NEW YORK • At the Time 100 Gala, in a tiered amphitheatre at the Time Warner Centre on Tuesday night, the biggest stars were on the lower levels, yet the traffic seemed to be flowing to the top, where student activist Emma Gonzalez and other survivors of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting were seated.
Celebrities of all stripes wanted to meet Gonzalez, though she said the person she really wants to meet is comedian Trevor Noah. "Not to be that hipster person, but I love his comedy," she said.
The party was celebrating Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People issue.
Its editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal spoke from the stage about the challenges of journalism, but noted happily that the magazine had wrangled more honourees this year than in any other year - including painter Judy Chicago, actress Tiffany Haddish, entrepreneur Elon Musk, singer Jennifer Lopez and Singapore-born author Kevin Kwan. Then singer Shawn Mendes performed four songs from his debut album.
Lopez was sitting at the foot of the stage with her boyfriend Alex Rodriguez, who livestreamed the performance on his phone. When the music got romantic, so did Lopez, who turned to the baseball star and planted a big one on his cheek.
A pot roast dinner was served and honourees gave toasts to people who had inspired them. Anti-genital-mutilation activist Nice Nailantei Leng'ete from Kenya paid tribute to her older sister. Actor Sterling Brown from This Is Us thanked his high school maths teacher, who taught him to work hard and aim high. Figure skater Adam Rippon raised a glass to his mother.
"I met Nicole Kidman tonight and she even let me smell her husband," Rippon said. "If it wasn't for the words my mother taught me - 'Never give up on your dreams' - I would never have had that experience."
Just after 10, the lights went down again, and Lopez hit the stage in a white Dynasty-esque dress, holding a sequined microphone that matched her Louboutins. Drag queen RuPaul was on his feet, admiring her behind as if it were the eighth wonder of the world.