RHOBH star Crystal Kung Minkoff just turned 40 (HBD, Crystal!) and threw the most incredibly glam birthday party imaginable, filled with meaningful personal touches, memorable activities and a stunning location in the Hollywood Hills. Didn’t get an Evite to it? Well, here’s your chance to take a peek inside her party and read her exclusive Q&A with us about the planning and execution of this epic evening.
You've enjoyed some epic parties! How did you make your 40th birthday extra special?
I was actually really excited to turn 40! I knew I wanted to celebrate with all my friends and family, and I needed a venue big enough so everyone could attend. Yamashiro is one of the oldest and most iconic properties in Los Angeles, dating back over 100 years. I knew it would be really special to celebrate my birthday at a site with so much history. In the 1920s, it morphed from a private residence to a secret clubhouse for the 400 Club, where Hollywood royalty gathered.
What was your theme?
I love a themed party, but I didn't want this to become a costume party. So my Evite simply said, "Glam," and it was my guests' interpretations of that. And trust me—my friends really did dress fabulously glam. LA is a rather casual city, and it's always fun to find an excuse to really dress up!
What activities did you have?
I love sharing the traditions of my culture, and most parties I've thrown have some type of Chinese activity or artist. This year, I had renowned Chinese artist Zhuang Jinghui painting everyone's names in calligraphy, often translating it to Chinese characters when possible. It was truly a special and unique presentation. I also had Ming, one of the most important artists in Chinese dramatic opera, perform Bian Lian, an ancient Chinese dramatic art. Performers wear brightly colored costumes and move to quick, dramatic music. They also wear vividly colored masks, typically depicting well-known characters from the opera, which they change from one face to another almost instantaneously with the swipe of a fan, a movement of the head, or a wave of the hand.
What was the big hit of your party?
I think what makes a great party is allowing different experiences to be revealed. I had everyone in one room, a beautiful open-air courtyard, for cocktails by Real Coco and Casa Del Sol. Guests were invited to take pictures in the photo booth with a dramatic red rose backdrop by Century City Flower Market. Along with the artists and dinner, it felt like the evening was complete. But we then opened the doors to the "after party," where my favorite DJ, Agent Smith, spun '90s hip hop in this gorgeous historical building. I loved the juxtaposition of time periods.
What was the most meaningful part of your party for you?
My brother, Jeff, surprised me and performed a new song that truly wowed every person in that room. I especially loved that he sang a Mandarin song—to see so many of my friends loving it was a true highlight of the evening.
When budgeting a milestone party, what would you invest in, and where would you pull back?
I really believe in spending money where it counts, and at the same time, not wasting money where it doesn’t! Decor is always important to create a vibe, but spend it smartly. Generally, good lighting, a few small floral centerpieces and a bunch of candles can do the trick! I also love a photo booth because it replaces having a photographer (everyone takes photos on their camera anyway) and then you have professional photos and memories that your friends love and get to keep. I love a well-stocked bar, but having too many choices can add up. I always have a fun cocktail menu and make sure to have a few staple liquors at the bar. All you need to do is add red and white wine options, and you're good to go!
What's the one piece of advice you’d give to someone throwing a big milestone birthday?
You only live once, so have the party of your dreams. Don't wait another 10 years to celebrate all the good in your life!