The black-tie affair, held inside L.A.’s Milk Studios, welcomed stars like Chelsea Handler and close friend Charlize Theron, the evening’s inspiration award recipient. Jeffrey Katzenberg, chairman of Dreamworks, was also the man of the hour as he too was honored for his philanthropic work toward fighting AIDS globally.
The overarching cause of the night was rather serious—to raise funds for AIDS/HIV research—but there was nothing somber about the A-list party, sponsored by a glitzy list of supporters including Harry Winston, MAC Viva Glam, Cadillac, and Moët Hennessy. Jackson and actress Jane Lynch hilariously set the tone at the top of the show with a raucous performance of Aladdin’s “A Whole New World.” Heidi Klum, dressed in a stunning slip dress, spent her time chatting with Kenneth Cole and Jason Derulo, who later performed as well. “I’m looking forward to meeting Charlize Theron,” Klum told InStyle. “I’ve never met her!”
Back at her table, Lea Michele and her date, Brad Goreski, giggled over dinner and red wine, while gal pals Victoria Justice and Madison Guest played with tablets to donate money, stat. It was Handler’s words for Theron that were perhaps the most touching, and memorable, of the night. She took the stage to introduce her friend.
“My friend’s loyal. She’s devoted. She’s smart. She asks questions. And she works her ass off for this charity because she cares so much about helping these people,” Handler told the crowd. “And another word that comes up a lot when people talk about Charlize is she’s uncompromising. And in the fight against AIDS, we need uncompromising. We need people [that) aren’t willing to settle, people who aren’t willing to back down, who won’t up.”
Moments after Handler poked fun at Theron’s weight—she reportedly gained 30-plus pounds for her new role in Tully—a touched Theron thanked Handler and took the stage. “I am very fat right now,” she joked and told Handler she loves her. Quips aside, she accepted the award with grace and stressed the importance of her work. “We've got to come together once and for all and put an end to the intolerance and the bigotry driving this disease. Unfortunately, it's pretty clear from this election that when it comes to ending the tolerance and bigotry, we've got a long way to go,” she said. “But I have hope.”
“I've seen that progress is possible, especially when you empower young people,” she continued. “I've met truly extraordinary young people through my organization, The Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, and I know the next generation can be "GenEndIt." They can be the ones to end AIDS.”
RELATED VIDEO: Lea Michele's Best Bikini Instagrams
After a standing ovation for the actress, a medley performed by Derulo ended the evening, with guests like Justice and Michele getting up to dance on their feet to hits like “Wiggle,” “Talk Dirty,” and “Want to Want Me.” As Klum told InStyle, “Sometimes these things can also be very dry, but I feel like they always make it fun so that people come and hopefully spend a lot of money. They’re doing a fantastic job!”