- Jesse Helt, 22, originally from Oregon, accepted the Video of the Year Award on Miley Cyrus’s behalf
- He told the emotional audience that he’d spent much of his youth homeless in Los Angeles
- Today, his mother Linda Helt said: ‘It’s time for him to have some good luck. He needs to be blessed’
- She added: ‘He’s had his ups and downs like anyone else’
- My Friend’s Place charity boss admits they had no idea of the plan for the evening’s events but applauded Miley’s genuine intention to highlight issue
The mother of the former homeless man who picked up Miley Cyrus’s VMA gong today told MailOnline that he wanted to ‘make it on his own’ in LA – and ‘didn’t want to give up and run on home to mommy’.
Struggling model Jesse Helt, 22, who hails from Salem, Oregon, was Miley’s date for the evening and when she won the Video of the Year award for her song Wrecking Ball, he stepped on to the stage in her place to read a speech about the plight of homeless young people – admitting he too had been homeless.
And his proud mother Linda Helt, 62, told MailOnline: ‘Jesse’s had ups and downs like anybody else… he didn’t wanna give up and run on home to mommy, but only he knows the reasons, that’s for him to say.’
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Homeless: Jesse Helt, pictured, was Miley Cyrus’s date for the VMA awards. His mom Linda Helt tells how he was once forced to sleep in a bush
Aspiring: Jesse Helt was a wannabe model who went to chase his dreams in Los Angeles
Ambitious: Jesse Helt wanted to be a model after moving from Oregon to Los Angeles, but found himself homeless. This is one modelling shot taken by Zell Thomas
Speaking from her home in Salem, Mrs Helt, mother to Jesse’s three brothers and sister, added Jesse chose to ‘go it alone’ and chase his dreams.
She said: ‘He wanted to be in Los Angeles and he had opportunities and he took them, but you know, he’s had his ups and downs like anybody else.
‘It was his choice, he was always welcome, he could always come back any time. If he needed help, I’d help him, we help one another,’ she added.
Chapman Hill Elementary, Myers Elementary and West Salem High School in his hometown.
received his GED through Chemeketa Community College, and Mrs Helt
said her son moved to Los Angeles a few years ago: ‘Because he wanted to make it on his own.’
Stunned by his appearance on the VMAs on Sunday night, Mrs Helt said: ‘This will change his life, absolutely. This will turn things around for him and I believe God is the one that is doing it, God is making a difference and Jesse believes that.
‘He’s a good kid. He was nervous up there on stage, but that’s how it is when you have a passion for something like he does. Somebody’s helping him and he wants to help someone too.’
Mrs Helt praised Miley for taking action on youth homelessness. ‘Miley has taken Jesse to her heart and I’m really glad for Jesse,’ she said.
Model looks: Despite having blonde good looks, Jesse Helt found himself down on his luck when he moved to LA. However, he posed for these professional shots taken by Zell Thomas
Will his career get a boost now? Jesse Helt – seen here in modelling shots by Zell Thomas – made his public debut in front of millions at the VMAs on Sunday night
Model looks: Miley Cyrus took Jesse Helt to the VMAs – and everyone, including Katy Perry, thought he was her date
Making a statement: Jesse Helt, a spokesman for Los Angeles’ homeless young, accepts the award for Video of the Year on behalf of Miley Cyrus
Emotional: Cyrus watched tearfully from the stars’ enclosure alongside Sam Smith and Katy Perry as Jesse Helt described his experiences as a homeless youth in Los Angeles
She said: ‘He’s going to be travelling to Oregon today.’
She told that at one point, Jesse’s living situation in LA became so bad he called her and said: ‘Mom, I’m living in a bush!’
Mrs Helt said her son met Cyrus when the singing star visited My Friend’s Place, the Los Angeles center for homeless youth.
Delighted with the attention her son has got, she said: ‘It’s time for
him to have some good luck. He needs to be blessed.’
Just a cursory look online reveals that Jesse had attempted a career as a model, posting pictures on the Model Mayhem website and writing: ‘I’m Jesse and I just moved here from Salem, Oregon about a year ago. If your interested in working with me please shoot me an email. I’m not turning down any work right now and would love to work with all kinds of photographers.’
