The last few weeks have shown a different side of glamour world. While syrupy headlines and glossy magazine covers keep on with the shitstorm of ‘who’s buying what’ and ‘why you are such a loser if you do not wear that brand’, we have thankfully seen a few denizens from consumerist village, standing out on a rebellious road.
It’s reassuring that some celebrities can risk being labelled a philistine in the high-street-obsessed skyline they inhabit. What a good feeling to talk of Sharon Stone, Eva Longaria, Jacky Chan, Brad Pitt, Shailene Woodley, Rene Perez and Dalai Lama in the same breath!
You must have caught this birdie somewhere chirruping how this ‘The secret life of an American Teenager’ and George Clooney co-star from ‘The Descendants’ fame Shailene Woodley is jettisoning phones, clothes and more in her journey to a world better without materialism.
It has been heard that as she wrapped production for the YA adaption, Shailene Woodley also packed away some of the so-called indispensables, ditching everything she owned and lived out of a suitcase for two months, in what is being known better as couch-surfing.
In a chat at Late Night With Seth Meyers she shared a peek into a natural lifestyle explaining how and why she abandoned the comforts considered integral to celebrity life. Even if for a few days, it was fascinating to know that a celebrity can get rid of everything she owned, specially cell phone, as she squeezed her life into a carry-on suitcase. Yes, she couch surfed for two months.
The actress has also taken an urban survivalist course wherein she learnt how to go on when she runs out of water or using spring water from mountains every month or going to farms for food or making her own toothpaste, medicines, cheese and what not.
If this sounds gutsy and more-than-an-experimental-lark already, brace your self to hear how Puerto Rican rap group Calle 13’s star René Pérez Joglar vented out his disillusionment at the rampant and ugly face of materialism in hip hop.
Looks like a culture madly driven by money and promiscuous consumption has made him angry enough to give the world this extremely viral anti-Maserati rap scene video.
The song “Adentro” featured Pérez trashing his Quattroporte with a baseball bat and then Perez even throws it off a cliff.
In an interview Rene confessed poignantly how he bought the Maserati because he fell victim to the stereotypes of making it ‘there’ in the entertainment industry but as he started using the car, it made him feel uncomfortable owning it as realisation dawned on him that the car stood for everything that is wrong with society.
Can we surmise then that somewhere, deep down, sooner or later, at least some of us (whether from this side or that side of glitzy celebrity mirage) are finally waking up and seeing that doodle on the wall?
Even if it is in a habitat that appears to be strewn with nothing but star dust?
This month itself Blaine Tucker, founder of Florida group of Earth First, was found circulating a pamphlet in Hollywood, Florida to raise support for a plastic bag ban in the municipality and to instill adoption of reusable grocery bags.
Not far away in this activist neighborhood, there was the Luminario Ballet of Los Angeles that is all set to use ballet to tell the story of Climate Change with the project, Trails. It is a ballet and aerial ballet that is using projected images from NASA starting outside the earth, from the International Space Station, with views of Earth from space. This would follow with the mapping of planet in drought, on fire, with torrential rains, then Flooding, earthquakes etc also attacking issues like fracking.
Remember celebrity Brad Pitt’s attempt in New Orleans, with a nonprofit he cofounded for encouraging 150 energy-efficient homes in a neighborhood devastated by Hurricane Katrina? The Make It Right foundation’s upcoming fundraiser will feature pop singers like Bruno Mars.
It was founded in 2007, and the Make It Right foundation has apparently built 100 environmentally friendly homes, designed by some of the world’s top architects, in the Lower 9th Ward.
Meanwhile limb-marvel Jackie Chan and nine members of his team including the Blive Global Initiative travelled those extra miles to Ethiopia where Chan, who has been working on causes around hunger, poverty, natural disasters and consequences of war, spoke and emphasized on the need to join efforts to fight against and end hunger across the world.
Back home in an award ceremony for marketing and advertising fraternity (Olive Crown Awards) on promoting green causes, Amitabh Bachchan, also an honorary IAA (International Advertising Association) member iterated that advertisements change the way we look at things and stressed that we need sensible, innovative advertisements to address the issues.
The awards ranged from the Campaign of the Year which was won by Dentsu Creative Impact for Tetrapack (Silver) to McCann for Karnataka State Government’s Wake Up Cleaner campaign (Gold).
It can be only a co-incidence just a few days back many Hollywood stars corralled around the revered Dalai Lama who talked about the pursuit of materialism or external wealth and its capacity to derail our pursuit of inner wholeness or internal wealth. This is where His Holiness also cited monks and their lives spent happily in the most spartan of conditions, surrounded by the barest of necessities.
This was flanked by examples of the world’s richest people who are financially able to surround themselves with every trapping that money can buy and yet some of the loneliest people that he said he knows them as.
From Sharon Stone, Naomi Watts, Jim Carrey, Amber Heard, Anna Kendrick, Jeremy Renner, Rosario Dawson, Christina Hendricks, Malin Akerman and Kathy Bates to Eva Longoria; a lot of stars attended and absorbed this high-time wisdom.
Like Rene’s so-called-insane whim reminded us in other equally loud and hard-hitting ways: Material goods aren’t what makes life worthwhile.