By Audrey Rock
Hollywood, CA (The Hollywood Times) 9/18/17 – Just ahead of the Emmy’s, some of television’s most influential and altruistic stars were honored Saturday at Hollywood’s legendary TAO. The Television Industry Advocacy Awards is designed to honor TV stars for some of their less visible, but extremely important, behind-the-scenes work. The lavish afternoon ceremony, sponsored by The Creative Coalition, TV Guide Magazine, and TV Insider, and presented by BBVA Compass, brought out everyone from iconic producer Kevin Smith to politician Bobby Kennedy, Jr. to celebrate the honorees.
Alyssa Milano of “Mistresses” (whose award was later presented by Milo Ventimiglia of “This is Us”) was the first on the red carpet. Her work with UNICEF, she said, was inspired largely by precedessors. “All of the work that Audrey Hepburn did, Danny Kay, Roberto Clemente, who I think did a lot of amazing work; he was the first baseball player to ever be an advocate for children. I’m so proud to be a part of UNICEF and their mission.”
Tara Reid of “American Pie” and “Sharknado” infamy, and honoree Chrissy Metz of the hugely popular This is Us, met up on the carpet to visit and pose together for friendly photos. Said Metz of the heartfelt, visceral reaction to her show: “I think that we can all relate to our inadequacies and feeling like we’re ‘less than’. And that we’re all works-in-progress. Paternity issues, weight issues. Anything and everything.”
Not everyone had much time for comments on the red carpet. Both honoree Seth Green and presenter Kevin Smith made ultra-quick appearances for photos before rushing in to TAO to visit with guests.
Event Host Cheryl Hines of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, (whose husband Bobby Kennedy, Jr presented an award to Keegan Michael Key) said of the festivities, “First of all, it’s fun to be here. And it’s important to say thank you to all the actors and artists who give back and take time to recognize that it’s important, so, it’s nice to just say ‘thank you’ to everybody.” Hines stunned in a red and white floral Tadashi afternoon dress.
Inside the epic zen that is TAO, the nine honorees were finally given their awards by 9 equally distinguished presenters. Director Kevin Smith was charged with the task of presenting the award to 14-year-old phenom “with the most hardcore metal name you’ve ever heard in your life,” Finn Wolfhard of “Stranger Things” for his work with Sweet Relief.
Jennifer Salke, President of NBC Entertainment presented to Chrissy Metz of “This is Us” for her work with Operation Smile; Chloe Bennet (Marvel’s Agent’s of S.H.I.E.L.D.) was presented her award by Clark Gregg, also of S.H.I.E.L.D, for her work for Community Empowerment.
Alyssa Milano was noted for her efforts on behalf of UNICEF, and presented the award by Milo Ventimiglia of “This is Us.” Troian Bellisario of white-hot “Pretty Little Liars” has spent time raising awareness about eating disorders and mental illness; her costar Ian Harding presented her award. Seth Green of “Robot Chicken” was honored for his efforts in combating substance abuse with Turning Point, and his award was presented by Erika Christensen (“Ten Days in the Valley”). Regina King of “American Crime” was presented the award for her work with the I Have a Dream Foundation by longtime friend Tim Story, director of “Fantastic Four” and “Barbershop”.
Keegan-Michael Key was honored for his work with Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights; Kennedy himself present the award to Key, who stressed his belief that celebrity should be channeled heavily into something worthwhile. The Bright Futures Award was presented by TV personality Sandra Lee (“Cooking With Sandra Lee”) to Robert Herjavec.
Other stars who attended included film star Leah Thompson of “Back to the Future,” Nick Marini of “Hit the Road,” Masiela Lusah of “Shaknado,” model Jessica White, “Dancing With the Stars”’ Kyn Herjavec, Bernard David Jones of “The Mayor,” Chandler Kinney of “Lethal Weapon,” and Wilson Cruz of “My So-Called Life.”
Despite a lot of joking about the lack of a teleprompter, and hot temperatures on the red carpet, the afternoon was a clear and euphoric success. Those honored left their own legacies of profound change as artists.
“You’re a candle. When you light other candles, it doesn’t diminish your flame,” said Keegan Michael Key. “I want to exemplify candle energy for decades and decades and decades.”