Thursday June 23rd, 2011 · by Annie

Can Matt Damon Bring Clean Water To Africa?

The inside story of Matt Damon’s bold yet sane plan to use his celebrity and smarts to help attack one of the globe’s great crises.

Once upon a time, Matt Damon went for a long walk in rural Zambia. The devoted family man and method philanthropist was accompanying a 14-year-old Zambian girl who had no idea that her hiking companion was an Academy Award-winning international heartthrob.

The walk came toward the end of a 10-day African journey, a systematic primer on the complexities of the continent’s extreme poverty that had been organized for Damon by staffers from his friend Bono’s ONE campaign. Damon was on a quest to understand what it meant to be really, really poor. “It was like a mini course in college,” he says. Every day brought a different subject: urban AIDS, microfinance, education, and, finally, water. While walking with the young teen on her hour-long trudge to collect water for her family, something clicked. “We talked the whole time [through a translator]. When I asked her what she wanted to do when she grew up — ‘Do you want to stay here?’ ” he says, pointing to the memory of the dusty village — “she got shy all of a sudden.” As they returned, both toting 5-gallon jugs of water filled at the well, she finally confessed her dream: to go to the big city, Lusaka, and become a nurse. Damon recalled his dreams at the same age, when he and best friend Ben Affleck were plotting their way from Boston to casting agents in New York. That connection opened the door for Damon. “I remembered so well the feeling of being young, when that whole world of possibility was open to you.”

But while Damon’s dream was made possible by Amtrak, the girl’s was possible only because somebody drilled a borewell near her home — and, yes, an hour’s walk for water is good news in lots of places in the world. Nearly 1 billion souls lack access to clean water; three times that number lack access to proper sanitation. “This is not something that most 14-year-olds have to go through,” says Damon, 40. Without access to the water, his companion would have been unable to go to school and would likely have been forced into a precarious fight for life, spending her days scavenging for often-filthy water in unhealthy and unsafe environments. “Now she can hope to be a nurse and contribute to the economic engine of Zambia,” he says. “Of all the different things that keep people in this kind of death spiral of extreme poverty, water just seemed so huge.” He pauses. “And it doesn’t have to be.”

Damon tells me this story on a rainy spring day in Manhattan, after a full schedule of board meetings for Water.org, the charity he cofounded in 2009, three years after his Zambia trip, with longtime water expert, and now dear friend, Gary White. It has been a long day but a good one, and Damon has more news to share. He checks his watch. “I have to pick up my daughter from school. Come along and we’ll keep talking,” he tells me. As we make our way from a conference room at McKinsey in Midtown (a board member works there) to a car waiting on the street, I watch passersby light up in recognition and try to catch his eye. In spite of his attempt to blend in — Damon is wearing glasses, a splash of whiskers, and a Panavision baseball cap — he is unmistakable. And he never fails to return a smile. “Clearly my strong suit is and will be trying to get people to care about this issue,” he says of his primary role. “Our vision is clean water and sanitation for everyone, in our lifetime …” he trails off. “So we better get to work.”

For all his star power, though, Damon is more than just the pretty face of Water.org. He has turned himself into a development expert. This would seem like an obvious and necessary first step for someone embracing the global water crisis as a personal mission. But, in fact, it’s highly unusual for a celebrity to dive this deep into a problem this daunting. Whether talking microfinance strategy with rural bankers, giving detailed reports from the field at the annual Clinton Global Initiative, or personally thanking donors like PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, Damon has quietly developed the cred of a program geek. “If you want to understand how this works,” he says, sounding more like an anthropologist than a celebrity spokesperson, “there is no substitute for going there and talking to people in their homes.” It’s an approach he comes by honestly. His mother, a professor of early childhood education, spent part of her summers living with local families in Guatemala and Mexico, attending language school in preparation for her field research. She brought her impressionable teenage son along. “She specialized in nonviolent conflict resolution,” Damon explains. In war-torn areas like El Salvador, she interviewed children, studied their artwork, and documented their trauma. “So I’d seen extreme poverty at an early age,” he says. “I knew what it was, and I always cared about it.” He has replicated her research process, immersing himself in the business of social enterprise until he found the cause that he felt passion for — water.

You can read the rest of the article on Fast Company website.

