We Can All Take a Cue From Amal Clooney On Using Fame for Good

By Meredith Lepore

Amal Clooney is an internationally-acclaimed human-rights lawyer and campaigner who has been working for over 15 years. She has acted as an advisor to Kofi Annan, and represented WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. She became an adjunct Columbia University professor last Spring, and contributed to the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict initiative. Oh, and she’s married to one of the most famous actors in the world, George Clooney. What do you think gets more attention?

Not surprisingly, it's the latter. But in a revealing interview with NBC’s Cynthia McFadden, Clooney says she’s grateful for the new celebrity aspect of her life because it’s bringing awareness to some of her causes. As a fashion icon and wife of an international superstar, Clooney is followed obsessively by the media and paparazzi. Instead of resenting it, she chooses to look at the bright side and what it can do for her work, which often goes unnoticed by the world. It’s a great lens to look through and one we can all learn from to adapt into our own lives (even though we're all not A-list celebrities). Sometimes you're dealt a bad or just plain odd hand, but figuring out how to work with it can cause something incredible to occur, especially at work.

McFadden mentioned Angelina Jolie, another woman who used her fame to really make an impact.

"I think it's wonderful that (some) celebrities have chosen to spend time and energy and the spotlight they have to raise awareness about these causes," she told McFadden. "I don't really see myself in the same way because I'm still doing the same job that I used to do before. But if more attention is paid, for whatever reason, then I think that's good," she said.

For example, she just made the rounds on Capital Hill trying to convince government officials to impose sanctions on the Maldives. Clooney represents Mohamed Nasheed, a human-rights activist in prison based on terrorism threats.

"The Maldives has the highest rate per capita in the world of ISIS fighters recruited from there, about 200 fighters," she told McFadden. "Democracy is dead in the Maldives. If an election were held now there would be no one to run against the president because every opposition leader is either behind bars or being pursued."

Her hard work is sure to impact the situation in the Maldives, but in this age of immediate news and obsession with fame, Clooney's status can help her enact change just as much.

"I think it’s important for tourists to know the facts of what’s happening in the Maldives,” she said. “I don’t think they realize when there's a flogging taking place a kilometer away from where they’re sunbathing at their resort." Watch a preview of Clooney’s interview below.

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