Not long after the sun set over Mike Fleiss‘ Malibu compound on Oct. 19 — where Hollywood and Malibu converged to benefit the local chapter of the Boys and Girls Club — Chris Harrison could be found behind the bar, muddling his own mojito.
Of course, the “Bachelor” host didn’t take up the role of bartender until after he’d finished his duties as the gala’s master of ceremonies. Attendees and hosts alike had the chance to create their own libations (with a personalized engraved muddler to boot) at a bar sponsored by Patrón Tequila. As Harrison reminded the crowd, Patrón-infused cake pops, espresso shots and the DIY pour were more than just a marketing scheme.
“The more you enjoy them, the more money we’ll make tonight for the kids,” he said.
The gala — which provides the majority of the Boys and Girls Club of Malibu’s funding for the year — drew in proceeds from ticket sales (a seat at the gala went for a cool $500) and a silent auction boasting the usual variety of makeovers, getaways and an impressive array of crystal rock formations. Harrison also conducted a not-so-blind auction, when attendees were asked to raise a paddle from their table to donate fixed sums to four of the club’s initiatives. Julia Roberts was quick to shoot her paddle up for BGCM’s Goals for Graduation.
Hosts included Keely and Pierce Brosnan, Kelly and Ron Meyer, Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber, and Rory Kennedy and Mark Bailey. Jakob Dylan and the Wallflowers offered their musical stylings to cap off the festivities.
While guests dined on a buffet by Malibu Farm on Fleiss’ sprawling twinkle-lit front lawn, volunteers, directors, and even some glee club members from BGCM passed the mic to both entertain and educate about the club’s goals. To many of the speakers’ credit, none sidestepped the irony of the lavish affair taking place just minutes away from the club’s locale.
“Even though we’re in one of the most beautiful places in the world and probably one of the most affluent communities in the world, we need to have a community that provides support for everyone,” BGCM prexy Brian Strange said.
The club’s founder, Daniel Stern added: “The people in this town — all of you — live very extraordinary lives. This town is filled with the most talent, the most wealth, the most creativity. You see the kind of fantastic elegance we can provide here. Our job is to raise this family within this community.”
No one drove that message home better than the BGCM Youth of the Year honoree, 17-year-old Mariarely Cruz. Having grown up in a family where issues of addiction, mental health and gang violence were a constant concern, Cruz said she had few role models to turn to before joining the Boys and Girls Club.
“During the four years that I have been a volunteer and member of the Malibu Boys and Girls Club, it’s become a second home and a family,” she said. “Through the Goals for Graduation program, I learned that college can be for a kid like me. The club has given me the power to make my own happiness. Because of the club, I will go to college. I will become an educated woman, and I will start a new life. I know my dad will be proud of me when I graduate from high school. But man, I cannot wait to see his face when I graduate from college.”