She stands just short of four feet tall in her Target dress and Steve Madden shoes, but for some she was the biggest presence at the HFPA Annual Grants Banquet red carpet. Her name is Yasmine Leilah Malayeri -her mother is from Mexico, her father from Iran- and she was positioned at the head of the first row of press photographers covering the red carpet.
Wielding her trusted Sony Alpha a6000 Digital Camera, Yasmine stood on top of a plastic crate, behind a small sign that identified her as a Pablove Shutterbug, the HFPA grantee that teaches photography to kids battling cancer, and gives them the gear and guidance, helping them explore the world with their lens, and express their talent and feelings through photography courses and camps.
Each year, in August, a Pablove Shutterbug covers the HFPA's Grants event and, in January, the Golden Globes Awards, as a fully accredited member of the working press.
Yasmine, seven years old and going into second grade, joined the Shutterbugs Spring 2018 Los Angeles class with 20 other kids ranging in age from 6 to 16, and is the youngest shooter ever to cover the HFPA event for Pablove.
In May 2014 Yasmine was diagnosed with a form of blood cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL]) and was treated at the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. She is now in remission.
Yasmine was interested in photography even before her diagnosis and hospitalization, taking photos with her parents’ cell phones. While at the hospital she learned about the Pablove Shutterbugs program and enrolled in the class, where she was given her first camera. Being a quick study, Yasmine soon learned how to operate it like a young pro and graduated from the Pablove Shutterbugs Fundamentals class.
Yasmine's mom, Veronica, said, "I can't thank Pablove for all the love and support they've given us. They're now like family." Which is how the HFPA feels about The Pablove Foundation and its star student, Yasmine.
The HFPA has been supporting The Pablove Shutterbug program with an annual grant since 2012. Since 2010, Pablove has awarded $2.5 Million in Childhood Cancer Research Grants to over 20 institutions worldwide. Pablove funds the brightest minds in pediatric cancer research, pushing forward the ideas for daring scientists who are searching for more effective treatment options, and for a better understanding of how childhood cancers behave.
The Shutterbugs photography program has placed cameras in the hands of over 1,500 kids in treatment across the country. All of the prints are sold online with 100% of the proceeds going directly to fund Pablove's pediatric cancer research grants. It is this powerful cycle of Art pushing the boundaries of Science that makes Pablove unique to any other childhood cancer non-profit organization.
Yasmine was prepared for the Grants event, and knew which of the expected celebrities she most wanted to meet and photograph.Top of the list were Amber Heard, Jennifer Garner, Joey King, Nia Long and Dakota Fanning. All came and spoke with Yasmine, and then posed especially for her.
Yasmine also looked forward to meeting veteran actor Dick Van Dyke. It was a personal reason- Yasmine adored him, because he appears as Bert in Mary Poppins- a movie she knows and loves because she played the title role in a stage presentation at her school. Van Dyke was not able to attend, but Yasmine still hopes to meet him one day]
Her take on the evening: "It was fun but also very serious, intense and beautiful. It was an amazing evening which I'll never forget. I know now, more than ever, that I want to be an actress, and on the red carpet myself, one day".
Chances are good that she will.