#ELLEexclusive: Lupita Nyong’o on joining forces with Michael Kors to combat world hunger
"Hunger is a defining issue for our world and climate change is worsening the problem"
In the midst of latest trends and fashion updates, activism in the industry often takes a backseat. American label Michael Kors is here to change that with its Watch Hunger Stop campaign, a global initiative against hunger. Joining hands with the brand for its cause is Academy-Award winning actress Lupita Nyong’o, its latest ambassador. Michael Kors’ philanthropic campaign is now in its seventh year and has helped the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) deliver more than 18 million meals to children around the world.
This year’s theme for Watch Hunger Stop, Food Is Love, is synonymous to the words that Kors himself often used when highlighting this issue. Caring for a child involves providing nourishing meals, a factor which several schools in regions with scarce supplies often struggle with. This is the primary reason that drew Michael Kors to build a world where hunger is not an issue.
Beginning October 1, you too can support the brand’s campaign by shopping its special edition products (online or in select stores), which are designed specifically to raise funds for this cause. This year, the products include a t-shirt and a tote featuring the word LOVE. Want to make an even bigger contribution? Snap a selfie while wearing the above pieces and post it online with the hashtag #WatchHungerStop, and Michael Kors will donate an additional 100 meals to United Nations World Food Programme.
We caught up with the Watch Hunger Stop’s ambassador, Lupita Nyong’o, to have an exclusive chat to find out more about the initiative.
ELLE: With so many important issues out there, what is it about the fight against hunger that speaks to you?
Lupita Nyong’o: Hunger is a defining issue for our world and climate change is worsening the problem. We must work to change this dynamic.
ELLE: How did your partnership with Michael Kors come about?
LN: I’ve admired the work they do to fight hunger for some time. Last year, they asked me if I’d be interested in joining them and I was thrilled to say yes.
ELLE: What do you hope to achieve by adding your voice to the fight against hunger?
LN: My hope is that by adding my voice to the fight against hunger, I will help be a part of the solution and encourage others to take action as well.
ELLE: Watch Hunger Stop helps fund school meals. What about this particular initiative do you find hopeful?
LN: School meals are a smart way to fight hunger because they link education to nutrition, so children get multiple benefits, as do their families with each school meal saving them money. WFP also works to buy food locally and invests in training and supporting local farmers, including women. I appreciate the emphasis on helping people to become self-sufficient while also providing for the immediate needs of children.
ELLE: Michael is a fashion designer and you clearly have a deep love of fashion. What do you think makes the intersection of fashion and philanthropy effective?
LN: Fashion connects people, it engages and inspires them, which makes it a perfect space for philanthropy. For many people, myself included, fashion is about self-expression and the issues we care about are very much a part of how we define and express ourselves.
ELLE: What would you say to someone who wants to get involved but doesn’t have the platform that you do?
LN: For there to be a chorus, each person must sing. That’s a fancy way of saying that it takes the action of one to start a movement; every action counts! Whether it’s volunteering at a local organisation, inviting a friend to volunteer with you, or using your voice to amplify an important message.
ELLE: You have a children’s book, Sulwe, coming out soon. What made you want to talk directly to children?
LN: I want to instill the notion of self-worth when children are still formulating their identities, before the society at large has a chance to dictate their value for them.