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Interviews from an unforgettable evening gala for the fight against breast cancer

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Interviews from an unforgettable evening gala for the fight against breast cancer

The womenThe Cancer Research Gala is one of the most star-studded and impactful charity events of the year, and last night, March 16, An Unforgettable Evening raised a whopping $2 million in favor of womens Cancer Research Fund, a program of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Breast cancer is an incredibly complex disease, but with continued research and investment in science from amazing groups like the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, outcomes are constantly improving for those diagnosed. For more than two decades, the annual event has brought together leaders in research and philanthropy alongside Hollywoodthe biggest stars to raise awareness and financial support and last nightthe event was particularly special.

Chebecause our very own host and producer Sienna Leone was on the pink carpet, joined by her mother (and best friend) Gabby Leone, herself a breast cancer survivor and in recovery. There she chatted with stars like The Real Housewives of Atlanta alum Cynthia Bailey and fashion icon Rachel Zoe, as well as leading physicians and philanthropists, including Breast Cancer Research Foundation President and CEO Myra Biblovit and Unsung Hero Award winners Dr. Stacey J. Stevenson and Richard J. Stevenson, who were recognized for their incredible contributions to breast cancer philanthropy. For the full scoop, read her interviews with them below.

(Photo: Gabby Leone)

Mayra Biblovit

Sienna Leone: This is something that I hold close to my heart because my mother, who I brought with me tonight, is recovering from breast cancer.

Mayra Biblovit: Well, you look damn good! And that’s the power of research that you’re standing here.

SL: She said just that – if it wasfor people like you and an organization like this, she wouldI won’t be here today, so thanks.

MB: After all, this is just researchwill consign breast cancer to the history books.

Gabby Leone: Im those 5% that chemotherapy didt works for. My oncologist said breast cancer is the most researched cancer, but we don’t have research for your type of cancer. Because chemotherapy does notthey don’t work they don’t workI don’t know what to do, so they went around my case and had the oncologists and surgeons decide what to do with me.

SL: For young women like me, in my early 20s, it’s so important to get screened. What will you say about this?

MB: You know, all the guidelines say 40, but if there’s that kind of family history, observation is whatthere will be a difference.

SL: Finally, what does this event mean to you?

MB: It’s about people who are committed, coming together, using their celebrity and using their networks for good – and thatit is a very wonderful thing.

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Cynthia Bailey

SL: I heard you recently turned 56. what’s your secret Because wow!

Cynthia Bailey: I will say itIt’s just such a blessing to live to be 56. This birthday was kind of quiet for me. I thought, oh, I have to do a big photo shoot or do this and that, but I really ended up in a space with everything thati was just passing through-ii am recently divorced and my mom is actually a breast cancer survivor so iI am excited to be here tonight and to be part of the committee. I just wanted to relax and take it all in.

SL: Whateveryou’re doing it, keep doing it because you look amazing! And youI have always been a womanhealth advocate so thanks for using your platform. Tell me a little bit about your performance tonight.

CB: My mother is on the other side of cancer — thank God — but when youare in it with a breast cancer patient, youyou always wonder if everything is going to be okay. Youyou are constantly stressed. And one of the things I learned going through this breast cancer journey with her is how it affected her mental health. From the moment she was diagnosed, she went straight to this dark place of, Oh god, meI will die. She just wasn’tI’m not optimistic and I found myself not only going back to Lake Bailey in Atlanta to make sure I could get her to her appointments, but also sort of her cheerleader – like, You will do it. Youwill be great. I think a lot of time, people don’tyou don’t realize the weight it puts on your psyche. Cheis something meI talked about a lot, just sharing my experience with my motherbreast cancer.

SL: What a blessing to have a mother alive on the other side. We are so happy. But you know, for young women like me, I thinkIt is extremely important to get over it early. Any advice for young women and anyone dealing with breast cancer?

CB: Women in general should make sure you get your annual mammograms. Chethat’s how my mother discovered her cancer andis something I try to be on top of. I have a very busy life and schedule, but as I get older – I just turned 56 – health is definitely a big focus and priority for me. ItIt’s very important to me to use my platform to have these conversations and encourage women to take care of themselves. I find that many women, especially entrepreneurs, can get so caught up in work that we put our health aside, but you canit doesn’t work if youyou are not well

SL: And I think people don’tI don’t understand how much stress can add to the disease. That being said, how stress-free you are now thatre out of The Real Housewives of Atlanta?

