piven, who had the everybody bursting with laughter to keep the mood fun and light. Michelle Diterlizzi performed “Feeling Good” before a greeting from Face Forward executive director Mandi Edwards. We were dazzled by yet another number from Dancing with the Stars “Quando Quando”. It was after that the absolutely amazing, dedicated, and a survivor herself, CEO/Founder Deborah Alessi came out to speak and address the room. The night was filled with outstanding performances and beautiful people, humanitarians, and philanthropists that were able to give back, while also enjoying a joy filled night of fun and celebration of Face Forward LA’s accomplishments.

Just as dinner was being served is when the honoree awards began, but before that Willa Amai performed “Scars”m which was a jaw dropping and touching tribute and song. The young woman is immensely talented beyond words as much of the audience was teary eyed.

The honorees included the “humanitarian” award to Christopher Bollenbach, CEO of Bottega Louie Restaurant, Gourmet Market and Patisserie in Downtown Los Angeles, Jay McGraw, writer, TV executive producer and son if TV doctor Phil McGraw. Jay produces the hit TV show ‘The Doctors’ and has written several books aimed at young people, he received the “Voice” award, Caitlyn Jenner received the “Beacon Of Hope” award that was passed down and presented by the from the lovely actress, activist, Face Forward LA Global Ambassador, and previous award recipient last year, Lana Parrilla.

Lana Parrilla presenting award to Caitlyn Jenner: Video Credit courtesy of David Finkelstein


The night continued with stories of survivors, documentary, live auction and ended with amazing performances by opening act Sonika Vaid, The headliner that got everybody up on the dance floor NE-YO, and after-party band SPLASH.

SIZZLE REEL: Video Credit courtesy of David Finkelstein

The mission of Face Forward is to provide emotional support to survivors and reconstructive surgery for women, children, and men who have been victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, and other cruel acts of crime. This year was their 10th anniversary as a charity 501 (c)3 helping survivors. In 2018 Face Forward was proud to announce that they had added new targeted areas in need such as veterans of war, and they also had their first transgender patient.

La Dolce Vita Gallery:

Created with flickr slideshow.



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A special thank you to itgirl Public Relations


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