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Ladies who Do TIFF: Susan Chong, of SCPR, wears Greta Constantine to amFAR gala and hangs with friend John Legend

National Post’s Shinan Govani describes Susan Chong as the perfect date, “She’s red carpet ready in five minutes.” And yes, Susan makes glamorous look easy, but she also has a talent for making you feel welcome and at ease from the get go. This is probably why she is so good at what she does: Being a great publicist is a combination of warm sincerity and artful people skills. No doubt, she’s been to all of the big TIFF galas, but here Susan walks us through amFAR gala, the TIFF fundraiser that brings in big bucks for AIDS research. And where Kathy Griffin drops the F-bomb.

The red carpet look that came together in a day: Brown jersey and leather backless gown graciously on loan for the evening from designers Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong of Greta Constantine. I went to their studio, behind the Sutton Place Hotel, to get fitted the morning of. It’s a model’s sample size off the runway, and they cut the length so I could walk in it! I wore it with it my favorite pieces: gold gladiator 5” heels from London’s Top Shop, Cartier Love Bracelet in 18K gold, and my Monica Vinaderlarge Nugget Ring in 18ct gold vermeil labradorite.

The beauty secrets: For hair, I used a combination of Schwarzkopf Color Save Shampoo/Conditioner, and Osis+ hair spray with Aveda Brilliant Anti-Humectant Pomade. For skincare, I used Aveda Green Science Skincare. For make up, I used MAC Mineral Make Up.

Best part of the night: When host Kathy Griffin dropped the F-word several times in the first minute, I knew it wasn’t going to be another serious fundraiser!

Best overheard quote: Although not overheard, John Legend warming up his vocal cords in the women’s bathroom – well, according to Kathy Griffin. 

Celebs in attendance:  Event Chair Kim Cattrall (who threw in her silver dress to raise the bids on first auction item for $16,000!), Kenneth Cole (charming, smart and heartfelt), Cheyenne Jackson (amfAR ambassador, who also performed) and John Legend (a friend, who performed). The late amfAR founder Dame Elizabeth Taylor’s FiFi fragrance awards dress went for $20,000.

Conversation consisted of… “What are you wearing??” … “You look fabulous!” … And, with financier Loudon Owen, who I was the guest of, we caught up on family, business and fundraising.

Any swag? I noticed Coty bags but didn’t take one.

Three words to sum up the evening: Raw (Kathy Griffin), Refined (good intersection of Hollywood, business, and society) in black-tie and Schmoozy.

Was there an after party? Most people ended up at Goodnight but I literally went goodnight! Too bad, because, I would have liked to see the stunning Ciara Hunt – co chair of amFar, dancing it out in her deco-ish grey sweeping gown.

Lesson learned: If you want to look like Susan Chong, skip the after party.

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