Brangelina and Celebrity vs Philanthropy

This week my wife wrote a blog for our charities website, I thought you may enjoy reading it here:


I was planning to write about the incredible philanthropic Miss Angelina when, funnily enough, she suddenly hit the headlines for a different reason. I was going to explore the strange phenomena that she gets very little press about her activities as a special envoy for the UNHCR, but makes global front cover news when she flashes her knee on the Oscar red carpet. I was inclined to ask which is really more interesting and why? However while watching gossip TV coverage of the her secret wedding a few more points were revealed and it is those that I will now consider. 

According to Entertainment Tonight these are the Top 5 reasons Brangelina are the best celebrity couple - ever.

5) They give us plenty to gossip about.

4) They're generous.

Angelina is a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ambassador, while Brad's Make It Right organization has built nearly $6 million worth of safe homes, buildings and communities for people in need. Not to mention their Jolie-Pitt Foundation has raised more than $17 million.

3) They're the coolest!.

2) They keep family first.

1) They are hot.

Interesting. I am grateful that philanthropy made the list, but it is obviously more important to be cool...and hot! That’s confusing, at least they are not luke warm!

This phenomena is actually the reason behind the philosophy of Rally4Life. We have adventure advocates, who perform incredible feats that attract media attention. However the real motivation to climb the highest, ride the fastest or run the longest is to help those in need. People are jaded towards the woes of global poverty; they would rather be entertained, either by “hot” celebrities or by extreme athletes. I think most people believe the problems are insurmountable, giving won’t make any difference and they have enough problems of their own. However I am almost certain if you had the chance to ask Angelina she would tell you that there is hope, that you can make a difference and that through the act of giving your gain perspective on your own problems and feel a sense of purpose. 


Why the fascination with celebrity?

“Humans have a biological predisposition to celebrity interest," according to James Bailey, a research fellow at the Center for the Study of Learning at George Washington University, in Washington, D.C.

“There are two factors at work in our ‘biological’ reaction to celebrities,” he says. “The first is the ‘beauty’ factor.When exposed to an attractive face, he says, the so-called pleasure centers of the brain 'light up'.” In addition, he says, the repeated exposure to celebrities’ faces can also have an organic effect on the human brain. “Basically, if a person is exposed to a stimulus over and over again, that stimulus becomes familiar, and familiarity triggers those same pleasure centers.”

- Celebrity Culture. Sage Publications


Celebrity gossip is cheaper and easier to produce than hard news, and with the explosion online and our obvious predisposition to such stimuli 

“The percentage of pages in news magazines dedicated to celebrities and entertainment doubled from 1980 to 2003, while coverage of national affairs dropped from 35 percent of all pages to 25 percent.”

- Sources: Time, Newsweek and Hall’s Reports.


I think I am as guilty as any, I love those red carpet dresses, (and that Kenyan jewelry) but let’s keep things in perspective. As one famous super model says herself, even she doesn’t look like Cindy Crawford when she wakes up. And helping those in need will make you feel much better about yourself than comparing your new look to someone who has been airbrushed to perfection. People can be “hot” and “cool” all over the world and we should take an interest in them all. 

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

For the past twenty years Mark has been involved in real estate development and consulting and is currently a REALTOR with Sage Executive Group in Kelowna.

His column, brings a unique perspective on what may be important to us in the future as we come to grips with fast paced change in a world that few people barely recognize.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an Adventurer, Philanthropist and Keynote Speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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