Ah, to be a part of Hollywood’s elite. Imagine if you will; the extreme wealth, the opulent mansions, the hobnobbing with the most beautiful people in the world – and legions of adoring fans all of whom would gladly spend their last five bucks buying your disgusting, half-eaten Big Mac off eBay just so they could own something that once belonged to you.
As much as we might love celebrities, there are few among us that haven’t, at one time or another, viewed some of them as vapid pod people who gobble attention faster than the rest of us can scoff down leftover lasagna at three in the morning. Admittedly, the pervasiveness of vanity in our society has reached epidemic levels, so it’s not altogether surprising that things like fame and fortune can have such a negative effect on someone’s personality – celebrities after all, are only human; who among us could say we would behave any differently?
The truth is, while there are many celebrities out there that have become addicted to the fame (among other things), Hollywood is made up of some pretty amazing people who not only live humbly, but serve as excellent role models for the rest of us – and I for one believe it’s high time that their modest lifestyles and good deeds get a little recognition.
10. Dave Grohl
In spite of being worth in the neighborhood of $225 million, the Foo Fighters front man is one musician that doesn’t take his incredible wealth for granted, nor is he one to spend his hard earned bank on diamond encrusted motorcycles, small tropical islands, or palatial estates. Dave attributes his financial modesty to the fact that he never graduated high school – and this lack of educational “security” has ensured that when it comes to money, all his financial dealings and investments are well thought out and sound.
In addition to possessing admirable financial prudence (being responsible with such a vast sum of money will guarantee countless generations of future Grohls are provided for), Dave contributes his time and talents to many charitable organizations, including Autism Speaks and the Elton John Aids Foundation.
9. Jennifer Lawrence
Anyone who has seen any of the hundreds of interviews she has given since emerging as one of the industry’s budding talents – knows that Jennifer Lawrence is as humble as they come. Sure, she has accumulated enough money (estimated at over $53 million) in her young career that she could easily spend the rest of her days lounging in the sun, a Mai Tai in either hand – but such is not the Lawrence way. The quirky Hunger Games heroine shies away from flaunting her wealth, and has been seen cruising around Los Angeles in unassuming vehicles like the Chevy Volt; a fine automobile it may be, but it’s a far cry from the typical flashy modes of transport often attributed to Hollywood’s elite.
Frugality aside, Lawrence has developed a reputation for speaking her mind, recognizing her status as a role model for young girls – something Hollywood is sorely lacking. Lawrence uses her celebrity as a platform from which to drop truth bombs that disparage the negative values propagated in the media: “There are shows that are showing generations of young people to judge based on the wrong values. That it’s okay to point at people and call them ugly or fat. We have to stop treating each other like that and stop calling each other fat.”
8. Keanu Reeves
We’ve all heard tales of how great a guy Keanu Reeves is. Although the Matrix trilogy netted the actor a cool $80 million for delivering such awe-inspiring lines as “Woah” and “I know Kung Fu”, Reeves split his hefty paycheck with the film’s makeup and special effects teams. Clearly, Reeves is not controlled by the all mighty dollar – or perhaps he thinks he’s still in the Matrix, in which case our currency would be of little value to him.
Generosity is one thing, but Reeves also refuses to use his celebrity status to garner special treatment. Case in point: this past December, Reeves spent a chilly twenty minutes waiting in line to get into his own wrap party for the film Daughter of God, never once reaching into his celebrity arsenal for the crowd-splitting phrase, “Don’t you know who I am?” to skip the line. Once inside, his humble antics continued. Spotting a credit card on the floor, Reeves picked it up, stopped the band and commandeered the mic in an attempt to find the card’s owner. This level of down-to-earthedness not only makes Keanu a great human being, it also makes the rest of us kinda look bad by comparison.
7. Chris Pratt
No one would argue that this Hollywood superhero has paid his dues to be counted among moviedom’s list of top leading men. On the outside, Chris Pratt seems to be such a sincere, gregarious, and down to earth guy that any number of cynics might think that a Pratt-related scandal lurks menacingly beneath his charming demeanor. Doubtful. When Pratt isn’t on set, he can be found visiting the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, in full Starlord apparel, bringing joy and smiles to sick children.
Most recently, Pratt decided to opt out of attending the 2015 MTV Movie Awards (where he was nominated for five awards) to take part in a triathlon in support of wounded veteran Mike Day, displaying once again just where his priorities lie.
6. George Clooney
I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not the biggest George Clooney fan – and it’s not because every able bodied woman in the county would drop me like a sack of dirt if ‘ol Mr. Grey Fox happened to saunter by – it’s because he just stood by and let Ocean’s Twelve happen.
