Special Post: We’re launching a search for the best “SelfLESSie” photos!

CelebOpt_logo SelfLESSie promo

We’re launching a search for the best “SelfLESSie” photos! Submit photos of someone, something or somewhere that inspires you and why. No “selfies” please! We will begin posting them on our blog and social media! Send the photo along with your handle (e.g. @celeboptimist) to celebrityoptimist@gmail.com!


Bright Idea: Get to know Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, the Producer

Oscar winner Lupita Amondi Nyong’o won the hearts of people the world over when she emerged on the scene. From her very gripping and raw portrayal of the young slave Patsey in 12 Years a Slave, to her genuinely expressive way with words in her acceptance speeches throughout award season, Lupita has demonstrated such poise, grace, and intelligence, and is a bright light not only in the entertainment world, but in the world at large.

It was her breakout role in the film 12 Years a Slave that turned heads, but Lupita has been a quiet storm for some time. In 2009, she released her first documentary film, In My Genes, on the topic of albinism. Born in Mexico City, Lupita was raised in Kenya and was able to document the lives of several albinos living there. Addressing the common misconceptions people have about albinos, including the idea that they cannot be of the same black family as their siblings, maternal infidelity, and anything else that promotes exclusion, Lupita wanted to give a voice to the voiceless on the topic. In an interview (below) from the 2009 African Film Festival, she points out that she did not want to “Lord over” the documentary film with voice-overs but instead chose to make the stories originate from the subjects’ mouths. Never was it about treating albinism as a negative; Lupita’s documentary is about bringing awareness where there may be ignorance.

Saharatv YouTube

Interestingly, towards the end of the interview Lupita emphasizes the importance of telling stories from one’s perspective, and staying true to that. “We need to find our own voice,” she says.:

Here is the trailer for Lupita’s documentary film, “In My Genes”:

Lupita Nyong’o’s YouTube


Ian Somerhalder: The Ian Somerhalder Foundation

While some people are trying to figure out what happened between Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev, his foundation is focusing on the important things. Several causes are close to his heart and his foundation, the Ian Somerhalder Foundation, supports efforts to take care of the environment, animals, education, the youth and more.

To learn more about his efforts, you can go to his website.


The Ian Somerhalder Foundation website


Bright Idea: Stand up for someone, even if you don’t know them

The topic is not a new one, but I was inspired the other day by my friend and co-host. After taping a live show, we were discussing the idea of comments and how much we enjoy interacting with viewers through the comments they make about the show. It quickly became a group discussion with our other co-hosts, and we each began to exchange personal stories about the comments we have had, in our experience, intended for us. It seems the consensus was, while we really enjoy feedback both positive and constructive criticism, none of us were immune to the virtual blows of negative comments that seem to exist simply to be, well, negative! I have had a few negative comments, but they never have truly affected me. I think the ones I was “gifted” with, because I didn’t believe them, rolled off my back and I didn’t pay them any mind. I think if I were presented with something negative, but constructive, I would take it into consideration, and advance accordingly.

I remember last year having the same discussion with another friend and fellow host. She had a harder time with negative feedback. We had some really interesting discussions about it and I encouraged her to really think about it in a different way. The world is very different now, with the (quick) technological and social media advances and what I wanted her to understand was that the very people who are sitting behind their computers, in some arbitrary locale, in who knows what part of the world, have it the easiest. How do they make the choice to intentionally post crude, insulting and otherwise berating comments about other people, who are trying to be honest and creative? That would take an entirely separate blog post to decipher. I did tell her that they are considered “safe” in their anonymity and I highly doubt that they would have the courage or ability to do what it is she does. I am not saying that it’s easy to dash these comments aside and keep it moving. I actually don’t have the answers. Everyone reacts differently. I can’t even imagine how it must feel to be a public figure or celebrity with the amount of denigrating comments they constantly receive! I understand it when I hear some of them say they don’t even read what’s out there about them! Some years ago Tyra Banks did an entire show on the topic, back when she had her talk show. She actually spoke to some of the “cyber bullies” and tried to delve into their psyche to discover the why. You may be able to find the episode online, but I do remember one part of the conclusion was that these people are everyday people who don’t feel good about themselves, and so they project that insecurity onto others.

I bring all of this up to say that, while I don’t have the answers, I was inspired by my friend, and co-host, for being part of the solution! She shared with us, in that post-show discussion, that she once was reading negative comments under a video she had watched, and proceeded to spend a significant amount of time counter-commenting. She went through each negative comment and in her responses, defended the owner of the video in question. Wow! What an optimistic reaction! I was so happy to hear that she had done that, and had to share it with you, my readers. I challenge you to do what she did and stand up for someone else, even if you don’t know them. Actually, this doesn’t have to be restricted to video or article comments. This is something that can be exercised in everyday life and everyday scenarios.

I would love to hear about your experiences so feel free to comment below! (smile)


Celeb Optimist of the Day!

Celeb Optimist of the Day!

Actress Keira Knightley, featured on the March 2013 cover of Marie Claire magazine inspires women not to be hard on themselves. Keira is a Celebrity Optimist.

