Atlanta interior designer Vern Yip is best known for critiquing color palettes, layouts and furniture selection as a judge on “HGTV Design Star.”
But his heart is with his two young adopted children and his role as a UNICEF ambassador. He’s helped organize a second annual fundraiser in Atlanta, this year at Georgia Public Broadcasting Sunday evening. Along with event chair Rebecca Gupta (Sanjay’s wife) and founding co-chair John Terracino, Yip will be a host at the UNICEF Experience, an interactive event which gives guests a taste of what children in more than 150 developing countries deal with every day.
Besides UNICEF programs which improve water, sanitation, education and health for the kids, the experience will feature a “digital drum,” a solar-powered device that provides Internet connections in remote places.
Tickets start at $250 and can be purchased at www.unicefusa.org. The first event last year, held at Lenox Square Mall, raised more than $500,000. “We got such a great response from people who never really knew what UNICEF did,” he said. UNICEF, he noted, has helped reduce estimated daily worldwide deaths of children from 26,000 to 21,000 over the past four years.
“I have such a wonderful life,” said Yip. “I get to take my kids with me when I travel. I get them up in the mornings and don’t have to stress about health or food or water. I realize that’s such a luxury we take for granted.”
Yip indeed travels – a lot. He said his son, Gavin, who is two, has been on 190 flights already. “His first word was plane,” Yip said. His daughter Vera, with his partner Craig, is one.
Yip, 43, is the longest-running judge on “HGTV Design Star,” having been there since season one. Season seven, which was taped earlier this year in Los Angeles, will start airing in late May. He is also putting together several collections for HSN under his name including items such as upholstered squares that could be turned into a headboard and a lamp with internal storage. “I like things that are solution oriented and have a lot of built-in design value,” he said.
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk