In one of his first public appearances since he came out, Ricky Martin attended the amfAR Inspiration Gala in New York City and received the Award of Inspiration Thursday evening. Host Kylie Minogue presented him with the honor in recognition of his global philanthropic efforts. The inaugural awards also were attended by Cyndi Lauper, Cheyenne Jackson, and honoree Jean Paul Gaultier.
In his brief acceptance speech, Martin stuck to the business of doing good. He dedicated his award to a young Cambodian girl infected with HIV that he met two years ago in his work against human trafficking.
"Today, I speak on her behalf," he said. "This award is for her. This award, I'm going to take to Cambodia again. I'm going to give it to her."
Martin's contributions, as introduced by Minogue, include work on social justice, education, and health care issues such as pediatric AIDS. He has served as a global ambassador for UNICEF.
Throughout the evening, Martin could be seen graciously receiving guests at his seat in the hall at the New York Public Library. Also seated at the table was 30 Rock and Broadway star Cheyenne Jackson and his partner, Monte Lapka.
Earlier in the night, Minogue chatted with reporters before the start of the runway show featuring male Wilhelmina models including her boyfriend, Andres Velencoso Segura. She gushed with excitement over her forthcoming album, Aphrodite, and the orgiastic new video for the lead single, "All the Lovers."
"People go nuts over it, so that's amazing," she said of the video, directed by Joseph Kahn. "He came up with a brilliant, simple idea and executed it so sensitively, I thought. It's still cutting edge, it still gets you a little hot under the collar, but I think there's a real sensitivity. It's what I'm about and what I love."
Minogue saluted Gaultier, who received an Award of Inspiration for his contributions to menswear and the humanitarian spirit. She said the French designer supplied outfits for Aphrodite, as well as her tour costumes.
Gaultier hailed the condom as the best outfit of the 20th century in his acceptance speech for his award.
The sold-out amfAR Inspiration Gala in New York was the first of three set to honor men's style and raise money for AIDS research. Other galas will be held in Los Angeles and Paris.
Cyndi Lauper closed out the night with music from her new album Memphis Blues. Singers Kelly Rowland and Estelle joined her later for a rendition of the classic, "Girls Just Want to Have Fun."