Maria Bello partners with Judith Leiber for Haiti

Ann-Valerie Timothee Milfort, Maria Bello, Mary Gleason, and Eugenia Podesta

On Tuesday night, Judith Leiber’s flagship store in New York City was filled with the sounds of hip-hop and the smells of creole chicken and rice. All eyes may have been on the dazzling stars, such as Kelly Rutherford of “Gossip Girl” and designer Lucy Sykes, but it was the Haitian women working with Vital Voices who stole the show. Judith Leiber, Brand President Mary Gleason, and activist and actress Maria Bello hosted the event to unveil a limited-edition Judith Leiber design, the “Don’t Forget” pendant, the entire proceeds of which will benefit Femmes En Democratie, the Haiti-based chapter of Vital Voices Global Partnership.

For the past three years, Bello has been actively engaged in the challenges facing Haitian women and has returned more than eight times since the January earthquake. “The partnership with Judith Leiber was a natural one,” she said in a press release. “Mary immediately understood my mission to improve the lives of women. The company is helping put these gallant leaders back on their feet so that they can be an integral part of the rebuilding Haiti.”

Despite the devastating reality in Haiti, spirits were kept high with the delicious Carribean flavor that permeated every detail of the night—from the delicious spicy chicken and rice and crispy crabcakes, to D.J. Sedeck Jean (Wyclef Jean’s brother), who was spinning soulful hip-hop. By the end of the night, the dance floor was packed with partygoers already wearing their newly purchased pendants. Nearly one hundred “Don’t Forget” pendants were sold, making the event a great success. The pendant is only available for a limited time but its benefits are far-reaching, so visit to order yours and to find out more about how Vital Voices is empowering women in Haiti and all over the world.