CB: (Laughs) I have less stress! I have to say I miss playing with the girls every now and then so II was lucky enough to be able to pop in and out, hanging out in Atlanta a bit more. I go and support the ladies and thatit was really great for me. My acting career is still my focus, but I have to say I like hanging out with the girls and finding out what their drama is, not really talking about mine. Me right nowm no dramas!

SL: In terms of your acting career, what can we look out for?

CB: I have a couple of movies that are out right now on BET+, and Iactually i’m leaving here tonight because of the red eye to shoot a tv series called Black mafia family. Ithappens! Itit’s only been almost a year since iI was focused on my acting career and II am so grateful that II was able to transition from reality TV to acting becauseit’s not easy. ItIt’s important to me to get the job done and earn the respect of the other players who have been in the game for years.

Sienna Leone with Cynthia Bailey for an unforgettable evening

(Photo: Gabby Leone)

Dr. Stacey J. Stevenson and Richard J. Stevenson

SL: Tell me about receiving the Unsung Hero Award tonight!

Dr. Stacey J. Stevenson: This is an incredible honor for an incredible cause. This award is not for us – it is for every single human being in this room who contributes to the energy to eradicate this dreaded disease. That’s why wehere again. WeI’m here for everyone else. Wejust singing it from the mountaintops.

SL: What’s your best advice for young women like me to stay on top and make sure we’re healthy?

SJS: For young women like you, you need to pay a lot of attention to your diet. It sounds like everything your mother ever told you, but it’s trueit’s true. Lower inflammatory diets and follow-up nutrition. Vitamin D is well researched, as are many other nutrients. Believe it or not, exercise and fitness are critical—they’re like an elixir for your immune system. Also monitoring for cancer cells. Your physical fitness, what you put in your mouth, and how you engage in your relationships and your community—your spiritual health—are critical. You put a little bit of all these together and youhealthy!

Richard J. Stevenson: And you get the book livelywhich is the best-selling book on the subject written by Stacey Stevenson.

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Rachel Zoe

SL: Youyou are an icon! I grew up in a fashion family, so I look up to you as a powerhouse, so much love and respect. Tell me why youI’m here tonight.

RZ: I would never be here. ItIt’s so important to come forward, and my family suffers from breast cancer. I have countless friends with breast cancer under the age of 40. It just goes on and on, and we canyou still don’t cure it completely and if you dono early detection, thatit’s really hard. If notdon’t keep doing the work and during the research and making nights like tonight, thisit will never go away. But it must go. For our children it must go.

SH: Thank you so much for using your platform for this cause. I appreciate you and those people, like Sharon Stone, who won the Courage Award tonight. I know you two are way back. Tell me why you think sheis the perfect person for this award.

RZ: Sharon is fearless. Sheare a champion. Therethere is no voice louder than hers and she uses it for good. She has an energy and passion that is unmatched. I think her work for amfAR is simply indescribable. Sheshe is here tonight toos loud—in a good way and for a good reason. Sheis incredibly beautiful and obviously has a heart – a huge one.

Sharon Stone on the pink carpet for an unforgettable evening

(Photo: Gabby Leone)

SH: You all do, using your platforms for these great causes. Whatis a trend right now that youloving and one that must go?

RZ: One trend Ii love that iEver since I was 13 I’ve always done chunky platform shoes. Apparently they make me happy. For that second part, I don’tI don’t really believe that anymore. I feel like fashion is such a form of personal expression and I think the world weliving again in the now is very accepting and inclusive of alls style. Feels like the days of dos and donts are gone.

SH: So whatis next for you?

RZ: Now I have a podcast that people seem to like Climbing in heels. I have my womensubscription curation business called Curateur, which I love. I have many licenses and partnerships that I design for. II’m working on a new TV show. So, wewill see!

Sienna Leone meets Rachel Zoe for an unforgettable evening

(Photo: Gabby Leone)

Curious about how Siena prepares for a big event? Check out her Get Ready With Me story for the 80th Annual Golden Globes HERE.

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