These days, finding a celebrity who doesn't have a history of notorious comments is hard to find. Every news rack you see seems to be littered with the newest celebrity scandal. However, there are some celebrities who do good things beyond the camera. This series is about those who inspire others and use their power for good.
Leonardo DiCaprio is probably one of the most recognizable celebrities. From his early days as Jack Dawson in "Titanic" to "The Revenant," the movie that finally won him his long awaited Oscar, Leo has shown nothing but goodwill in his career. These are some of the reasons Leo is a modern role model to me:
1. He doesn't give a story to the tabloids.
During his long career in Hollywood, Leo has kept his personal life mostly out of the spotlight, except for the occasional new girlfriend. This is amazing, after 37 years in the business. I know what you're thinking, how can it be 37 years in the business if he's only 42? Good question; Leo has literally spent most of his life in the spotlight. Throughout that time, he has never wavered from the man we know today. This just goes to show that Hollywood and influential power does not have to change a person, but can empower them further.
Leo is the ultimate KING of perseverance. He has waited since what feels like the dawn of time to win his more than earned Oscar. After five nominations for what can be considered fan favorites such as "Blood Diamond", "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" and "Wolf of Wall Street", Leo finally had won that ever-elusive Best Actor award for "The Revenant" (imdb.com). It took 22 years for him to receive that Oscar, and he never once saying a negative thing about the Academy during the wait. If that doesn't show passion and perseverance and kindness, then I have no idea what those things are.
3. Finally, using his power for good.
Twenty-two years is a long time. Most of us haven't even been alive that long, but that is how long Leonardo DiCaprio has waited to climb on that stage and make his acceptance speech. He had that long to perfect the ultimate speech and do you know what he said? He thanked the academy and other nominees and gave out personal thank-yous to the crew and cast that helped him achieve the award, as well as the people who helped achieve such popularity and helped him launch his career. Then he said this: "Making 'The Revenant' was about man's relationship to the natural world. A world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history." This man is using his three minutes for an acceptance speech to talk about global warming. One would think after waiting since his first nomination, he would have a speech outlined and ready for that win. One never suspected he would use this valued time to talk about a world issue. An issue that he has been working to fixing since the 1998 when he started the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, whose mission statement is "The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is dedicated to the long-term health and well-being of all Earth’s inhabitants. Through collaborative partnerships, we support innovative projects that protect vulnerable wildlife from extinction, while restoring balance to threatened ecosystems and communities." (leonardodicaprio.org) In between successful movies, Leo has been speaking out about the issues that our world faces due to global warming. He brings attention to things otherwise looked over. By using his fame for good, he has been able to give out $59.6 million to other organizations to help prevent the loss of the ecosystems that make our world beautiful.
Modern Role Models are just as easily overlooked as regular people. While we only may see them on screen, when they are off, they do amazing things for others. Leonardo Dicaprio, a man who has spent 37 years in his career, working from the bottom to the top, has also spent 18 years working from the bottom to the top in order to save our planet. And that is why Leo is one of my Modern Day Role Models.
If you are interested in learning more about Leo's foundation or how you can help save the world, go to leonardodicaprio.org and sign up today to see what you can do for our planet.