On Saturday, November 7, 2015, Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida and InterContinental® Miami celebrated the 21st Annual InterContinental® Miami Make-A-Wish® Ball, welcoming more than 850 guests to its mythology-themed gala. The glamorous celebration featured a special performance by six-time Grammy Award-winning entertainer Marc Anthony, and a return appearance by actress and filmmaker Gabrielle Anwar as celebrity emcee for the fifth consecutive year.
The Ball raised $2.25 million and counting for Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida, which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. The event was hosted by the InterContinental® Miami, Ball founder and in-kind donor for the past 21 years, along with Shareef Malnik, who has served as Ball Chairman for 11 years.
Upon entering the Ball, guests were greeted by towering pharaoh statues as they made their way to the ancient Greece-themed white carpet, surrounded by drapes and Ionic columns. Mingling with guests were the Ball’s “Three Amigos” – Shareef Malnik, philanthropist, Make-A-Wish® Board Chairman Elect, and owner of The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar; Robert Hill, Gala Host and InterContinental® Miami General Manager; and Norm Wedderburn, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida; along with Gabrielle Anwar.
Guests included Al and Nancy Malnik, lifetime benefactors of Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida; Bob and Alysia Press; Romero Britto; Taylor and Lisa Gang; Katherine Fernandez-Rundle; Donald and Lisa Pliner; “Real Housewives of Miami” cast members Adriana de Moura and Lisa Hochstein; Igor Makarov; Elaine Lancaster; James L. Ferraro; Fabian Basabe; Michael Capponi; DJ Irie; Steven and Carly Patterson; Daniel and Stephanie Gold; Gary and Dana Shear; Edgar and Nicole Lozano; and Wayne and Arlene Chaplin.
During the mystical cocktail reception, guests enjoyed specialty cocktails and a bounty of food from elaborate gourmet stations, surrounded by oversized godly ice carvings and a video montage of a larger- than-life Poseidon, God of the Sea.
To keep with the mythology theme, servers were outfitted in Trojan and mermaid attire throughout the reception, also complete with gold “living” statues and interpretive dancers acting out tales from ancient Greece. Guests bid on hundreds of premier items and experiences at the Ball’s legendary silent auction, donated by InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts worldwide as well as leading entertainment, fashion and luxury brands.
Poseidon summoned revelers to the Grand Ballroom for dinner. Inside the Ballroom, guests were captivated by the white and gold décor, including overarching displays of Greek antagonist Medusa. Ball Chairman Shareef Malnik welcomed the crowd by introducing the Chairman’s Society and Gabrielle Anwar, who has become his wife since last year’s Ball, commenting that their relationship “has evolved on the Make-A-Wish stage,” to which Gabrielle quipped, “and I thought I was just a one-night stand.”
In what has become a Ball tradition, Gabrielle and Shareef opened the night’s festivities with a creative and dramatic moment. The Miami Gay Men’s Chorus, wearing white and red togas with golden laurel leaves behind their ears, broke into clever song lyrics, written by Gabrielle herself, which encouraged guests to bid generously during the Wish auction that immediately followed. With Gabrielle on the mic, she charmed the crowd into raising more than 200 wishes, including 42 wishes – two for each year, in celebration of the Ball’s 21st anniversary – from Bob and Alysia Press.
Wayne & Arlene Chaplin
Shareef Malnik, Gabrielle Anwar, Yaseem Malnik
Rony Seikaly, Martha Graeff
Morton Aagaard, Stephanie Sayfie-Aagaard
MAW Ball 2015_MA_MH_2649
Spencer Malnik, Eleanor Johnson, & Brittney Holland
Shareef Malnik & Gabrielle Anwar2
Matt Milligan & Norm Wedderburn
Photos by Manny Hernandez and World Red Eye