Sunday – Page E.6
BThose attending last Sunday’s fundraiser for the Blue Heron Foundation, which supports Romanian orphans, were shuttled by van to an estate hidden high in the Hollywood Hills. “It was the first house between Doheny and Sunset Drive,” said Stefania Magidson, the estate’s owner and founder of Blue Heron. “We have a photo of when the house was built in 1920, and Sunset Boulevard is just a dirt road.”
The cinemascopic view from the terraced gardens included the ocean, downtown and two south-running avenues of jacaranda trees in full bloom. When one guest commented that the latter showed good civic planning, another said, “Yes, but no one gets to see them unless you’re up here.”
The hilltop location did not, however, offer much respite from the sun, and after they’d bid on a sundry array of silent auction items (a poster for “Tupac Resurrected,” a Persian rug, a “Happy Days” model car),the guests sought shade beneath stands of live oak,all except for caterer Jason Harley,
who served a lunch of salmon and lime cheesecake while wearing a black leather chef’s jacket of his own design. Wasn’t he broiling?
“Nah,” he said, and lifted an arm to show several eyelets. “Air vents.”
“I was getting two tickets to ‘American Idol’ for the auction!” announced the gala’s late-arriving guest of honor, Anastasia Soare, a Romanian émigré well known as the eyebrow guru to the stars.
“Before, Anastasia had been asking her clients to give cans of food and clothes to send to Romania,” said Magidson, a former Romanian gymnast who trained with Nadia Comaneci. “When I had the kickoff [for Blue Heron] in October 2003, Anastasia was just bawling in the front row. I thought, ‘Ana, stop crying, I won’t be able to talk.’ Then she began to speak with her clients, Kelly Preston, Rita Wilson, Julianna Margulies. Our first check we got was from Kate Capshaw. It was for $5,000. I began to cry. Then I thought, ‘Maybe someone is playing a joke.’ ”
“She called me, crying, and I told her, ‘Instead of charging my clients for eyebrows, I gave them the donation form,’ ” said Soare, as a woman with diamond ear-studs the size of nickels approached, her hand fluttering before her forehead.
“You can tell I’m doing my own brows!” she confessed to Soare, who kissed the woman anyway. How many eyebrows in attendance would Soare say she’d worked on?
“I’m looking around and I’d have to say … most,” she said.
Not everyone knew Soare’s work. Pop singer Michelle Branch, whose all-white outfit was set off by several tattoos, said she knew “nothing about the event except that the lemonade is good.” And Claudiu Lucaci, the Romanian consul general in Los Angeles, was less concerned with brow lines than with fixing what communism wrought. “Ceausescu tried to hide away the children, the poverty, people with AIDS,” he said. “We cannot solve it all in one year, but there is a time for everything, and now the time for the children has come.”
Still, plucking and shaping has this year helped to build the “Spielberg Playmountain” playground and to hire eight additional caregivers in the Brasov region, where there are 1,600 orphans.
“I am a mother, and I feel hiring people to cuddle and give these children the human touch, you cannot replace that,” said Magidson, as little girls paraded fashions on a rose-petal-strewn runway. The price of a cuddler in Romania these days? About $120 a month, or the cost of two tweezings, plus tips.