Miley Cyrus, philanthropist.
Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
“I’m not gonna lie, I Googled what inspiration actually means,” Miley Cyrus admitted Tuesday night at the podium for amfAR’s New York Inspiration Gala. She received one of the evening’s Inspiration Awards for her Happy Hippie Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to helping LGBTQ homeless youth. She was introduced by her date for the evening, Tyler Ford, a poet who identifies as agender who works with Happy Hippie. “[Miley Cyrus]’s one of those people who, whenever she speaks, I want to take her hand and say, ‘Me, too,’” Ford said. “It’s not that I agree with everything she says, it’s that I can feel where she’s coming from.” (In case you were wondering, the Google-by-way-of-Miley definition of inspiration is: “It’s something that makes us feel or do something, especially something creative.”)
First up onstage, though, was Andy Cohen, Bravo’s Watch What Happens: Live host. Comedian Sandra Bernhard took the mic to present him with his hardware. “Andy wasn’t really prepared for his philanthropic work until he experienced the deep emotional turmoil of those Housewives,” Bernhard joked. “Andy is a gregarious and welcoming host, drunk when he needs to be, and deeply concerned, too.”
Cohen got his own jabs in as well. “I love Sandra Bernhard. I feel that Sandra Bernhard should run the Spokane NAACP,” he opened, before riffing on Donald Trump’s presidential announcement — “I can’t get over the hair.” He then admitted to doing a little Googling of his own: “I Googled Miley Cyrus, just because I was wondering how old she is, and I realized that I moved [to New York City] two years before she and ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ were born.”
Cyrus may be young, but she’s got a lot to say. In her wide-ranging, slightly rambling speech, she touched on her empathy for homeless LGBT youth, her tenure as a M.A.C spokesperson (“As a little girl, it was not a dream of mine to be the face of a lipstick”), and her heroes. A partial list of the people who inspire Miley Cyrus, as mentioned in her acceptance speech: AIDS researchers, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, John Lennon, and “The Stone” — as in actress Sharon Stone, whom Cyrus praised for being “here with us in spirit — and possibly under the tables pickpocketing you at this very moment.”
She also gave an extended shout-out to her family, especially dad Billy Ray. “You look handsome. I’m happy to have you here,” she told him from the stage. The pop starlet got a bit farklempt as she thanked her parents, saying, “I hope that this makes them proud and somehow makes up for all the shit that I do all the time.”