Paul Mitchell held its Signature Gathering recently at The Venetian in Las Vegas, and I was overwhelmed by all the enthusiasm and support hairdressers showed the brand. They love Paul Mitchell! One of the reasons for the fan base is that founder John Paul DeJoria is a true philanthropist, whose motto is "Unshared success is failure." But these aren't just idle words. John Paul lends his support to countless different organizations and causes in order to make the world a better place.
A couple of years ago he got involved with the Mineseeker Foundation, traveling to South Africa on behalf of the professional beauty industry to meet with Brad Pitt, Sir Richard Branson and Nelson Mandela. "A human being loses a limb or their life to landmines every 15 to 20 minutes," he said at the time. "It is a disgrace that these landmines exist, and we plan to rid the planet of them for good."
Nelson Mandela and John Paul DeJoria
Now the Mineseeker Foundation has announced an agreement with the U.S. pharmaceutical company Calypte to purchase a new AIDS test called AWARE that can be used in the field by non-medical personnel. The new self-test HIV/AIDS kit, manufactured by Calypte,is the world's first low-cost, self-diagnosis HIV/AIDS tool utilizing an easy-to-use saliva swab. "As a patron of Mineseeker, it is my honor to be able to thank all the people and companies that are coming together in this initiative to help conquer AIDS in Africa," says DeJoria.
"I totally support the AIDS test initiative," says Mandela. "The tests will remove the fear of many people who believe they may be infected and who are nervous about blood testing. Fear is a terrible affliction, whether it is the fear of treading on a landmine or the fear of not knowing if you are HIV positive."
The foundation will fund the purchase of one million swabs with the option to purchase another four million units. Approved by the South African Health Authorities, the swabs have been tested in Kenya and have proved to be as effective as leading blood test products, but without the necessity of a costly, medically supervised support structure.
At the opening ceremonies in Las Vegas, we saw images of how the destruction of landmines in South Africa is impacting human life, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house. For more information on how you can become involved in this important cause, visit www.soulafrica.com. In the meantime, be sure to look for complete coverage of Signature Gathering 2006 in our October issue.
—Brett Vinovich, publisher American Salon
E-mail Brett at [email protected]