He also posed for photographer Zell Thomas and on his Facebook page describes himself as ‘really super nice’ and a ‘Christian’.
Today, Miley, 21, told Ryan Seacrest on his radio show that she chose to this year’s VMAs to spread an important message after last year’s racy duet with Robin Thicke made headlines across the world, saying: ‘I just didn’t realize my platform, I didn’t realize my power.
‘I really realized it after the VMAs [last year] … there’s something special and there’s only few people that experience this that no matter what I do, there’s no winning or losing, it’s just going to be talked about. Period.’
She added: ‘There’s going to be talk, so what do I want them to talk about? If I’m going to be given this loud of a voice and this big of an image and this big of a platform and this huge of an opportunity to talk to young people in American right now, what am I really trying to say? Because I don’t think what I was trying to say is what happened the year before.’
And she admitted she kept things so hush hush that she did not tell anyone about her plan – even good friend Katy Perry, whom she was sitting next to at the VMAs.
It’s a long way from Oregon to the VMAs: Jesse Helt back in Salem
At home: Jesse Helt on the tractor at home in Salem, Orgeon
During the show, Miley even pretended
that Jesse was her boyfriend, prompting Katy to offer him a drink, as
Miley laughed: ‘I’m like, “This kid has to give this speech!”
like, “Katy, please don’t get Jesse drunk right now” … I didn’t want to
tell her because I was scared if someone found out, they’d try to stop
me … no one knew. The only person I told, because I knew that he would
respect it, was Juicy [J], who was sitting next to me. I couldn’t hold
it in, I was so excited. I knew that he would respect Jesse and it was
cool to have someone there who could keep us both calm.’
Pictured sitting on the side of the
stage with a nervous Jesse gave his speech, Miley said: ‘The courage
that he showed to get up there and give that speech.
didn’t know how everyone was going to be and seeing his hands shake, it
kind of broke me. I wish they wouldn’t have kept putting the camera on
me to make it about me crying. I cry when I’m the happiest.’
And as for her Moonman trophy – Miley said that Jesse gets to keep the statue.
It came as a complete surprise to the millions of viewers and the audience when Jesse walked up to collect Miley’s trophy.
Friends: Cyrus put her head on Jesse Helt’s shoulder as her returned with her trophy in hand
Star: Her decision to have Jesse Helt accept her video of the year award made her the star of this year’s show for a much different reason from last year, when her twerking routine shocked many viewers
The morning after the night before: Following her date night with Jesse Helt, Miley Cyrus today dressed down as she left lunch with a friend in Los Angeles
My Friend’s Place Executive Director, Heather Carmichael, today told MailOnline Jesse was ‘incredibly brave’ to stand up and talk at the VMAs.
But she said the charity wasn’t aware that he would be invited to speak at the awards ceremony, saying: ‘We did not know about the invitation and we certainly didn’t know what that evening would look like.
‘But I really feel like that Miley has a genuine intention to raise awareness and it’s stunning for this issue.
‘This issue exists in every community and people are stepping over these young people on the street and don’t want to acknowledge that there’s a problem.’
Heather said Miley came to the center on Hollywood Boulevard last Tuesday to learn more about homelessness and the work that My Friend’s Place does, adding: ‘She was brilliant, she was very available to everybody. We sat her down with a small group of people, about four or five young people, and that’s when Jesse was introduced to her.
‘Everybody contributed, but Jesse did a brilliant job representing what many of the young people are confronted by here.
‘We trusted him to invite him into that conversation and he is a young person who is highly regarded in this community, a young man of strength.’
Describing the good work the charity does, Heather said My Friend’s Place is a ‘safe haven’ for young people who can’t take care of themselves.
It sees at least 1400 young people every year with some 100 dropping in every day.
Brave: My Friend’s Place Executive Director Heather Carmichael told MailOnline was ‘incredibly brave’ and said praised Miley for her ‘genuine intention’ to raise awareness and ‘it’s stunning for this issue’
‘Safe haven': Heather said My Friend’s Place was a sanctuary for young people who can’t look after themselves. It sees at least 1400 young people every year with some 100 dropping in every day.
