The day before the TIFF 2016 premiere of The Bleeder, in which she plays third wife to lead character Chuck Wepner (a notable boxer played by her real-life partner Liev Schreiber), actress Naomi Watts spent some time in a room full of beauty-media types to promote the Canadian launch of L'Oreal Paris Women of Worth.
A give-back initiative that supports women who contribute or who have contributed significantly to improving community issues and conditions has already proved itself a great success in the US. Over the last decade, Women of Worth has honoured 100 philanthropic American women:
"Women of Worth celebrates the unsung volunteers in our communities, women who help those in need," said Naomi Watts, who is one of a handful of Hollywood spokes-beauties for L'Oréal Paris. "Some of these people might be be living next door to you, people we don't even know need our help. These women of worth see the issues and their needs that might otherwise have gone unnoticed in their communities, and they can affect change every day.
"The Women of Worth program is founded on celebrating women for who we are at our very core: compassionate, caring, generous, wise, passionate and many more things," she said at the Shangri-La last Friday.
As well as touching on the achievements of the US endeavour, the actress also highlighted two "substantial, amazing women" who inspire her.
"Through my work as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNAIDS, I met the incredible Mary Fisher while on a mission to Zambia," Naomi told us. "Mary was diagnosed HIV-positive in 1991, and rather than keep that a secret, she decided to share it with the world to bring attention that this disease does not discriminate or strike with prejudice, that it can affect anyone in any walk of life in any part of the world. Since then she's gone on to write six books and created many income-generating projects to employ HIV-positive women in Africa. The courage and strength that she displayed then and still now inspires me to make a difference. And I get to say she's my friend."
"Another incredible women in my life is the wonderful Susan Sarandon. She's obviously an amazing actress, we all know that, but she's also a true activist who sees inequality and injustice in the world. She not only shines a light on these things but acts for real change to correct these issues, and gets personally involved to help those less fortunate have a real voice. She's never scared to get her hands dirty, she speaks her mind and makes things happen."
For the Women of Worth Canada campaign, L'Oréal Paris has partnered with Points of Light, a remarkable organization dedicated to helping volunteers affect change all over the world.
As of September 20th, the Women of Worth Canada program will begin accepting nominations; the deadline is November 28th. From all the submissions, ten honourees will be selected.
In addition to being feted at a gala in Toronto on March 8th, International Women's Day 2017, each Women of Worth honouree will receive $10,000 toward her non-profit organization. (The Women of Worth initiative will also provide support via tools, training, networking and more to enhance each woman's efforts.) One woman will also be chosen as Canada's national honouree, and receive an additional $10,000 grant for her charitable cause.
According to L'Oreal Paris, "over the past decade, the resulting ripple effect for the Honourees in the U.S. include dramatic increases in volunteers, accolades from government and media, passing of legislation, and expansion of their organizations."
Do you know someone – or more than one someone – in Canada who should be nominated? Here's the link to womenofworth.ca; go now (or at least by November 28th)!