By Delinda Lombardo on
Wholesome, talented and sincere are the three words that come to mind when speaking of the Grammy-nominated 2007 “American Idol” winner, Jordin Sparks.
Sparks is currently on her first headlining tour through mid-July in support of her second album, “Battlefield,” before heading to Broadway to star in “In The Heights.” Yet despite her busy schedule, Sparks relentlessly uses her name for good.
While maintaining a strong connection with her fan base, she’s using social media networks such as Twitter to inspire fan involvement with a number of causes including Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer, the X The TXT campaign and if you listen carefully, you’ll hear Jordins heartbeat pulsating within an entire generation of fans out there making changes within their own communities.
It’s hard to image that – at only 20-years old – a mega-star her age is more interested in Tweeting about causes rather than the color of her shoes, which makes her not only relevant, but important. And this is just one reason why Look to the Stars was pleased to speak with this inspirational icon.
Jordin Sparks is just so… Good.
Hi Jordin. Well balanced 20-year old celebrities, interested in giving back, are a rarity. You are passionately involved with a number of causes. How is it that you’ve remained untainted by fame and can best be described as, well, Good?
Oh thank you. I love being able to do something and give back and use my name for something bigger than myself, essentially for the greater good. I hope that doesn’t sound too cheesy! I actually take things day by day and give a lot of credit to my mom, my dad, my family and the people that I surround myself with. My family is so amazing, but when they’re back home in Arizona I definitely have to give credit to my fans and the people I’m touring with – they are really good people who will tell me if I’ve done something stupid or if it’s a bad idea, it’s really cool to be around people who are so good.
You are also very active in your support of Allstate’s X the Text campaign. Tell us about it.
Allstate and I teamed up last year to show everyone – including my mom’s generation – that it’s very dangerous to text and drive. There are hands-free driving laws and I just don’t understand why more states haven’t passed this law. I was actually just in North Carolina, and they passed the law which made me very happy… I’ve been really fortunate to have Allstate on tour with me. We have a booth at my shows where my fans, friends and their parents can take the pledge to ‘X The Text’. It’s really great to see everyone at the end of my concert raise their hands when I asked if they took the pledge. And if you can’t make it to a concert, you can take the pledge at Facebook PLEGDE page.
As we know, the media places celebrities under a microscope, so it was impressive to see you take note of such a small detail as a pair of earrings, the Wonder Hoops by Lexi Lu, which, by just wearing them, created a ‘charity’ buzz for the company.
Lexi Lu has been so amazing and I just love being able to work with her. She makes all these different types of earrings and some of them go towards different charities or different campaigns. For example, the previous year on the show, she had sent Katharine McPhee a pair of earrings she had made for a charity Katharine was involved with. Then she sent me a pair of earring while I was on American Idol, and this past year Lexi came to one of my events and made necklaces for our charity as well. I love being able to meet people and say ‘hey, let’s see if we can team up and do something together’, and it’s been really nice to help be an inspiration and be able to help.
Tell us about I’m M.A.D. Are You.
M.A.D. stands for Making a Difference, which we launched back in February. Basically what we are all about is telling people – whether they are teenagers, pre-teens, mid-20’s, twenty years old or older – that it doesn’t matter how big or small you think your effort is as long as you’re doing it. If you see something that makes you mad, you get mad about it and you start making a difference.
Where does your M.A.D. come from?
With me it all started when I saw a young boy who ended up getting beaten to death. He was just an innocent bystander and I was so effected by it, I was so mad and I thought this should not be happening, so that’s where my passion has been – working on finding an organization that has a program that deals with teen violence. That’s where my M.A.D comes in.
Can we really make a difference?
Absolutely. It doesn’t have to be a full global thing, if there’s something in the community that you feel you want to make a difference about, all you have to do is just go do it, it doesn’t matter how big or small. My mom’s making a difference, she has a heart for orphans and widows in Russia – so she’s been working on that. My brother has been making a difference in his community in Arizona, trying to raise money for their football team so they can get new jerseys. It’s been really cool to see my fans on Twitter posting what they are mad about. I actually had a couple fans who went to their local newspaper to try and get something started and make a change in their community.
Have you noticed one thing in particular that fans are M.A.D. about?
Superficial beauty. They feel that we are all beautiful in our own ways. I’ve also got fans that are angry about cancer – they want to do something and not just sit around. A lot of my fans are very strong and very determined.
Speaking of cancer, this is the second year in a row that you’ve exclusively partnered with MIKE AND IKE on tour, along with their charitable partner Alex’s Lemonade Stand for Childhood Cancer. Why is this partnership important to you?
It was really touching to hear Alex’s story. She was only 8 years old when she was diagnosed with cancer – she wasn’t just going to sit around and not do something about it, so she started a lemonade stand. And since then, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation has raised millions to fight childhood cancer. It all started with one cup of lemonade a couple years ago. People only have to take one step and they can certainly make a difference. And it’s been so cool to be able to tell my fans about Alex and her story – and on tour and at events, fans can meet MIKE AND IKE Tour Ambassadors, show their support and learn about Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
You’ve been affected personally by cancer?
Yes, I’ve been affected personally in my family and with some friends that have passed away from cancer. Whether it is an adult or a child I don’t think anyone should go through that. I think if we all just band together we could help find a cure, we could help fund some of the technology and some of the scientific stuff that they have to do to find a cure.
Days after this interview took place, Sparks traveled – under the radar – with M.A.D. and the Audubon Society to Louisiana (Gulf of Mexico) to see for themselves the devastating effect of the oil spill on the wildlife and marshes. To date, between 70.8 million gallons and 137.6 million of oil have spewed into the Gulf from the broken BP well, according to government and BP estimates. Click here to see video of her trip.
Look to the Stars, and this writer in particular, would like to thank Jordin Sparks for taking the time to speak with us, and more importantly, for being an exceptional role model.
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