Beauties Who Speak Out: 10 Celebrity Activists Who Inspire Us All
The “Without Me” singer has never shied away from using her voice to make change. Of her many headline-making speeches, the singer’s spoken-word performance at the 2018 Women’s March in New York City resonated with sexual assault survivors around the world.
Halsey has also spoken about the importance of helping homeless youth. While being honored at Ending Youth Homelessness: A Benefit For My Friend’s Place in April 2019, she spoke about her own experience with homelessness. “I know better than anyone how important having a creative outlet is when you’re in a time of need,” she said. “This is so much bigger than arts and crafts — this is life or death. And I hope that you take it very, very seriously.”
The Hate U Give star doesn’t just play an activist: Stenberg has become a role model for young people who want to be more civically engaged. They went viral after making a video for a school project called “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows,” which focused on cultural appropriation. Since then, the actress has penned essays and social media posts for their more than 2 million followers about the issues that matter to them most.
Ferrera is also a strong voice in the Keep Families Together fight, which centers on the separation crisis taking place at the Mexico-U.S. border. Her latest book, American Like Me, features essays by artists and activists (herself included) about navigating life as first-generation Americans.
Along with other women in Hollywood, Witherspoon launched the Time’s Up initiative to help fight systemic sexual harassment in 2018. Time’s Up began meeting in early October of that year after a wave of allegations against men in the film industry were made following a slew of stories alleging sexual misconduct against producer Harvey Weinstein.
“We have been siloed off from each other,” Witherspoon wrote in a New York Times open letter after publicly launching Time’s Up. “We’re finally hearing each other, and seeing each other, and now locking arms in solidarity with each other, and in solidarity for every woman who doesn’t feel seen, to be finally heard.”
Kim Kardashian West
The KKW Beauty mogul revealed to Vogue that she’s studying to become a lawyer and plans to take the bar exam in 2022. The move comes as Kardashian West has been working for months with author and CNN commentator Van Jones and attorney Jessica Jackson, cofounders of #cut50, a national bipartisan advocacy group on criminal-justice reform, visiting prisons, petitioning governors and attending meetings at the White House.
Last year, she successfully petitioned President Donald Trump to commute the life sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a nonviolent drug offender. After that experience, and being called on by the White House to advise on changes to the clemency system, she felt the need to “know more.”
“It’s never one person who gets things done; it’s always a collective of people, and I’ve always known my role,” she said. “But I just felt like I wanted to be able to fight for people who have paid their dues to society.”
The Adrift actress has long been an environmentalist; she was even arrested in October 2016 while participating in a protest against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.
She streamed her arrest on Facebook Live, and was charged with criminal trespassing. Woodley was among several activists who were taken into police custody amid protests against the project, which, demonstrators argued, could put the Native community at risk if the pipeline leaked and contaminated the Missouri River.
While accepting her 2019 Golden Globe for best supporting actress, King took the opportunity to use “her platform” to advocate for the Time’s Up x2 movement and challenged herself to make her projects fully gender equal in the future.
“In the next two years, and it’s going to be hard, I’m making a vow that everything I produce…[will be] 50 percent women,” the If Beale Street Could Talk actress said. “And I challenge everyone out there who is in a position of power, in all industries, I challenge you to challenge yourself and stand with us in solidarity and do the same.”
The Breaking In star is a dedicated activist for many important causes, including advocating for equal pay, women’s health and the Black Lives Matter movement. In her book, We’re Going to Need More Wine, Union recounted being raped at gunpoint at the age of 19. She told PEOPLE she shares her traumatic story in order to help others heal.
“Each time I tell the story is a revelation that I need to keep sharing since there’s so many more victims than survivors,” she said. “They need to know healing is a process — a slow process like moving a boulder uphill with one hand tied behind your back, but there is hope. I will never stop sharing, and I will try to educate as much as I can for the voiceless and for people who didn’t get my treatment.”
The “Born This Way” singer is a fierce LGBTQ advocate and proponent for equality and acceptance. She started the Born This Way Foundation, which she runs with her mom, Cynthia Germanotta, in 2012, with a goal of helping young people feel less alone.
She’s been a strong supporter of mental health, particularly in the artist community, and she spoke about it while accepting the Grammy for best pop/group performance in 2019.
“I just want to say I’m so proud to be a part of a movie that addresses mental health issues,” she said of A Star Is Born. “They’re so important. And a lot of artists deal with that and we got to take care of each other. So if you see somebody that’s hurting don’t look away. And if you’re hurting, even if it might be hard, try to find that bravery within yourself to dive deep and go tell somebody and take them up in your head with you.”
Beyoncé champions the Black Lives Matter movement and has encouraged people to vote for democratic candidates. In 2016, she shared her spotlight with mothers of the Black Lives Matter movement at the MTV Video Music Awards. Along with daughter Blue Ivy, she was accompanied by Sybrina Fulton, Gwen Carr, Lesley McSpadden and Wanda Johnson – the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Oscar Grant, respectively. That night, she won the video of the year award for “Formation,” which also contains Black Lives Matter imagery.
Along with JAY-Z, Beyoncé hosted a get-out-the-vote concert for Hillary Clinton in 2016. And in 2018, she encouraged her Texas-based Instagram followers to vote for Beto O’Rourke for senate.