Selflessness is all the more notable when you have tweens retouching their selfies with vampire teeth in your honor and thousands of people screaming praises each time you step out the door. We’ve tracked down eight celebrities whose priorities remain with four-legged critters all over the world, despite the general public obsession that would elicit major ego boosts in the average human being. Take a look at how they’ve gone above and beyond, donating their time or money to help protect animals. If you ever make it big, remember to take a tip from these super stars and remain loyal advocates to the animal friends who supported you on your way to the top.
1. Ellen DeGeneres
It’s no secret that everyone’s favorite talk show host loves animals, but Ellen has set the bar for animal activism and general kindness. She’s (very successfully) capitalized on her clout in Hollywood, drawing attention to the many shelter animals that need homes via “Ellen’s Pet Initiative.” Best of all, she focuses not only on popular household pets but on farm animals that need help by spotlighting organizations like The Gentle Barn that rehabilitate the long-lashed bovines.
2. Ian Somerhalder
Despite Somerhalder’s main gig as a vampire, it’s evident that he wouldn’t hurt a fly. He’s started a foundation under his own name that educates the public on issues of the environment, youth and animals. One recent article stemming from the ISF’s website explains how confusing food labels lend to the waste of food in America. The foundation’s animal activism centers around the empowerment of the “no kill” shelter, awareness of animal habitat and extinction and the importance of therapy animals.
3. Alicia Silverstone
Far from Clueless, Silverstone is one of the few celebrities who has divorced Hollywood with elegance and class, spearheading a movement that she calls “The Kind Life,” a plant-based diet and conscious lifestyle. She’s written a book to explain her thoughts in detail and runs a website which acts as a hub for the community where she posts vegan restaurant reviews, green product giveaways and personal blogs.
4. Anne Hathaway
Anne made a statement when she put on one of the first notable all-vegan celebrity weddings. The menu included veggie burgers, cupcakes and truffle macaroni and cheese. She’s been featured by PETA for sporting such accessories as custom vegan heels to major events, and supports the cruelty-free movement by making sure not a stitch of animal product is seen on her body, even while in character.
5. Matthew McConaughey
Long-time animal advocate McConaughey has proven that his heroism isn’t confined to the big-screen. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, he flew to Louisiana and played a part in rescuing 70 deserted pets over a week-long period, hamsters included. He supports a group called Growing Up With Pets that teaches parents how integral a pet can be to a child’s life.
6. Leonardo DiCaprio
DiCaprio is widely known for his sizeable monetary contributions to animal activism groups. He was named global ambassador of a campaign to help protect elephants by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, a group that spans from Africa to the U.S. empowering people to make positive change for those that are unable to speak out. In the past century, the number of wild elephants has declined by 50 percent.
7. Miranda Kerr
Last month, we drew attention to Kerr for her hefty $100,000 donation to an elephant hospitalin Thailand. The model, who became famous as an angel with Victoria’s Secret, also runs her own vegan/cruelty-free skin care line and has appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone’s green issue. She’s particularly passionate about koalas.
8. Betty White
White’s near-century long determination to protect the wilderness is proof to all of us that age is but a number. The 92-year-old Golden Girls star has partnered with the Wilderness Societyto shed light on the importance of environmental protection. She’s known for turning down character roles if they involve animal abuse and has been widely heralded as one of Hollywood’s most outspoken animal rights activists.