Having glimpsed an image of Charlize Theron, I noticed the caption read “Actress, Producer, Mother, Activist”. The first 3 I was aware of, but “activist” caught my attention and I decided I needed to dig deeper. That was a title that deserved more recognition than it was getting.
Reading into Theron’s biography, there was a lot of the usual imagery of an A lister celebrity surrounded by children, all smiles, colourful but other than the children being in better health than is usually promoted to us, I couldn’t see what was different to normal. Beautiful to see, but I felt it was the same image with a different actress to all the others we’ve all seen before.
Reading further, still with my reservations, I discovered that whilst these images may look the same as some others, the organisation that was behind the image was Ms Theron’s own program, “Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Program” established in 2007 and inspired by the famous Princess Diana image whilst in SA visiting a girl who had lost her leg.
That image stirred an emotion in Theron to move and aid children and young adults between the ages of 10 and 20 years old in her home country, Africa.
Only a year after CTAOP was established, Ms Theron was awarded the title of UN Messenger of Peace.
With the spotlit stage that she holds, Charlize is able to bank on interest and funding from other well known names and organisations including TOMS, and The Global Fund. Although the funding for CTAOP has also been helped when the actress auctioned her black Versace dress and purple Levin dress, worn at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004. CTAOP is the missing link between the funds, and those that live with HIV/AIDS in Africa. It connects the larger companies with the financial backing, to investing in the African youth, most in need of the aid in health funding.
Working with community-specific based organisations, the list of grantees is, to name only a handful, as follows;
Agahozo Shalom Youth Village
Drama For Life
Small Projects Foundation
As well as priding themselves on the integrity to work solely with community-specific organisations, they promote a message in which they strive for a future where the lives of those affected become healthy, empowered, productive, and HIV free. Whilst the immediate focus is based in sub-saharan Africa, the country as a whole is the aim to affect in an empowered movement. Encouraging lives larger than that of a diagnosis, with an education of the disease as as many as 19 million people globally are unaware and uneducated as to their HIV status.
Beyond the CTAOP, Charlize Theron has quoted the following in regard to the battle she has known women to fight as part of the Stop Rape Now campaign that she lends her voice towards in efforts to again, educate and end the epidemic she has seen take over and scar women in the Democratic Republican of the Congo.
“Hundreds of thousands of women and girls have been beaten, tortured and raped. Atrocities beyond anything that I have ever heard of or could imagine. For a problem so big and so complicated, where do you begin? What I have found and what I believe is that you begin somewhere, anywhere, but you must begin. You must act. As you read this, consider your humanity. Consider for one moment if you or your sister, your mother or your daughter lived in such a dire situation—then act.”
With such a heart for justice, Theron’s activism has no end. To name one more act of humanity, whilst in an interview in 2012, discussing LGBT, she publicly stated that “Marriage is not for her, until it is for everyone.” elaborating on the subject, she explained that whilst so many of her friends are within the LGBT community, she wouldn’t be able to sleep knowing that she was married because of her own sexuality, whilst so many she knows who are so in love and desperate to be married, can’t be because of “the fact that our government hasn’t stepped up enough to make this federal, to make [gay marriage] legal.”
Making herself one for the people, not being ignorant to the facts and humanity of the situation has made Theron relatable and more human than the golden girl I’ve watched on screen for years. I always knew that she was badass, her latest role in Atomic Blonde showcases nothing less, but to have been inspired to learn more about her as an activist, and discover her ethics, motivation and heart for children (did I mention that she adopted both of her children?) I feel more supportive and proud of her as a woman.Follow me on these too!