Cause Celeb highlights a celebrity’s work on behalf of a specific cause. This week, we speak with Heather Matarazzo about her work on the Love is Louder Intiative with The Jed Foundation.
The Jed Foundation was founded by Donna and Phil Satow in 2000 after they lost their son Jed to suicide. The Jed Foundation works across the country to decrease the stigma surrounding emotional disorders, increase the understanding of warning signs of suicide, build awareness among college students and strengthen school campus mental health programs, policies and programs. Their first program called ULifeLine is now being used at over 1500 schools as an online resource for college mental health information. In the last ten years, The Jed Foundation has become the leading nonprofit organization in addressing issues related to suicide and mental health in the college population. They recently launched the movement Love Is Louder with MTV.
Love is Louder was created in 2010 to support anyone who is feeling mistreated, misunderstood or alone. Individuals, school, communities and organizations have embraced this movement as a way to address issues including bullying, loneliness, discrimination, negative self-image and depression.
Heather Matarazzo is an American actress and a proud supporter of Love Is Louder. Her breakthrough role was in the film Welcome to the Dollhouse in which she received an Independent Spirit Award. She is also known for her work in The Princess Diaries, Scream 3 and The Devil’s Advocate.
Matarazzo believes it's about taking action with love.
Introduction by: Meg Zrini
Interviewed by: Meg Zrini
Q: What is Love is louder?
Heather: Love is Louder is an initiative that gets to focus on exacerbating a solution as oppose to exacerbating the problem and letting people know that they’re not alone and getting to build a community that’s based on love and based on solutions as oppose to just throwing out cold hard facts like 13 million people are bullied, so great, what’s the solution to that?
Q: What’s your involvement with the movement?
Heather: My role is just to be of service and to get to be able to share my experiences, strengths and really getting to have action behind the words that I speak. That bullying and all of this stress affects everybody but so does love and so does a change of attitude and outlook and that it starts with just one, that one is you, is me. It starts with self.
Q: Has there been any memorable experiences?
Heather: Today we just finished coming from getting to speak with these kids at Rutgers University and getting to spend one on one time with a lot of the students and also having an impromptu gratitude session. I got to ask every single person in that room, just one thing that they were grateful for. For me, that love and gratitude are synonymous and I love making movies, I’ve been doing it for over 20 years but to me, getting to really be of service and carry a message of love and gratitude is what makes me weepy with joy.
Q: What’s your hope for the future of the movement?
Heather: To not only remind people that they’re not alone but it’s up to them. The willingness to want to change, and the willingness to want to grow. It’s really kind of a call to action, for 30 days, even if its five things, write down five things that you’re grateful for. What if you actually, as oppose to focusing on yourself, actually get out of yourself and be of service to someone else. A lot of people say this won’t work, well how do you know if it won’t work? For me, this is a call and people will answer the call to really start initiating not only being of service to others but being able to shine their light brightly. They know that change is possible.
Q: Why is it important for celebrities to support causes and movements like this?
Heather: I’m grateful that I have been given the gift to be visible but the truth is, I’m not going to sit here and have the audacity to think that because of who I am people are going to listen to me. People are attracted to me based on the life that I live. It’s not just actors and celebrities but just human beings. Why is it important for human beings to do this? Not just these high profile celebrities, I don’t even think that it’s wise and important for actors and celebrities to get involved in this but why is it that US Weekly will give a little blurb to Love Is Louder but will give 4 pages to looking at cellulite. There needs to be a culture shift. I don’t know where it starts and where it ends but for me, in my experience, it starts and ends with me. I know that what I put on my Facebook wall is going to be positive. I know from experience that words hurt which is why I don’t read US Weekly. I’m not this enough; I’m not that enough, well why do you feel that way? Because this magazine tells me so. Hopefully, we get enough people involved; they get to realize that their self-worth is not based on other people’s views of them. Not keeping validation from peers, they are valued and they are worth because they are here and alive!
Students of Rutgers University share what they're grateful for with Heather Matarazzo.
Q: Anything else you want to add?
Heather: Yes! Check out Love Is Louder and get involved. If you want the world to change, be the change. In my experience, when I’m involved in getting outside of myself, not being stuck in my selfishness, seeing what I can bring to the day and bring to life, I’m much less inclined to complain. Love Is Louder has action kits available at loveislouder.com.