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13 Female Celebs Using Their Fame To Change The World For The Better

Because these women know that there's more to dressing in pretty dresses and smiling for the cameras.

While celebrities dabbling in social activism is not an entirely new concept in itself, recent months have seen a huge surge in women in power—most especially women in the limelight—taking the reigns in creating meaningful social change. Most notably, we saw this in the #MeToo and Time's Up movements, with Hollywood heavyweights like Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and Ashley Judd at the frontline.

Overall, many female celebrities have used their influence to encourage the public to champion their causes alongside them, be it fighting for equal pay, eradicating sexual violence, defending children's rights, or training the spotlight on disadvantaged communities from around the world.

Read on to learn about the ladies who spend their lives outside the spotlight, making the world a better place:

 

Viola Davis

 

 

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Growing up, this phenomenal award-winning actress was poor. Being acquainted with hunger and poverty, Viola has teamed up with non-profit organization Hunger Is, which works towards eradicating childhood hunger and improving the state of health-related services provided to them.

 

 

Angeline Jolie

 

 

Angeline Jolie has been fighting for children's rights for over a decade. She's especially concerned with the quality of care children from war-torn regions receive, often visiting orphanages, hospitals, and refugee centers in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, to raise awareness and funds for these children's needs. Thanks to her continued her efforts, she's been named United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Special Envoy.

 

 

Ellen DeGeneres

 

 

This talk show host superstar was one of the first women on television to come out as a lesbian and retain her job in Hollywood. Since then, she has become the poster woman of many LGBTQ causes that fight against discrimination and work towards inclusion. Over the years, she's significantly influenced a shift of attitudes towards gay members of society, especially in the US, and has given the courage to other individuals to come to terms with themselves and remove all feelings of guilt, shame, and fear about their sexual orientation.

 

 

Emma Watson

 

 

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The British actress was appointed UN Women Goodwill Ambassador in 2014 for her continuous work towards gender equality. As a self-proclaimed feminist, she co-founded the HeForShe campaign that encouraged men to become feminists themselves; that is, fight for equal rights for women alongside them, to eradicate the belief that men who believe in treating women as their equals are "emasculated."

 

 

Oprah Winfrey

 

 

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The media mogul has opened up many times about being a survivor of abuse. Because of her childhood trauma, she made it her mission to educate girls and women in the classroom about their rights, all to help ensure that no girls would have to endure what she had gone through ever again. She's donated millions of dollars to several charities, most importantly The Angel Network, The Oprah Winfrey Foundation, and The Oprah Winfrey Operating Foundation. She's so well-loved for her sincerity in trying to better the lives of people  around her that she's even being touted as a possible presidential candidate in the next US elections in 2020. 

 

 

Natalie Portman

 

 

#timesup

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The model and actress who rose to fame with Star Wars films is a vocal supporter of veganism and is a firm animal rights activist. She is known to publicly condemn large organizations in the food and fashion industries that she believes employ inhumane farming and harvesting methods. Many times in the past, she has been called on by PETA and similar animal rights groups to help further their causes. Most recently, she has also broken her vow of never joining social media to be able to support the #MeToo and Time's Up movements more actively. 

 

 

Jennifer Lopez

 

 

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She's beautiful inside and out. As a co-founder of the Lopez Family Foundation, the singer focuses on bringing quality healthcare and health education to women and children and raising awareness on issues related to motherhood and childcare. The foundation was an idea brought to life by Jennifer and her sisters. With this, Jennifer was chosen to become the first-ever Global Advocate for Girls and Women at the UN Foundation in 2015.

 

 

Miley Cyrus

 

 

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There's a softer side to this famously edgy woman, and it's lent her heart to the protection of vulnerable groups like homeless youth and members of the LGBTQ community, youth living in the foster care system, and individuals living with HIV/AIDS. She's the face of the Happy Hippie Foundation that addresses the needs of these groups by providing them with education, employment opportunities, and access to crisis management resources.

 

 

Ashley Judd

 

 

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The actress helped pave the way for the ongoing #MeToo movement to blossom last year. As one of its frontrunners, she fearlessly encouraged the calling out and public naming of powerful men in Hollywood and other industries that have perpetuated or carried out acts of sexual abuse and harassment towards women in the workplace.

 

 

Ashley Graham

 

 

Ashley has always been known to be a supporter of body positivity and a healthy perception of body image. As a successful plus-size model, she has encouraged millions of women worldwide to embrace their shapes, be they curvy or svelte, through her own modeling work and her words. She was one of the first plus-size women to be given the power to speak about these issues and with her newfound influence came the realization that she was responsible for becoming an ambassador for women like her. Ashley has brought to light the real-life struggles of heavier women, encouraging fashion labels to be more inclusive and sensitive towards them.

 

 

Reese Witherspoon

 

 

As an active supporter of the Time's Up movement, a follow-up of the #MeToo surge, Reese defends women's rights and uses her influence to rally a fairer representation of women in entertainment, among other causes. As an actress, she has emphasized the need to let women in Hollywood to occupy more roles that mostly men have historically held, as well as tell more stories about women, told by women. Additionally, she has extended her fight for equal rights for women by supporting ladies in blue collar jobs. 

 

 

Alicia Keys

 

 

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The world-famous musician co-founded the Keep a Child Alive organization that focuses on assisting children in India and Africa with, or facing the risk of, HIV/AIDS. The organization's initiatives also focus on helping an affected child's family members afflicted with the disease by providing care and treatment, medication, nutritious food, and healthcare education.

 

 

Demi Lovato

 

 

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After battling with mental health issues on her own during her youth, this actress and singer has made it a point to take away the stigma surrounding the issue and encourage people to gain a better understanding of it. She has since spoken up about her continuous battle with bipolar disorder and how it's absolutely critical for sufferers of the condition to have an understanding and unwavering support group in family and friends to help them cope. She was one of the first celebrities of her generation to openly discuss what was once a taboo in Hollywood, and in society as a whole. 

 

 

Photos from @theashleygraham and @reesewitherspoon