But some members of the fashion crowd are trying to bridge that divide with fundraising efforts for medical care, the evacuation of children and other safeguards to help those impacted by the monthlong war. With a global audience in the millions expected to tune in to the red-carpet arrivals and ABC’s broadcast of the 94th Academy Awards, it is safe to say that a few presenters or winners will reference the ravaged country of Ukraine and the refugee crisis that has ensued. Amy Schumer, cohost of the 2022 Oscars with Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall, said publicly that she pushed for an appearance by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Earlier this month William Morris Endeavor revealed plans to nix its annual Oscars party and to make a donation to UNICEF to support people in Ukraine who have been impacted by the Russian invasion. The news was first reported by Deadline.
In advance of this weekend’s Oscars, the Alliance4Children Ukraine Foundation is encouraging people to adopt a “Ticket to Safety” for Ukrainian children. The new campaign aims to help the estimated 378,000 youngsters in Ukraine, who are in need of support and care, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. There are 100,000 children in Ukraine in institutional care centers, with the majority of them in orphanages, and 70,000 are under foster care. To date, the foundation has been able to evacuate more than 12,000 children.
En route from visiting one of the refugee camps in Poland Wednesday afternoon, Alliance4Children Ukraine cofounder and chief executive officer Maia Mazurkiewicz and another supporter, Leopoldine Huyghues-Despointes, spoke of how the group first sprang into action with the relief efforts as soon as the war started more than a month ago. Based in Poland, the foundation’s mission is to secure a coordinated and systematic approach to the evacuation of Ukrainian children. Daily evacuations are being done under hazardous conditions and children run the risk of being lost, abused, explored or trafficked. Maintaining children’s safety and well-being throughout is essential, organizers said.
The foundation cooperates with the Polish and Ukrainian governments, nongovernment organizations, European Union institutions and other foundations, including the Petra Nemcova-founded All Hands and Hearts. The pair spoke of how the foundation helps kids directly on the ground and protects their health, while this race against the clock continues.
Working with the foundation, Stardust Brands’ Victoria Brynner came up with the idea of distributing pins — a yellow heart interlocked with a blue ticket — to celebrities to wear on the red carpet Sunday night. The colors are symbolic of the Ukrainian national flag. She and fellow supporter Arianne Phillips will be helping to distribute the pins to friends and colleagues in the coming days in the lead-up to the Oscars. They will also be talking up the message behind “A Ticket to Safety.” “There is nobody better than people in entertainment with their global presence to share the message of the Ukrainian crisis during the biggest red-carpet event in the world. This gives us the opportunity to enlist the entertainment community to share the message globally, which is a dream of hope,” Brynner said.
Brynner said the cost per ticket per child is $60, which covers getting them rescued, transported across the Ukrainian border and into Poland where they are then relocated. “We are enlisting as many people as possible to wear the pin. We are providing them with the pin and we are sharing a call to action, images and messaging to post,” Brynner said. “At this time, we are in the thickest of the outreach. We are getting a very good response from publicists, managers and celebrities. People want to help.”
One of the foundation’s hopes — that the U.S. government will soon allow to pathway for children from the Ukraine to enter the U.S. — was realized Thursday. President Joe Biden announced that the U.S.would welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees.
”We’re trying to get all different governments to unite to put those kids under child protection in different countries because Poland is not capable enough [to accommodate the lion’s share of refugees]. No one is a single island. There are so many children in need that we cannot do it as one country. We really need solidarity,” Mazurkiewicz said.
Celebrity stylist Julia Von Boehm has come up with another way to strengthen fundraising efforts to help the Ukrainian people, who have been impacted by the Russian invasion. Through a micro site, she will be asking people to donate to Doctors Without Borders.
“What’s happening there is really unbelievable. I would not have thought that anything like that could happen in 2022. I’m shocked by it,” von Boehm said. “I know that things like this have happened in the past. But what is interesting is there is so much social media about it that people are really feeling it much more. That’s a good thing but also a frightening thing.”
As an added incentive, those who donate $1,000 or more will be part of a raffle to try to win a one-hour styling session with her. Five sessions in total will be given away. In addition, anyone who donates $300 or more will be part of a raffle for a 30-minute styling session with someone from von Boehm’s team. Ten of those 30-minute sessions will be offered, she said.
As a European, the Russian invasion of Ukraine hit very close to home for her, she said. “It’s unbelievable how one person can create such suffering and how that is even possible or allowed. Why I chose Doctors Without Borders is because of the suffering of the children. It’s very inhumane in our time to be watching something like that without doing something.”
Watching the news about the invasion in Ukraine, the stylist said she feels a little out of sync considering that she is working on Oscar dresses. “What’s important is that actresses, stylists and whomever use their visibility to motivate people to donate. But I don’t want to just ask for money. I also want to give some of my time,” said von Boehm, whose clients Include Nicole Kidman.
As the mother of two daughters, the stylist said, “Of course, it is very important to show them that Mommy is doing a superficial job. But that’s OK because I also am trying to use the advantage that I have through this job to try to help. I can lend my expertise in a way that leads to money [for relief efforts] and that was very important to me.”