The relationship between actress Mia Farrow and PEOPLE goes way back—all the way to our very first issue on March 4, 1974, when she was our inaugural cover subject. So when she and her son Ronan Farrow met with PEOPLE staffers on July 6 to talk about their work with UNICEF in Darfur, she was an especially honored guest. But first she had to get past the Time and Life Building security guards, who requested a photo ID. “My ID is the cover of that magazine,” she said, pointing to a framed cover bearing her image that hangs in the lobby reception area. “She played the celebrity card,” Ronan, 18, joked later.
And that is just what she is doing to powerful effect with Darfur as well. A UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for almost six years, Farrow, 61, wants to call the world’s attention to the plight of the women and children she has met in the refugee camps during two visits to the war-torn region. “These are the most courageous women I’ve ever met,” the actress says. “We can only bow our heads with the deepest respect at this time of suffering and terror.” Ronan, a UNICEF Spokesperson for Youth who starts Yale Law School in the fall, shares his mother’s passion. “These people have no voice to tell the world what is happening,” he says. “I told them I will honor what they’ve endured by bringing back their stories.”
Farrow has opened up her personal photo albums to PEOPLE (“A Trip to Darfur,” p. 56), offering a look at this land of tremendous tragedy and promise. “The people I met in Darfur, the stories I heard—all of it is seared into me,” she says. “I am not the same person anymore.” After seeing her pictures and hearing her words, readers won’t be either.