Stars Gifting Suite is Real Oscar Winner

Actor Gary Busey and wife Steffanie Sampson attend the Roger Neal Style Hollywood Academy Awards Beauty & Couture Suite in Beverly Hills. Photo: Dennis J. Freeman
Actor Gary Busey and wife Steffanie Sampson attend the Roger Neal Style Hollywood Academy Awards Beauty & Couture Suite in Beverly Hills. Photo: Dennis J. Freeman

By Dennis J. Freeman

Beverly Hills, CA-The week of the Academy Awards creates a buzz like no other. There’s tons of celebrity gifting suites, hordes of awards luncheons and a limitless supply of celebrity sightings and activities. To Roger Neal of Neal Public Relations, Oscar week simply means it’s time for celebrities and stars to answer the bell in support of a couple of charities that he and his wife, Lynn Neal, are involved with.

This year is no different. Sure, there were gift bags loaded with cosmetics and designer jewelry and other goodies stars were treated to when they came to visit the Roger Neal Style Hollywood 16th Annual Academy Award Beauty and Couture Suite (RNSH) at the famous L’Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Yes, celebrities like actor Gary Busey (Predator 2), actresses Sophia Milos (CSI: Miami), Keke Palmer (The Longshots) and singer Mayra Veronica, and as many as 200 celebrities all got their fair share of enjoying the pampered luxury of massages, wax treatments and being lavished with high-end wine and champagne.

That usually comes with the territory when you put on a function specifically catered to the stars in Hollywood’s version of milk and honey. However, the real deal behind the glamorous allure of Roger and Lynn Neal hosting their annual celebrity event is pitching an assist to help others, particularly children.

The beneficiaries of this year’s RNSH gifting presentation are the Andy Transplant Foundation and Safety Harbor Kids. Both organizations give assistance to children and teenagers in need. The Andy Transplant Foundation deals with youth and teens that need organ transplants.

The lovely Mayra Veronica was one of the many celebrities to attend the RNSH gifting suite. Photo: Dennis J. Freeman

On the flip side of the coin, Safety Harbor Kids feed, clothe and take care of the same demographic of kids that are homeless, in foster care and orphaned. Since RNSH first began its charity push other gifting suites have followed its lead. Roger Neal is happy other awards gifting suites

“For me, to give a star a gift doesn’t mean anything,” Neal said. “They come in here to support the charities. The gifting that we do is a thank you to them for supporting the charities. We’ve become the place where stars are going to get beauty services to get ready for the Academy Awards…We’ve had 700 people come that come through the suite in four days. It was awesome. I couldn’t have asked for a better Oscar suite.”

But Neal and RNSH make it clear that they do not operate as a mere gifting suite. While the RNSH suite provides gifts to the stars it is able to separate itself from the rest of the field by highlighting different charities each year.

RNSH has blossomed and grown each year thanks to the likes of prominent businesses and individuals such as renowned runway and red carpet designer Shekhar Rahate, cosmetics provided by the House of Sillage and Classified Cosmetics and LipSmart, a revolutionary lip treatment. Of all of the businesses promoting their merchandise to the stars, Rahate may have brought in the most clout with his wide array of specialized red carpet dresses.

Attending the RNSH suite for the second year, Rahate’s spectacular-looking gowns could be seen pretty much everywhere at the Academy Awards. After delivering 20 dresses for the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival and seven more for this year’s Emmy Awards, Rahate designed as many as two dozen lavish gowns for Oscar’s big night.

Kimberly Conrad Hefner, a former Playboy Playmate, is all smiles. Photo: Dennis J. Freeman

But perhaps the biggest coupe for RNSH was drawing as many as 10 Academy Award nominees to its celebratory venue, doubling last year’s total.

“We’ve had multiple nominees come through here, stars who are presenting at the Oscars,” Neal said a couple of days before the 2012 Academy Awards were presented. “I’m thrilled.”

At the end of the day, though, this Oscar star suite is all about the kids. For two of the four days, RNSH made the young people from Safety Harbor Kids feel like stars themselves, treating them the way celebrities were catered to. They received clothes. They received gifts that made them feel special. They got to be doted on and pampered. This is what makes RNSH a different player in the Oscar suite stakes.

“I’m thrilled for our charities,” Neal said. “Our two charities got a lot of great exposure out of this suite. A lot of companies here got a lot of great exposure…I’m just really happy about it.”

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1138 Articles
Dennis covers the NFL (Chargers), NBA (Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers), Major League Baseball (Los Angeles Dodgers) and NCAA sports (USC, UCLA, Long Beach State). Dennis has also covered and written on topics such as civil rights, politics and social justice. Dennis is a proud alum of Howard University.