Rafi Anteby Reveals A Peek Inside His Gifting Lounge At Hollywood’s Hottest Award Shows

With the Billboard Music Awards just a day away, we checked in with Rafi Anteby, who offered us a sneak peek inside the show’s haute gifting lounge. Anteby has been curating some of the most exotic vacations, adventure experiences, and new luxury products for awards shows for years. From Spike Lee to the stars of “Crazy Rich Asians,” his Oscars gifting lounge was an enormous success. Right now, he is preparing for tomorrow night’s Billboard Music Awards and the BET Awards on June 23 where he will be once again personally gifting award winners and presenters.

After fielding questions for several years from celebrity friends and clients, including Beyonce, Jamie Foxx, Eva Longoria, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, and Drake about his exotic travel experiences, Anteby wanted to show them his travels by taking them there through his gifting suites. These luxury suites provide all-inclusive trips to spots all over the world that have personally changed his own life.

Anteby’s story to become Hollywood’s go-to lifestyle and travel curator began in Israel where he grew up, served in the military and lost his platoon in the war with Lebanon. He found solace in creativity and later joined a Chinese monastery in order to become immersed in Taoism, healing, and meditation. He later trained in martial arts and began teaching it internationally, eventually working in US counter terrorism training programs. From there, he learned mandala-making from monks in Tibet, Tibetan Buddhist painting (Tangka) in Nepal, charcoal powder painting in Chiang Mai, and studied watercolor painting with native artisans in Laos and Cambodia.

We caught up yesterday with Anteby to discuss this year’s gift lounge and some of the surprises he will be giving away.

Tell us a little about some of the luxury items you will be gifting this year’s presenters and winners at the Billboard Music Awards.

This year, we are doing something very organic. We are the official gift for the Billboard Music Awards. We have some great holidays that we are giving away this year as well as an art show opening in Dallas. Celebrities will get a VIP invitation along with accommodations. I will also be giving them a Dr. Newman stemcell facial, a pendant from my jewelry line, and a six-night stay at The Privilege Ezra Hotel in Thailand. The purpose of the gifting lounge is to give celebrities an entire experience so they can come here and meet with us or we will bring the gift to their suite if their schedule does not permit.

How did you come up with the idea to give away these all-inclusive vacations?

I love to travel to nature. I was a monk in China and taught kung fu and tai chi for many years. When I would talk to some celebrities, they would tell me how much they loved the places I had been. I told them I could make it happen for them and give them that special experience. Since then, I have become a curator of lifestyle for those people. When I see a place that’s unique, I go for it. This year, when I was looking at the art show, it features really amazing art. We have one of Cardi B that will be given to her. If they are looking for a yoga retreat with monks or a weeklong trip with horses in Mongolia, I can do all of this.

Photo Credit: Anderson Group PR

What are some of the most memorable gifts you have presented and to whom?

I gave a hotel stay in Costa Rica to Chadwick Boseman and have given others a trekking trip in Uganda for a week. I gave Chris Noth, who played “Mr. Big” on “Sex and the City”a week in the jungle in Nepal. I recently gave a week in Thailand on the beach to Kelly Clarkson and gifted many other celebrities from Beyonce to Khaled. In October, I will be attending the 75th birthday for Gladys Knight in Beverly Hills.

Your jewelry line, Bullets 4 Peace, recycles used bullet casings, re-purposing them into handcrafted pieces that have been spotted on everyone from Beyonce to Rihanna. Tell us about the line that has become a staple on red carpets and a symbol against gun violence.

I had a friend, David Perry, who was a childhood friend who died of a gunshot in South Africa. When it happened, I went back to the monastery in China and came back to the United States with this idea. Since then, people have taken a liking to it and it has really become an amazing experience.