Paparazzi cameras – the bane of her volatile husband’s existence – were poised Thursday night as the A-list couple, married last summer, arrived for the museum’s “Some Enlightened Evening” fundraiser at the Mellon Auditorium.
After submitting to a brief TV interview, Baldwin got distracted by a woman performing complex yoga stretches on the ground – one of the many performers on mats around the giant ballroom. “Have you met my wife, Hilaria?” he asked her, guiding his spouse away from the cameras.
And really, what could be a better way to end this stressful week in Washington than an evening celebrating the art of staying calm? The black-tie, $1,000-a ticket evening (relocated from the gallery to the Mellon because of the shutdown) celebrated the debut of the Sackler Gallery’s “Yoga: The Art of Transformation” exhibit, which opens Saturday.
Because there was no time to move the gala back to the museum after the government reopened, photos of sculptures and paintings from the exhibit were shown on video screens on the wall of the dimly lighted room, which piped in soothing, dreamy music throughout the night.
Several hundred guests showed up to the event, which raised about $450,000 – though a rep said that amount could change because of the last-minute venue switch. VIPs included the museum’s Jillian Sackler, Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough and Indian Ambassador Nirupama Rao.
The Baldwins – who made a donation of an undisclosed amount to the fundraiser – were tapped to co-host the event months ago by the Smithsonian because, well, he’s a big star, and she knows yoga. With the high-profile marriage, Hilaria, 29, has suddenly transformed herself into one of the hottest names in the yoga world. Alec, 55, has jumped on the bandwagon, appearing in his wife’s prenatal yoga video – although it didn’t prevent him from getting into a shoving match with a photographer days after their daughter, Carmen, was born in August.
Later, Baldwin wanted to make sure everyone knew who the real yoga expert is in his house. “You all know I don’t do that much yoga, don’t you?” he asked the crowd. “I think I write more letters by hand than do hours of yoga.”
Hilaria told us that though her life has become a lot busier in the past couple of years (she’s now a lifestyle correspondent on “Extra”), she still considers yoga her true calling. “There’s many downsides to becoming famous, but one of the nice things is that I teach yoga because I want to help people,” she said. “And the more people that find out about you, the more people I feel like I can help.”
Like, say, Congress? If only.
“I see these guys, and I see them, almost like children, and the way that they’re arguing and how petty they can be,” she told us. Yoga, she said, could teach them “how to breathe a little bit.”