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A 'Survivor' Helps Others Survive


Lindsay Czarniak addresses the Becky's Fund crowd on Tuesday night. (Alexis Fedoroff)

Becky Lee poses with Clinton Portis. (Alexis Fedoroff)

After you've been on a reality TV show, then what? For some, it's trying to break into acting or endorsement deals; for others, it's, well, more reality TV. After a third-place finish on "Survivor" in 2006, Becky Lee took her $75,000 earnings and new sort-of fame back to D.C. to start her own nonprofit. Her cause: domestic-violence education.

It's a cause she got fired up about after hearing a class speaker on the topic as a college junior, and it's what motivated her to become a lawyer. Now as head of Becky's Fund -- the beneficiary of a glitzy rooftop party on Capitol Hill on Tuesday -- she speaks on college campuses and at workplaces about how to prevent and detect domestic abuse.

"People have misconceptions about what domestic violence is about, they think it's only married people, they think it's only physical violence," she told us, in rapid-fire patter. "We still blame the victim, and more and more women stay in silence. ..... With the Rihanna and Chris Brown thing, kids were saying it's her fault. We need more education in middle schools; kids are dating younger these days."

It's one thing to transition from reality TV to real life; it's another thing to get traction for your charity in D.C., where seemingly every socialite has a cause gala to sell tickets for. Lee could have joined an existing organization, but after years in the nonprofit world she grew leery of the larger ones: "They're more out of touch with the grass roots." Becky's Fund is now a full-time thing for her -- she has five interns -- but she told us she's still doing part-time work as an attorney, and some real-estate management on the side.

Tuesday's party was almost like a parody of a scene from "Gossip Girl": The Liaison Hotel rooftop splashed with lights and vibrating with techno music, flocks of fabulous urbanites in tiny dresses and aggressively sharp suits, flutes of champagne, Redskins posing for pictures, a Maserati and a Ferrari (among the night's sponsors) in the driveway. Also: a woman juggling fire sticks to a John Mayer tune. Clinton Portis, Jason Campbell and Devon McTavish walked the runway, set out over the illuminated swimming pool.

Then came the real models: willowy women traipsing out in high-style clothes -- but makeup bruises across their faces or backs, or the word "FEAR" scrawled across their arms. No, really! One came out with a man who gave her a theatrical push, in a stagy little domestic-violence tableau.

"I wanted to show things we see all the time but because they're uncomfortable or ugly to look at, we often look away," Lee told us. "The most put-together women on the outside are often hiding it on the inside."


By The Reliable Source  |  October 8, 2009; 1:03 AM ET
Categories:  Parties  
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Fabulous photographs

Posted by: Observer65 | October 10, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

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