Former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is seen on stage at the 2013 Glamour Women of the Year Awards on on Monday, November, 11, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Brad Barket/Invision /AP Images)
She was referring, of course, to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who surprised the crowd by appearing to present a first-time award — Couple of the Year — to former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly.
It was a poignant moment for Giffords, who had been unable to attend when she was honored with a Glamour award in 2011, because she was still recovering from wounds suffered early that year when she was shot while meeting constituents in a supermarket parking lot. “It’s been a hard, long time but I’m getting better,” she told the crowd, saying she was doing “speech therapy, physical therapy, and yoga too.”
“I’m still fighting to make the world a better place, and you can, too,” she said. The couple has founded a gun safety organization, Americans for Responsible Solutions.
Another emotional highlight was the appearance of Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis, a first-grade teacher at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., who saved her pupils from death by herding them into a small bathroom, where they hid as shots rang out last December.
“I have lived my life so as not to let that day define myself — or my students,” said Roig-DeBellis, who had much of the audience in tears. She was accompanied by a group of parents whose children she had saved.
Also honored: Melinda Gates, who with her husband, Bill Gates, founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a huge philanthropic force. Gates was described by her award presenter, actress and writer Lena Dunham, as “the most stunning example of putting your money where your mouth is that the world has ever seen.”
After the Carnegie Hall ceremony, the honorees, presenters and guests attended a private dinner at the famed Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel. It was a scene of fascinating combinations. Lady Gaga approached Malala, for example, and the two took photos together.
“Never be afraid to speak your mind,” the pop singer told the activist — who is famous for doing just that. “I can’t wait until my fans hear your story,” she added.
Watching it all was supermodel Iman, who said she had been deeply moved by Malala’s speech.
“She is a game-changer for girls,” Iman said. “I wish young girls here knew more about Malala, and less about the Kardashians.”