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It was the Ricky and Nicki show Wednesday night at Stage 37.

Before Ricky Martin and Nicki Minaj — who are the faces of the 2012 MAC AIDS Fund campaign — took to the stage on a tricked-out motorcycle and a cloud of dry ice, the duo spoke of upcoming projects, marriage and Whitney Houston, in addition to the crucial role of AIDS research.

This story first appeared in the February 17, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Fresh off a controversial Grammys performance (“Part of a movie I’m making,” she said), Minaj noted that she’s working on her sophomore album. “It’ll be out April 3 and it’s called ‘Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded,’” said Minaj, clad in a pink and blue striped suit, Giuseppe Zanotti heels and eyelashes that nearly touched her forehead — “they’re natural,” she laughed. She also wore her Viva Glam shade, a flamingo pink lipstick. Minaj said she always wanted to be a part of Viva Glam, “because they give back to people with AIDS,” she said. “They’re in need of food, they’re in need of shelter, they’re in need of medicine. MAC and this lipstick make it possible.”

Raising awareness is also key, said Martin. “Let’s take the power that we have, and let’s tell the world that this is still a very big issue,” he said.

Martin — whose Viva Glam product is a unisex lip conditioner — is gearing up to play Che in a Broadway revival of “Evita.” Previews are slated to begin March 12, with the opening night set for April 5. “I did Les Miz years ago, and now we’re reviving this beautiful classic,” he said of the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice tour de force. “I’m locked in the studio from 9 to 7, rehearsing.”

Houston’s Feb. 11 death obviously impacted both performers. “I felt like Whitney was part of my family, of everyone’s family,” said Minaj. Added Martin, “She did so much, and her music will make her live forever — she will never truly die.”

Martin noted that the most consistent rumor around him these days is that marriage is imminent for him and partner Carlos Gonzalez Abella. “[Tabloids] can say whatever they want, but trust me — when I get married, I’ll tell the world,” said Martin, who with Abella has three-year-old twin boys, Matteo and Valentino.

“MAC is once again at the intersection of fashion and pop culture,” said John Demsey, group president of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. and chairman of the MAC AIDS Fund, of the Minaj-Martin pairing. To date, MAC has raised $236 million with the MAC AIDS Fund and is on track to raise $250 million by June, said Demsey.

The MAC AIDS Fund celebration drew more than 700 people over the course of the evening, including Macy’s Inc. chief executive officer Terry J. Lundgren and several of the fashion designers MAC supports, including Alexander Wang.

Noting that runway shows have been part of the brand’s DNA for more than two decades, Demsey added that the brand supported more than 90 designers this season in New York alone and did the nails at several, a first for the brand. MAC has also ramped up its digital offerings, using Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr and Twitter to give the brand’s fans behind-the-scenes glimpses of the New York shows, a practice it intends to continue in London, Milan and Paris. Globally, MAC does more than 850 shows each year, he said.

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