TIME Magazine 100 Most Influential People Gala

I recently partnered with Chivas Regal for the TIME Magazine 100 Most Influential People Gala in New York City and was their digital influencer for the event. To say it was quite the exhilarating, fulfilling, and inspiring evening would be quite the understatement. To find out more about the entire night’s events and the people I met continue reading below…

A little about Chivas Regal…

Chivas Regal is currently on the global search to find and support the most promising and aspiring social entrepreneurs through their latest support movement called The Venture. They also were the main sponsor at the TIME Magazine 100 Most Influential People Gala and were (responsibly) serving Chivas 25 at the event. Whiskey sour? I’ll take one please & thank you!

About the outfit…

I was very excited to attend the Gala, but also very excited to get to bring out my Hugo Boss bespoke tuxedo to play for the night. I decided to wear a deep red bow tie (always bow ties!) paired with my deep red suede loafers. I will say that many people complimented the pairing and pointed it out throughout the night (given many men were wearing the traditional black bow tie for the evening, which is always a beautiful and classic look). I also wore my eyeglasses with my tuxedo because well I really do need them to see both near and far!

Just before the grand evening…

We started out the evening with some Chivas Regal cocktails at a bar before walking the red carpet. Chivas had budding social entrepreneurs as their honorary guests which included the following:

1) Brothers Raan & Shea Parton, both founders of Apolis, which is based on the ‘advocacy through industry’ business model. They co-create products with manufacturers around the world, giving equal access to the global marketplace through collaborations. Their products are seriously amazing and I highly recommend you to check them out at @apolis

2) Juan Lopez Salaberry heads the 500 Startups Hispanic Enterprise Accelerator in Mexico City (yay for Mexico!). He also fist-pumped Kanye during one of his performances, which was quite the epic moment.

3) Soushiant Zanganehpour leads special projects at the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University, does management and strategy consulting, is based in Abu Dhabi, but also teaches a Masters-level course on Social Entrepreneurship at the famed Sciences Po in Paris.

The above mentioned men are seriously incredible beings making incredible, positive, and lasting impressions throughout the world, and I am incredibly grateful to have met them & to have learned from their life experiences.

Walking the red carpet…

Arriving at the massive and multiple red carpets was quite exciting. There were loads of people outside of the Lincoln Center waiting to see all the honorees of the night arrive – paparazzi cameras & iPhones up in the air galore. We checked in inside with our ‘government issued ID’s’ and got our TIME100 special bracelet. We then were escorted to the elevators that would take us to the red carpet then reception area.

There were so many cameras, people, tuxedos and beautiful gowns everywhere. I felt so inspired, proud, and humbled to be at such an event. We walked the red carpets upstairs, flashing lights everywhere (but for real though), and finally made it to the reception area where Chivas Regal 25 was being served and delicious little appetizers were being served by waiters walking the area (yes, all the waiters were beautiful!).

All the attendees were here and it was incredible. My heart was definitely pumping at some point of nerves, excitement, gratitude, love and inspiration. And you know what the beautiful thing was? The realization that we are all human and that we all feel the same things. That we are all on this boat together, trying to do our best. Of course those being honored are just like me and you, but they’re doing extraordinary things with their lives, which reassured and motivated me with the idea and truth that I too (and you!) can be doing extraordinary things with our lives! Exciting.

I was in charge of taking pictures for Chivas Regal’s social platforms so I got to mingle AND take pictures, which are two of my favorite things – I was definitively in my element! #werk

The dinner…

After about an hour or so of mingling at the reception area, we were all escorted into the Jazz at Lincoln Center, which has breathtaking views of the Central Park and the beautiful buildings of the Upper Eastside. Every moment I tell you, was one of awe, presence, and gratitude. I’m even getting teary-eyed as I type this because the night was just magical and truthfully a reflection and culmination of all my previous efforts to get to a place and moment like this.

We were all assigned seats at random with about 10 people per table. I was at the table with three honorees of the TIME100 list. We were promptly served our first course, which consisted of seared ahi tuna and deliciously marinated kale. And yes, my name was there in front of me on my seat (it was one of those surreal moments that affirms to you that you are on the right path in life!). During this time TIME Magazine’s publisher gave a welcoming speech to all followed by Tim McGraw taking the stage and singing a couple of songs. I was confused – should I be eating and watching or just watching or just eating?! #thestruggleisreal, I did both of course. Also, Tim’s music and performance was just fantastic, he definitely has a new fan in me.

After the first course everyone stood up and socialized with one another, it was incredible – meeting so many influential and motivating people as if we were old friends? Incredible. I was also taking ‘behind the scenes’ pictures during this time which again, was a lot of fun. Abundant smiles everywhere.

We then had the main course, a delicious prime rib with some mashed sweet potatoes and carrots. At this time TIME Magazine’s Editor gave a speech and the entire room gave a ‘cheers!’ together with Chivas 25 in hand. A few of the honorees were then given the microphone to speak, things got intense…

Amongst those who spoke was Misty Copeland and Jorge Ramos. Mexico’s president has been accused of massive corruption and Jorge was not afraid to call him out on this. He spoke about being a rebel and standing for the truth. A following speech was also made about the girls who were kidnapped from their schools in Nigeria, this was in regards to the #bringbackourgirls campaign and it was sad and touching moment at the same time. I pray that these girls are ok and return safely to their families as soon as possible.


