Doing charity can be really hard work but it can also be a lot of fun. Most of all it’s fulfilling, entertaining and sometimes astonishing. These are the lessons I take with me after working one night for the Life Ball. Again and again during these hours I had to re-adjust my beliefs and expectations. People who looked as if the didn’t have a dime to their name, were the ones who gave most generously. While Marcel Hirscher, Austrian ski star par excellence, told me that he didn’t bring any money and therefore couldn’t buy any raffle tickets.
The fight against HIV/Aids is still ongoing and the Life Ball is the biggest single charity event in this fight against the disease in Europe. So even though we celebrate life here, let’s not forget what it is all about! But nothing feels better than partying for a good cause especially along all these international celebrities including but not exclusive Bill Clinton, Ricky Martin, Christina Perri, Conchita Wurst, Marcia Cross, Vivienne Westwood, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Anna Netrebko, Courtney Love etc.
A long, long time ago I went to the ball with a group of friends. We had a hair stylist and a makeup artist at home, invited a couple of people and partied before we even got there. The last time we looked like this.
This year my friend Cat asked me if I wanted to work the night and sell raffle tickets. Full of enthusiasm I said yes right away. I was excited to go there again. But after the fitting of the dresses I was not so sure how we would look and especially how the evening would go.
Please note also how the hall looked where we tried our dresses, because on Saturday afternoon it looked totally transformed! The row in front was for foundation and eye make-up and the second row for the hair stylists! So well organized! We raffle girls and boys had our get-ready slot at 2pm. First the dress, then the hair, then make-up, then back to hair again to get the flower head-piece which hurt like hell in the end (still have a small bruise).
If you think that after the styling process everything was just song and dance, you err. Far from it, because from then on it was hard work. First we tried our poses, because we were a most welcome photo motive for tourist and locals alike.
We were lucky in that the weather held for a change compared to the years before. In the afternoon it was even warm enough to shed my jacket while selling red ribbons. Later on the temperature dropped but the excitement of walking down the red carpet kept us warm. Here are some official shots.
We worked hard all evening long and managed to sell a couple of hundred ribbons and tickets, a real feat believe me. I never thought I had it in me, but I was quite the seller. With a friendly smile and easy-going banter, you can go a long way. Plus I enjoyed it, I wanted to make a lot of money for the charity. So although we were already exhausted and wanted to go home late at night, when I saw a friendly face, I walked over and asked if they wanted to buy some tickets. I was like the Energyzer Bunny, I just kept going and going and going. In the end we managed to leave the party around 2:30am.
So what’s the conclusion from this night of merriment? Never judge a book by its cover or people by their clothes. A lesson already learned a long time ago, but a reminder from time to time is apparently necessary. The more the merrier is not true because there is a ticket limit for the ball. All work behind the scenes is done free of charge. The make-up and hair people were from all over Austria and they worked with such a joy and pleasure, it was a rare sight. And best of all, most attending guests were friendly to a fault. I was addressing all of them informally while selling my tickets, and nobody was rude. Some were maybe a bit annoyed later but after having been addressed a couple of times for the same matter, it is understandable. I talked to so many people, and really felt a tiny connection with all of them. Just for this moment we were all in the same boat, all there for the same cause.
PS: For more on the Life Ball click here from society reporter Nina Ellend (in German only).