Salma Hayek Pinault was honored at Baby2Baby’s annual gala on Saturday night, where she was recognized for her commitment to giving back to children in need around the world.
Hayek Pinault’s Giving Tree Award was presented by her Magic Mike’s Last Dance co-star Channing Tatum, who called her “one of the most magical and mystically intuitive beings that has, in my opinion, ever walked this earth.”
Upon taking the stage, the star called Tatum “family to us,” joking he is known as “Channing Tatum Pinault Hayek.” She also declared, “I am such a big fan of this organization, and I have a lot of respect for it, and I don’t have a lot of respect for many organizations.” Baby2Baby is a non-profit organization that provides children living in poverty the basic necessities and has distributed more than 375 million essential items including diapers, formula and clothing over the last 12 years.
“The children of the world desperately need you, more now than ever,” she told co-CEOs Kelly Sawyer Patricof and Norah Weinstein and their team. “I know that you have been expanding, but if you look at the times that we’re dealing with today where essentials are not even existing, where human rights are not even existing, how can we help you expand to the world?”
Pinault Hayek went on to tell a story about a medical aid trip she went on about 15 years ago to Sierra Leone, where she went into a hospital with no electricity and a mother placed her newborn baby girl in the actress’ arms; the baby died a few minutes later. “This was a death that could have been prevented just with the right sanitary conditions or vaccinations, with a few dollars. I felt so powerless, so helpless, so angry, so useless,” she remembered.
A few days later on that same trip, she was in the jungle helping with vaccinations when a teenage girl walked in with a baby asking for formula, having not been able to feed the baby since she’d given birth a few days before. The group didn’t have any formula, but Pinault Hayek had recently stopped breastfeeding her own child and offered to try to feed the baby herself. “Turns out I had milk,” she said, and, “as he got stronger, I felt the life injected into his life, he opened his eyes and stared at me. There was such a connection. He humbled me, made me filled with purpose and gratitude.”
“All children are our children. We have a responsibility. They hold in their hands our future. They are our hope,” she continued. “Dignity is an essential; diapers are dignity, make no mistake. Love is an essential. For all these children and all the mothers and all their families, how can we say ‘Let’s love, not hate,’ but how do you teach compassion and empathy to people who have never felt compassion and empathy from anyone? So, in everything you donate and everything that Baby2Baby brings to every single home or street, there is an intention. It’s not just money. It is love. It is compassion. It is caring. We are all interconnected.”
The event, presented by Paul Mitchell and held at West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center, also featured remarks from Olivia Wilde, Zoe Saldaña, Nicole Richie, Sofia Richie Grainge and Kim Kardashian, who was last year’s Giving Tree honoree. “While it’s such a difficult time in the world, I feel so good to be a part of something that’s so positive, where we all have the opportunity to give back,” Kardashian told the crowd.
Patricof and Weinstein also gave a speech highlighting Baby2Baby’s work in the past year, and Zooey Deschanel and Julie Bowen hopped onstage to lead fundraising efforts, with Miranda Kerr and her husband Evan Spiegel donating $1 million, and Kardashian and her Skims brand donating $500,000. The night raised more than $12 million in support of the organization.
The gala also served as a foodie paradise, featuring dishes from Los Angeles’ top chefs and restaurants that were curated by Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo of Carmelized Productions. Many famous chefs, including Evan Funke, Roy Choi and Chris Bianco, were in attendance, as was Gwyneth Paltrow, handing out plates at the Broad Street Oyster Company and goop Kitchen station. Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Jessica Alba, Chrissy Teigen, Cole Sprouse, Demi Lovato, Hailey Bieber and Heidi Klum were also among the guests at the event, which closed out with a performance by Snoop Dogg.