The Annual Best Buddies Hamptons Gala, presented by Audi, was held Saturday night at the Water Mill home of Anne Hearst and Jay McInerney. The charity – founded by Anthony Shriver in 1989 -- provides volunteer mentors and employment development to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Brett Banford, who strives to represent what is possible for others with Down Syndrome, came to national attention with his admirable hip hop audition for “So You Think You Can Dance.”
“The most important thing to remember is parents should never use the R word,” Banford, a Buddy ambassador, told us. He said he has enjoyed getting to “go all over” for the charity.
“Brett and I have become really good friends over this,” said Jeanine Mason, who won season 5 of "So You Think You Can Dance," of the few days they practiced together in Los Angeles. “He’s been working really hard and it definitely shows. He’s a hip hopper and a karate guy. For him to be jiving tonight is just as difficult as it is for some of the dancers on our show to be changing out of their styles.”
Mason first learned of Best Buddies at her high school, Ransom Everglades in Miami, which had a chapter. Now studying at UCLA, and acting, she just got some exciting news. “I just got the call yesterday, she shared. “I’m starting on a Nickelodeon show on Monday called ‘Big Time Rush.’ It’s about four boys and a band that are trying to make it in LA . I’m coming on for the Halloween episode.” There’s a mutual “crush” involved. She gets to dance. And… she’s “a vampire slayer “
And, these days, what Nickelodeon viewer can resist a good vampire story! Why is that? “I don’t know but I love them just as much as every crazy teenage girl!” Mason said. "Honestly, it’s appealing that they live forever and they have this everlasting love extending past what we could possibly hold.”