Ian Somerhalder is known best for his role of Damon Salvatore on The CW’s “The Vampire Diaries, which is gearing up for its fifth season this Fall. Besides acting Ian is very involved with various charities including The IS Foundation, which aims to empower, educate and collaborate with people and projects to positively impact the planet and its creatures. He also recently got involved on the advisory board of RYOT.org, which is a website that is working to get young people to be engaged with the news. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Ian again about new role and what his fans can do to help.
Mike Gencarelli: Honestly Ian, I have to ask with being an actor, activist and co-founder of the Ian Somerhalder Foundation; what do you do to balance your time?
Ian Somerhalder: It’s easy. I am energized by all the love and enthusiasm and positive energy around me. I meet amazing people every day that blow my mind with their wisdom and ideas. I believe that I become part of everyone I meet and they all become part of me – so that’s a lot of energy churning around in one body! But I do love spending time with my family – they keep me grounded and there really is no greater source of comfort than being at home.
MG: How did you get involved on the advisory board of RYOT.org?
IS: I’ve been friends with co-founders Bryn and David for years. The idea for RYOT came out of dozens of late-night conversations about the helplessness we all felt when reading the news. We wanted to find a way to make news empowering rather than depressing, so we spent a year building the site and launched it in October. It’s been amazing to watch it grow and see how many people love it and use it every day.
MG: The philosophy behind RYOT.org is that there are many ways to make a difference. How important is it for you to “make a difference”?
IS: RYOT’s founding principle is that everyone can make a difference. RYOT means “peasant” in Hindi and part of our inspiration was the MLK Jr. quote “A riot is the language of the unheard.” The way we see it, you don’t have to be rich or famous or an aid worker on the ground in Haiti or Africa to make a difference. There are ten thousand ways you can make an impact every day in your own community, or in many cases, right from your computer or phone. I try and make a difference by working on environmental issues: Supporting products that are sustainable and energy-efficient, and organizations/legislation that are working to preserve the planet. Taking action to help others is so important to our own fulfillment in life. We actually have a really great, recent article about this on RYOT.org, click here.
MG: Why do you feel that it is important for young people to be engaged with the news?
IS: This is our future we’re talking about! The more engaged we are, the better we understand other cultures and points of view, and the better our understanding, the more compassionate we are to others’ stories and struggles. Compassion is a necessity in this world, not a luxury.
MG: Tell us what your fans can do to help out with RYOT.org and ISF?
IS: We are always looking for volunteers who want to join the ISF family. We have an AMAZING team right now who work tirelessly to keep our mission moving forward and to educate the world about what we do. You can head over to http://www.isfoundation.com/get-involved to get in touch with us. You can make a HUGE impact by setting RYOT.org as your homepage. RYOT gives a portion of all revenue to non-profits so just by getting your news from RYOT and sharing stories, you’re making a difference. Last but not least, make sure to follow RYOT and ISF on social media! (@ryotnews, facebook.com/ryotnews and @is_foundation, facebook.com/isfoundation)