When natural disasters strike, it only takes a matter of days before the tabloids are covered in pictures of celebrities stepping in to lend a helping hand. Whether showing up directly on the site of hurricane-damaged cities, or sitting behind a telephone raising money during a telethon, these A-listers are always reading to get involved when things go bad.
Of course, we would like to belief that they have pure, altruistic intentions, but some skeptics have questioned whether or not these celebrities are engaging in these volunteer works to gain attention and praise in the media. It's not a far-fetched theory, when you think about it. Of course the stars know that any activity that makes them look kind, nurturing and protective will gain them good press. Not to mention, it's the perfect way to get yourself noticed if you are working on another project that you want people to talk about. New movie coming out? New album? These things are apt to be mentioned when the tabloids write up a mini recap of your good deeds.
Of course, being a good person and being a celebrity are not mutually exclusive. We would really like to believe that these stars engage in volunteerism because they actually care about humanity. Celebrities have the financial means to help out, and if they choose to donate personal funds, that's definitely something to celebrate and commend. All good intentions aside, these celebs seem to be at the forefront of the crisis zone time after time, leading us to wonder if they are faking it. Here are the 16 Celebs That Pretend To Be Superman During Natural Disasters
16 Justin Bieber Enjoys Playing With Kids
One thing that is quite apparent when you look through photos of Justin Bieber volunteering is that he really gets in touch with his inner child. He has been photographed playing with children in the Philippines, in the aftermath of the 2013 typhoon. He himself donated $3 million dollars to aid the victims of the horrible natural disaster. Most recently, Justin led the prayer during the Hand in Hand celebrity charity telethon for the victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. A visibly emotional Justin choked back tears as he said some typical Bieber-esque blessings. Yes, he's a good kid. He definitely has good intentions. He also probably really enjoys being painted as a bit of a disaster relief martyr, we think.
15 Angelina Jolie Likes To Be Queen Charity
Angelina Jolie is perhaps the celebrity with the biggest ties to activism, humanitarian work and volunteering. As a United Nations ambassador, Jolie has been involved in creating lasting changes in the world since 2001. She's taken part in dozens and dozens of field missions, where she has specialized in raising awareness about the reality of refugee's living conditions and struggles. Despite her obvious interest in making the world a better place, Angelina has often been criticized as having a selfish agenda. Some skeptics have claimed that she is too selfish of a character to truly give back to others', and that she takes part in these activities solely for the attention it gets her in the press.
14 Brad Pitt Rides Angie's Coattails
Brad Pitt got onto the volunteering bandwagon thanks to ex-wife Angelina Jolie. Her many philanthropic projects inspired her then husband to get on board and lend a helping hand, himself. Although his intentions might've been genuine, many people have criticized his motives. Some considered that he was just going along with the motions in order to please Angie. Others speculated that he, too, like Angelina, enjoyed having his face plastered all over magazines and tabloids. He and Angelina funded a project that aimed to build new homes for survivors of Hurricane Katrina that had lost their houses and possessions.
13 Madonna Has Her Own Agenda
Madonna has been on the scene for close to four decades, and is one of the most iconic pop stars in history. It's no secret that she is a bit of a diva; the lover of the limelight has made tabloids for her professional and personal pursuits over the years. It could be said that she enjoys making a splash and shocking the world with her naughtiness. But this bad girl clearly has a good side to her as well. She has set up a fund called Raising Malawi which aids children in this poor country get food, shelter, clean water and access to education. She has been highly criticized for this act of volunteerism, though, as many have pointed out that she uses it more as a platform to broadcast her own faith and gain attention from the media. She rarely engages in fieldwork, and hasn't done much of other types of volunteering in her life, garnering her an even worst reputation for these alleged good deeds.
12 Paris Hilton Is Not A Credible Helper
From what we know of Paris Hilton, she isn't very credible. Sadly, the heiress created this botched reputation for herself, largely in her reality TV show alongside former BFF Nicole Richie, The Simple Life. In the show, the girls are portrayed as lazy, apathetic and self-centered princesses. Although we'd like to believe that they put on a big part of this for the camera, we're not totally convinced. So then, anything that Paris has done since has been met with a fair bit of skepticism. Particularly when good deeds are involved. Paris has volunteered in plenty of animal shelters (she loves chihuahuas, guys) but she has only helped out actual humans a couple of times. When she did, she was sure to take a selfie and post it to social media to make sure that the world knows that she is a good person.
11 Leonardo DiCaprio is Obsessed With Climate Change
Leonardo DiCaprio might be best known for his numerous performances in Blockbuster hits, but most recently, he's been on the philanthropy bandwagon. His dedication to global warming issues have been recorded in his 2016 documentary, Before The Flood. DiCaprio has claimed that he is absolutely consumed with the issue of global warming, and he has opened his own foundation- aptly named the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation- to raise funds for this cause. Although we definitely believe that he is truly concerned about the future of our planet, and the effects of climate change, it seems that Leo also loves being the center of attention. A natural in the limelight, this golden boy grew up in the spotlight, so it's no secret that it's in his blood to crave a bit of attention.
10 Alyssa Milano Likes To Help At Christmas
And finally we get to Alyssa Milano, who has more often than not been photographed in a Christmas-themed outfit during holiday volunteer events. Although she is very active with the Los Angeles Mission around the holiday season, where is she at other times of the year? People have questioned why she only seems to pop out of the woodwork when Christmas comes around, instead of committing to a more varied and steady schedule during the year. She has been involved in other philanthropic field missions, but again, we wonder how much she is doing for others, and how much she is doing for her own publicity.
