Celebritiy Do-Gooders Set High Standards for Hollywood Activism
There is no doubt that new school Hollywood looks up to the old school when it comes to charting their career paths. Brooke Shields' time at Princeton was an inspiration to young actresses like Claire Danes, Natalie Portman and Emma Watson who took a detour into the Ivy Leagues before building their careers.
Every young starlet and actor wants the career arc of Hollywood legends like Katharine Hepburn and Robert Redford. Frankly PopEater believes that Elizabeth Taylor paved the path for today's young celebs to have multiple marriages. But young bold-facers look to the legends for more than just career, fashion and marital guidance. They want to know how to give like their idols; give their time, their purpose and the value of their famous names. Celebs have long attached their fame to various causes (the iconic Audrey Hepburn was a long-time champion for UNICEF), but the celebrity-charity connection these days is stronger than ever. After the jump we take a look at some of the do-gooding role models who are laying the ground work for a younger generation of activists.
Itching to save Africa? Blame Bono.
Bono's involvement in Africa began after a Live Aid concert in 1984. In more than 25 years working on the continent he has raised awareness of AIDS, poverty and human rights there to global highs. Songstress Katy Perry is only one of the newbie celebs to sign on to raise money with Bono's AIDS charity Red (Check her out here), joining the ranks of Scarlett Johannson, Fall Out Boy, Courtney Love and Rufus Wainwright.
"In a lot of ways it was Bono (www.joinred.comwww.one.org) who made Africa hot and I think that any charity working on the continent has him to thank for raising awareness of the dire situation there," said Bret Van Leeuwen., executive director of Kenya-based non-profit, Koins for Kenya. "And with stars like George Clooney taking action in the Sudan and Edward Norton in Kenya, our organization is seeing a much greater interest from the CW generation of celebrities who are taking the awareness that Bono started and putting it into action in their own ways."
Blame Angelina and Madonna for the global rush to adopt orphans.
Angelina Jolie has traveled frequently to Africa as a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, but it was really her decision to give birth in the impoverished nation that set her up as the earth mother role model to a generation of stars. After Jolie gave birth to Shiloh in Namibia it was reported that Britney Spearswanted to do the exact same thing! Then it was reported that Brit was considering adopting an African orphan, much like Jolie's Zahara of Ethiopia or Madonna's David Banda of Malawi. Brit bailed on that endeavor. For now...
Meg Ryan has since adopted daughter Daisy from China, Ewan McGregor and his wife Eve adopted their daughter from Mongolia and earlier this year Katharine Heigl brought home little lady Naleigh from South Korea.
Leonardo DiCaprio made green cool.
Actor/environmentalist DiCaprio has been making environmental issues all the rage for the past decade, really hitting a home run with his 2006 documentary on the challenges facing the earth, '11th Hour.' Now celebs like Anne Hathaway, Hilary Duff, Avril Lavigne, Orlando Bloom, Pink and yes, even Paris Hilton are into the cause.
"These celebrities need to look up to the generation above them to guide them on what kinds of causes they should be investing their time in and the generation above them needs them to further these causes," says 'Cult of Celebrity' author Cooper Lawrence. "It ends up being a win-win situation."
The diva of all divas, and a woman who should be a role model for all young celebs, Bette Midler, is making the most of her RM status by bringing in charity newbies like John Mayer, Daughtry, Lance Bass, Sara Bareilles, Gavin DeGraw and Taylor Swift to raise money for the New York Restoration Project to green and clean NYC. She has even managed to pull in the unlikeliest of partners, 50 Cent! Now that is what we call a role model!
- Jennifer Aniston
- Paris Hilton
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