This year’s GBK Gifting Suites were the coolest yet! We met so many new and interesting people, and had the opportunity to catch up with all the awesome people we met last year! For those who don’t know, GBK’s Celebrity Gifting Suites bring together high profile celebrities and product manufacturers and brands in order to generate awareness of charitable issues, and to give manufacturers international coverage of their products.
Gilles Marini and Jimmy Jean-Louis with their hats.
Above and beyond the creation of superior products, we are dedicated to treating our patrons with compassion, integrity, and a commitment to bettering our community through service, philanthropy, and open-heartedness. Around the holiday season, we at American Hat Makers like to reflect on how blessed and fortunate we are, so we jumped at another chance to work with Gavin at GBK to make a positive impact in the community! His connections truly have what it takes to launch a company to the next level!
Sonya Walger showing us how to wear a summit just right!
Being able to share our products with like-minded creative types and renowned artists was an endlessly fulfilling experience, and we felt right at home surrounded by others who are just as dedicated to their craft!
Actor and singer Renee Olstead of Still Standing and The Secret Life of an American Teenager rocking a hat from American Hat Makers.
While we were there we had the chance to meet the talented Gilles Marini! Marini is a french-american actor known for his roles in the film Sex and the City and in the television shows Brother and Sister and Switched at Birth. After working as a baker in his father’s bakery since he was eight years old and high school, he joined the French army and was stationed in Paris, where he served as a fireman in the Paris Fire Brigade. It was in Paris where Marini met Fred Goudon, a photographer who introduced him to the world of modeling.
He began his career as a model in his early twenties. After fulfilling his military duties, he went to the United States to learn English while working as a model. One of his first jobs was a television commercial for Bud Light beer. He made his acting debut at the age of 29, in the 2005 horror flick Screech of the Decapitated.
Gilles Marini and Jimmy Jean-Louis showing off their style.
We also had a chance to chat with Jimmy Jean-Louis! Jimmy Jean-Louis is a Haitian actor and model best known for his role as “the Haitian” on the NBC television series Heroes. Jean-Louis was born in Petionville, near Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He lived there until the age of twelve, when he moved to Paris with his family to pursue a modeling career, after moving he experienced a culture shock because of the rural to city lifestyle change. He enrolled in business courses, but quickly realized that his heart lay in performance, and studied at the Académie Internationale de la Danse. His parents returned to Haiti, but Jean-Louis and his brother remained in Paris.
Around a decade later in 1991, producers discovered Jean-Louis during one of his dancing stints in a French club, who were impressed. They tapped him to appear in a Coca-Cola advertisement, the success of which prompted the Jean-Louis to spend several years modeling across Europe. He was very successful in London, working for such notables as Gianfranco Ferre and Valentino. Before finding success as a model, he was homeless at times in Paris. By the mid-’90s, he was gracing music videos by such stars as Mariah Carey, Seal, and George Michael, and appearing in low-budget “independent” films in Los Angeles.
Jimmy Jean-Louis knows just how fashionable his hat is!
Among those we met was Brando Eaton. Brando Eaton was born in Los Angeles, California where he was raised as an only child by his single mother. He started doing plays at the age of 5, and continued until his later high school years. When graduating High School at the age of 17, he decided to finally start pursuing his passion as a career. Brando left home at 18 to start his journey into adulthood; working day jobs to keep up with the costs of living and acting classes.
Having established a solid resume, Brando has achieved his first major goal of making a living doing what he loves most. He appeared in such films as Balls Out: Gary the Tennis Coach and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. He played Vince Blake in Zoey 101. He appeared in The Secret Life of an American Teenager as Griffin.
Brando Eaton rocking the distinct western style, the Cyclone.
We got to meet and talk with Drake Bell! Drake Bell is an American actor, voice actor, comedian, singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. Born in Newport Beach, California, he began his career as an actor in the early 1990s at the age of five with his first televised appearance on Home Improvement. Bell also appeared in several commercials, such as one for Pokemon Red and Blue, but is best known for his starring roles on Nickelodeon’s The Amanda Show, and its spin-off, Drake and Josh. Bell starred in a trilogy of The Fairly OddParents movies on Nickelodeon. Bell is the voice of Spider Man/ Peter Parker in the animated series Ultimate Spider Man on Disney XD. He appeared on ABC’s reality TV series Splash.
In addition to acting, Bell has a career in music during the early 2000s, at the time of his appearances on The Amanda Show, named Drake 24/7. He also co-wrote and performed the theme song to Drake & Josh, entitled “Found a Way.” In 2005 he independently released his debut album, Telegraph, released under Bell’s own name. His second album, It’s Only Time, was released in 2006 after signing with Universal Motown Records and debuted at #81 on the Billboard 200, selling over 23,000 copies its first week of release. It’s Only Time has sold 178,000 copies in the United States as of 2012. His first video album, Drake Bell in Concert, was released in 2008. It debuted at #81 on the Top 100 Mexican Albums Chart. Bell released an EP in 2011 called A Reminder independently. In 2014, Bell released his third album, Ready Steady Go! under indie label Surfdog Records. Ready Steady Go! debuted at #182 on the Billboard 200, and sold 2,000 copies in its first week of release.
Drake Bell with a Summit
Gabriel Bateman stopped by to try on some hats! Bateman was born and raised in Turlock, California but has moved to southern California since he started his career in acting. He is the youngest of nine children and the brother of actress Talitha Bateman. In 2014, Bateman had a supporting role as Robert in the horror film Annabelle, the spin-off to The Conjuring. From 2014 until its cancellation the following year, he starred as Ethan Taylor in CBS’ drama-thriller series Stalker. In November 2014, he was cast in Robert Kirkman’s series Outcast. Bateman played a leading role, alongside Teresa Palmer, in the 2016 film Lights Out. Bateman has also appeared in two separate music videos (It’s a Job/A New Beginning) for the “Wolfie’s Just Fine” album by Jon Lajoie.
Gabriel Bateman with his El Dorado!
It was a pleasure to meet Naomi Grossman! Naomi Grossman is an American actress, writer, and producer best known for her role as Pepper in the second and fourth seasons of the FX horror television series American Horror Story. Not knowing what role she was auditioning for, Grossman sent in an audition for American Horror Story: Asylum in mid-2012 and was cast in soon after as Pepper; the season premiered later that year on October 17. In preparation for the role, she shaved her head bald. In 2014, it was revealed that Grossman would return to the series in its fourth season, American Horror Story: Freak Show, reprising her role as Pepper from the second season, making her the first to play the same role in two different seasons of the show.
Naomi Grossman with a Draco!
To top everything off, being able to have this wonderful experience at a venue as unique as OUE Skyspace LA was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! OUE Skyspace LA boasts a thrilling experience with the Skyslide. The outdoor slide is 45 feet long and connects the 70th floor to the east observation terrace. Visitors can view the city in a whole new light as they slide along the exterior of the tower if they aren’t too busy screaming on the way down!
The SkySlide in all of it’s adrenaline fueled glory!
For dinner we enjoyed an absolutely spectacular meal at Drago Centro! The ambience and service was absolutely fantastic and the food was to die for! Chef Celestino Drago’s contemporary Italian masterpiece, Drago Centro offers innovative twists to authentic Italian dishes and has become one of the foremost dining establishments in Downtown Los Angeles!
The gorgeous interior of Drago Centro.
We’re sad that this year’s GBK Naughty and Nice Event is over but we had an absolute blast! American Hat Makers is excited to work with GBK in the future and is even more excited to attend any more events they have planned!