The 23rd Life Ball in Vienna kicked off in style to raise money for AIDS and HIV research. The biggest charity event in Europe transformed Vienna’s central City Hall Square into a fantastic spectacle.
The Austrian capital hosted its biggest annual party this year based on the theme inspired by the ancient Roman festival “Ver Sanctum” or “Holy Spring”. Drawing scores of celebrities, the glittering event was attended by local politicians, models as well as drag queens.
Charlize Theron took to stage to appeal for support for her South African AIDS charity organization, Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project. Backed by her partner, Sean Penn, the actress also expressed her support to world-wide fight against HIV. “I’m a virgin Life Baller; this is my first time,” said Charlize Theron, who heralds the organization which helps adolescents prevent spreading the disease. WWD also reports that in the country of South Africa, young girls and women accounted for 80 percent of new HIV and AIDS infections.
Dita von Teese stole the show in a butterfly corset. The burlesque performer and entrepreneur spoke about the exotic outfit, “There is a very short time limit on wearing it, the waist is cinched to the maximum, so it doesn’t last long.”
While Jean Paul Gaultier turned up the glam factor for the opening ceremony, many of the American celebs were flown in on a special plane from New York. It was worthy as entertainer Paula Abdul and transgender model Carmen Carrera set the stage as well as the red carpet on fire. Back in New York, Bergdorf Goodman is also supporting the event by dedicating its 58th Street windows to the Life Ball.
While Mary J. Blige provided the hymn to the message, crooning U2’s “One Love (One Life)”, other stars who walked the walk at the Life Ball are Kelly Osbourne, Conchita Wurst, Irish twin singers Jedward, actress-heiress Lydia Hearst, Carmen Electra, Anna Cleveland, Amanda Lapore, and ski jumper and multiple world champion Gregor Schlierenzauer.
However the organizers were smart to highlight the event’s sole purpose amidst all the glitz and glamour. Gery Keszler, Life Ball’s founder, also revealed that he himself was a carrier of the HIV virus.