HGTV “Design Star” host and local interior designer Vern Yip last week held a private party at his home for UNICEF for patrons and a visit from CEO Caryl Stern.
Late last year, he became a UNICEF ambassador. Celebrities are used to draw donors and publicity for the cause. He joins the likes of Selena Gomez, Lucy Liu, Clay Aiken and Sarah Jessica Parker.
Yip a couple years back designed a UNICEF fundraiser in New York. UNICEF liked him so much, the organization invited him in 2010 to do it again. And the feelings were mutual. He grew to identify deeply with the organization’s efforts to reduce needless childrens’ deaths around the world. The group estimates that 22,000 kids die daily due to preventable diseases. He hopes to travel on the group’s behalf later this year.
He will also be at a launch party for the UNICEF Experience at Lenox Square Mall in the luxury wing this Sunday evening. It’s an exhibition that enables guests to experience what vulnerable children in developing countries face just to survive. Portions of the exhibit will remain through May 31. Guests will include CNN’s Sanjay Gupta, CNN President Jim Walton and UPS Foundation President Ken Sternad.
Yip himself became a dad with his partner Craig last year with his son Gavin. In March, he had a second surrogate child, a daughter Vera. They all live at his lovely Atlanta home, which mixes Asian and contemporary elements.
I plan to talk to him again next month about his sixth season of “Design Star,” which recently concluded taping and will air this summer. Last year, Mark Burnet’s production company (”Apprentice,” “Survivor”) took over but the makeover didn’t quite work. Ratings fell. So a new production company is taking over again. Yip is the only link to the first season in 2006. He was dual host and judge last year after Clive Pearse was dropped as host. He said a new host has taken over this year.