10 SHAPE Cover Models Who are Making a Difference
Veronica Mars star Kristen Bell is very involved with Invisible Children, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of what it calls the "invisible children," those who are taken from their homes in Northern Uganda and forced to be child soldiers. Bell's encouragement reportedly moved the rest of the Veronica Mars cast to get involved.
It's true Heather Graham hasn't been in the limelight recently, but she's keeping busy behind the scenes: Graham, who is a public advocate for Children's International, has also partnered with TOMS to raise awareness about children in poverty-stricken areas of the world who cannot afford shoes. Moreover, she was very involved in the 2008 presidential election as well as the 2010 midterm elections and has appeared in multiple Move On Political Action films to encourage people to become more informed on different political issues.
After traveling to Africa and discovering an abandoned baby elephant in 2009, Kristin Davis dedicated her time to bringing awareness to the plight of orphaned elephants. In May 2011 she was awarded the Wyler Award by the Humane Society, which recognizes one celebrity every year for working on behalf of animals.
Country superstar Faith Hill prefers to stay out of the spotlight, but when she does make headlines, it's often because she's actively trying to make a positive difference. In 1996 Hill started The Faith Hill Family Literacy Project, a national children's book drive inspired in part by her father, who struggled with literacy. She and husband Tim McGraw also started Neighbor's Keeper Foundation, which provides funding to community charities across the nation to assist with basic needs after natural disasters.
Animal-lover Alicia Silverstone is actively involved in multiple charities, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), The Humane Society, and Starlight Children's Foundation. She also founded a sanctuary for abandoned and rescued pets in L.A. in 2004.
In 2007 tennis champion Maria Sharapova was named a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations Development Programme. She's also donated more than $210,000 to Chernobyl recovery projects and has traveled to Ukraine to assist in relief projects.
Jane Fonda just keeps popping up on our lists of "favorites." Fonda describes herself as a feminist, and she's worked alongside other notable feminist figures such as Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan. In 2005 she co-founded the Women's Media Center, which serves to increase female presence in media through media training, advocacy, and the creation of original content. She's also involved with the Vagina Monologues and V-Day, both of which are movements to end violence against women worldwide.
Our November 2010 cover girl, Mariska Hargitay, better known as the beloved Detective Olivia Benson on Law and Order: SVU says it was actually her role on the show that inspired her to start giving back. After receiving so many letters from girls and women who looked up to her character, Hargitay started the Joyful Heart Foundation, which aims to provide community support to victims of rape and sexual assault.
Last (but definitely not least) on our list is Oprah! Where do we begin? In 1998 Winfrey created the Oprah Winfrey Angel Network, which provided grants to nonprofit organizations nationwide until it was dissolved in 2010. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, she donated $10 million to different relief efforts. She also opened the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa in 2007, two year after she was listed by Business Weekas one of the United States' 50 most generous philanthropists.