Smarmy good looks notwithstanding, Clooney has been known to advocate for some pretty respectable causes; a list so long it’s rivaled only by his list of sexual conquests. Joking aside, using his celebrity to change the world for the better is something that proves George not only has a brain in his head, but a heart in his salt and pepper speckled man chest. Some of the many organizations Clooney has worked with include: Feeding America, UNICEF, the World Food Programme, and the United Way.
5. Johnny Depp
Arguably, Johnny Depp is one of the biggest names in Hollywood; yet when he’s not walking the red carpet, he’s a virtual recluse. Shying away from the public eye whenever possible, Depp lives a lifestyle some might call altogether “dull” for someone who has breathed life into characters like The Mad Hatter, Sweeney Todd, Willy Wonka and of course, Captain Jack Sparrow.
In many ways, Depp attributes his affinity for peace and quiet to his often turbulent family life growing up. In an interview with The Mirror, Depp stated, “I’m still shy and very wary of the world. I felt so out of place growing up that I don’t even know if I knew there was an easier life or a better life to fit into. You grow up a bit damaged and broken and then you have some success, but you don’t know how to feel good about the work you’re doing or the life you’re leading.” Depp may not know how to feel good about the life he’s leading, but we’re sure that showing up unannounced to reprise his role as Captain Jack to the delight of children in schools and hospitals is a pretty good place to start.
4. Hugh Jackman
According to Hugh Jackman, the beefy Aussie who plays everyone’s favorite ill-tempered mutant Wolverine, the key to staying grounded is dwelling on one’s failures as much as one’s successes. In an interview, Jackman says “I’ve seen people I admire falter. We’re all vulnerable to it and I never forget that.” Odd as it might sound, this type of thinking is clearly working for him; Jackman has enjoyed a highly successful career and a scandal-free private life (something that seems to be a rarity where celebrities are concerned).
Jackman, a widely known philanthropist, has worked with organizations like the Global Poverty Project and is a World Vision ambassador.
3. Angelina Jolie
If you’re in need of someone to look up to, look no further than Angelina Jolie. For the most part, her extraordinary list of good deeds gets her more media coverage than her films do – and that’s saying something. Jolie has proven time and again that when it comes to the silver screen, she’s more than just a pretty face. Off screen, Jolie has developed a reputation for championing the advancement of human rights; in fact, Jolie is a Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a legit designation she’s actually earned – not like some celebrities who cash in on honorary degrees from Colleges and Universities for no good reason.
Aside from her work with the United Nations, Jolie is an advocate for conservation, education, and women’s rights. Honestly, I’m not sure how she even has time to act in and/or direct films – but maybe that can be forgiven because truth be told, she’s doing one hell of a job at making the world a better place.
2. Dwayne Johnson
If you aren’t familiar with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, you might be inclined to make the assumption that he’s little more than a jock who divides his time between the gym and whatever else jocks are known to do when not pumping iron. True, Dwayne invests considerable time to keep his body in tip top shape – but if you think that he’s just another pretentious athlete who can’t do simple math or tie his own shoes, you’d be very, very wrong.
His work with the Dwayne Johnson Rock Foundation – an organization founded by the former wrestler turned actor – not only strives to assist children who have been hospitalized for serious medical conditions, but also seeks to promote education in youths and provides child obesity prevention programs. Johnson is also quite active with The Beacon Experience, which encourages kids to continue their education beyond high school by promoting special programs, greater parental involvement and mentoring.
1. Russell Brand
Far from being the most liked celebrity in Hollywood, Russell Brand and his well, brand of inflammatory comedy (not to mention his extra marital escapades behind Katy Perry’s back) can at times paint Russell Brand as quite the villain in the eyes of many. While no one would argue that Russell is not without his flaws, it is those flaws that actually make Brand one of Hollywood’s most humble celebs.
Admittedly, he may not be cutting checks to prevent deforestation or volunteering his time to scrub oil off a sea turtle’s shell, Russell has certainly done his fair share when it comes to the homeless. As much as we might not want to admit it, many of us are guilty of looking the other way when we encounter a homeless person on the streets. Brand, who once struggled with addiction, can often be seen spending time with the homeless of Los Angeles. Not only will he take them out for dinner or lend them his ear, Brand will also take them to AA meetings as well. While he may be worth millions, Brand genuinely cares for the poor and enjoys spending time with them.
Sometimes it’s the small things that really makes the difference.
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