Monday May 16th, 2011 · by Annie

Gallery Updates: Magazine Scans & Photoshoots

Bunch of new goodies! Big thanks to Assainova and Michelle-Williams.net

Photoshoots:

  • Photoshoot #081
  • Photoshoot #082
  • Photoshoot #083
  • Photoshoot #084
  • Photoshoot #085
  • Magazines:

  • Accion Cine/Video – February 2011
  • Best Movie – February 2011
  • Entertainment Weekly – November 19, 2011
  • New York Times Magazine – Hollywood Issue 2011
  • Studio – February 2011
  • Viva! Russia – March 10, 2011
  • Previews:


    Friday February 18th, 2011 · by Annie

    Men’s Health and Women’s Health March 2011 Scans

    Huge thanks to Nicky from JohnnyDeppOnline.net for the scans! Enjoy!

  • Men’s Health – March 2011
  • Women’s Health – March 2011


    Matt Damon and Emily Blunt on Men's Health March 2011 Matt Damon and Emily Blunt on Men's Health March 2011 Matt Damon and Emily Blunt on Men's Health March 2011 Matt Damon and Emily Blunt on Men's Health March 2011
    Matt Damon and Emily Blunt on Women's Health March 2011 Matt Damon and Emily Blunt on Women's Health March 2011 Matt Damon and Emily Blunt on Women's Health March 2011 Matt Damon and Emily Blunt on Women's Health March 2011 Matt Damon and Emily Blunt on Women's Health March 2011

  • Tuesday February 8th, 2011 · by Annie

    Matt Damon: Transfer Heat

    How does Matt Damon sustain his string of successes? With a lot of help from friends like new costar Emily Blunt. (And just maybe a little talent of his own.)

    On a Wednesday morning, Matt Damon and his wife, Luciana, delivered their fourth child, a baby girl. The following Monday, he’s talking to me.

    But not about birthday methods. He doesn’t consider his family to be interview fodder—would yours be? So we talk about something any farther can identify with: the urgent desire to perform well on the job.

    And as we talk, he shows an unusual trait for a walking franchise: reflexive, impenetrable humility.

    “It’s always hard to talk about yourself, but…” He stops. Redirects. “There are actors who are just movie stars, you know? They just are. You can’t take your eyes off them when they’re on the screen. I know what that thing is, and I see it in some of my friends, but that’s just not who I am. My movies being really good or watchable always depends on everybody being really good, not just me. I’m particularly sensitive about making sure we secure the best possible people in each role because I am not somebody who can overcome if we don’t.”

    Continue Reading

    Tuesday February 8th, 2011 · by Annie

    Magazines Alert

    Matt and Emily Blunt are on the cover of March editions of Women’s Health and Men’s Health. Also Empire Magazine has a The Adjustment Bureau feature on it’s March issue. And it seems Men’s Health has 2 different covers (or maybe different country editions?)

    If you can scan and send them in, please e-mail me at mattdamonfan@gmail.com. Thank you.


    The Adjustment Bureau costars Matt Damon and Emily Blunt were the lucky ones chosen to be the first-ever cover stars of both Men’s and Women’s Heath, which hit newsstands today. Emily has been doing double duty promoting their collaboration as well as Gnomeo and Juliet, and we had the chance to learn all about her former gnome fears while at the recent junket for the animated picture. Emily and Matt are on the March editions of the Health magazines to chat all about their upcoming film, their close friendship, and how she got into shape to play a ballet dancer. Matt also shared a few choice words about movies he feels are made just based on a star’s power at the box office — projects that he strives to avoid. They said:

    * Matt on Emily’s acting abilities: “There are a lot of great actresses her age right now, but Emily is just f—king unbelievable.”
    * Emily on having fun with Matt: “I met Matt and he was lovely and very funny, and instantly, I thought, ‘Oh, we could be like teenage boys together. Just be weird and stupid and silly.'”
    * Emily on getting in shape to play a ballet dancer: “I looked like an aerobics teacher. My shoulders puffed out, my back looked like there was a barrel of snakes in it and I had an eight-pack!”
    * Matt on movies that are just star vehicles: “That’s like watching someone jerk off, really. It’s just absolutely not at all interesting, and not something I want to spend any time doing.”

    Source

    Saturday January 22nd, 2011 · by Annie

    Gallery Update: Magazines & Scans

    Several have been update with better versions Magazines & Scans. New albums

  • InStyle – December 2010
  • L’Uomo Vogue – November 2008
  • L’Uomo Vogue – May/June 2008
  • Premiere France – April 2010
  • Tags: Pictures
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