Hollywood movies and high-fashion runways may seem a world away from a discussion about feeding the hungry, but Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry is joining designer Michael Kors in his work with the United Nations World Food Programme to fight hunger.
In an interview with CNN’s Alina Cho, the pregnant actress said that being a mother inspired her to act on behalf of hungry children because hunger often starts in the womb.
“Especially now, being a pregnant woman and already having a child … it’s so important what happens to the baby while they’re in utero. And the first 1,000 days is fundamental,” said Berry, who’s showing only a small baby bump.
The World Food Programme is considered the United Nations’ front-line agency in the fight against hunger. It brings food to more than 90 million people in more than 75 countries. Late last year, Kors partnered with the World Food Programme to raise awareness and funds, and now he’s bringing Berry on board.
The actress has worked with the Jenesse Center in Los Angeles, which provides shelter and assistance to women and children suffering from domestic violence. The World Food Programme “has been a natural segue for me,” she said, “because I care so much about women and children.”
“I’m a mom, and that’s first and foremost, but it gives me another reason to exist, another purpose. And if I know that I’m helping one person every day in some way, that really makes me feel good, and that’s a legacy that I can leave to my children,” Berry said.
For Kors, fighting hunger has long been a passion. He has worked with God’s Love We Deliver in the New York area for more than 20 years to provide free, healthy food for men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses.
“I’m a guy who likes to see results. And … this is a solvable problem. The food is there. You can change someone’s life immediately and with the World Food Programme. We’re talking about doing what I’ve been doing in my backyard, but globally,” Kors said.
The World Food Programme “can go anywhere, which is so spectacular,” he said. “You need to be able to shift on a dime, because there could be a hunger crisis in one part of the world and then suddenly it shifts, and it’s becoming more of an epidemic somewhere else.”
The World Food Programme says that $50 will feed a child for an entire school year and just $5 can feed a child in Africa for a month. The simple economics of those statements prompted the designer to get creative.
Product with a purpose
Kors has designed a watch to help raise money for the World Food Programme. The Watch Hunger Stop Campaign involves the sale of four special-edition 100 series watches for $295 each. A portion of the proceeds from each watch will deliver 100 meals to hungry children through the World Food Programme.
“I wanted something that was direct,” Kors said. “You look at your watch, every time it says the 100 series watch, so you’re reminded that there’s the 100 meals. How fantastic is that? I’m not a scientist. You know, I’m a fashion designer. I wouldn’t claim to be able to figure out a cure for an incurable disease. But I know we can make a difference with this.”
The fashion designer and the actress say they just want to raise awareness about hunger, and their celebrity gives them a platform to “make some noise.”
And what about the baby?
In addition to her new work with Kors and the World Food Programme, Berry is expecting her first child with fiancé Olivier Martinez.
“I feel fantastic. This has been the biggest surprise of my life, to tell you the truth. Thought I was kind of past the point where this could be a reality for me. So it’s been a big surprise and the most wonderful,” said Berry, 46.
Berry also has a daughter, Nahla, 5, with her ex-boyfriend, model Gabriel Aubry.
Betsy Anderson | CNN