Dakota Fanning is using her celebrity for a good cause.
The American Pastoral actress partnered up with Save the Children to light up the Empire State Building last Tuesday in order to raise awareness about empowering young women.
The ceremony took place the morning of International Day of the Girl, and Fanning exclusively spoke to PEOPLE about what it meant for her to be there raising awareness for a cause so close to her heart.
“Just to get the opportunity to light the Empire State Building for any cause, that’s an exciting thing to do and an honor,” Fanning, 22, told PEOPLE. “But for it to also be to celebrate an organization that I’ve done work for and that I feel strongly about on a day that is really special is something really meaningful. I think I will really remember this for a long time.”
Before flipping the symbolic switch to turn the Empire State Building red, the actress gave a speech, in which she highlighted how important it is to support young girls.
“Around the world, girls face unique challenges. They are more likely to be out of school and face higher rates of discrimination,” the actress said. “Every girl deserves to follow her dreams, no matter where she comes from or what her circumstances are.”
Fanning later elaborated to PEOPLE on that, saying that it’s never too early to help girls reach their full potential.
“I think that it’s important to empower women, and to empower women you have to empower young girls and start early in being able to reach your full potential,” the actress said.