Real-life mom Julia Ormond won a 2010 Emmy for her portrayal of a mother in the HBO movie Temple Grandin. The beautiful and witty actress, who also plays iconic Vivien Leigh in My Week with Marilyn, believes that giving back makes us happy. And that’s why she’s dedicated herself to several causes, including being: executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning human rights documentary Calling the Ghosts; a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador; and the founder of Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking (ASSET), an advocacy non-governmental organization dedicated to the eradication of slave labor. Celebrated Living spoke to gracious Ormond about giving and the power to change things.
Fond holiday memory growing up in Surrey, England: During the holidays we’d visit farms and I had this thing about letting a calf nuzzle my hand. It’s soothing and connecting, and very sweet how trusting these animals will be with you.
Favorite gift to give: Find a charity that you all love and make a family donation. Like Heifer International (heifer.org) where they’ll give cattle or sheep to families in the developing world to help create a sustainable livelihood for them.
The joys of being a mother: It is the most challenging, most satisfying, most beautiful thing you could ever do. And, the world’s best-kept secret.
In this season of giving, why giving back to society is important: I feel it’s at the heart of what makes people truly happy. It used to be that charity begins at home, that I look after me and my own. But with global connectivity, there’s more of a shift from me to we.
Working with the United Nations: As a former traveling Goodwill Ambassador, I realized what the U.N. offers is global access to governments, which is an absolute gift. But I found that with a key issue like slave labor, if I stayed in the U.S. and just focused on changing legislation here, we could reduce the problem by 70 to 80 percent, just by changing the way we trade.
What people can do to assist in this cause: We need transparency and to provide an environment for companies who are doing the right thing, moving toward fair trade, and to be conscious of corporate social responsibility on the ground. Get involved at assetcampaign.org.
What inspires her: L.A. is not just a red-carpet city and Rodeo Drive. Actually it’s more about dolphins and seals off the coast and deer and coyotes on our mountain trails … it’s wildlife and nature that really inspires me.
Best winter vacation: Adventuring in Greenland. I spent time with the Inuit, and hearing their hunting stories, going dog sledding with them, seeing what other people’s lives are like — for me that gets you to the other side of our human experience.