Access Pollywood: Betsey Johnson’s Hot Pink Night

brings fashion world sizzle into disability advocacy.


Betsey Johnson and Andrew Imparato. Photo by Dawn Lim.

Betsey Johnson and . Photo by Dawn Lim.

Pink was the color of the evening at the American Association of People with Disabilities gala night. New York fashion icon Betsey Johnson left her whimsical imprint upon the glowing fuchsia décor of the Ronald Reagan Building’s ballroom. In a characteristically theatrical appearance, Johnson burst onto the stage in a bright pink ballerina-influenced skirt, draping an arm enthusiastically around AAPD President and CEO, Andrew Imparato.

“As someone who grew up as the son of a fashion journalist and has devoted my life to disability rights, I’ve endeavored to find a way to bring the sizzle and creativity of the fashion world into the work we do to improve the way people with disabilities are perceived by the broader society,” said Imparato. “I thought it would be appropriate to reach out to the fashion industry to help us celebrate and help others see that disability is, and can be, sexy.”

It was a night of effusive speeches and hyperbole. , Financial Services Roundtable CEO and former U.S. Congressman, urged, “Let us recommit ourselves to continuing to cross that bridge, continuing to cross the river that divides.” , the son of the late Senator , presented policy advisor an award for her service to his father and the disability community.

Receiving awards for their work was , founder of ReachOut USA, an advocacy group that unites disability and LGBT concerns, and , executive director of the Disabilities Network of NYC, which works for inclusion of people with disabilities into all aspects of life in New York City. And accepted his award with a rich rendition of “You’re the Sunshine of My Life.”

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1 Response

  1. Emily says:

    Betsey is SO amazing. What a beautiful woman!

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