Our interview with Ian Somerhalder reveals a lot about the actor/activist’s priorities and perspectives
By Maya Penn
A former model, Ian Somerhalder started his acting career over 10 years ago. His first big role was in Young Americans, a spin off of Dawson’s Creek. He then had a role in the film The Rules of Attraction, based on the novel of the same name by Bret Easton Ellis, and several other films quickly followed.
In 2004, Somerhalder’s profile rocketed when he landed the role of Boone Carlyle in the hit TV show Lost. Since then, Somerhalder was cast in the role of vampire Damon Salvatore in The Vampire Diaries, for which he received a Teen Choice Award.
As a blogger, designer, and occasional Eluxe writer, I’ve always done my part to help the environment and its creatures. But several years ago I found an organisation that inspires me to do so even more: the Ian Somerhalder Foundation (ISF).
Launched by the actor Ian Somerhalder, star of The Vampire Diaries and LOST, and husband to the amazing actress/activist Nikki Reed, this foundation encourages young people to do their part to preserve and protect the planet and all its inhabitants.
I’m a proud member of the Ian Somerhalder Foundations Youth/Kids Division, and have also been lucky enough to meet the man himself. The first time I met Ian, he had a very noticeable positive energy about him; very warm and uplifting.
What I love about the Foundation is that it encourages young people to do their part to preserve and protect our planet and all living things in it. I was curious as to what made Ian passionate enough about these causes to start a foundation for the environment. I found the answer, and loads of other great information, in this interview with Ian Somerhalder.
My Exclusive Interview With Ian Somerhalder
What made you start the Ian Somerhalder Foundation?
Although I’ve always wanted to make a difference, a few specific things really propelled the launch of the IS Foundation. The Gulf Oil Spill was a giant catalyst to name one. But truly what shifted it from a ‘want’ to a reality was people just like you who care about our planet as much as I do. Knowing we would be able to do this together is what really gave me the force to create this foundation. The overflowing support of fans has been tremendous.
The ISF works in partnership with many other organisations. What role do you think collaboration like this can play in solving world problems?
There are so many organisations out there, for example, trying to fix problems such as poverty-stricken children in Africa, but very few of these organisations are actually trying to achieve their goal together. Imagine if all those organisations shared their abundance of ideas and their supportive corporate sponsors to work together toward the change they wish to see. I think the only way we will ever be able to solve our problems is in collaborative spirit. There is a saying: one person = one idea. Two people = three ideas.
What are some of the little things people can do to have a large impact?
Everything you do on a daily basis can have a massive impact. Everything you consume in a given day is actually a means of voting, either for or against the changes you want to see. Recycling and conserving your energy usage are the standard recommendations.
But I’d like to challenge you for a day. For one day, be conscious of ALL your choices. When you are shopping, ask yourself if you genuinely need this purchase or if you merely want it. Does the product you are consuming live up to the type of change you want to see? Be extremely conscious of your consumer behaviour, because within every consumer dollar is a vote.
What role can young people play in restoring the planet?
Wow. There’s so much! Young people are so much more creative, since they haven’t been contaminated by our society’s tendency to squash every possibility with reasons why we ‘can’t do this, or can’t do that.” A young person views problems with completely different eyes than a 40-year-old.
The space that lies between what a young person dreams and what the adult has to offer is where the real potential lies. Our youth have phenomenal ideas and solutions but some lack the life experience to make it happen. This is where they need the support and wisdom of longer-lived humans: adults. I’ve witnessed first hand what happens when a young girl’s ideas are supported by adults, and it’s remarkable.
What can Eluxe readers do to help the ISF?
They can check out our site, educate themselves, join an ISF Group, donate, and spread awareness. But if they really want to support ISF, they will do so by behaving in a collaborative spirit with all change-makers they come across and always look for an opportunity to connect and collaborate.
Images: Wikicommons & Ian Somerhalder