Small dessert bites were then served on multi-platformed trays and you betcha I was eating many of them. I love me some fine pastries and nothing was going to stop me from trying them all (haha!). Kanye’s much anticipated performance was coming up, we all knew it, and we were all anxiously waiting for it. The lights go down and Kanye arrives on stage with around 20 performance artists behind him standing in what appeared white/gray paint all over their body. Someone mentioned it looked like he was trying to reverse the racially controversial ‘black skin’, but I’ll let you be the judge in the pictures below.

I’ll be honest, I never really was a fan of Kanye beforehand, but nor was I not a fan. I enjoyed a couple of his songs and never really looked too much into his artistry. That night he changed my mind. There is a raw and genuine passion behind what he does and you could feel it that night. He was a titan  honoree on the TIME100 list and rightfully so.

During the many songs he performed he spoke about social justice and equality (all things I firmly believe in and stand for!). He really has a pure heart and the best of intentions in trying to open the world’s eyes to a better tomorrow. I appreciated his boldness and fearlessness on stage. He went over the allotted time he was supposed to perform because he was so in his performance – admirable. He made the entire room jump and it was electric, running around the room creating energy throughout and within everyone, and it was truly an incredible way to end the dinner.

The after party…

At this point Kanye woke us all up and the spirits were high. The DJ was playing music in the reception area and everyone was having an incredible time. I was then able to personally speak with those who I wanted to approach and give them a token of my appreciation for influencing me throughout my life.

So what I created before the event is part of my #YouAreLoved movement: stickers that say “you are loved” with a small red little heart! It’s amazing giving these away and seeing people’s faces light up in humility, gratitude, joy, and love. During the after party is when I was able to give these away and below are some of the stories..

My personal TIME100 Honoree interactions…

Diance Von Furstenburg

This lady needs no introduction. She’s revolutionized women’s fashion and is a legend in Americans fashion. She’s a sweetheart in person and deserves all the success she’s worked tirelessly for. Chit-chatting with her was fantastic to say the least.

Jorge Ramos

A fellow Mexican, he was there attending with his son as his guest. He really is a pioneer in Mexican news reporting as he doesn’t do as he’s told to do, but rather reports and acts accordingly to what he thinks is just and right for the greater good. My respects to him.

Chai Jing

Chinese pioneer, her documentary on pollution, Under the Dome, is one of the most important pieces of environmental awareness China has witnessed (having been to China personally, pollution is a major issue there). Speaking to her and her husband was in one word – a delight. They’re expecting a newborn child this year and she carried herself with such grace and dignity throughout the night.

Laverne Cox

Laverne, Laverne, Laverne! She’s simply a new pop culture icon, especially in the transgender community. Her work in Orange Is The New Black is beautifully done and she’s such a fierce woman in person. And quite the selfie expert if I may say so myself. She particularly loved my “you are loved” sticker and was a completely kind person overall. Yay!

Pete Cashmere

Pete is the young CEO of Mashable and is quite the presence. He too asked about my “you are loved” sticker as I was wearing mine on my tuxedo. He immediately put one on himself (that means a lot to me whenever someone does this). He’s building an empire and is creating a platform that is revolutionizing the way we interact on the internet. Keep an eye out for Mashable’s diverse growth.

Amy Schumer

What can I say about Amy other than that she’s hilarious. She told me something I wish I could write on here, but let’s just say it made me laugh out loud. Movie with Jud Apatow this summer? Sounds like she’s having a fantastic 2015.

Tim McGraw & Faith Hill

This power couple is as graceful and present as you can imagine. Spoke to them after Tim’s performance and both were gracious, grateful, and kind. Nothng but great things to say about them – all the best to them.

John Greene

John Greene is one of the most humble, coolest cats there is around! I told him that my aunt told me to tell him that she was mad at him. He reacted confused and actually felt bad that she felt that way! I jokingly explained that it was because she cries at the end of every book he’s written. He jokingly mentioned he’s trying comedy out! Such a great guy with a radiant wife.

Other people I admire that were in attendance:

Emma Watson, George Lucas (fellow USC Trojan – fight on!), Martha Stewart, Barbara Walters, Padma Lakshmi, Ina Garten, Ariana Huffington, Elon Musk, Bradley Cooper, Misty Copeland, Julianne Moore, Karlie Kloss

The after after party…

Upon leaving the after party with what is the best goodie bag I have ever received (so many skin products, which is great for at home facials!), we went up to another bar for some last minute fun. It was the icing on the cake and was able to form bonds with people I now admire.

Event takeaway…

The night was indescribably magical, incredible, humbling, inspiring, and motivating! I am very grateful to Chivas Regal for inviting me and taking me on this extremely unique experience in my life. Until next time…!

The pictures…

Below you will find some of the images I took throughout the evening. The entire story you just read above is below in images. I hope you enjoy!

IMG_9148 IMG_9131 IMG_9120 IMG_9107 Bisous,

Mr. Renaissance


  1. TaChyla says:

    Love it. Awesome Post Rafa! <3 TaChyla

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