"I don't care how hot a girl is – if she doesn't like animals, it would be a major, major problem.' –
Celebrity philanthropy is rarely acknowledged as a force for real change – even slebs like , who's been working with the UN for over a decade, generate infinitely more column inches devoted to their love lives, weight loss/gain or red carpet attire than to the genuinely worthy work they do.
Take, for example, the case of one attractive vampire: Ian Somerhalder, who's more popularly known for his sex appeal than his charity appeals (heh). Somerhalder's such an accomplished activist for change that he’s impressed Conde Nast Traveler enough for the organization to give him their Visionaries Award. Makes sense – his foundation, 'which empowers young people to start environmental projects' has spawned over 800 community crews. This is a big deal: the award's not normally bestowed on humble slebs, but power-players on the world stage: Hilary Clinton for example, or Richard Branson.
Even so, plenty of people aren't aware of the infinitely worthy work Smolderhalder does offscreen. While other actors spend their spare time wearing out red carpets, Ian is content to busy himself campaigning on green issues and putting in the hours at the humbly-titled Ian Somerhalder Foundation.
Recently, the large-hearted dreamboat spoke out at the Beyond Coal Rally at Asheville's Park Square, meaning a more varied audience attended than the usual green crowd. According to one 'Rally attendee Claire Hansley', he was all sorts of inspiring.
"I didn't totally know anything about the environment before, like I didn't even recycle all the time," Rally attendee Claire Hansley, told The Coshocton Tribune, "But Ian is such an inspiration to me, I want to be a huge environmentalist now."
I think we can all safely assume Ms Hansley will be toiling at Greenpeace the moment she graduates from college, because, let’s face it - environmental activism is best fuelled by obsessive sexual attraction. Which is why Friends of the Earth should cut their ties with boring old Chairman and CEO Dan Hagel with his distinctly average bone-structure and wife and hitch their wagon to someone with a little more…well, sexual pizzazz. Garrett Hedlund? Andrew Garland? The latest Calvin Klein underwear model?
Snark aside, you can't fault Ian for trying to do his bit to change the world, especially when he comes up with such inventive solutions for raising money and awareness for green issues.
Ian's winning formula of trading fans' rabid attraction for him for dollars for the environment has recently found an outlet in a James Bond esque online mini-series (which you have to pay to download), titled 'Time Framed' in which Smolderhalder plays a maverick spy (is there any other kind?) who is trained to protect 'government and corporate interests' in missions. Full synopsis below:
Time Framed tells the story of Agent Truman Black (Ian Somerhalder), a gun-for-hire secret operative who is trained to protect government and corporate interests in high-stakes missions. During his latest assignment to stop the supposed heist and expulsion of a revolutionary clean energy method that brings free power across the world, he finds himself framed and becomes a whistleblower that uncovers truths about control and corruption.
Oof! Somerhalder don't play by the rules, and the trailer's jampacked with him getting immorally brutal in the interests of green issues while clad in a slinky tux. Check him out bludgeoning a tennis player to death in the trailer below:
The show's currently in the development, but we'll be the first to let you know the moment it's available for download. Or, you could just obsessively check the website here.
In May this year, Somerhalder was named the United Nations Ambassador for World Environment Day, which seems abundantly fair, since his Twitter feed (which is followed by 4 MILLION) is replete with as many thought-provoking gems as it is selfies:
The only question is why Somerhalder's philanthropy hasn't been picked up on sooner. Everyone's favourite vampire wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, when he helped by, and I quote 'cleaning oiled wildlife' and by taping a public service announcement. In 2010,he hosted a charity fundraiser for St Tammy Humane Society, who he'd previously donated money to, while he also supports the It Gets Better Project, which aims to prevent suicides amongst lesbian, gay and bi-sexual young people.
He's also on the advisory board to revolutionary news website RYOT (link), which allows readers to take action to usher in positive change on every article they read. He's joined on the board by fellow sleb-activist, the lovely (Tron: Legacy, Rush).
So when you tune in to your favorite vampire show this Fall, remember that Mssr Ian Somerhalder is so much more than just a (very) pretty face.