So, basically, Brad Pitt is doing a lot more than "maybe dating" Elle Macpherson and Sienna Miller at the same time.
Actress Azie Tesfai's kindness has no bounds - literally. While playing Nadine Hanson in the hit series, Jane The Virgin, she has also been helping thousands of people around the world, from Africa to Asia and South America.
Her latest role is that of ambassador for SupportKind - an organisation started by Angelina Jolie to help refugees and provide legal services to children facing deportation.
Since 2014, it's estimated 200 thousand refugee and immigrant children have entered the US alone and 60 percent of them don't have attorneys to back them up. It means many kids are returned to countries where they face violence and even death.
It's a cause close to Azie's heart - her parents were immigrants from Eritrea and Ethiopia who went to the US on political asylum.
Azie's important work doesn't stop there. She's also been helping to educate children in Ethiopia, provide books and equipment to schools in Mexico, care for survivors of sex trafficking in Cambodia, give homeless Americans sanitation kits and so much more.
How has she possibly been doing all this while trying to track down Sin Rostro with Detective Michael Cordero Junior? Good question.
She's been doing it through her jewellery line Fortuned Culture which gives its proceeds to those who need it most -
One bracelet gives a child in Ethiopia 60 breakfast and lunch meals.
One necklace gives survivors of sex trafficking in Cambodia access to health clinics and psychological care.
A set of earrings gives a child in Mexico safe access to school for 6 months by bus, van or a designated chaperone.
It all started more than ten years ago when Azie travelled from the US back to her parents homelands in East Africa. She was volunteering for a charity in Ethiopia at the time, which was about to have its kids meal program cut due to lack of funding. Azie ended up selling some jewellery she had made to friends in LA and gave the profits to the charity.
It wasn't long before she had more people wanting to buy her accessories, each time donating the proceeds to charities. And soon after she had her first bulk order lined up - 12 thousand pieces for TOMS.
Fortuned Culture has now helped thousands of women and children in 8 different countries including Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guatemala and Cambodia.
Azie often refers to her acting career as her "passion" and her desire to give back to communities in need, her "purpose". Earlier this year, she spoke at a LifeIsBeautiful event, encouraging others to pursue their passion, but also, to find their purpose:
A friend of mine - let's call him Richard - recently pointed out that I "should be shouting Oliver's name from the rooftops rather than Winfrey's."
He was referring to English comedian and "Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver.
At first, I was all, pffffff! Come on Dickie! No one compares to Oprah! But then I looked into it, and John Oliver certainly is impressive.
I'm not sure shouting his name "instead of" Oprah's is the right way to put it though. Perhaps, "as well as" would be more appropriate, because when it comes to kindness and philanthropy, it doesn't matter how big or small or widespread the act of giving may be. As long as it's happening, I will happily shout names from rooftops.
So here I am, Dickie, shouting* JOHN OLIVER, just for you.
*the babies are asleep, so I had to whisper.
This whole thing came up after Dickie sent me an article about John Oliver paying off $15 million in medical debt for nearly 9000 people in the US. See for yourself above. Pretty amazing stuff.
It all happened last year, when Oliver decided to shame the companies who buy up collection agency debt then use predatory and often shady tactics to collect the money. He did this by starting his own debt collection agency online, called CARP - Central Asset Recovery Professionals. It cost just $50 and within weeks of being in the business, CARP was offered nearly $15 million in medical debt for a $60,000 payment.
Of course, Oliver's collection agency bought the $15 million debt and was given the personal info of close to 9000 people who owed the money in the process. But unlike the dodgy companies who usually buy agency debts, CARP "forgave" them - essentially paying off the multi-million dollar debts for just $60 grand!
(So yes Dickie, this technically beats Oprah's record of $8 million when she did that whole "YOU GET A CAR! AND YOU GET A CAR!" thingy a few years ago, making Oliver's giveaway, the biggest in television history. But like I said, the dollars don't matter. The act of giving does.)
And then there was that time Oliver raised thousands of dollars for Médecins Sans Frontières.
He wanted to make a point about televangelists dodging taxes and ripping off their followers, so he decided to set up his own fake church. As a joke, he encouraged his viewers to send in cash donations to Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption and he would offer "blessings" in exchange - but viewers actually did send in cash! The amount was never fully disclosed, however, he made sure all donations were forwarded to the relief organisation.
Earlier this year, he partnered up with the Kids Wish Network (sort of like our Make-A-Wish Foundation here in Oz) to help out one of his fans. Teenager Josh Danielpour, who suffers from a life-threatening illness, was flown from Ohio to New York to meet Oliver and spend some time with him on set. Think that smile on Josh's face says it all really.
