All the Goss from DIFF's Oxfam Gala

The celebs, the fights and the $430,000 car!
BySarah Hedley HymersThursday , 12 December 2013
All the Goss from DIFF's Oxfam Gala
© ITP Images
Gorgeous Naomie Harris

Getting into this year’s DIFF Oxfam gala and charity auction was as hard as getting out of Alacatraz – if only I’d thought of fashioning a fake Rooney Mara head out of papier mache in advance I might have fared better. As it was, I had to wrangle with bouncers and reception staff who had misplaced my pass while Rooney glided in like a swan on a red carpet lake modelling a breathtaking sculptured white number by Lanvin – though she did look a tad ghostly with her matching white complexion and black lips.

British Bond gal Naomie Harris, 37, looked as pretty as a picture in pink, and was the hot topic of the evening with her latest film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom in which she plays Winnie Madikizela – being so poignant with Nelson’s passing. The clapper board from Skyfall, in which she starred alongside Daniel Craig, was also one of the donated items up for auction. It went for $25,000 in the end – now that’s what I call action!

Sadly though, like most celebs these days, these beauties walked in one door and straight out another with just a brief moment of posing in between. I was hoping they’d hang around so I could see what someone as slim as Rooney Mara has for dinner – I’m guessing that it’s not smoke salmon followed by lamb en croute finished off with a cream mousse encased in a hard chocolate shell, which is precisely what guests were treated to at the gala. Hats off to the host chefs at Armani Hotel.

Best Celeb of the Night Award goes to Now You See Me star Mark Ruffalo – we’d spotted him at Okku the night before and didn’t think he’d be so lively second night out in a row, but he stole the show. He got on stage to auction a VIP trip to the US to meet Scarlett Johansson at the premiere of her latest flick Captain America: The Winter Soldier. With what was pledged to be an impromptu gesture, Ruffalo decided to throw in a meet and greet with himself and the lot went for $50,000. Seems pricey for a pair of cinema tickets to me, but then it is for a great cause. The Night to Change Lives gala, hosted in association with Oxfam and DIFF, was held to raise money for refugees in the Middle East.

Other hot lots auctioned included a day on the set of Downton Abbey (I so wanted to wave a paddle in the air, but sadly I don’t have $35,000 going spare), and the biggest earner of the night raking in $430,000 was a vintage-style Aston Martin.

Thankfully most of the fighting was down to the bidding wars going on, but later at the after party we spotted an actual scuffle – an artist linked to the film festival slapped a man in the face and accused him of racism. She was furious, and rightly so if he had indeed made the comments he was accused of – however, I’m a pacifist, so I tried to calm her down by asking, “What would Mandela do?”. May Nelson’s legacy live on, I say, and I’m sure Naomie Harris would have agree with me, if only I could find her...

Click here to see all the celebs and Dubai’s best dressed on the red carpet and, of course, me in my gorgeous green gown loaned from Orkalia (, a Dubai-based design house producing beautiful haute couture with a ready-to-wear range coming this Spring. I don’t think I did it justice but I felt like a princess nonetheless and was glad I finally got to go to the ball!


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