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Orianne & Phil Collins: Everything Starts with a Dream

November-December Issue 2015 By Angela Betancourt Photographed by Ihor Mokhovyk Hair & Makeup by Frank (IGK Salon) Location: SLS South Beach The Little Dreams Foundation (LDF) is celebrating another year in Miami with its Second Annual Gala-Concert in March. Seven-time Grammy Award-winning entertainer and foundation co-founder Phil Collins will be returning as celebrity emcee and host of the star-studded evening. LDF co-founder and jewelry designer, Orianne Collins Mejjati, is organizing the gala together with executive producer ACT Productions. She excitedly talked about the gala after her photo shoot with MSM at the SLS Hotel in South Beach. Guests will include more than 2,200 local tycoons, activists, philanthropists, socialites and jet-setters with a common goal to raise funds in support of the Little Dreams Foundation kids, which fulfills the dreams of young aspiring talent who don’t have the means to achieve their goals. It will be a memorable evening with a VIP cocktail reception, silent auction and delectable dinner, followed by a performance by Little Dreamer artists. As part of a new collaboration this year, students from the IRIE Foundation will also showcase their musical talent. “DJ Irie is a lovely man and we thought we could work together,” says Orianne who is a big believer in collaborations. “There are other collaborations that we can do. The more we help each other, the better it is for the young talent. It’s a matter of putting our strengths together to make a better world.” Phil is scheduled to close the evening with a special intimate acoustic performance of some of his global hits. However, he had back surgery late this summer and hopes to be in top shape for the event. “I’m crossing my fingers that I’m healthy enough to perform,” he shared. Surely attending guests hope the same. Phil has created some of the most defining music of the last 40 years- “In the Air Tonight,” “Sussudio” and “Take Me Home,” to name a few. In addition to his seven Grammy awards, Phil has multi-platinum albums and singles, an Oscar and two Golden Globes. Now, he can add Humanitarian of the Year to his long list of accomplishments. Orianne and Phil recently received the Humanitarian Award at the 30th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner for their work with LDF. For Orianne, receiving this award had extra meaning. After suffering an accident last year, she was told she would be paralyzed for the rest of her life. Today however, with continuous physical therapy, she has defied the odds. “Receiving this award was great because last December they told me I would never be able to walk again. I wanted to prove them wrong and never give up. And that is what the foundation is about; never giving up. If you have a dream, follow your dream. And even if you have an accident you can always continue to keep your goals. Keep your strengths and overcome adversity,” she shared. Orianne has since added to her dreams. “I have a wish and I’m going to do it next July. I’m going to climb the Matterhorn in Switzerland. And I told myself that if I’m able to walk again, that is something I will do.” It was this same drive and determination that put her on course to establish her OC Jewellery line in Miami to great success. In October, the designer hosted a cocktail party to celebrate her new collection. It was an intimate, yet lavish affair that also featured new fashion by Julian Chang and elaborate handbags by Hang2Dry. Orianne’s stunning jewelry pieces sparkled all around the guests as they sipped champagne ate delicious hors d’oeuvres and shopped for a good cause. 15% of the proceeds from sales of the Julian Chang Collection benefitted the LDF class of 2015-2016. When Orianne and Phil started the foundation in Switzerland, they didn’t realize how many young lives they would touch. “We didn’t envision it before,” says Phil. The pair, who was married at that time, began receiving letters from children asking for advice and guidance on how they could achieve their dreams. They decided to take action and with the help of sponsors, technical advisors, and “godparents” were able to start the Little Dreams Foundation. “We can’t guarantee a #1 record but we can certainly give the children a taste of what they can truly achieve,” says Phil. “It is about giving them the opportunity to do something with their talent.” Matching Phil’s star power, musicians like Natalie Cole, Tina Turner, and Angelique Kidjo among many others are all mentors and Phil would like to see other musicians get involved. “We are hoping to get One Direction this year,” he revealed. Though the foundation has inspired many lives, Phil explains that it has also had an impact on him. The past 15 years has created many memories and the experience of working with talented young people has been enjoyable and fulfilling. “There is an honesty and trust working with young people,” he says. He finds that they are not yet jaded and have an enthusiasm and hunger to achieve their dreams. Each year the foundation holds auditions to determine which children will benefit from the program. Phil also admires the courage young people have to go through the process. “It takes a lot of balls to come to the stage and audition. It takes a lot of confidence,” says Phil. When The Little Dreamers take to the stage at the gala, guests will have the opportunity to see exactly why their donations and contributions are so important. “During the gala we want to help people understand what we do. It’s a magical evening because you can understand exactly why you are supporting the foundation. If you give $1 dollar you know exactly where that $1 dollar goes; it goes exactly to the kids and nowhere else,” says Orianne. For the New Year, both Orianne and Phil hope to continue to generate awareness about the foundation and continue their expansion. “We have fantastic children