I have to say, after writing this post, I've become a bit of a John Oliver fan! Still an Opraholic, but expanding my taste.
You can forget about Johnny, Turtle and E! Adrian Grenier has a new "entourage" these days - the amazing men and women at the United Nations.
The actor has just been appointed UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador. His mission is to raise awareness about some of the biggest issues facing our planet today and generate some action. Things like, reducing the amount of single-use plastic that's consumed every year, protecting marine species and reducing our overall environmental footprint.
So basically, everything you see on Entourage - the excess consumption, the lack of consequences? Yeah. The total opposite of that.
When I started looking into Adrian's involvement in environmental issues, I was shocked by 2 things:
1. This guy has been doing so much for the planet - SO MUCH - for years now. And,
2. He's 40-years-old! 40! (Adrian, you look like a teenager!)
But back to the bit about doing so much for the environment. Much like fellow UN Environment Ambassador Gisele Bündchen, Adrian has well and truly earned his position as Ambassador:
- In 2015, he co-founded an organisation to clean up our beaches and oceans, and protect its marine life. Since then, The Lonely Whale Foundation has been making waves. BIG waves. If you haven't already seen some of their social media campaigns, you are missing out my friend! They're the ones behind the #StopSucking movement, a campaign to ditch single-use plastic straws (which is not only a waste of plastic, but also ends up polluting our oceans.) They want to remove at least 500 million straws in the US this year alone:
- Also in 2015, he became computer giant DELL's first Social Good Advocate, aiming to make "conscious consumption sexy" and to raise awareness about sustainability in business through things like responsible recycling of electronics.
- Last year, he teamed up with Richard Branson for a 3.3km swim off the coast of Sicily for his #MakeASplash campaign. They were highlighting the importance of working together to improve ocean health. They asked their social media followers to explain how much they appreciate the ocean and everything it provides. The campaign was a mega success with 265 million social media impressions and 9,000 posts, proving the message is getting out there.
- Adrian has spoken out about environmental issues on a number of occasions including the 2016 US State Department Conference on ocean conservation. My favourite line?
"In the reality of television, there are no consequences. But in the real world, there are."
His concern was that society is so disconnected from the ocean, that people no longer care what they throw into it.
- Earlier this year, he was in Bali with the UN Environment team to help launch its #CleanSeas campaign which is all about stopping plastic pollution in our oceans.
- He started SHFT.com, a platform to help us incorporate things that are good for the environment into everyday life, be it through music, film, food or other things.
The list goes on and will, no doubt, continue to grow as he takes on his new role with the UN.
So Adrian's "entourage" these days involves the likes of UN Environment Chief Erik Solheim, but really, we can all be a part of his entourage by doing our bit for the environment, can't we?
Just when you think Oprah couldn't be any more fantastic, she is!
Not only has the media superstar given hundreds of girls an education through her school in South Africa, she 's now going to each of their graduation ceremonies in the U.S.
They call her "Mama O". She calls them her "daughter girls." And just like a proud Mama, Oprah is cheering her girls on as they walk the stage and accept their degrees.
The Leadership Academy for girls was opened in 2007. It all came about after Oprah had a conversation with Nelson Mandela who put her in touch with South Africa's education department.
Oprah has spent US$40 million so far in financing the school, which takes on close to 300 students from grades 8 to 12. Some are from impoverished backgrounds. Others are from families affected by HIV/AIDS who've been denied an education elsewhere.
This year, 10 of her "daughter girls" are graduating from American colleges and Oprah is keeping her promise to be there for each one.
Her first stop was at Agnes Scott College in Georgia on May 13, then a few days later at Elon University in North Carolina, Skidmore College in New York and Smith College in Massachusetts. And there's still more to come.
During the stops, Oprah has taken to the stage to give commencement speeches. Perhaps the most important line from her recent speech at Smith is this:
"What I've learned is when you create your work and your life based on an intention to serve with purpose, you will have a blessed life."
During her graduation tour, Oprah has been awarded some honorary degrees too:
So that's Doctor Oprah from now on!
In Australia, 1 person is diagnosed with brain cancer every 5 hours. And 1 person dies from brain cancer every 7 hours.
This week, the NRL community is coming together to change those horrific stats.
Today Show news presenter Sylvia Jeffreys recently wrote a piece for 9Honey calling out the "disgusting abuse" Delta Goodrem has been copping online. She says that "If any of these internet haters came face to face with Delta, they would melt into a pathetic little puddle of regret."
I found myself furiously nodding as I read these words.
