LOS ANGELES—In October, Selena Gomez hosted the inaugural Rare Impact Fund Benefit: A Night of Radiance & Reflection at Nya Studios in West Hollywood. The event supported the Rare Impact Fund’s mission to reduce the stigma associated with mental health and to expand access to mental health services and education for young people around the world.
Gomez’s Only Murders in the Building co-star Martin Short served as emcee for the evening, which also featured a performance by H.E.R. and a DJ set by Marshmello. CANDICE&ALISON, along with talent agency one twenty eight, ideated, planned, and executed the benefit. Three hundred fifty guests attended, including a mix of celebrities, sponsors, fans, and supporters of Rare Impact.
In 2020, Gomez received her diagnosis of bipolar disorder, leading her to become an advocate for mental health awareness. The Rare Impact Fund has a goal of raising $100 million over 10 years in order to provide resources. Short led the evening’s auction, which included items like a glam session with Gomez’s stylists, a movie night with Paul Rudd, tickets to a Coldplay show and meet-and-greet with Chris Martin, and Taylor Swift concert tickets, which eventually sold for $15,000. The evening raised over $2 million.
Alison Slight, co-founder of CANDICE&ALISON, explained that the decor elements were “intentionally warm and soft to create an inviting, comfortable space for all, while leaning on some of Rare Beauty’s core color palettes.” This included lounge furnishings in creamy white boucle fabrics in the stage and cocktail spaces, and edge-to-edge merlot carpeting to reflect the Rare Beauty brand’s core coloring, which transformed the venue’s parking lot into an outdoor cocktail area.
While the evening included traditional fundraiser elements like an auction, attendees also enjoyed activations like the Rare Beauty x Sephora claw machine with Rare Beauty Lip Oil prizes that were engraved upon winning, a personalization station of Abercrombie & Fitch denim jackets, welded gold Forever Bracelets provided by Catbird, poetry by The Bumbys, and drawings by roaming sketch artist Miles Lewis. An aromatherapy bar by Catch offered a sensory experience, and slippers by Barefoot Dreams were handed out at the end of the evening.
For planners looking to attract a younger crowd as well as patrons to a benefit event, Slight recommended challenging the traditional format and to “get bold and adventurous in your vision.”
This could mean ditching the formal sit-down dinner and structured seating arrangement, and instead opting for an abundance of food and beverage selections through different formats such as a combination of passed apps, food stations, and food trucks, Slight said.
She also suggested offering space for movement throughout the night with multiple points of engagement via activation elements. But also feature “passive activations that come to the guests to take the onus off guests’ need for intentional engagement.”
Plus, one twenty eight worked closely with Gomez’s management and the Rare Impact Fund team to find a host and performers who would match the audience and event ambiance, Slight explained. “For the inaugural year, the team aimed to actively involve people who deeply care about Selena, understand the significance of the Rare Impact Fund to her, and genuinely care about the cause.”
Keep scrolling to see key vendors and more from the inaugural Rare Impact Fund Benefit...
Catering: The Copper Key
Creative Direction & Environment Design: CANDICE&ALISON
Custom Fabrication & Production: AKJOHNSTON
Flowers: The Petal Workshop
Furnishings: Rove Concepts, Hire Elegance
Talent: one twenty eight
Venue: Nya Studios