Adam Rippon Praises 'Authentic' Britney Spears as She Slays at GLAAD Awards (Exclusive)
By Tina Smithers Peckham
All eyes were on Britney Spears Thursday night -- and on her sparkling minidress.
The 36-year-old pop star strutted down the red carpet in glistening Giannina Azar at the GLAAD Media Awards, where she was poised to accept the Vanguard Award for her endless LGBTQ advocacy work. Adorned with chainmail, crystalized fringe and a series of cutouts, the skintight, super-short nude dress showcased Spears' tan, toned physique. The "Slumber Party" singer paired the look with matching heels and minimal accessories, wearing her trademark layered blonde locks straight.
Spears' boyfriend, Sam Asghari, attended the event alongside the pop princess and looked dashing in a navy blue velvet tuxedo.
While backstage, the GRAMMY winner paused to pose with Winter Olympics medalists Gus Kentworthy and Adam Rippon, who walked the red carpet together, joined by Kentworthy's longtime boyfriend, Matthew Wilkas.
The 28-year-old Olympian further gushed to ET's Keltie Knight about his Spears obsession shortly before the event, describing the singer as a "positive role model" for others.
"You know, Britney Spears, I think she's so incredible," Rippon, who attended the awards show with LGBTQ ally Ketel One Family-Made Vodka, shared. "One of the things I really like about her is how open her Instagram account is. And it's super, like, a subtle way for her to really show who she is, and I think it sends a really positive message for somebody who's as popular as Britney to just show that you can just be yourself, you can post funny things. She's so authentically herself that I think she is such a positive role model."
A role model she is, especially for the LGBTQ community. Ricky Martin, who presented Spears with her award on Thursday, introduced the star as someone who "uses her platform to remind audiences around the globe that intolerance is unacceptable."
While accepting her award, Spears described the honor as "incredibly amazing," also telling the audience she "wrote this speech."
"I feel like our society has always put such an emphasis on what is normal, and to be different is unusual or seen as strange," she began. "But to be accepted unconditionally and to be able to express yourself as an individual through art is such a blessing."
She added that events such as the GLAAD Media Awards "show the world we are not alone."
"We can all join hands together here and know that we are all beautiful," she continued. "And we can lift each other up and show our gifts without hesitation."
The "Work B**ch" singer expressed gratitude for the unconditional love she's been shown over the years, also referencing her two children, 11-year-old Jayden James and 12-year-old Sean.
"Being a mother has shown me what it means to love unconditionally. And you all in this room have shown me throughout my career what it means to be loved unconditionally," she concluded. "It's such an honor to be here, and thank you so much GLAAD and thank you to the LGBTQ community and my family, and all of my friends and fans. I love you so much, thank you."
In addition to gushing over Spears, Rippon also opened up to ET about his new boyfriend, Jussi-Pekka Kajaala, who appeared to be absent from the event. "We actually met on Tinder. I know, it's so 2018, right," he mused. "I actually was at a competition in Finland and he's from Finland and we met. Isn't that crazy? What are the chances?"