“This night is awesome,” Ricky Martin said to me …
On March 19, the annual GLAAD Media Awards, presented nationally by RÖKK Vodka, were given to a bevy of national media nominees. Since his coming-out interview with Oprah Winfrey, Martin has been heralded as a gay role model for his work on behalf of LGBT equality. Winning the Vito Russo award, named for the late activist and author of the pioneering history of gays and lesbians and film, “The Celluloid Closet,” Martin graciously thanked his parents and boyfriend. A humble sentence summed up his thoughts: "I just want to be free. I can say, today I am free."
Funny lady Tina Fey was on hand to accept the award for Outstanding Individual Episode for her hit series “30 Rock.” The cast of HBO vampire drama “True Blood,” CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” and pioneering hip-hop producer Russell Simmons all walked away with top honors.
The press line at the Marriott Marquis Hotel on Times Square was all abuzz as celebs walked the "blue carpet," RÖKK Vodka-style. Food Network beauty Sandra Lee and I chatted about easy desserts. “Ring Dings, Ho-Hos and Yodels!" joked the "Semi-Homemade Cooking" star. Fashion photographer hunk Mike Ruiz promised to FaceBook me after the night was over, and guess, what he did! Bravo's “Real Housewives of New York”’s Sonja Morgan grabbed my arm, laughing, when I asked, "Thug in a cocktail dress tonight?" "Joey, how do you know it's me? Stay tuned and you will be shocked!" she responded. Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, Planet Green's "The Fabulous Beekman Boys," posed for a pic, while staying true to the farm-wearing Wellies—rain boots—with their suits. Bravo’s Senior Vice President of Original Programming Andy Cohen passed by with a hardy handshake on his way to hosting the nights gala. I even got kisses from Manila Luzon and Sahara Davenport for my exclusive “RuPaul’s Drag Race” interviews for New York Q News.
The magic of a special Cirque du Soleil performance and the night’s big surprise, one by the legendary Dionne Warwick, made the night something really to remember. Even this reporter got in on the game, my Topman of London jacket, with custom detailed cuff—by me—getting rave reviews. "Just something I threw together," I said, when celebs and A-listers gushed at my evening’s outfit.
Sure, it's fab to be fantastic, mingle with stars, and even walk the "indigo" carpet, but it's the vital work that GLAAD is doing, and continues to do every day, to ensure that the stories of LGBT people are heard through the media, promote understanding, increase acceptance, and advance equality that counts most.
P.S. It still hasn’t hit me that the Ricky Martin and I squeezed palms. That is one for the diary (wink)!
To recap some of the night’s winners and honorees: the Excellence in Media Award: Russell Simmons; the Vito Russo Award: Ricky Martin; the Outstanding Drama Series: “True Blood;”
The Outstanding Individual Episode, in a series without a regular LGBT character: "Klaus & Greta" episode of “30 Rock;” the Outstanding Digital Journalism-Multimedia award: "Bridal Bliss: Aisha and Danielle," by Bobbi Misick.
For further information on winners and honorees, check out www.glaad.com.