Having played Hayley Vaughan Santos for 12 years on All My Children, Kelly Ripa is now spreading her love to other people’s children by connecting with the Point Foundation, the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBT students of merit. The Live! With Regis and Kelly star will join her good buddy, Bravo’s Andy Cohen, in cohosting New York’s Point Honors benefit, which will honor civil rights activist David Mixner, 30 Rock’s Jane Krakowski, and Citigroup on April 19. After sharing the real story behind her and Cohen’s now-infamous poolside photo shoot, Ripa looks back at the bright side of her Claymatic clash with Rosie O’Donnell — and reveals her Pine Valley lesbian fantasy.

The Advocate: Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with The Advocate.
Kelly Ripa: Oh, please, it’s my pleasure. I’m a fan.

How did you become involved with the Point Foundation?
I literally got an e-mail from them saying, “We’d love to have you cohost the Point Honors benefit with your friend Andy Cohen.” I was like, “Are you serious?” Because I’m not good at that stuff. I know I host a talk show, but I get so nervous when I stand in front of people who didn’t line up specifically to come to our studio. I feel like you have to be funny at award shows, but Andy was like, “No, we’re going have fun!” And once I realized what’s at stake, I really wanted to get involved. I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t know anything about this cause, but it’s a worthy organization and I’m thrilled that they would even consider me.

The Point Foundation aids LGBT teens who’ve been cut off by their parents or left behind by the school system because of their sexual orientation. As a mother, does this particular cause strike a personal chord?
It most certainly does. Being a kid is hard enough when you do feel accepted and safe in your environment. A kid’s school is like their job, so home is a sanctuary where you can feel protected from anything that goes wrong during the day. Imagine if everybody at school made you feel like there’s something wrong with you, and then you came home for reassurance and your parents told you there’s something wrong with you too. I can’t imagine the alienation, isolation, and loneliness that would build in a person. There are so many smart, brilliant kids out there who aren’t going to get an education because their parents kick them out of the house.

Have you and your husband, Mark Consuelos, ever given any thought to how you’d personally respond to having a gay child?
Mark and I both feel fortunate that we’ve spent our entire adult lives in New York City, where we work, live, and play with some of the best and brightest gay and lesbian people in and outside of the industry — people I’m honored to call my friends and family. So we’ve never gone, “What would we do?” To us, our children are a gift, we’re lucky to have them, and they’re born how they’re born, so it wouldn’t even be a discussion in our house. And they go to a very progressive school with great examples of what all different families look like, so I’m very thankful.

Tags: People