Philanthropist Manuela Testolini Shares Her Haute Secrets to LA

i-WkVJPfB-LPhoto Credit: Earl E Gibson III

Manuela Testolini is making a difference. Testolini is the founder and president of In a Perfect World, an organization founded to empower the next generation by creating and supporting programs that provide education, mentoring and artistic expression to under served and at-risk youth around the world. After years of passionate work in the nonprofit world, Manuela initially started her own foundation in part thanks to encouragement and seed money from her ex-husband, music legend Prince. Now in its twelfth year, In a Perfect World has made a significant impact in communities across the globe, having built 25 schools across 7 different countries, including a school that just opened on Monday, January 9th in Malawi in Prince’s honor. In 2017, In a Perfect World has big strategic plans to continue making strides for our young people who need it the most. The organization is expanding its US based work to Washington D.C., where it is partnering with the Boys & Girls Club there to implement local community service events, while simultaneously engaging and equipping the next generation of philanthropists as part of In A Perfect World’s Youth Ambassador program. Manuela’s love for this city is evident in that one of her key areas of focus is South LA. On Monday In a Perfect World hosted a day of service working alongside a team of volunteers to revitalize and beautify the campus of Dorsey High School in Los Angeles.

Where were you born: Toronto, Canada

How long in LA: Approximately 13 years, I’ve been here on and off since 2003

Neighborhood: Calabasas

Occupation: Founder and President of In a Perfect World

Favorite Restaurant: District (where we had our first fundraiser in November

Best Sushi: Nobu Malibu 

Best Italian: Osteria La Buca 

Best dessert: Sweet Lady Jane

Best place for a romantic date: Gjelina 

Best Sunday brunch: The Butchers Daughter

Best place for a power business meeting: My home

If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend? Ace Hotel

Favorite shopping venue/boutique: Malibu Country Mart

Favorite place to buy jewelry/watches:  

Best Spa : Alchemie Spa

Favorite Charity Event: In the Fall, In a Perfect World held our first ever fundraiser raising money for post-hurricane work in Haiti. It was called the ‘Give 100 Celebration”, highlighting one of our defining points that we are able to put 100% of donations directly towards our cause as I cover all overhead for the organization. We had a wonderful evening sharing a video of our recent trip building a school in Malawi and we also honored Lauren Paul and Molly Thompson of The Kind Campaign.

Favorite Cultural Event: Latin American Museum events

Favorite Cultural Institution: The Broad

Best Steakhouse: As I don’t eat meat, I’ll share my favorite natural foods store Erewhon Calabasas

Best Pizza: Stella Barra

Best Lunch: Bay Cities

Best Gym/Athletic Facility: Getting outside and hiking in the Malibu canyon

Best Massage: The Now

Best Limousine/Driving Service: Uber

Best Museum/Exhibit: Picasso Rivera Exhibit at LACMA

Describe your city in three words: Vibrant. Inclusive. Inspiring.

Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore: I love taking my daughter Lucia to the Griffith Park observatory

All-around favorite spot in Los Angeles: Anywhere with my family

Best Aspect of Los Angeles: It is a city of dreamers who have big visions for their Perfect World…