You see, I don't know Delta, but we have crossed paths three times:
Scarlett Johansson recently found out she has a doppelgänger - a 72-year-old grandmother named Geraldine! So what did she do about it? Invited grandma G out for a drink, of course!
It all came about after Geraldine's grandson, Reddit user denverjoel, posted a pic of his grandma taken 50 years ago and well...she does look a lot like Scarlett:
They say laughter is the best medicine, but sometimes, a smile is just as good.
6-year-old Ollie Carroll suffers from Batten disease. It's a fatal condition that's left him unable to speak, walk or see. He's in and out of hospital a lot. But there's one thing that makes him smile and that's Ed Sheeran's music.
So you can imagine, the smile that appeared on Ollie's face when he and his family got to meet his "hero" backstage at a gig in Manchester.
The singer heard about Ollie and his sister Amelia, who's also suffering from Battens, through a social media campaign. Ollie's parents say their little boy used to sing along to Ed's music and would stand by the TV watching him. Now, he can only listen to the songs which help him through some of his toughest days.
In a facebook post for Ollie's Army Battling Against Battens, Ollie's mum, Lucy, writes, "Ollie listens to Ed's songs through his many hospital admissions, his songs have even helped him get through brain surgery."
After meeting the musician, the family posted another update, "As soon as Ed walked into the room yesterday and spoke, Ollie's eyes lit up and a smile spread across his face."
Ed spent his time with the family not only giving Ollie, Amelia and their two brothers cuddles and high-fives, but also learning more about Batten Disease.
It's a genetic disease which leads to progressive neurological impairment and early death. Kids with Battens can often experience seizures, blindness, loss of motor skills like walking and talking as well as personality changes.
There is no cure for the disease but Ollie's parents, who started Ollie's Army Battling Against Battens, are hoping, by raising awareness and funds for research, a cure will be found. Until then, their organisation focuses on improving quality of life for kids with Battens and their families.
Ed Sheeran showed his support for Ollie's Army by wearing a red wristband on stage in Manchester.
If you'd like to learn more about Batten Disease, buy a wristband and donate to Ollie's Army, you can do so HERE.
The Promise, a historical drama about the Armenian Genocide has opened in the US this week and has triggered a wave of support from Hollywood stars about the importance of acknowledging senseless killings, wherever they may be happening in the world.
The movie, starring Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac and Charlotte Le Bon, is about a love triangle set in the final years of the Ottoman Empire, and tells the story of Armenia's tortured history - over one million people savagely wiped out between 1915 and 1923.
It has started a social media movement, #KeepThePromise, which is all about promising to acknowledge and remember genocides of the past in order to prevent the same happening again. Some of the celebrities who are making that promise include Jennifer Lopez, Elton John, Heidi Klum and Andre Agassi:
Video: @ThePromiseToAct (Twitter)
George Clooney explains "each and everyone of us must #keepthepromise to fight genocide wherever it occurs in the world" while superstar Cher, who's late father John Paul Sarkisian was Armenian, has shown her support in a video on Twitter. She says, "Hitler said, if they don't remember the Armenians, they won't remember the Jews. We cannot let this happen to another group of people.'
Video: @Cher (Twitter)
Ryan Gosling is more specific with his promise. The actor, who has been vocal about human rights issues in the Congo since he travelled there in 2010, says he's vowing to keep supporting those affected by war:
Video: Ryan Gosling, @EnoughProject (Twitter)
The proceeds of the film are going to a number of non-profit organisations as well as Elton John's AIDS Foundation.
The Promise is due to open in cinemas across Australia in May.
Cody Walker (right) with his wife Felicia and friend Roy Mustaca in Sydney, Australia, April 2017.
Most of us know Paul Walker, the actor. Not so many know Paul Walker, the philanthropist. But his amazing younger brother is making sure we remember just how kind and giving he was.
Cody Walker, the youngest of the five Walker siblings, is in Australia, raising awareness about his late brother's charity, Reach Out Worldwide (ROWW).
It's an organisation which was started and fully funded by Paul in response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. They send skilled workers to help with first aid and relief efforts in areas hit by natural disasters. From earthquakes in Nepal and Chile to typhoons in the Philippines, tsunamis in Indonesia and floods in Colorado, ROWW is there with project managers, heavy machine operators, doctors, nurses, paramedics and others.
This long weekend, there are #drive4paul events and charity movie screenings of the newly released Fast and Furious 8:The Fate of the Furious, being held in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, with proceeds going to ROWW.
It follows a string of similar events in Hong Kong earlier this month.
Before his death, Paul was going on many of ROWW's missions himself, distributing food and other supplies as well as helping medical teams.
