Best face forward

Brazilian Carnival-themed gala starring CeeLo Green sambas into Dallas for colorful debut

Brazilian Carnival gala with CeeLo Green sambas into Dallas for debut

Jane McGarry, CeeLo Green
Jane McGarry,  CeeLo Green Photo by Thomas Garza Photography
Deborah Alessi, Sophie Hutchins, Caitlin Jenner, Dr. Rod Rodrich
Deborah Alessi, Sophie Hutchins, Caitlin Jenner, Dr. Rod Rodrich Photo by Thomas Garza Photography
Daniel Moon, Tiffany Moon
Daniel Moon, Dr. Tiffany Moon Photo by Thomas Garza Photography
Survivor Addison, Deborah Alessi, Stephen Kramer Glickman, Caitlyn Jenner
Survivor "Addison," Deborah Alessi, Stephen Kramer Glickman, Caitlyn Jenner Photo by Thomas Garza Photography
Christina DeRosa
Christina DeRosa Photo by Thomas Garza Photography
Stephen Kramer Glickman
Stephen Kramer Glickman Photo by Thomas Garza Photography
Lanie Morgenstern, Deborah Alessi, Lania Rittenhouse
Lanie Morgenstern, Deborah Alessi, Lania Rittenhouse Photo by Thomas Garza Photography
Shani James, CeeLo Green
Shani James, CeeLo Green Photo by Thomas Garza Photography
Caitlyn Jenner
Caitlyn Jenner speaks to the crowd. Photo by Thomas Garza Photography
Caitlyn Jenner, Bekah Charleston
Caitlyn Jenner, Bekah Charleston Photo by Thomas Garza Photography
Face Forward International Gala
The event had a Brazilian Carnival theme. Photo by Thomas Garza Photography
Face Forward International Gala
The event took place on the lawn in front of The Eye at the Joule. Photo by Thomas Garza Photography
CeeLo Green
CeeLo Green performs. Photo by Thomas Garza Photography
Leah Frazier, Amber LaFrance
Leah Frazier, Amber LaFrance Photo by Thomas Garza Photography
Saundra Crockett, Gina Russo
Survivors Saundra Crockett and Gina Russo Photo by Thomas Garza Photography
Jane McGarry, CeeLo Green
Deborah Alessi, Sophie Hutchins, Caitlin Jenner, Dr. Rod Rodrich
Daniel Moon, Tiffany Moon
Survivor Addison, Deborah Alessi, Stephen Kramer Glickman, Caitlyn Jenner
Christina DeRosa
Stephen Kramer Glickman
Lanie Morgenstern, Deborah Alessi, Lania Rittenhouse
Shani James, CeeLo Green
Caitlyn Jenner
Caitlyn Jenner, Bekah Charleston
Face Forward International Gala
Face Forward International Gala
CeeLo Green
Leah Frazier, Amber LaFrance
Saundra Crockett, Gina Russo

What: Brazilian Carnival for a Cause benefiting Face Forward International

Where: Eye Lawn at The Joule Hotel 

The 411: On April 9, a new-to-Dallas charity gala debuted to a high-energy crowd of 300 revelers downtown.

Face Forward International, founded by Deborah and Dr. David Alessi, provides surgical and mental health support for survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. In 2020, the organization expanded its services after success in the Los Angeles area and chose Dallas as its second home. But the inaugural gala was postponed due to the pandemic.

To bring awareness to the expansion of the organization to Texas, advisory firm Chandini & Co hosted the colorful gala. Themed “Brazilian Carnival for a Cause,” it was an outdoor/tented cocktail event complete with a red carpet, silent and live auctions, the flavors and colors of Brazil, and top-notch entertainment.

Five-time Grammy Award-winning musician CeeLo Green entertained as the headliner, and Canadian-American comedian, actor, musician, and podcast host Stephen Kramer Glickman was the opening act.

Reality TV star and activist Caitlyn Jenner made the trip from L.A. to help raise funds at the gala, as did actress Christina DeRosa, who is the chairwoman of the board for the organization.

While additional donations are still being tallied, the event raised nearly $225,000 in its inaugural year.

Who: Notable guests included Jane McGarry, Shani James, Lanie Morgenstern, Sophie Hutchins, Lania Rittenhouse, Bekah Charleston, Daniel Moon, Dr. Tiffany Moon, Dr. Rod Rohrich, Leah Frazier, and Amber LaFrance. Survivors Saundra Crockett, Gina Russo, and "Addison" were also in attendance to share their inspiring stories.