Christo Fifth Avenue

Christo works on the curls of Anais, who got the award for best curls for a Latin singer.

The "Awaken the Beauty Within" fund-raiser, held on June 23rd, raised funding for New York's Iris House: A Center for Women Living with HIV/AIDS. Amid refreshing mojitos, cosmos and an array of Greek delicacies, curlies purchased tickets for spa packages and indulged in beauty treatments at the event, including hair and makeup touch-ups and gift bags of curly haircare products. Proceeds from all ticket sales benefited Iris House.

During the philanthropic spa party, Christo also introduced the first Curly Hair Awards to honor those in the public eye, including NaturallyCurly.com, that celebrate curls.

"NaturallyCurly.com is at the heart of the industry for curly hair," Christo says. "It's an amazing website that embraces curly hair and encourages women to find solutions that meet their needs."

The winners of the Curly Hair Awards were decided by public opinion. More than 60,000 people cast their online votes for their favorites. Among the 2008 celebrity award recipients: Eduardo Verastegui, who won in the best male curly actor category; Alison Stewart for best curly TV personality; Sofia Milos, best curly actress; Marcy Harriell, best curly Broadway star; Alicia Keys, best curly singer; and Anais for best curly Latin artist.

Christo Fifth Avenue

Christo with NaturallyCurly correspondent Teri Evans, who accepted NaturallyCurly's award for promoting the curly cause.

"Our clients look for role models with curly hair – celebrities, actors, TV personalities," Christo says, "so we started the awards because it's important to embrace celebrities and let them know we like to see them with curly hair. We want to encourage them to wear it curly even more."

Within just a few hours, the beauty event raised more than $10,000 for Iris House. The non-profit organization offers services to help families living with HIV/AIDS — such as assistance with housing and nutritional counseling — while also focusing on prevention and educational efforts.

"Iris House is a great organization," Christo says. "You've got to give back. When you give, you get a lot more in return and we wanted to represent that."