While Sarandon has never been very interested in trading and playing the stock market (“any money I have is very boringly invested”) she feels the global economic downturn is “an opportunity for people to reevaluate what is important in terms of consuming, how we spend our time, and our priorities. It is a time to be real and to lead more authentic lives. We need to find joy in ways that are not dependent on finances,” she notes.
Although her résumé is dotted with every genre of film — comedy, thriller, and drama (she has even lent her voice to children’s cartoons), the candid actress is stumped when asked to pinpoint a role that is the closest to her persona. “I think that actors infuse their choices with some piece of irony, intellect, and sense of humor when they take on the skin of someone else. There are certain roles that were empowering, and certain parts very difficult that needed me to completely surrender vanity and control in order for them to work. I guess that is the fun of it, as you get away from who you are.”
And fear is certainly not a word associated with Sarandon. An ardent activist, she has championed the rights of the sick and needy, promoted women’s issues, and devoted her talents to helping those with HIV/AIDS worldwide, with several of her principled protests leading to arrests. As a child of the 1960s, Sarandon saw activism take root in her early when she came of age during the civil rights movement and the era of the Vietnam War. She has been fortunate to use her fame for the public good, and her causes are as varied as her film roles.
During her empty-nester stage, Sarandon plans to travel and work as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and Heifer International, an organization that donates a farm animal to families in need. Her travels have already taken her to Tanzania and India, where she “saw how difficult it is to lift you up from poverty when you’re struggling just to feed yourself. Heifer International gives people a dairy cow that helps them feed themselves and to earn a little income. Then, they become responsible for helping lift up a neighbor through ‘passing on the gift’ of animal offspring. It’s the best possible solution to the problem of hunger,” she explains.