Olivia Wilde: Artists for Peace and Justice
via BBM from CES in Las Vegas
7 January 2011
"It's about to get WILDE in the @blackberry #CES booth!
And by WILDE... we mean none other than the @oliviawilde!
Come say hi @ 4 pm!"
- Tweet from BlackBerry
I was a little skeptical of what to expect from the opportunity to chat with Olivia Wilde via BBM. For those not in the know, BBM stands for BlackBerry Messenger and it's BlackBerry's advanced, proprietary instant messaging system that, if I'm not mistaken, bypasses the standard text messaging charges and affords other benefits, such as the creation of groups for chat discussions. Before this opportunity came along, I hadn't used it.
I've endured, and enjoyed to varying degrees, two community screenings via BD-Live, the Blu-ray technology that allows people around the world to watch movies and converse with key talent. The BD-Live screenings of The Dark Knight and Sherlock Holmes had something on the order of 1,000 people in attendance and many of the questions asked were really lame, particularly during Christopher Nolan's chat. My more probing questions never got answered. Technical glitches also put a damper on the enjoyment factor.
Working to my advantage though, the BBM chat was limited to a group of 12 - and that included Olivia and a moderator. So a very lucky 10 people, myself included, were provided the opportunity to participate in a 15-minute chat with Olivia while she visited the BlackBerry booth at CES in Las Vegas. The idea was to also help build awareness for Artists for Peace and Justice; Olivia has done a lot of interesting work with that group, helping people in Haiti.
The chat turned out to be a terrific pleasure. But much more importantly, even via BBM messages, Olivia came across as an incredibly sharp and compassionate individual. A class act indeed. The journalist in me was thrilled by her use of complete sentences and the lack of all those messaging abbreviations. She's a good speller, too. Sure there was a missed cap here, a missed apostrophe there, but in the world of instant messaging, that's to be expected.
Stumbling on the chat log, I saw Olivia had joined the conversation, but hadn't started messaging, so I wound up jumping the gun.
Olivia, how's Vegas treating you?
Olivia then began the chat with "Hello from Vegas!!!!" then answered my question, "So far so good."
After that, there was some chatter about the coolness of all the BBM emoticons. But, with the seconds ticking away, I got the ball rolling in a hurry.
Olivia, I see you’re on the Board of Directors at Artists for Peace and Justice. How did you get involved and what type of activities do you pursue in that role?
"Awesome question. I got involved with APJ back when we founded it in 2008 and have been to Haiti several times since to visit our amazing educational programs on the ground in Port au Prince. We just opened the first secondary school for the poorest kids from the slums of PaP and the seventh graders are thriving, even amidst unimaginable odds...
"I'm proud to launch Young Artists for Peace and Justice, which is our youth outreach initiative.
"We want young people in the first world to join the revolution in cool and declare themselves a part of our movement to end poverty through education."
Next, there was a question from "Agent P":
Has working with Artists for Peace and Justice changed your outlook on life?
"Yes, it has changed my life because my personal experiences in Haiti inspire me beyod belief. Our students are incredibly strong, smart, and motivated. I am inspired by them!
"Imagine showing up to class when you've lost everything and live in a tent with your entire family. No food, no water, and seemingly no hope. And yet they show up and want to learn. It's amazing."
Question from Ashton:
Just gonna go ahead and say Tron: Legacy was AMAZING. Good work. I'm a huge Tron fanboy. But when you get the chance, what was it about the struggle of Haiti that caused you to help them with this group, and maybe not do something else? I guess I'm asking why Haiti specifically? And will you expand past that?
Another excellent answer from Olivia:
"Haiti is an extraordinary country that has been through an unbelievable amount of hardship since it was the first liberated slave republic in the 19th century. They fought for their independence much like America did, and yet they haven't caught a break since. They are our neighbors and it is our responsibility not to turn our backs on poverty next door (one hour away!).
"Youth in America elected a president. We can move mountains."
Olivia goes on to say:
"This generation will be defined by our impact on the world. Let's leave it better than we found it. Giving a shit is cool!
"People can check out our website, www.apjnow.org, and look out for updates on our youth outreach movement.
"Thank you for joining this discussion! You guys rock."
I must say people like Olivia Wilde renew my hopes for future generations.