When he passed away suddenly in 2013, Cody, who's a trained paramedic, not only stepped in for his brother in parts of the Fast and Furious 7 movie, but also became the driving force behind the charity.
You can learn more about Reach Out Worldwide and the #drive4paul events HERE.
In the weeks after Walter Mikac lost his wife Nanette, and two daughters, Alannah and Madeline, in the Port Arthur Massacre, he found some comfort in little notes written by 6-year-old Alannah.
More than two decades later, those notes would be the catalyst for a book - Letters of Love: Words from the heart published by Affirm Press.
The book is penned by more than 50 well-known Aussies including Jimmy Barnes, Leigh Sales, Layne Beachley and Rex Hunt. Their letters are to their children, partners, parents and in Cameron Daddo's case, to his future self.
It is all about sending some love and positivity back into the community, something Walter says he was bombarded with back in 1996, after the shooting. And as you flip through the pages, the overriding message is clear - no matter our background, experience, age or views, we are all capable of love.
The book's release marks the 20th year of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, an organisation started by Walter to keep children safe from violence. Since 1997, the foundation has helped close to 2 million children across Australia. They pride themselves on their "buddy bags", a backpack of essential items like toothbrushes, pyjamas, socks and teddies, given to kids who find themselves in emergency accommodation.
All profits from the book go to the Foundation, so they can keep doing their brilliant work.
Below is an extract* from broadcaster Leigh Sales' letter to her two sons:
Daniel, I love that when we approach a tunnel, you say, “3-2-1” and then shout, “ARRRRGHHHHHHHH” for the whole time we are inside it and then dissolve into fits of hysterical laughter.
James, I love that you always shout “NUDEY RUN” after your shower and then sprint around the house so I cannot catch you. Daniel, I love that you think ‘Make ‘em Laugh’ is the best number in ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ because I do too.
Most of all, I love that you are MY boys. You are sweet and funny and I hope that you grow up to be kind-hearted men.
*This letter is extracted from Letters of Love: Words from the heart penned by prominent Australians, published by Affirm Press in partnership with the Alannah & Madeline Foundation. All profits from book sales go directly to the Alannah & Madeline Foundation. Available now.
So I'm pretty sure most of us would have a HEART ATTACK if George Clooney walked through our front door with a bunch of flowers...but not Pat Adams!
The 87-year-old kept her cool when the Hollywood star paid her a visit at the Sunrise of Sonning Retirement and Assisted Living Facility in the UK, on what happened to be her birthday week.
"Well, I just thought, 'Ooo, is it really George Clooney?' And anyway it was. And he is a charming man, just a very nice man," Pat told Entertainment Tonight.
The actor turned up with a bouquet of flowers and stayed for 15 minutes. He not only posed for a photo but also gave his lifelong fan a special handwritten card which reads, "Pat, I thought you might like some flowers. Love, George."
This whole thing came about through the nursing home's Wish Upon A Star program. Pat's wish - to meet George Clooney - was printed in the facility's newsletter which was then sent to George.
Pat says it's an experience she'll never forget ...and she doesn't think she'll ever wash her hands again after George held them!
Neither would we, Pat. Neither would we.
They're usually making us laugh in Here Come The Habibs or Fat Pizza, but Rob Shehadie & Tahir Bilgiç are getting serious about an important issue.
The comedians, who are busy with their Straight Outta Compo show at the moment, and Season 2 of the Habibs, have recently taken part in the Save Our Sons Walk in Melbourne, to raise awareness about Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
Duchenne is a condition that affects 1 in 3,500 boys and has no cure. In rare cases, it can also affect girls.
Tahir and Rob joined singer Johnny Ruffo and hundreds of others in the final leg of the 300 km walk which has raised over $450,000 so far. The money will go to scientific research, clinical trials, medical equipment and specialised Duchenne nurses in children's hospitals around Australia.
Save Our Sons was started a few years ago by Elie and Nancy Eid after their 12-year-old son Emilio was diagnosed with Duchenne in 2006.
A gala event hosted by media personalities Amanda Kellar and Brendan Jones is being held in Melbourne tonight, aiming to raise an extra $800 thousand to reach their target of $1.2 million.
Actress Kate Ritchie is ditching the chocolate this Easter and she'd like us to do the same.
Instead of the money Kate would usually spend on chocolate eggs, she's buying Bonnie The Bunny from The Change Angels.
The gorgeous rabbit, made by NanaHuchy, is given to a child who's been admitted to hospital in Brisbane for abuse or neglect and the person buying it is given a Bonnie The Bunny postcard in return. 100 percent of profits then goes to the team at Sydney Children's Hospital to help rehabilitate kids who've suffered ongoing abuse..
