Sold-out World AIDS Day Luncheon draws models, mayors and red-clad guests
A handsome crowd got to enjoy the view from inside the Hilton Post Oak ballroom while supporting an important cause at AIDS Foundation Houston's 2016 World AIDS Day Luncheon.
Besides the always dapper co-chairs "Eight Emmy" Ernie Manouse and Bill Baldwin; fashion paragon Fady Armanious; and the man behind the evolving iterations of the classic LBD, Jeff Shell; guests got to lay eyes on Montreal-based Gabe LaDuke, the scruffy tattooed male model with one of those envy-inducing Ken-doll bodies that make you rethink that second slice of pie. It was a busy day for LaDuke, who later made an appearance at Guava Lamp to support a free HIV-testing event that evening.
Red threads were the order of the day, in honor of the cause, with guests sporting scarlet either in splashes of colors with accessories, neckties, shoes and suits. The luncheon, which drew about 500 guests and was sponsored by Chevron, was sold out. "Getting to Zero" — zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and zero stigma — was the event's message.
A champagne reception was followed by lunch and an address from keynote speaker and longtime activist Sean Strub, who urged the decriminaliztion of HIV/AIDS, and an end to the stigma affecting those who live with the disease. Alessandro Grattonireceived the Shelby Hodge Vision Award on behalf of the Houston Methodist Research Institute Department of Nanomedicine for his work on an implantable, refillable device that administers pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to people at risk of being exposed to HIV.
Among the notables in the crowd were Mayor Sylvester Turner, former mayor Annise Parker and Kathy Hubbard,Joanne King Herring,Star and Jack Massing,Frank Billingsley,Joni Baird,Nora Ackerly, AFH CEO Kelly Young, AFH chief development officer Melody Patelis, Gordon Bethune and Jessica Rossman, Matt Burrus and Michael Pearce, Sarah McMullen, Mariquita Masterson, Richard Ray, Travis Torrence and Tanner Williams, and Carolyn Farb.