Known for her trendsetting 50’s styles, Gelila Assefa’s fashion sense can be described as daring. She gives off a hint of uniqueness everywhere she goes with her eye-catching vintage collections. The Ethiopian fashion designer and philanthropist who is fearlessly proud of her heritage has indeed grabbed public attention for always embodying African (mostly Ethiopian) appearance and fashioning her own distinctive style. Apart from her exploits in the fashion industry, the charitable causes of the designer are also remarkable.
Moreover, bringing more fame to Gelila Assefa is her multimillionaire and celebrity culinary expert husband, Wolfgang Puck. Together, Gelila and Wolfgang make one of the most popular power couples, especially in the aspect of entrepreneurship. The couple made it to Forbes’ list of ‘Married Celebrity Entrepreneurs’ not long ago. Learn more facts you probably do not know about Gelila in the following paragraphs.
Dissecting Gelila Assefa’s Early Life
Gelila Assefa is a fashion designer who specializes in handbag making, among other creations. While Assefa is outstanding for her spectacular vintage clothing collections, she gained popularity as the wife of Wolfgang Puck.
Despite her fame as a successful fashion icon and celebrity wife, Gelila hasn’t shared much of her personal details. Other than being born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1970, no other information on her birth and background is available. It is, however, known that Gelila’s parents were strict Catholics who rarely allowed her some freedom while she grew up in their home in Addis Ababa. While her mother worked as a stewardess on Ethiopian Airlines, her father was a businessman who favored dressing in a suit more than any other outfit. Records have it that Gelila’s mother was handpicked by King Haile Selassie for her job thanks to her beauty; given that flight attendants were regarded as ambassadors for the country, it was expected that they had to be stunning.
Regardless of her strict background, Gelila caught the fashion bug at an early stage. As a child, she made clothes for her dolls using scraps of fabric from her mother’s tailor. When she turned 16, she got a little freedom from her strict parents which enabled her to leave home to live with her uncle and his family in Los Angeles. There, she attended Trade-Tech College where she perfected her skills in fashion designing.
Details of Her Career And Philanthropic Ventures
On completing her college studies, Gelila moved to Paris in search of job opportunities. She, however, returned to Los Angeles in the 1990s to work for a fashion brand. The designer spent a few years working for the brand before eventually quitting to begin her own atelier which has turned out to be a worthwhile decision. That was in 1998 when she set up her own couture store in Los Angeles. She ran the store till 2001 before closing it down and moving to New York in 2002.
Gelila, however, returned to LA not long after and launched her own fashion brand called ‘Gelila Style’ which comprises a line of classic couture and handbags. The beautiful 5 feet 8 inches tall designer has since been a huge collector of vintage clothes, usually collecting from the 1920s and 1950s and using her atelier to restore her purchases. She is, however, more focused on her handbag line lately.
Off the fashion industry, Gelila Assefa also shows huge love for helping those in need as a philanthropist. She established the Dream For Future Africa Foundation in 2013 to benefit less privileged African children. Among other charitable activities, the foundation reportedly caters for the education of 400 secondary school students in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
So far, different brands including BMW, VERTU, and Essence Magazine have honored Assefa for her charitable works. In 2009, she received the Champion of Children Award from the Children’s Institute of Los Angeles where she serves on the Board of Trustees. Gelila also serves on the board of Ethiopian Children’s Fund.
How Did Gelila Assefa And Wolfgang Puck Start Dating?
Gelila first met Wolfgang in 1997 when the brand she worked for visited Puck’s Spago restaurant on the Sunset Strip. Puck was also there to sign a cookbook for them. After their meeting, the two didn’t hit it off as soulmates immediately as Wolfgang was still married to his second wife Barbara Lazaroff.
Their path later crossed again after Puck had parted ways with Lazaroff, and they soon became romantic partners. The duo from thence began to grow in their relations such that they were already feeling married to each other. After a few years of dating, the duo eventually became engaged (without a ring) in 2005 at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, California. According to Wolfgang, he was so committed to Gelila that he didn’t need “a stone to confirm it”.
The same year, Assefa and Puck welcomed their first child together, a son named Oliver Wolfgang who was born on the 17th of July, 2005. Their second child, also a son, was born the next year. The child whose name is Alexander Wolfgang arrived on the 6th of December, 2006.
Inside Gelila and Wolfgang’s Lavish Wedding
In 2007, Gelila and Wolfgang decided to seal their love with marriage. They tied the knot in a lavish three-day celebration that began on the 6th of July, 2007. The wedding, which took place on the island of Capri in Italy, began with a rehearsal dinner at the famous Ristorante Da Paolino. On the second day, the 7th of July, they exchanged marital vows in an Italian ceremony officiated over by the Capri Island mayor. The marriage solemnization took place on a hillside garden followed by a reception at the Grand Hotel Quisisana. Then on the third day, Wolfgang had his 58th birthday party as part of the wedding celebrations.
Gelila and Wolfgang, who live with their sons in their luxury Beverly Crest home, has since enjoyed a scandal-free relationship. In addition to her biological kids, Gelila is also step-mother to Wolfgang’s two sons (Cameron and Byran) from his marriage to Barbara Lazaroff which lasted from 1983 to 2003.
Worthy of note at this point is the fact that Gelila Assefa in Wolfgang Puck’s third wife. Prior to marrying Barbara, Wolfgang was married to Marie France Trouillot from 1975 to 1980.
Facts To Know About Gelila Assefa’s Husband, Wolfgang Puck
As earlier mentioned, Gelila Assefa’s husband, Wolfgang Puck is partly responsible for propelling her into the media’s spotlight. Puck is an Austrian-born American professional cook, restaurateur, author, actor and entrepreneur. He was born Wolfgang Johannes Topfschnig on July 8, 1949 in Carinthia, Austria.
As a chef and restaurateur, Puck owns and runs the Wolfgang Puck Companies, a chain of over twenty classic restaurants and catering services across America as well as a line of foods sold at premium supermarkets. Most popular among Wolfgang Puck’s eateries is his Spago restaurant located in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles. The restaurant which he established in 1982 ranks among the top best 40 restaurants in the U.S. As for his dishes, Puck’s “House Smoked Salmon Pizza” is the most popular. He also runs the popular Wolfgang Puck show on the Food Network.
As an actor, Wolfgang Puck has played the recurring role of Frasier in the NBC comedy-drama series, Las Vegas. He has also featured in other films and TV shows including The Weather Man, Iron Chef America: Battle of the Masters, MasterChef, and Tales from the Crypt, among many others.
As an author, Wolfgang has six published cookbooks to his credit. Among them are The Wolfgang Puck Cookbook and Adventures in the Kitchen with Wolfgang Puck.
How Much Is The Ethiopian Designer’s Net Worth?
From Gelila Assefa’s professional history, it is easy to know that she lives a very comfortable life financially, especially with her flourishing clothing and handbag line. Her successful career has rewarded her with a net worth estimated at $5 million as of 2020.
Meanwhile, Gelila Assefa’s fortune is nothing compared to her husband, Wolfgang Puck, whose net worth presently stands at an estimated $90 million, with a food empire that reportedly brings in $300 million every year.