By Jen P
Some heroes are even more heroic off-screen. From creating online movements to raise awareness for their cause (I’m looking at you, @David_Ramsey, raising awareness of testicular cancer #DontQuit), to building entire charities from the ground up, these celebs know how to make their mark.
Below, I’ve listed a few CW actors you can really look up to. Read on to find out who they are, their cause, and how you can help.
Nafessa Williams (Black Lightning)
Tough and iconic, Thunder is a fan favorite on Black Lightning. She’s even more awesome off-screen.
When you play a black, female superhero, you’re already breaking fresh ground in the genre; and playing it as a lesbian with a supportive family, you’re setting a good example for LGBTQ kids and their families everywhere. (Check out her interview with SyFy on that subject here.) But Nafessa takes it a step further off-screen by helping with community book bag drives, empowering women (check out her article on Shethority), and by being outspoken, positive, and proud on her Instagram page (@nafessawilliams).
With over 245k followers, she has quite the reach, and this badass chick even has her own clothing line! Check it out at saturdaydreaming.com.
Katrina Law (Arrow)
She plays the cold-hard-badass Nyssa on Arrow, but this daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul doesn’t mind showing a little skin to save the kitties or the…
Well, you can figure it out if you visit her charity page here.
I love Katrina Law. She is such a beautiful person both inside and out. The first time I met her, my daughter was only 3 years old, and Katrina took time away from signing autographs so that Kairi could drag her by the hand on a mini-adventure through the autograph room. This woman made my child’s day (and made an eternal fan out of both my husband and me). But aside from my personal adoration of her, she loves animals and hates cancer. You should love her too, dangit!
Chris Wood (Supergirl)
Mon-el may be Supergirl’s sidekick, but he takes the lead in the fight against mental illness.
In a 2017 interview with TV Insider, Chris Wood explains that his father’s battle with mental illness scarred not only his father but his entire family. After a hard year battling his illness, Wood’s father passed away. After the tragic loss, Wood wanted to open up the discussion about mental illness, to raise awareness so that others could find the right help sooner. He founded I Don’t Mind in hopes of making that dream a reality.
Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries) and Nikki Reed (Twilight)
This vampire power couple uses their abilities for good.
The Ian Somerhalder Foundation, or ISF, is a non-profit with a wide focus. Straight from the foundation’s website:
The purpose of the Foundation is to advance science; promote the conservation of natural resources, such as forests, lands, and wildlife, for the benefit of the entire community; provide relief to the poor, distressed, and underprivileged; and support other organizations conducting activities under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Our environment functions as an interdependent system. Plants, animals and humans depend upon one another for survival and each person plays a unique role in the future of all life on this planet. The problems we face require a cohesive approach that does not sacrifice one component over another.
ISF empowers human action through programs and collaborations that promote education, innovation and build skills in empathy and effective leadership. ISF engages and supports youth – one of our most powerful, yet often disregarded, groups. Through programs, partnerships, grants, media initiatives and campaigns, ISF provides support for organizational and grassroots efforts that protect and restore our planet.
When I had the awesome opportunity to meet Ian Somerhalder at a convention last year, I became really interested in his charity work. At the ISF booth, I witnessed first-hand the joy of the bright-eyed youths gaining experience as volunteers at animal shelters and various other charity events around the South. They and their parents had not a frown among them, which, if you’ve ever gone to a convention before, is a feat in and of itself.
To find out more about the organization, visit http://www.isfoundation.com/
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
You know him as the Green Arrow, but did you know he uses his superpowers to battle cancer, a real-life supervillain, too?
When Stephen Amell’s mother was going through chemotherapy, he held up his middle finger and said, “F*ck Cancer,” on camera, not knowing there was already a campaign of the same name. They gave him a call, and ever since, it’s been a match made in Heaven. The first campaign sold over 3000 t-shirts in one hour, all proceeds funding prevention, early detection, and cancer support.
The campaign’s fourth run is over now, but for a look at his previous campaign shirts, click here. Heroic, indeed.
Check out F*CK Cancer to find current buyable merchandise and other ways to help.
Do you know of any other off-screen heroes? I want to know who I missed! Let me know who your idols are and why in the comments.