It is not much of a shock to see a person stick their tongue out in a photo, but Miley Cyrus, gaining attention last year for sticking out her tongue a lot, has recently garnered more recognition for her big heart over the weekend. During an interview on Barbara Walters’ 10 Most Fascinating People of 2013, Miley confessed the reason for what seemed like a mild obsession. “I actually get really embarrassed to take pictures. There are always like, people who want to take pictures of me, and I just don’t know how to handle that. I’m nervous, don’t really know how to smile, or if I should or not… so I’m just more comfortable sticking my tongue out, don’t really know what else to do,” she laughed.
Well, she certainly had nothing to be embarrassed about when she won Best Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards for her number one Billboard hit, Wrecking Ball. However, what she did after her name was called out to accept the award is her most shocking moment so far. When Cyrus heard her name shouted out, she reacted with surprise and smiles as she hugged her date next to her. Then she led her guy towards the stage, and she stayed behind. The young man with dirty blond hair dressed in a casual suit walked up the stairs, and began to speak.
Gaining immediate attention the moment he was led over to the platform by Cyrus, the cat may have gotten his tongue a bit as he accepted her award, then cautiously spoke about a big issue on his heart. The name of the 22-year-old, who took his time getting the words out that had been written on index cards, is Jesse Helt, a former homeless man who moved to California a few years ago from Oregon.
He spoke solemnly onstage, watched by millions around the world, about “living in shelters, the 1.6 million in homeless youth who were lost, starving, and scared,” and he included himself as a part of that number. Admitting to being an “extra in movies and in people’s lives,” he continued to talk about seeming invisible in everyday life, even though he had many dreams similar to most of the people in the room. He ended his speech by referring people to Cyrus’ Facebook page if they wanted more information.
Cyrus and Helt first met at a center for homeless youth called My Friend’s Place. From there, Cyrus reportedly paid for Helt to stay at a hotel and purchased some clothes for him. She sent out a tweet addressing her new friend’s situation on Tuesday afternoon. “Most of the people who are homeless have lived extremely hard lives,” she wrote. “I hope that this can be the start of a national conversation about youth homelessness and how to end it.”
Helt, who once had aspirations of being a model, moved to Los Angeles to follow his dreams, but with not a lot money and no contacts, he found himself becoming homeless. His mother, Linda Helt, spoke to the media who had questions about the mystery man who accompanied Cyrus to the awards show, and said this regarding her son: “His time is long overdue for some good luck,” the 62-year-old mother of five said. “He may have had his ups and downs like everyone else, but he deserves to be blessed.”
22-year-old Helt has not only struggled with problems of sleeping on the street, but troubles with the law as well. He was arrested for a “criminal mischief” charge in 2010, and later for “attempted burglary,” which was changed that same year to “criminal trespass.” Police records obtained by ABC News also show an open warrant for his arrest, which police are currently investigating.
If there is one thing 21-year-old Cyrus does not have a problem with, it would be gaining attention, but ultimately, it is her exceptionally big heart that will win out over her tongue. The We Can’t Stop singer, who unconsciously gave a lot of exposure to the Los Angeles shelter, would certainly be thanked by the organization’s manager, who had no previous knowledge of the VMA surprise Cyrus had up her sleeve.
Still, somewhere in Oregon lives a proud mother who got to witness her son on the grand stages. Mrs. Helt recently expressed these sentiments in regards to the future of her son: “I truly believe that this moment is going to change his life, there is no doubt in my mind. It could be a huge turning point for him. I have faith in God, and I believe that he is going to be the one to do it. God definitely makes a difference, Jesse believes in Him too.”
By Theodore Borders