Guest Optimist: Closets for Causes Founder Talia Bella asks, “What is your fashion footprint?”

Celebrity Optimist welcomes Talia Bella as Guest Optimist! Talia is a Los Angeles based Designer and Founder of Closets for Causes. She loves fashion and has found a way to blend that love with philanthropy! The force behind Closets for Causes, she is the founder of this cause marketing company which auctions off celebrity/character wardrobes and donates proceeds to the charity of the celebrity’s choosing. She is innovative, stylish and has a giving heart. All of this is apparent with her guest entry, where she discusses sustainability in the fashion industry and poses the timely question, “What is your fashion footprint?

Talia Bella, Founder of Closets for Causes

Sustainability is a subject which is talked about often, whether it be due to the energy crisis or in response to the signs of global warming.

Sustainability in fashion, however,  is a subject that’s not too often shared, primarily because the industry is designed to be quite the opposite. How do these mega brands backed by mega corporations make money? They shower you with new trends and new looks, so that each season you’re buying.

This can not only put a damper on your bank account but the planet as well. The industry produces an average of  2 million tons of waste per year. With the majority of discarded fast fashions and trends ending up in landfills.

I live for fashion. Adore it in fact. And while I do try to stay current with new trends, I do so in a way that doesn’t require building a new wardrobe each season. Here are some tips:

– Invest in classic pieces that are well made and designed to last you years and only supplement your existing wardrobe with one or two key pieces each season.

– When you must retire a piece donate it to Goodwill or resell it. One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure.

– Shop vintage and used. Some amazing finds can be acquired this way and can be a thrifty way to add new pieces to your wardrobe. My company, Closets for Causes, is an excellent example of this.

As John Wooden said, “It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it”. So what’s your fashion footprint?

To find out more about Talia Bella, Closets for Causes and any of her other projects, you can visit her website and follow her on Twitter @Talia_Bella! Also, to see a behind-the-scenes video of the charity work she does, visit this link!


Social Media: Celebrity Optimist is there

Just a reminder that Celebrity Optimist has its online presence in several locations.

You can:

  • Subscribe to receive email updates each time a new entry is posted on Celebrity Optimist. The button to subscribe is located at the top left of the site just under the image of the glass…the one that’s half full…
  • Find Celebrity Optimist on Facebook. Please “like” the page and feel free to post comments, join the discussions, invite others to join the page and spread the positivity! 
  • Find Celebrity Optimist on Twitter! Not only are the blog entries featured and updated, but we also feature the movements we mention on the blog and retweet anything else we feel is inspiring.

You can always get in touch via email at: celebrityoptimist@gmail.com

Thank you for your support!

– Kendra Kabasele


Featured Celebrity Samaritan – Kourtney Kardashian: Joshua and Robin Berry Children’s Trust

Kourtney Kardashian’s thoughtful and touching website post about a family who was in a tragic car accident on their way home from a family vacation is the first Featured Celebrity Samaritan on Celebrity Optimist. Kourtney used her platform to relay the story and to help the family raise money for their surviving children, by referring readers of her blog to the children’s trust site. It’s beautiful gestures such as this one, that touch the human spirit and inspire people, including complete strangers, to give back and help others in need. When you take away the what we are and listen to the who we are, the common denominator is the human experience.

To learn more about the Berry family and to donate to their children’s trust, news sources are directing people to the website, www.theberrychildren.org and letting them know they can also donate directly to: Joshua and Robin Berry Children’s Trust, send to the trust in care of the Bank of Texas, 510 Bering Drive, 5th floor; Houston 77057.

Thank you to Kourtney.


Ben Affleck: Eastern Congo Initiative

We all know what an arguably amazing job Ben Affleck did in “The Town”, the film he both directed and starred in last year. We’ve recently heard he’s rolling his sleeves up to dive into another film project (called “Tell No One”) as Director. We also know he is half of a Hollywood couple (with A-Lister Jennifer Garner) with serious star power. But, behind the flashing lightbulbs of the red carpet madness and the intrusive images of the paparazzi lies a deeper side of Ben Affleck’s attachment to the human experience that starkly contrasts the superficiality that can come with fame. It’s no secret that countries in Africa have faced colonialism, war, pain, poverty, rape, and often times, neglect. The general health of the continent is unstable.

Ben Affleck’s attention to charity hits close to home for me. He is the founder of an organization called the Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI).


The ECI was born in 2010 and is the “first U.S. based advocacy and grant-making initiative wholly focused on working with and for the people of eastern Congo.”

(Source: original video source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwJ7snTLoqU&feature=channel_video_title)

Their initiatives include the following (from website):

  • Increase the quantity and quality of public and private funding that supports the communities and citizens of eastern Congo, providing local organizations and leaders with the necessary resources to heal and sustain their communities
  • Raise public awareness about the tremendous need in the region through highly targeted media and advocacy activities
  • Drive policy change that increases United States government engagement in Congo

Ben Affleck and the ECI work with Congolese organizations with the mission to make positive changes in the areas of support for victims of rape and sexual violence, support for vulnerable children involved in war-related activities, community, health care and economic opportunity.