Eva Pigford's Birthday Bash

Even a torrential downpour couldn't keep the revelers away from Lotus last month, as the winner of America's Next Top Model's third installment, Eva Pigford, celebrated her 21st birthday. Located in the meatpacking district, the tri-level space is a restaurant, bar, and nightclub all in one. Although the beautiful model officially turned 21 on October 30th, scheduling commitments forced Ms. Pigford to extend the celebration past Thanksgiving. The festivities were part birthday, part charity event. In association with Citymeals-on-Wheels and Mal Sirrah, Inc., Eva-the-Diva.com launched the 'Party with Eva' contest offering the winning entrant (with the highest donation) a personal invitation to the star-studded fe'te. The birthday bash, which was co-sponsored by Cover Girl, Mal Sirrah, Inc., Piper-Heidsieck, Lotus, and Citymeals-on-Wheels, featured a French 1930's theme. The invitation forecasted a medium of sorts, with the young ingenue 'channeling Josephine Baker Au Casino De Paris.'

Photographer Jason Howard captures Ms. Pigford's radiant beauty on the red carpet

Ms. Pigford looked stunning in not one, but two eye-catching creations by Mal Sirrah, Inc., (on the red carpet and inside). Much like the yesteryear relationships of Audrey Hepburn and Hubert De Givenchy or modern day alliances between Nicole Kidman and Chanel or Renee Zellweger and Carolina Herrera, the Cover Girl spokesmodel enjoys a special affiliation with Mal Sirrah, Inc. Sirrah is actually an anagram for founder Malcolm Harris' surname. Public Relations Manager Adrian Hidalgo, describes Ms. Pigford as 'a company muse.' According to the company's website, the former stylist and Fashion Institute of Technology graduate has apprenticed with some of the chicest and certainly most-renowned ateliers in Paris, including Paco Rabanne, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Yves Saint Laurent. The eponymous line is known for its elegant, sophisticated, luxurious, and timeless style.

Photographer David Paul finds the guest of honor inside the party with Star Jones Reynolds and Al Reynolds

Ms. Pigford danced the night away with scores of friends and industry colleagues. The evening's soundtrack was a funky blend of old school, featuring everything from late 70's and early 80's R&B grooves to contemporary favorites. With the lower level and main floor DJ's spinning The Brothers Johnson, the crowd seemed ready to 'Stomp all night' and 'Party 'til the morning light.' The spinners also offered up classics like 'Rock Steady' by The Whispers, 'Rapper's Delight' by The Sugar Hill Gang, 'Make That Move' by Shalamar and 'Rapture' by Blondie. As flashbulbs lit up the dance floor, partygoers gyrated in sync to Vanity 6's salacious 'Nasty Girl' bringing to mind the indelible image from Beverly Hills Cop where Eddie Murphy 'stakes out' a strip club. The crowd was filled with the young, hip downtown set calling and texting, no doubt telling their friends Lotus was the 'place to be'! Taking their lead from last summer's most downloaded song Rihanna's 'Pon De Replay', the clubbers would 'Rock it 'til the groove's done' and 'Shake it 'til the moon becomes the sun.'

Inside the party, Naima Mora, ANTM Season 4 Winner, strikes a pose

The guest of honor welcomed an eclectic mix of artists, designers, models, actors, and musicians: famed fashion-photographer Stan Shaffer, Richie Rich (Heatherette co-founder and designer), artist Alvaro, Star Jones Reynolds, Al Reynolds, Style® Network's Fashion Police host Robert Verdi, Baby Phat publicist BJ Coleman, Coffey, Jasmine Burgess, Grugie Rivera, Hot 97's Ebro, Robyn Western, Mad Mike from MTV's Pimp My Ride, Naima Mora (winner of America's Next Top Model, Season 4), Camara Yaya Da Costa Johnson (America's Next Top Model, Season 3 finalist), and Tocarra Jones (America's Next Top Model, Season 3 contestant, looking fabulous in 20's flapper), amongst others.
 
Touted as an upscale Asian-fusion restaurant and swanky bar by day, after eleven Lotus' exclusivity cachet is upswept in an ambience of open spaces, mirrored walls, and beaded chain curtains. The space lends itself well to a decor of oversized lampshades, suede banquettes, and narrow tables swathed in rich colors and textures. There was no hiding my natural curls in the rainstorms pelting New York City that night, but the great atmosphere and party mood more than made up for the inclement conditions once inside. I took refuge on the upper balcony as the pulsating beat and jewel-colored lights poured out onto the main floor, which was packed wall to wall. At one point, the crowd swayed from side to side waving votives in the air, putting their 'lighters up' as Lil' Kim had commanded them to do in the background. Ms. Pigford was not only presented with a fantastically girlie pink birthday cake (with huge frosted daisies and sparklers), but a jeroboam of Piper-Heidsieck Cuvee Brut Champagne and a life-size portrait by artist Alvaro which is said to have been commissioned by Mariah Carey, Iman, and Denise Rich. The painting features Ms. Pigford's likeness in an homage to the late Ms. Josephine Baker as depicted on her 'Un Message Pour Toi' album cover. 

Tocarra Jones, ANTM Season 3 Finalist, looking fabulous in 20's flapper

Since earning the prized contract with Ford Models, a spread in Elle Magazine, and a $100,000 Cover Girl contract as America's Next Top Model winner, the Los Angeles native has turned her attention to more altruistic causes. The young starlet, who has even inspired a lyric in Missy Elliot's song 'On and On' may hold the Diva moniker, but on the evening of November 29th, she used her celebrity to help raise funds and awareness for Citymeals-on-Wheels. According to the Foundation's website, Citymeals-on-Wheels which was founded in 1981 hand delivers more than two million meals each year to over 17,000 seniors. In partnership with the New York City Department for the Aging, the Organization 'provides a continuous lifeline of nutritious food and human company to homebound elderly New Yorkers in need, thereby helping them to live with dignity in their own familiar homes and communities.'

Coffey and Eva-Absolutely Stunning!!!

In a statement released by her publicist, Terrell Mullin, he discussed how Ms. Pigford was moved to support this particular cause. 'Citymeals-on-Wheels was jointly selected by Eva Pigford and designer Malcolm Harris [during] a fitting for an evening gown she was to wear for a Hurricane Katrina charity event.  As she stood with pins and fabric draped from her body, they watched a news piece on a local station (NY1) that featured Citymeals-on-Wheels and its plight to secure basic donations just to make it through the holidays.  It was in this moment that the two simply looked at one another and decided that it was a no-brainer to use her birthday party to also raise money for a good cause' Ms. Pigford will [continue to] lend her support to Citymeals-on-Wheels in as many ways as she can (i.e. fundraising, volunteering her time, and especially speaking to young kids about how important and rewarding charity work truly can be...' The 'Party with Eva' contest raised nearly $1,000 for Citymeals-on-Wheels. New York Jets Safety Kerry Rhodes also presented a check for $2,500. And Piper-Heidsieck, who has been importing fine wines and champagnes for 220 years, generously donated $5,000 to the charitable organization. Kudos to Ms. Pigford and the event sponsors who joined together not only in her honor, but also to raise $8,500 for such a worthy cause!


For more information on Mal Sirrah, Inc., please visit www.malsirrah.com

For more information on Citymeals-on-Wheels, please visit www.citymeals.org

Red Carpet image provided courtesy of photographer Jason Howard and event planners Eric Virgil, Inc. For more information, please visit www.ericvirgil.com.

Inside Party images provided courtesy of David Paul. For more information, please visit www.davidpaulonline.com.

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