SEATTLE — There is no other actress that embodies the words fearless and innovative quite like Penelope Cruz. From throwing tantrums in Vicky Christina Barcelona to playing an outlaw in Bandidas and romancing Johnny Depp in the fourth installment of Pirates of the Caribbean, the Spanish actress has an ability to take ordinary roles and turn them into something extraordinary. This approach to filmmaking is also evident in Penelope Cruz’s charity work. Here are five ways that Penelope Cruz did ordinary things to produce extraordinary results for charity.
- She joined Instagram. For many stars, an active social media presence is a visibility tool to help promote their careers. Penelope Cruz joined the social media site in 2015 not to promote herself or her films, but to promote charity. In her debut post, Cruz is seen with a young boy who has been battling leukemia. The smile-filled picture was posted in support of the Spanish non-government organization “Uno entre cien mil,” translated as “One in a hundred thousand” in English. The organization works to advocate for and raise money to benefit children with leukemia.
- She sang a song. Although Penelope Cruz earned a Golden Globe nomination for her role in the musical Nine in 2009, her first foray into music came in 2002. Inspired by her work with Mother Teresa at an orphanage in Calcutta, India, Cruz joined the likes of Sir Elton John, Sting and Alanis Morissette for the album Voices of Hope. The album was co-orchestrated by Cruz with the help of Melanie Griffith. All proceeds from the album went to the Sabera Foundation, an organization that works to fund the orphanage that was founded by Mother Teresa in Calcutta. Additionally, Cruz donated her salary from her first English-language movie, The Hi-Lo Country, to the orphanage in 1999.
- She gave an autograph. As a part of Penelope Cruz’s charity work, she, along with many other celebrities, autographed a car. Celebrities in attendance at the 2010 Golden Globes skipped the paper route and instead signed their names all over the body of a Chrysler 300C. The car was donated by the CEO of Chrysler to be auctioned off for charity. It was anticipated that the autographed automobile would raise over $1 million dollars to benefit Haiti after the country was devastated by the earthquake in 2010.
- She modeled a t-shirt. In 2012 Penelope Cruz took her fashion connections to a new level when she served as the Entertainment Industry Foundation Ambassador for Saks Fifth Avenue. She modeled a t-shirt that was designed by Carolina Herrera and sold exclusively through Saks to raise money for Key to the Cure, an organization that works to find a cure for cancer through research. Since the foundation’s inception, it has raised more than $30 million.
- She took pictures. Penelope Cruz’s charity work rose to new levels when she took a turn behind the camera. While on a trip to Nepal, the actress photographed the children she encountered. The photos were eventually compiled for an exhibit that was attended by the Dalai Lama. Since that exhibit, she has made sure to carry her camera with her wherever she goes. Her attention to detail and commitment to portraying someone else’s story through the stillness of an image resulted in her being invited to photograph recovering addicts at Pacific Lodge Boys’ Home. She uses the lens of her camera in the same manner that she uses her acting skills; it is merely another method to tell someone else’s story, show someone else’s pain, and hopefully make a difference.
– Jeffery Silvey