Paula Abdul, the effusive singer, dancer, and choreographer is perhaps best known for her eight seasons judging Americal Idol (although McSkat Kat might disagree). But she's also a philantrhopist who has been involved with a number of causes including AIDS Project LA, PAWS/LA, Lupus LA, Make a Wish Foundation, and Leeza's Place, and she's always used her celebrity to give back to fans.
HIV Plus caught up with Abdul at the red carpet launch of the first national tour for Shaping Sound, a new contemporary dance company, featuring Emmy nominated choreographers and dance visionaries Travis Wall, Nick Lazzarini, Teddy Forance, and Kyle Robinson. The four men kicked off their 13-city tour with 10 more world-class dancers in a dance extravaganza.
You've always been an advocate for HIV awareness. What would you tell young activists today?
I want to say that it’s gotten a lot better, but it's never to a point where you can’t stop raising awareness and keeping people well-educated, supportive, and philanthropic in a sense of giving back and aligning yourself with AIDS Project LA and all of the organizations. It's definitely getting better, but we’re still not there yet. We’re still not there yet.
Do you think if there were more out gay celebrities in the media, like Travis Wall, it would give young LGBT people courage to be themselves?
Absolutely. I think that people have to feel whole and be themselves, and I really feel that the more you’re able to be yourself, that’s what life’s all about. That’s when you’re able to really be at peace with yourself. And it pains me when people are suffering that way.
What is it about dance that makes it so fascinating to watch?
It gets in your skin. It’s something that changes your life for the rest of your life. It gets into your heart and it doesn’t leave you. It’s such an outlet for happiness, for sadness, for everything. You’re able to keep raising the bar. Coming to see this show is [incredible]. It’s impeccable dance, impeccable dancers, and they’re excited.
Hugs from all the gays to you. [Editor's note: Abdul actually hugged the writer]
I feel the love.