Angie Harmon has worked as a model and television and film actress, but this year, she took on another role - UNICEF ambassador to help raise awareness on combating child trafficking. The “Rizzoli & Isles” star spoke to FOX 411 about her new gig and whether hubby, ex-football player Jason Sehorn will ever run for office.
FOX 411: How did you get involved with UNICEF?
HARMON: A couple of years ago they asked me to light the snowflake that’s in Manhattan on Fifth Avenue at Christmas time. I had no idea that was the UNICEF snowflake. They told me that just like each snowflake is different, that represents that each child is different. That’s what UNICEF stands for globally - helping children worldwide. I was just awed and amazed and desperately wanted to be a part of it. We came up with the issue of child trafficking and how much it needs a face and advocate and I gratefully accepted.
We all know child trafficking is out there and children are sold into prostitution and labor and they work in grueling conditions. I think we’ve all become accustomed to the idea that it happens elsewhere but it happens here too. All 50 states have reported it. It’s a growing epidemic and it’s also unacceptable.
I’m really enjoying it. I have to say when it was first presented to me I sat there thinking, why on earth would I take this on. It’s a global problem and I have no idea what I can say to make anyone think there could be any possible solution. Basically I needed a pep talk.
FOX 411: But what can the average person do about it?
HARMON: Basically all one has to do is find out how exploited people have a direct affect on your life. The UNICEF website helps you get the knowledge about how many exploited people are used in making products that we buy down to our coffee and wine and clothes.
The products that are made safely, they all have a fair trade label on the inside, it’s really that simple, just becoming aware. There are 22 ways on the website (UNICEFUSA.org) to get involved and it’s easy stuff. Donate or volunteer, it’s that small bit that helps.
FOX 411: You start filming "Rizzoli & Isles" this week. Must be hard leaving your kids.
HARMON: Kyra Sedgwick gave me some really great advice. She said, ‘Try to keep your heart where your feet are.’ So I have learned to step back and appreciate wherever I am and try not to think about what I’m missing or what’s happening. Thank God for Skype and FaceTime, now it’s so much easier than it was even a couple of years ago.
FOX 411: Do your kids realize what you do?
HARMON: They’re starting to. They want to watch the show, that’s lovely and flattering but it’s not exactly subject matter I want them watching and if I’ve got to kiss somebody they don’t really understand that. I’ve shielded them from it for so long, but it is unavoidable.
FOX 411: You have a great voice. Did your parents put whiskey in your milk?
HARMON: (Laughs) No, the whiskey came much later.
FOX 411: You seem like a no nonsense Texas gal.
HARMON: (Laughs) Pretty much.
FOX 411: You don’t put up with guff, right?
HARMON: I used to be like that, very very much. I’ve sort of now learned to pick my battles. I’ve learned to sit back at times. I’ve learned I don’t have to be the justice for every asshole I meet in life--excuse my language, for lack of a better term. They’ll get it, I don’t have to be the deliverer of justice for every wrong that’s ever done to me. There’s a big thing called karma out there. That comes back sometimes slowly. Lord knows I wish it was faster. Yeah, it’s been a very comforting lesson to learn. What you put out there is what you get back.
FOX 411: We could see you running for office in 20 years time.
HARMON: (Laughs) I don’t know, I think I’d rather be the social director. First lady would be just fine.
FOX 411: So tell Jason to run.
HARMON: So many people have told him. He has feelings about it so we’ll see.