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How did the Fund Fair concept come about?
I’m always trying to do something new for my charity [the Naked Heart Foundation] and explore new opportunities, and had been thinking for some time about changing the traditional way of fundraising events – adding to our traditional sit-down dinners with auctions, with an event that is more light and fun but still a successful fundraiser. The idea of creating the Fund Fair came about when I was talking to Karlie [Kloss] one day and we both realised it was exactly what I was looking for. And since the conversation with Karlie was the catalyst of this idea, I invited her to co-host the World’s First Fabulous Fund Fair, which was such a huge success last year that we realised we absolutely had to do it again.
Last year there were some amazing stalls, from Eva Herzigova selling Dior ice-cream to Stella McCartney and her vegan hot-dogs. What can we expect this year?
This year, we’ve gone significantly bigger and added even more fun to the Fund Fair. It is twice the capacity, so bigger venue, more brands participating and, of course, more people coming to support us. We will have an Orchid Saloon by our headline sponsor Euphoria Calvin Klein; Erin O’Connor will be helping guests to hunt for treasure at Dior’s island; Daisy Lowe and Pixie Lott will be hosting the House of Guerlain; Stella McCartney’s Arcade Games will be run by Tali Lennox; Amber Le Bon, Lotte Andersen and Givenchy will have their own Tattoo Parlour with Mariacarla Boscono – just to give you some flavour of what to expect! Guests will also have a chance to play Dom Pérignon champagne hoopla with Millie Mackintosh, crazy golf with Audemars Piguet, Louis Vuitton’s Pop-a-Balloon Challenge, as well as the fairground favourite, hook-a-duck (by Repossi, run by Natasha Poly), and many, many more; we’re even going to have life-size bumper cars in there. They are all absolutely fabulous games and attractions, I could be listing them for so long – you just have to come and see it for yourself.
Last year you ran your own kissing booth – will it be making another appearance?
Last year’s kissing booth was very popular and I loved it, but I thought we should try something new this time round. The new feature of this year’s Fund Fair will be a real wheel of fortune. This is going to be the central attraction of the event and guests will be able to win totally unique prizes and money-can’t-buy experiences; from lunch with the legendary Valentino Garavani at his Château de Wideville or the iconic Fendi fur coat worn by Gwyneth Paltrow in The Royal Tenenbaums. Karlie and I both love this idea so much that we are insisting on hosting this ourselves; so if you are at Fund Fair and looking for either of us, this is where we’ll be. Although I want to win so many of those prizes – every time we get a new offer in, I am so grateful for the generosity of the brands and people helping us.
The event is in aid of the Naked Heart Foundation which you set up in 2004. What inspired you to start the charity?
It was the horrible tragedy of Beslan school siege of 2004 that motivated me to set up the Naked Heart Foundation. I was desperate to do something to help those children, though I didn’t know how at the time. I just had a simple idea – if the young survivors could be distracted by play for at least five minutes each day, it would help them to heal. Providing them with safe outdoor play facilities would redefine their city landscape and act as a form of therapy, so that’s how it all started.
As we grew, I realised that I could help more. The experience of disability in my own family (my younger sister Oksana has cerebral palsy and autism) encouraged me to add another focus to our work; and that’s how the Naked Heart Foundation started creating free support services for disadvantaged families. I believe that children flourish in a caring and loving environment, and strongly believe that every child deserves a family. The Naked Heart Foundation aims to help children stay with their families rather than being placed in orphanages due to disabilities or difficult economic conditions, and we are doing everything we can to help families raising children with special needs.
You recently launched an iPhone app, Elbi, that aims to make charitable giving easier and more interactive. Are you pleased with its success so far? Do you have any plans for developing the app or creating a new philanthropic platform?
I am so proud of Elbi and happy to say it already has a dedicated community taking part in small charity projects everyday. We launched the app at the end of 2015 in MVP – which is basically the earliest version of a product – and it’s genuinely resonating.
To explain how Elbi works, we set three challenges on behalf of charities everyday. You can draw pictures to decorate orphanages in Africa, name puppies in dog shelters and send get-well messages to kids in hospital. Each challenge only takes a few minutes to complete, but through taking part you can show a child who’s had a hard start that people care and can truly help charities do good. Not only that, but we monetised the “love” button, so if someone likes your creation, you raise money for the charity.
To me, a good digital product is never truly finished and as such we have been plotting our next steps since the app was first released. Our plans for 2016 are to take this to scale to inspire and celebrate “kindfulness”; we have an incredible new CEO, Emma Mulqueeny, and a team that is as passionate as I am about using tech for good causes.
I have such ambition for Elbi – it is so positive, so focused on helping people do brilliant things. I’d love to tell you more, but at this point all I can say is that we are very new and our ambition is mighty – so all you frustrated micro-philanthropists out there, look out for Elbi; we are here to help you!
How do you juggle your family life, your philanthropy and your work as a model?
It’s a question that many other women are more qualified to answer. There are so many women that work and raise children with very little help and support and still are fabulous.
Source : Harpersbazaar
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