The Committee to Protect Journalists gave out its International Press Freedom Awards at the Waldorf Astoria last Tuesday, November 25. I wrote about CPJ’s importance in that day’s post on the movie Rosewater, which tells the story of Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari. When Bahari was arrested in Iran in 2009 — and held and tortured for 118 days — CPJ was one of the many organizations and individuals that petitioned for his release. As a result, Bahari was on hand last week to present a Press Freedom award to Iranian freelance journalist Siamak Ghaderi, who was released this July after spending four years in prison in Iran.
Other awardees were Aung Zaw of Burma, founder and editor-in-chief of The Irrawaddy, a Burma-focused news organization that operates from exile; Mikhail Zygar, the editor-in-chief of the independent Russian TV channel Dozhd, which the Russian government has been trying to drive off the air; and Ferial Haffajee, the editor-in-chief of the local privately owned weekly City Press in South Africa. (Click their names to see the videos ABC News produced describing what kind of government pressure these journalists face while trying to do their jobs.) Jorge Ramos, the Emmy-award-winning anchor of Univision News, received the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award. In his acceptance speech, he argued that journalists shouldn’t be afraid to take a stand. Ramos quoted Nobel Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel:
“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.”
Think about it. It’s the truth, isn’t it?
The black-tie dinner raised a record total of $2.7 million, including a special commitment from the Knight Foundation and pledges made during dinner by attendees who were egged on by host Christiane Amanpour of CNN.
I wore the same dress I wore to the CPJ dinner in 2004: my blog-famous Sex-ay Pilgrim dress. For some reason, I can’t find a full-length photo from that year, just this one.
This Donald Brooks Couture dress is one of my favorite eBay purchases. I got it for only $60 and the workmanship is impeccable, from the tailoring, to the pockets, to the tight sleeves that snap and zip at the wrists.
I was so into the top hat that I borrowed from my designing friend Stacy Lomman for Halloween that I decided to accessorize the pilgrim dress that way for the CPJ dinner this year. Here’s the full look.
What Wendy Wore
Dress: Vintage Donald Brooks Couture (possibly purchased from eBay in 2003/2004)
Shoes: Prada (2010)
Top hat: JJ Hat Center (2014)
Earrings: My own Cleves design
Makeup: Josie Torres
Hair: Julie Matos of Warren-Tricomi
To break up all the black, gorgeous hairstylist Julie Matos used a hairpiece to give me a purple bun.
Stacy wore a strapless gold bouclé gown she designed herself.
Stacy had come with me to the Rosewater screening, so she and I were both excited to meet actor Kim Bodnia, who played the torturer. He was very nice in real life!
MrB looked dashing in his tux, as always.
Style photographer Bill Cunningham of the New York Times stopped by briefly before the event got started to take pictures of the awardees. It’s too bad he missed my top hat; I think he would have liked it. He always appreciates a vintage gown too.
You can find out more about what CPJ does to help journalists around the world by checking out its website and reading my previous CPJ-related posts here.
UPDATED TO ADD: The Elie Wiesel quote comes from his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, much of which is especially relevant this week.
Thank you again for having me as your guest. Nice way to spend my birthday 😉 I’m always so humbled and impressed by the brave journalists who risk everything to keep us informed.
Your outfit was a HUGE hit. I loved it!
My forehead didn’t though! 🙂
You all look fantastic, and what a great event.
(Also, your tweet got retweeted by NPR West Coast so yay!)
I feel all famous 😀
I love this dress – and the way you wear it! Looks like a fab night, xox.
Always a great event!
Jacqueline Zenn says
You look fabulous! Hats are an underrated accessory.
I feel a top hat is my “look.” 🙂
Julie Matos says
You look absolutely stunning in that dress ! I must say at $60 the best deal ever. The craftsmanship is obvious. The Top Hat delightful fun and so “Glam Rock”. You must wear it again.
Glad we added that touch of Pink – Purple.
Bill Cunningham would have been all over you had he seen you.
Everyone was scared of the giant daisy on that dress, I think, but it’s totally manageable! 🙂