Cause Celeb highlights a celebrity’s work on behalf of a specific cause. This week, we speak with three-time U.S. National Figure Skating champion Johnny Weir about his work with the Ice Theatre of New York and other charities. Founded in 1984 by Moira North, the nonprofit theater promotes skating as performance art.
Weir hosted the 88 for AIDS, a benefit performance for AIDS Walk NY, on May 6. He will perform with Sarah Hughes and others from The Ice Theatre of New York on Oct. 25in honor of Dorothy Hamill.
Weir placed sixth at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. He was a bronze medalist at the 2008 World Figure Skating Championships. In addition to appearing on ice, he also has an eight-part documentary series, "Be Good Johnny Weir," on the Sundance Channel.
Q: Can you tell us about your involvement with the Ice Theatre of New York?
Weir: This is actually the first time that I’ve performed with the Ice Theatre of New York. I’m pretty excited because it’s pretty prestigious in the figure skating world. They had my back once, when they had the VMan fashion party here after Fashion Week last February, and they asked me to come perform for them and they kept me in mind. So this is my way of giving back. I really love performing with an established group of performers, so this is great.
Q: What other charities are you involved in?
Weir: I’m going to be hosting a party for AIDS 88, which is in benefit of the AIDS Walk for New York City. I was asked by my friend Keith Kline to host that event and I’m very excited to do that.
Q: Why is supporting charities important to you?
Weir: It’s so important for people that have a voice, and that have a point of view, and the ability to talk about things like AIDS, like breast cancer, and things like that. It’s important for famous athletes and celebrities and what-not to lend their voice and time to that, because everyone is affected by it, not just people that aren’t famous. I’ve been touched in many, many ways by different diseases and horrible things, and it’s my duty to give back as much as I can.
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Q: Is there a particularly moving moment that you had while working with any of these organizations?
Weir: Just learning the stories of people, and what they’ve dealt with and gone through. My own agent, her mom suffered from breast cancer and beat it, and she’s one of the most vivacious people that I know. She’s so strong. She’s such an independent, fun, free spirit, and you would never know that she’s a cancer survivor. That’s something that’s really moving to me and it touches me so close to home. It’s very moving.
Q: What are some of your upcoming projects?
Weir: I am recording a song in Los Angeles. It’s called “Dirty Love.” I’m writing a book for Gallery Books, it’s a division of Simon & Schuster. It’s coming out in January. I’ve got the big finale for my show, "Be Good for Johnny Weir." We’re talking about a second season of that. I’m going to audition for a movie. I’m creating my own show. A skating show and spectacular, but not strictly skating, lots of aerials and singers and things like that.
Q: Are you going to compete in the Olympics again?
Weir: Competing in Sochi [location for 2014 Olympics] would be a big dream for me, but I’m 25, which is old for a figure skater. As much as I’d like to compete there, it’s going to take a lot to actually get me there. But, I never count anything out.
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