Room for the night: Miley Cyrus put Jesse Helt up in posh digs – leading him to picture his ‘nice hotel’ on his Facebook page
‘First and foremost young people are coming here to fill their bellies and they take a shower,’ she said.
Jesse, Heather says, many come from far and wide. ‘They come to escape
situations of abuse, neglect, poverty, community violence,’ she said. ‘I
would say 50 per cent of our young people come from the Los Angeles
area, these are young people who are going nowhere, so the investment in
them is well worth it.
‘Many others come to Hollywood looking for that big opportunity. The split is 40 per cent young women, 60 per cent young men.’
of the kids come with drug or alcohol problems, conditions Heather says
come from a background of childhood trauma, adding: ‘We need that to
open our doors, to invest in each person.’
She said Jesse is now ‘working with’ Miley to get back on his feet. ‘She
was engaged with him through the entire week and that was out of
concern and care and learning. She wanted to do right, it’s a cause
close to her heart.
‘I know he’s working with her on what comes next in his life. I trust they are working on a plan that is going to benefit him.’
Speaking in front a crowd that included Katy Perry and Taylor Swift last night, Jesse said: ‘I am accepting this award on behalf of the 1.6
million runaways and homeless youth in the United States who are
starving and lost and scared for their lives. I know, because I am one
of those people.’
been an extra in your movies, I’ve been an extra in your lives,’ the
blond-haired, blue eyed Jesse told the audience. ‘Los Angeles has the
largest population of homeless youth in America.’
‘Though may have been invisible to you on the streets I have a lot of the same dreams that brought many of you here tonight.’
the speech Jesse revealed no more about himself than his first name and
past as a homeless youth. At one stage host Jimmy Fallon steadied
Jesse’s hand on the microphone.
He concluded his speech by directing those interested in learning more to Miley’s Facebook page, which the pop sensation had updated with a video explaining to fans how to donate to homeless charity My Friend’s Place.
Jimmy Fallon presents Jesse Helt with Miley Cyrus’s award for Wrecking Ball video
Jimmy Fallon steadies Jesse’s hand as he reads a speech about the homeless youth of Los Angeles
An emotional Miley Cyrus hugs Jesse as he returns with her award after making his speech about the homeless young people of Los Angeles
So proud: Miley Cyrus returns to her seat as Jesse Helt takes to the stage (left) and fights back the tears as he holds her award
The executive director of My Friend’s Place, Heather Carmichael, revealed to the New York Times that Jesse had in the past received
help from the organisation.
Miley paid a visit to their shelter on Tuesday, which is when Miss Carmichael says she first met Jesse.
In the video, Miley assures viewers her decision was motivated by a desire to help, not just whip up publicity for herself.
WHAT IS MY FRIEND’S PLACE?
My Friend’s Place had its beginnings in 1988 when Steve LePore and Craig Scholz began distributing lunches to homeless youngsters in Hollywood.
Two years later, they opened a facility they called My Friend’s Place in Hollywood where they offered practical help to young people aged 12 to 25.
The privately funded charity aims to make the homeless youngsters self-sufficient and today helps more than 1,700 of them with education, health and job assistance.
‘Now is just the beginning for me,’ she said, suddenly branding herself an anti youth homelessness crusader. ‘We gotta start somewhere.’
Along with the video was a message detailing how her fans can support My Friend’s Place via a donation drive she’s created on the site Prizeo.
‘For every $5 donation, you’ll be entered to win a trip for 2 to Brazil to hang out with me at my show in Rio de Janeiro,’ reads the message.
Miley’s Instagram feed was also soon updated with photos of her and Jesse, as they rode to the awards show together and posed in a photo booth backstage.
Limo ride: Cyrus posed with the young Oregon man as they rode to the Video Music Awards together on Sunday
Touching photos: The two also posed together for some Instagram shots that appeared on Cyrus’s account soon after Jesse appeared onstage to accept her award
Burger time: After the show, Cyrus and Jesse took a pit stop at the local In-N-Out burger and then took another selfie
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