“Race To Erase MS” Founder Nancy Davis Shares Her Haute Secrets To L.A.

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Ne-Yo, Davis, Dee and Tommy Hilfiger attend the 22nd annual Race to Erase MS
Ne-Yo, Davis, Dee and Tommy Hilfiger attend the 22nd annual Race to Erase MS

Nancy Davis is a champion. In 1991, at the age of 33, Davis—a naturally active jewelry and clothing designer, author and philanthropist who could be found skiing or practicing getting her black belt in karate on any given day—was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. After being told by her doctors that she would be “lucky” to operate a remote control on her TV, she realized she was too young and too busy to let the disease stop her life in its tracks. She was determined to devote her time, relationships and resources to finding a cure.

Fast forward to 1993, when she created Race to Erase MS, an organization whose primary focus is to raise funds for the most cutting-edge, aggressive and promising research in an effort to find a cure for MS. She then created the Race to Erase MS Gala event. Since its inception, the Race to Erase MS has grown into a spectacular celebrity gala benefit held annually. To date, the gala event has raised over $46 million for multiple sclerosis research. When she first started, there was no known cause, no cure, no drugs on the market, and a true lack of hope. Davis and the foundation have funded the scientific discoveries that led to the development of fifteenth drug to receive FDA approval in March of 2017 called Ocrevus.

The event even led to a future career: during the 2002 Race to Erase Gala with Tommy Hilfigershe and the fashion designer determined to have a theme: Peace & Love to Erase MS. T he event’s symbol became a heart with a peace sign nestled in the middle. She made necklaces with the symbol for performers Natalie Cole, Donna Summer and Sela Ward, which were so admired that she created the Peace & Love Jewelry by Nancy Davis line, which is carried at Saks Fifth Avenue.

In advance of this year’s 25th anniversary Race to Erase MS gala on April 20, Davis sat down with Haute Living to share her most magical (and peaceful) spots in the City of Angels.


Nancy Davis speaks onstage during the 24th Annual Race To Erase MS Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on May 5, 2017
Nancy Davis speaks onstage during the 24th Annual Race To Erase MS Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on May 5, 2017

Photo Credit: Rich Fury/Getty Images

Where were you born: Denver, Colorado

How long in LA: 31 years

Neighborhood: Beverly Hills

Occupation: Chairwoman of The Race To Erase MS + Owner and designer of Peace & Love Jewelry by Nancy Davis

Favorite Restaurant: Craigs

Best Sushi: Nobu

Best Italian: Il Pastaio

Best Dessert: Chocolate Souffle at The Polo Lounge

Best place for a romantic date: Giorgio Baldi

Best Sunday brunch: The Ivy on Robertson

Best place for a power business meeting: The Grill on the Alley

If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend? The Montage

Favorite shopping venue/boutique: Alice & Olivia

Favorite place to buy jewelry/watches: Peace & Love Jewelry by Nancy Davis

Best Spa: Cal A Vie

Favorite Charity Event: Race To Erase MS

Favorite Cultural Institution: The Broad Museum

Best Steakhouse: Cut

Best Pizza: Spago

Best Lunch: The Polo Lounge

Best Gym/Athletic Facility: Equinox

Best Limousine/Driving Service: International Limos

Best Museum/Exhibit: LACMA

Describe your city in three words: Fun, exciting, comfortable

All-around favorite spot in Los Angeles: Malibu

Best Aspect of Los Angeles: The weather and the people

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