Hollywood's elite typically travel with posses of publicists and stay in penthouse suites, but some young stars are taking their polished faces to less-than-glamorous locales for charity.
Celebrities have long helped out with charitable causes and now a new crop of young stars, including Angelina Jolie (search), Cameron Diaz (search) and Minnie Driver (search), are using their fame to help others. And those who work with goodwill causes hope the high-profile do-gooders will inspire their fans to lend a hand too.
"It's a new generation," Yvonne Acosta, external relations officer at the United Nations, said of the young stars. "The media is celebrity-focused now ... The cause is put in the public eye immediately when a celebrity is involved."
Once known for partying and eccentric displays of affection, Jolie's image was revamped when she became a U.N. goodwill ambassador in 2001, began helping refugees around the world and adopted a Cambodian orphan.
In 2003, when the star of "Taking Lives," accepted the U.N. Correspondents Association's Citizen of the World Award for her work, the actress said she was "inspired and humbled" to work with refugees.
On the heels of Jolie's high-profile humanitarian work, a growing number of celebs have started lending their names — and personal time — to other international causes.
Actress Mira Sorvino (search) is rolling up her sleeves for the Amnesty International human rights group, which recently launched a campaign to end violence against women. Actress Driver traveled to Southeast Asia as a representative of the international aid agency Oxfam's "Make Trade Fair" campaign.
Coldplay frontman Chris Martin (search) also got involved with the campaign, traveling to Haiti in 2002 to meet with farmers. And goofball-beauty Diaz is globetrotting for a new MTV series (still in development) that aims to teach a younger generation how to be eco-friendly.
But not just any marquee name will do when it comes to charitable causes, said Acosta.
"It's extremely important to work with the right celebrities," she said. "A lot of thought goes into it. They must be committed to the issue."
How fans react to famous faces lending a hand — and whether it inspires them to donate time or money to a cause — comes down to how sincere the stars appear in their efforts.
Kevin McLaughlin, a small-business owner in Pine Beach, N.J., said in today’s celeb-saturated society seeing stars get their hands dirty for a cause can raise awareness, yet he’s wary of publicity hounds who exploit a charity for selfish reasons.
"It's opening the eyes of a younger generation that doesn't participate as much or know as much about the causes," he said. "But when they use it as a platform to promote themselves it bothers me."
He added that stars who get personally involved seem more authentic than those who show up at a glossy fundraiser and work the red carpet.
"[In Hollywood] there's plenty of money to go around, so when celebrities are actually contributing time it means a lot more," said McLaughlin.
Driver, 33, spent 10 days visiting Thai and Cambodian garment factories. That kind of hands-on work is what separates dedicated celebs from ones who lend their names to a cause for the good publicity, said Adrienne Leicester Smith, Oxfam America media director.
Driver’s devotion "set her apart from celebrities who do something on the weekend because it's a big party," Smith said.
Coldplay's Martin also took his involvement with the organization to the next level. During the band's 2003 tour, he allowed Oxfam volunteers to set up displays, air a video about the project before the concert and place fliers in every seat. Martin, who recently married Gwyneth Paltrow, also spoke about the cause at each show.
According to Smith, it's this kind of extra effort by a star that can make all the difference. By the end of Coldplay’s tour, Oxfam had signed up 30,000 new supporters.
Taking a different route, Diaz's upcoming MTV series attempts to combine star-power, adventure activities and worthy causes to capture the imagination of the younger generation.
The music channel says the series will feature the "Charlie’s Angels" actress in exotic locations trying activities such as sand surfing in the Chilean desert to help "highlight environmental issues in each region."
Despite their normally glamorous lives, many stars leave the beauty and bling behind.
Diaz "will uncover adventure without the aid of four-star hotels, personal assistants or indoor plumbing," according to MTV. And both Driver and Martin stayed in accommodations "ranging from a reasonable hotel to a house made of earth with no doors," said Smith. "They were not accompanied by agents or stylists."
To Smith, a star's true colors are reflected in their effort.
"I think anybody willing to put time and energy into going to a developing country, which can be quite a shock, and have the kinds of experiences that Angelina or Minnie have had, deserves the benefit of the doubt," she said. "There are much more palatable causes they could've adopted if their only goal was promoting themselves."
Jolie, for one, said being dedicated to a cause is much more fulfilling than strutting down the red carpet.
"You could die tomorrow and you've done a few movies, won some awards — that doesn't mean anything," she told The Associated Press in 2003. "But if you've built schools or raised a child or done something to make things better for other people, then it just feels better. Life is better."