As The Change Angels explain on their insta page, the road to recovery for many abused kids is a long one. They are often brought into hospital with horrific physical injuries. They may feel scared, confused and alone. Bonnie is the perfect friend for them.
If you'd like to join Kate and support kids in hospital, you can do so HERE.
(FYI Bonny costs AU$35)
Actor Ben Stiller has teamed up with social media superstar Jérôme Jarre - and they are doing something so unbelievably amazing, it will make you question why on earth no one thought of it sooner.
The pair (along with a team of others), has arranged for a Turkish Airlines plane to deliver 60 tonnes of food and water to famine-stricken Somalia next week....and they're making it happen through the power of Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms using the hashtag #LoveArmyForSomalia.
It all started with a brilliant, simple and slightly crazy idea from Jérôme - He had just discovered that there are 20 million people in East Africa who have no food, water or livestock and are dying from starvation. He couldn't understand why the world and particularly the mass media wasn't making a big deal about this, even after the UN had described it as the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.
He thought, well, why can't we send a plane over there and give people the food and water they so desperately need? So he made this viral video, hoping to do just that:
After doing a bit of research and finding Turkish Airlines is the only airline that flies to Somalia, Jérôme started the hashtag #TurkishAirwaysHelpSomalia . A few hours later, it seemed everyone was tweeting it, including Ben Stiller. And a few hours after that, success! Turkish Airlines responded with a tweet:
Turkish Airlines will provide a cargo flight to Somalia on March 27. It can carry 60 tonnes of supplies. The airline has also agreed to transporting extra food containers on other flights over the coming months until the famine comes to an end.
The challenge now is to fill up the plane. Ben, Jérôme and the gang say the only way that can happen is through donations:
The money will go towards buying rice, nutritional biscuits, porridge and other food items in Istanbul for the first delivery on March 27.
After that, the plan is to buy food from local businesses in Somalia to support the country's economy.
If you'd like to do your bit to help Ben, Jérôme and the gang help our East African neighbours, you can donate HERE.
If you want to raise awareness about this mission, start tweeting #LoveArmyForSomalia.
It took one crazy idea, some celebrity and social media power and talks with NGO's working on the ground in Somalia (all done in less than 48 hours I might add) to make this happen.
We've seen hashtags trending on Twitter before raising awareness for important causes, but this goes one step further. We're seeing action and it's unfolding right in front of us.
Of course, there are critics who say this isn't going to stop the famine in East Africa. This isn't going to save everyone or end the problem forever. No, it might not, but it's a bloody good start.
Forget sexy. Justin Timberlake is bringing kindness back.
The singer has delivered an important message about embracing people who might be “different” after winning Song Of The Year for “Can’t Stop The Feeling” at the iHeart Radio Awards.
Justin started off giving a traditional acceptance speech, thanking various people, but then he spoke to his younger fans about diversity, being different and owning the very attribute that sets you apart.
“If you are black or you are brown or you are gay or you are lesbian or you are trans or maybe you’re just a sissy singing boy from Tennessee….Anyone that is treating you unkindly, it’s only because they are afraid or they have been taught to be afraid of how important you are.”
He continued, “Because being different means you make the difference. So F*ck ‘em!”
And with that, the singing boy from Tennessee walked off the stage to HUGE applause.
So they read out the wrong winner at the Oscars.....meh.
There was something else that happened on Oscars night and it was BEAUTIFUL. It was SO beautiful, FOR THE LOVE OF OPRAH, we need to talk about it!
Thanks to actress Freida Pinto and food-donation organisation Copia, more than 800 people who would’ve otherwise gone without a meal that night, were fed.
Orlando Bloom recently went to Niger, Africa as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador to meet children forced to flee their homes because of Boko Haram. A few days later, he was walking the red carpet at an Oscars after-party. And a few days after that, he released a joint statement with Katy Perry announcing their split.
Only 2 out of 3 of those stories made international headlines... and no, it wasn’t the one about the humanitarian crisis in Niger.
But that’s the story Orlando wants us to talk about. So, let’s talk about it:
If you've read the papers, flicked on the news or listened to the radio anytime over the last couple of days, chances are you've been bombarded with the words:
ANGELINA SPEAKS OUT ABOUT DIVORCE FROM BRAD!
I flicked on the TV today and saw Ashton Kutcher looking very proper and serious. Hmm, what movie was it? I’ve seen all his movies. How do I NOT know this one?
He was mid-sentence:
“….the internet trolls tell me to 'stick to my day job'.... My day job is as the chairman and co-founder of THORN. We build software to fight human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children."
This wasn’t a movie. This was THE NEWS.