To honor World AIDS Day, Grammy Award-winning songstress and M.A.C Viva Glam spokesmodel Cyndi Lauper lent a helping hand at God's Love We Deliver, a nonprofit that serves nutritious meals to people in New York and New Jersey who are suffering from serious illnesses like AIDS.
And in M.A.C's most successful Viva Glam campaign ever, Lauper has campaigned alongside Lady Gaga to sell the $14.50 pop of coral lipstick. All funds are donated to the M.A.C AIDS Fund, which supports programs for AIDS patients, who often struggle with the poverty, pain and shame the disease can leave in its wake.
As of today, the campaign has raised $32 million in the over 74 countries in which the lipstick is sold, with retail partners like Nordstrom and Macy's forgoing their usual cut in favor of donating the product's full retail value to the fund.
"The biggest misconception people have about AIDS is they think they won't get it," a brilliantly platinum-blond Lauper tells StyleList, from the back kitchen at the God's Love We Deliver home station in Soho, New York.
"I've had friends who have had it, and that's why I campaign. People need the awareness. They need to realize that AIDS is 100 percent preventable, but 0 percent curable. And it's not an easy life. If the disease don't get you, the medicine will," adds Lauper, shaking her head.
The rate of new infections has increased in recent years, and AIDS is now the leading cause of death for African-American women between the ages of 18 and 34, according to MAC AIDS Fund Executive Director Nancy Mahon.
"Factors like domestic violence, financial dependence and lack of self-esteem lead many women to not protect themselves against HIV," says Mahon. "The beauty of using rock stars like Cyndi Lauper and Lady Gaga is that women of all ages listen to stars in a way they won't listen to the surgeon general."
While the sexy campaign photos show Lauper and Gaga clad in lingerie and smoky eyes peppered with hot-colored lips, Lauper says gifting the girly tube to an important woman in your life is the also the perfect time to remind her about AIDS prevention.
Lauper says the conversation is even more important to have with your kids -- which she has done with her own 13-year-old son, Declyn, by her husband of nearly 20 years, David Thornton.
"I tell my son, 'You're gonna have fun when you get older -- safe sex. Anybody can get it. Don't think you're immune, no one is.'"
And while we had the '80s icon, who was workin' a red God's Love We Deliver tee under a sheer body-hugging black lace suit, we couldn't help but ask about her most distinctive feature -- that constantly changing head of hair.
We wanted to know: What color of the literally hundreds she has worn over her life has felt the most authentically like Cyndi?
"You know, I loved that canary-yellow color I wore in 1994," said Lauper, hardly skipping a beat to remember. "That felt really comfortable. You have to go with what makes you feel good. But honestly, bleach does destroy your hair. You've got to watch the bleach."