Besides her careers as a singer-songwriter and actress, Mandy Moore has quietly carved out another role as spokeswoman for global humanitarian efforts such as clean water and fighting malaria, taking her to remote villages in African countries and, this week, to the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York.
Part of a crop of teen female singing stars that rose a decade ago, Moore explained in an interview with the Associated Press that her work for such causes as helped keep her life in the entertainment world in context.
“It gives me balance and perspective,” she said by telephone from New York. “It’s sort of given me an understanding of the other side of my job – that it gives me the platform and reach that I can continue to spread the word on issues that I’m passionate about. They sort of go hand-in-hand.”
Moore, now 27, has since 2008 voluntarily represented Population Services International, a Washington-based organization, in its child survival programs. She has helped launch and raise money for initiatives to help the organization provide insecticide-treated mosquito nets for children with malaria, anti-tuberculosis efforts, and for providing clean water. On Wednesday night, she recounted seeing how Pur, a water-filtering product made by Procter & Gamble, helped make dirty water drinkable on one of her Africa trips.
“She was very moving, talking about her own experiences,” said P&G’s Greg Allgood, who heads the consumer product maker’s not-for-profit safe drinking water program. “She expresses herself better than a scientist like me. I can talk about the parasites; she talks about it from a very human perspective.”
Moore also “draws a whole new audience” to humanitarian causes, Allgood said, adding: “My daughter thought it was pretty cool.”
“I feel it shouldn’t even be an issue; all of as human beings should have access to clean water,” Moore said. “Unfortunately, that’s the not the case for many people in the world.”
She recalled a Sudanese man pointing to silt and other contaminants filtered out by the Pur packets and saying: “That stuff is in our bellies.”
Moore has also traveled to Cameroon and the Central African Republic for PSI, and has volunteered time for other causes such as promoting cervical cancer education for the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation and GlaxoSmithKline.
“I think it’s our responsibility as individuals to effect change in whatever big or small contribution we can find time to do,” she said. “I’m proud that, I think, I’m part of a generation that is socially conscious. I’m inspired by a lot of young people that I’ve met.”
For a singer whose first Top 40 pop hit, “Candy,” came at age 15 and who has made music and movies ever since, it’s a change to visit people who have never heard her albums, seen her in magazines, or, for that matter, even know who she is.
“That’s usually not the case,” she said. “They’re just incredibly hospitable and excited to welcome people from the United States, whatever their job may be … (who) will come back to the U.S. and be able to speak on their behalf.”
Moore’s last album, titled “Amanda Leigh” after her birth name, drew critical praise as showing her maturing as an artist, and her movie roles have ranged from “A Walk to Remember” to the voice for Rapunzel in Disney’s “Tangled.”
For her now, life is “good, good. I’m just sort of focusing on the music stuff and writing now, and trying to figure out what my next move is going to be. It’s nice to feel satisfied with this work (for PSI).”
Moore, who is married to singer-songwriter Ryan Adams, was featured a few years ago in the HBO series “Entourage,” playing herself as the one who got away from the Vincent Chase character played by Adrian Grenier. The series recently ended with Chase heading off to finally get married.
Moore laughed when asked if she was invited to the wedding.
“No, no, I think I broke his heart,” she said. “He didn’t want to have anything to do with me after that.”