INTERVIEW: Talent from the 2019 Television Industry Advocacy Awards

The Television Industry Advocacy Awards honors entertainment leaders who use their platform to enact positive change. From fighting for animal rights to bringing joy to hospitalized children, empowering women in Africa to spreading awareness about climate change, this year’s attendees are involved in a wide range of causes. Despite the different organizations with which they work, they all share one thing in common: a passion for activism. FANVERSATION had the pleasure of speaking to Adrian Dev, Auburn Road, Jonathan King, and Lu Parker about their work, who inspires them, how others can get involved, and more!

Adrian Dev (Westworld, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Tonight is all about getting involved and honoring those who are using their power to inspire across all different organizations. What are some of your favorites?

I have so many that I love to go out and support. Kids in the Spotlight is one of them. People from all different backgrounds bring their kids who otherwise probably wouldn’t have the chance to get into the film industry. They make internships at some of the biggest agencies and studios. Boo2Bullying is, of course, an anti-bullying organization. That’s a big one for me because I have a six-year-old. A lot of mine either relate to my own life or things I’m worried about for my own kids.

Is there any one person who inspired you to get involved in these organizations?

So many people. I have friends who have been on great shows for years who don’t have to do anything for anyone at this point but give back every chance they get. It’s fun to see other people doing it and then you do it and it inspires other people around you.

Television and film is such a great medium to have that influence. Is there any show or movie that you’ve seen recently that you think is making a great positive impact?

There’s a bunch. For me, one that’s stuck on my mind is Black and Blue. My friend Dion directed it. It opened my eyes to so much stuff that goes on in the police force with the bodycams. There’s still so much corruption there. Don’t get me wrong, I love anyone who serves anyone greater than themselves, but I think police brutality is a big thing that goes unnoticed in a lot of places across the country. People don’t really care and they let stuff like that slide. 

What would you say to say to someone who wants to get involved in positive change but doesn’t quite know where to start?

You just have to get up and start talking to someone. I feel like ideas can turn into so much more. If you’re inspired, you have to get out there and spread it.

Auburn Road (Country Music Trio)

I can already tell you’re strong women in the industry. Are there any female artists that you all look up to?

Sheryl Crow is one of the big ones. Maren Morris. Cam. All of these women are super strong, the messages they send in their music are strong, and offstage what they do for other women in the business is fantastic. 

Do you have any favorite organizations that help that cause?

We’ve worked with a couple. My Sister’s House in Sacramento helps women who have been affected by domestic violence. UC Davis Children’s Hospital has been an amazing source of help for families in that area and beyond that in Northern California getting help to kids who need it. 

What would you say to say to someone who wants to get involved in positive change but doesn’t quite know where to start?

No step is too small. If you want to help someone, just go for it. One person doing one small thing is amazing and is a step towards something good. Get out there and find something you’re passionate about.

Lara Clear (Bombshell)

Tonight is all about getting involved and honoring those who are using their power to inspire across all different organizations. What are some of your favorites?

I volunteer at the children’s hospital in Los Angeles in the dog therapy program, and I’m also a board member of Pet Partners of Southern California They really go hand-in-hand because to work at the children’s hospital, you have to be registered with Pet Partners. Animal therapy with children, veterans, and anyone else–just the power of therapy animals is something I’m passionate about. 

What got you involved in that?

My little cousin in England has a rare form of cancer. Initially, I started hearing about children in hospitals and how therapy dogs go to them. I have a dog that’s very placid and sweet and makes everyone happy that she’s around. I wanted to give back, so I trained her to be a therapy dog. 

What would you say to say to someone who wants to get involved in positive change but doesn’t quite know where to start?

I champion getting involved in what you’re passionate about. I’m passionate about my dog and I love children, so I started thinking about how I could tie the two together, and that’s what came up. If you’re a great artist, you could volunteer at the hospital on a day and draw with the children. Work with anything you’re passionate about because then it makes you want to go volunteer.

Jonathan King (Vice President, Corporate & Legal Affairs at TCL North America)

Tonight is all about getting involved and honoring those who are using their power to inspire. Who most inspired you to get involved in advocacy?

Probably my father. He was the one who taught me you can make a difference as an individual. That same philosophy is applied at our company, TCLour initiatives are all based on what our employees want to do. These aren’t corporate-based initiatives; employees got together and decided what we wanted to focus on, and now we spend a lot of time doing volunteer work. Most importantly, we do a lot of electronics recycling work. We’re about to cross our 50 millionth ton of electronics recycled in just five years. 

Tonight is all about celebration. What is another accomplishment of which you’re most proud?

We’re now the world’s number two brand in terms of TVs, so being a part of that. I’ve been part of TCL for nearly 20 years, and back then, people didn’t really know who we were or what we were doing. Now, we’re the second-largest TV manufacturer in the world. To me, being part of that growth is the most amazing thing. 

What would you say to say to someone who wants to get involved in positive change but doesn’t quite know where to start?

You start somewhere. Figure out what needs to be done and do it. A lot of people don’t think about it that way, but that’s what it comes down to. When you see something that needs to be done, you don’t just think about all the different things you need to dopick something, choose how to go about it, and then do it.

Lu Parker (Award-Winning Journalist, Former Miss USA)

Tonight is all about getting involved and honoring those who are using their power to inspire. Who most inspired you to get involved in advocacy?

Obviously, Oprah and Larry King were big deals for me in terms of the industry, following them and listening to how they listened to people. In Los Angeles and in my industry, I would say Maria Shriver. She’s not just a journalist and an advocateshe’s so classy. I want to continue working how she’s working and making change and helping other people but also having a life and slowing down and figuring out what life is about when you’re a woman who’s aging and getting older. The seasons of our lives.

Tonight is also about entertainment. Are there any shows or movies that you’ve seen recently that are really making a positive change?

I’m not a big TV or movie watcher, but the first thing that comes to my mind is Fleabag. I think I love it because of the character’s strength. Her character is struggling, as we do as women, with relationships and work and family and everything. But she’s just so cool about it. She just goes, “Okay, that happened. Next.” She has authenticity. 

What would you say to say to someone who wants to get involved in positive change but doesn’t quite know where to start?

Figure out what turns you on. Figure out what, when you’re doing it, it doesn’t feel like work. Something hat you can stay up all night writing about it or working on a project about it and it’s fun. I love animals, and when I’m working with my nonprofit, I’m so happy. Figure out how to take that passion and make change even if it’s small. Don’t feel like you have to make a change like these multi-million dollar nonprofits are doing. Something small can make a big difference.

 

— Taylor Gates

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