Helping Celebrities Get Red Carpet-Ready at the Starkey Hearing Foundation Gala

What does it sound like to change a life? I’ve been fortunate enough to hear about and experience the life-changing work of the Starkey Hearing Foundation. This was the sixth year of volunteering at its annual So the World May Hear Awards Gala. The gala is one of Minnesota’s biggest nights of the year and we get to help staff, sponsors and celebrities get red carpet ready for it.

The Starkey Hearing Foundation is a big deal here in Minnesota and around the world. In a nutshell, Starkey gives those in need the gift of hearing, empowering them to achieve their potential. Their annual gala raises millions of dollars for initiatives around the world. It showcases the immense power of coming together to impact sustainable and scalable change.

I am honored to share my experience of all the behind-the-scenes beauty prep, and why Starkey’s work is so close to my heart.

The Importance of Starkey’s Mission

The reason why it is important for me to support Starkey and the gala every year is because it hits close to home. My brother is hearing impaired and wears Starkey hearing aids. Starkey owner Bill Austin has worked closely with my family since my brother was very young. I am beyond thankful for such a generous, humble, caring man and company. Being able to give back to a cause that has given my brother and the world a chance to hear fills my cup. Making people feel beautiful while supporting that cause—there are no words to describe how good that makes me feel.

The Day at a Glance

Overall, the day goes by really fast! Volunteer make-up artists and hairstylists get set up at the venue early in the morning. We typically start with styling the hair of Starkey employees that are running the event. We then transition to styling the hair of sponsors, celebrities, athletes and their guests to prepare them for the red carpet. My heart bursts when someone from a previous year remembers me and requests that I do their hair again. This year I was requested to do Paralympic Gold Medalist Mallory Weggemann’s hair for the third time!

Always Learning on the Job

Even though my number one goal for the day is to help everyone look and feel their best, I never miss an opportunity to learn from other designers! This year I got to watch and learn about palm rolling—a technique that rolls and locks-in hair to create a dreadlock. I’m eager to learn more about palm rolling and hopefully be able to master it myself.

More importantly, I left with massive amounts of inspiration from some of the guests I had the privilege of working with. A former NFL player stands out in particular. He shared his story of loss with me—both his wife and child—and it broke my heart. But his experience and attitude left me a different person. He told me how he uses those terrible instances as fuel to be thankful for each breath, to make the most of life, and to never take anything or anyone for granted. He also shared how it’s okay to not be okay—not being okay gives us the opportunity for growth and to be better versions of ourselves. I felt as if our paths had crossed for a reason and that I needed to hear his words of wisdom.

The Starkey gala is one of my favorite days every year. I am thankful for the opportunity to give back and have the support from Cole’s Salon to do so. I am looking forward to next year’s gala already!
Danielle Rabe is an Advanced Designer at Cole’s Salon Savage. You can make an appointment with her at 952-226-5310 or follow her on Instagram at @hairbydaniellerabe.




Danielle Rabe

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