Friendship can be a powerful thing, and few BFF duos prove that better than Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato.
The two starlets, both 21, attended the first-ever unite4:humanity event in Culver City, California, Thursday night to pick up awards honoring their contributions to the community. The event also marked Gomez's first red carpet event since admitting she checked herself into a rehabilitation center in January for issues that were not related to substance abuse. Not surprisingly, she looked as stunning as ever in a beaded Antonio Berardi jumpsuit with her mom by her side.
Still, it was when she accepted her Young Visionary Award — handed to her by her "Rudderless" co-star, William H. Macy — that she really sparkled.
"I think this is probably my favorite award I have ever gotten, not that I've gotten a lot," Selena, who is an ambassador for UNICEF, joked. "I'm truly honored to be in a room with such incredible people that inspire me. I want to thank my family. They are the ones who taught me the importance of giving back before we even had anything to give back … I have to say, I want to thank Demi."
Lovato, who has battled addiction and spent time in rehab in 2010, looked up from her table at the sound of her name. Selena is known for being a big supporter of Demi, especially during that difficult time. We imagine that coin flipped the other direction as well during Selena's troubles earlier this year.
Now, it looks like they're hoping to spread their shared support with a wider audience.
"Just the fact that we're here at 21 years old and we've always talked about using our voice to help this generation — I feel like sometimes we're the only ones holding the fort, and I'm so thankful for you to inspire me everyday," Selena said as the room cheered. "I hope that we can, together, completely inspire this generation to focus on what's really important. So thank you so much."
We weren't surprised to see Lovato's eyes well up with tears at Selena's words. She appeared truly touched.
Demi was clearly having a great night, sitting between Eva Longoria and her boyfriend, Wilmer Valderrama. The pair shared several sweet moments, talking closely and affectionately throughout the evening.
Although Longoria presented Demi with the Young Luminary Award, Wilmer, 34, wasn't far away and looked on at his girl proudly.
"It's such an honor to receive this award," Demi said. The former Disney star — who worked with Free the Children and Me to We — avoided the teleprompter and spoke from the heart. "I'm going to wing this a little bit. Really nervous to be here, really excited, and very intimidated. There [are] a lot of really cool, incredible people here. I recently got to spend my 21st birthday in Africa. It was just an incredible trip. I've been through a lot and I've struggled a lot with personal issues, so I had to celebrate my 21st birthday differently than a lot of other people. It was so much more incredible than poisoning myself for a good night out.
"I think it's really important that with the younger generation, we raise the awareness of the effects of things like bullying … taking the stigma and the taboo off of talking about things like self harm, mental illness, substance abuse, eating disorders. It's incredible that I used to spend so much of my time consumed, worrying about what my body looked like when … some of us are trying to get food to children in other parts of the world … I just hope I can encourage today's youth to give back."
Lovato then took the stage to perform an emotional rendition of her hit song, "Skyscraper," before surprising the audience with another ballad.
"I wrote this from a past experience that led to the issues I had later on in life," Lovato explained. "I know that there [are] so many beautiful, strong women, who have been affected by situations that are kind of self explanatory in the lyrics of this song. So for anybody that can relate to my music, I'm here for you."
Demi then belted out "Warrior," which ultimately led to a standing ovation.
The evening, presented by Variety, also featured performances by Alicia Keys and Lindsey Stirling.
Other honorees included President Bill Clinton, Keys, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, John Sykes, and Philomena Lee.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Selena Gomez
- Demi Lovato