9 David Beckham Just Has No Choice
David Beckham is one of the wealthiest ex-football players in history. His legendary career spanned an incredible 18 years, amassing him over $450 million dollars during that time. As one of the most familiar faces in sports history, does David Beckham really have a choice when asked to volunteer for huge organizations, such as UNICEF? To be honest, his level of fame alone attracts so much attention, that people were donating more money when he appeared in advertisements and attended special fundraising events. Clearly, his popularity brings in top dollar, and not only on the football field. We have no doubt that he is really a nice guy deep down, but his reasons for volunteering seem to be a little more on the strategic side, and a little less on the philanthropic side.
8 Maria Menounos Makes Herself Pretty for Volunteer Work
Maria Menounos is best known for her long-running hosting stints on popular celebrity news shows, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood and E! News. Although she is still appearing on E! News, her most recent interest has been...wrestling! This unexpected passion first emerged in 2009, when Menounos hosted WWE Raw alongside Nancy O'Dell. She would make her wrestling debut that night as part of a six woman diva tag team. Over the years, she has made reappearances in the ring, and has also started to volunteer. Some of her charity work includes visits to South Africa where she helps raise money and awareness for the AIDS epidemic going on there, and she is also very active in Earth Day demonstrations and charity events in Washington. One thing's for sure, Menounos is always looking pretty while on site, just in case there happens to be a camera around.
7 Jerry O'Connell Makes Himself Relevant Again By Volunteering
Jerry O'Connell has had a pretty successful acting career. Getting hi sdebut as a child actor in 1986 masterpiece, Stand By Me, he has enjoyed three decades of fame and success. Although he has never fully left the Hollywood scene, he hasn't had an epic role in quite some time. Could a lack of attention be the driving force behind his recent interest in volunteering after natural disasters have struck? O'Connell was first spotted in 2005, volunteering alongside his wife Rebecca Romijn, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Since then, he has been involved in various fundraising events, namely the recent celebrity telethon, Hand in Hand, that raised over $44 million USD to benefit the relief efforts in Texas and Florida, where hurricanes Harvey and Irma struck just a month apart.
6 Matthew McConaughey Markets Himself
Matthew McConaughey has landed some pretty epic roles since Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana in 2005. McConaughey was very active in volunteering on site, and there is no shortage of photographic evidence to prove that he put in his time. Oddly enough, in the aftermath of the media attention he received for his good deeds, he was showing up in movies and TV series' all over the place! Failure to Launch, Fool's Gold and We Are Marshall all came out within a couple of years of the disaster. So did his acts of kindness really have ulterior motives? It's impossible to prove, but it does seem oddly coincidental that he was all over the scene in New Orleans, and then had a sudden spike in successful roles. Just sayin'.
5 Shakira Sells More Albums With A Little Help
Shakira is internationally recognized for her musical talents, and more recently, for her interest in volunteerism and giving back to communities in need. In October, 2003, she became a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF; she has since spent countless hours devoted to HIV/AIDS research, child protection and education. She has travelled to many third world countries, and has used her fame to broadcast important messages of change and awareness. Despite having a naturally giving and kind personality, some have speculated that Shakira might enjoy the media attention that comes with all of this goodwill stuff! Clearly, being in the news more frequently has helped her sell an incredible 125 million albums throughout her career.
4 50 Cent Gives Back To His Roots
It's no secret that rapper Curtis James Jackson III, aka 50 Cent, grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. Hailing from the rough neighbourhood of South Jamaica, Queens, NY, he began dealing drugs at the tender age of 12. He's been the target of violence, and survived getting blasted with 9 gunshots in 2000. This background has inspired 50 to give back to those that are less fortunate. His rags to riches story has brought him from poor and drug-addicted to wealthy, prosperous and successful. Despite having all the components for a great icon of change, some people don't quite buy that 50 is authentic in his philanthropic missions. He is pretty involved in advancing his career, and spends more time doing self-promotion than volunteering, anyways.
3 Orlando Bloom Gets More Roles After Volunteering
Orlando Bloom seems to have traded in his acting roles for philanthropy missions. Although he's enjoyed a pretty colourful acting career; though, other than the recent Pirates of The Carribean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, he doesn't have too many scheduled upcoming roles. What he does have is assignments abroad. As a UNICEF UK ambassador, he has travelled to Niger and will continue to visit remote countries that require aid. He is also involved in initiatives with the Red Cross. Orlando has also been spotted doing cleanup in the aftermath of several natural disasters, proving that he is an all-around volunteer! Maybe all of this good press will help him land some new acting roles!
2 Sean Penn Is Always First On Site
Sean Penn is one of the top offenders when it comes to the Superman Syndrome. This guy just can't stay away from a natural disaster! He has provided immense aid to Haitian residents affected by the catastrophic 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck the small country in 2010. An estimate of over 220,000 people were killed, making it one of the most deadly earthquakes in the last century. Sean Penn set up his own relief organization, that has subsequently raised millions of dollars of aid. He definitely worked hard and gave a lot to this community, but we can't help but wonder if a little part of him enjoyed seeing his face plastered all over the gossip mags, branded the hero of Haiti. He was even named the country's ambassador at large by Haitian president Michel Martelly in 2012.
1 Kris Allen Promotes American Idol in Haiti
Kris Allen is best known for winning season eight of popular reality talent show, American Idol. In the aftermath of the show, he established a successful career as a musician, releasing six studio albums in just nine years. He has also used his fame for good. Kris was very active in relief efforts in the aftermath of the Haiti hurricane. Although his visit was sponsored by the UN, it was also clearly a marketing tool for American Idol. The visit was widely photographed, discussed and made public, for all to see how wonderful the former contestant of American Idol was. The show has even set up an Idol Gives Back charity, which was a big part of this mission. American Idol didn't hesitate to show footage of Kris' trip on an episode.
SOURCES: www.eonline.com, www.theverge.com