By Prather Jackon
HW: My goal to enhance society is achieved by identifying extraordinary individuals like you, Ms. Wang, and sharing your story. You have made significant contributions to society, in a variety of industries, most notably the Arts and Charity, and we are delighted to publish this exclusive interview. My hope is that your story will inspire others to follow your shining example.
HW: What would you consider to be your core values? How do these values drive your daily life and how do they drive your overall aspirations?
RW: Art has an incredible power to change people’s lives, and philanthropy is one way to foster such changes. It is my desire to inspire and give others the opportunity to pursue their passions. In that way, my own compassion for others helps me see their potential and want to give back, while my self-discipline keeps me focused on achieving those goals.
HW: You have become known as a strong supporter of the Arts. Why is it important for you to be an advocate?
RW: During my work as a psychotherapist with the University of California and other institutions, I experienced firsthand how the arts and creativity can be a powerful factor in the therapeutic healing process. I believe that learning to harness your own creativity and truly express yourself can be incredibly cathartic, helping us to express powerful emotions, especially negative ones, in a way that is not destructive. I advocate for organisations like BAFTA, the Serpentine Galleries, and the Royal Academy of Music because such organisations can make a positive impact on people, particularly young people and teach them how to become strong, passionate individuals. I believe that we as a society should continue supporting the arts in order to foster both psychological strength and creative and innovative thinking.
HW: Your academic studies, as you’ve mentioned, include formal training in Clinical Psychology where you discovered arts in therapy. Can you cite examples of how Charities have incorporated Art into their service to society?
RW: The Foundation for AIDS Research hosts a number of events which bring together artists, musicians, fashionistas, and others of world renown to benefit amfAR’s research programs. I supported amfAR Milano 2015 last September, where prominent fashionistas, musicians, and artists came together to advance amfAR’s AIDS research. amfAR Milano alone has risen over $7 million for AIDS research. I have also had the honor of supporting the Annual Academy Awards Viewing Parties hosted by the Elton John AIDS Foundation over the last several years.
Through such events, I have seen the great influence that the arts and entertainment fields can have on the world when we come together and fight for causes affecting people worldwide. These events are a testament to what can be achieved when global icons in the Arts come together for such a vital cause.
HW: With regards to the role that Charities play in uplifting humanity, I understand that you are also involved in The Royal Academy of Music, which is a world-renowned institution and Britain’s oldest conservatoire.
This past November, Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Gloucester, president of the Royal Academy of Music, hosted a private dinner and reception for its supporters, Rupert Murdoch, and Jerry Hall, and others. This event was hosted on the illustrious grounds of Buckingham Palace. You attended the event as one of its supporters. Please share what you believe the importance is of your continuing support for the Royal Academy of Music?
HW: The Royal Academy of Music is a world-renowned institution of music education, and they offer numerous programs and scholarship opportunities for children from underprivileged areas to receive one of the best possible educations in music. I think it is important for children to be exposed to the arts and music from an early age, as this can help develop their imaginations, their creativity, and give new perspectives of the world around them. The Academy’s focus on fostering a culture of music learning can help uplift communities and provides numerous opportunities for audiences to experience music in a classical setting.
HW: You are also a patron of Serpentine Galleries, which is currently chaired by former New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and has become an internationally renowned gallery over the last fifteen years. The Serpentine Summer Party is a highly prestigious annual fundraiser for the galleries, and has recently been supported by such icons as the Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, Keira Knightley, Lily Allen, Ben Goldsmith, and Pharrell Williams. Why is this organization important to support?
HW: The Serpentine Summer Party provides a fantastic setting for both established and up and coming artists to showcase their creativity in an open, natural area. The Serpentine Pavilion at the 2015 Summer Party, for instance, was designed by renowned Madrid-based architects José Selgas and Lucía Cano of the studio SelgasCano. Their design served as both a showcase for their vision and a wonderful opportunity for visitors to enjoy the atmosphere of an outdoor art exhibit that also served as a gathering place in the heart of London. By providing such prestigious showcases, the Serpentine Galleries can foster further development and interest in the creative arts. The Summer Party, too, is an opportunity for the Galleries to host a high-profile event in the midst of their public exhibits in the wonderful city of London.
HW: Each year, the Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), hosts an array of events, including the Inspiration Galas, to generate awareness and fundraising for their AIDS research programs.
You have acted as a sponsor for the 2012 Paris Inspiration Gala and chaired both the Los Angeles and New York Inspiration Galas in 2013 and 2014, along with amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole and others. You also supported amfAR Milano 2015, an annual event which benefits amfAR’s research and education programs. Those who have received awards at these events to honor their long term work and committed stance towards AIDS include Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, philanthropist Aileen Getty, fashion legend Valentino, singer Jennifer Lopez, and film director and designer Tom Ford.
HW: What role do you think people of high profile – actors, filmmakers, or athletes – can play in supporting humanitarian and healthcare causes? How have you personally evolved based upon what you have experienced as a philanthropist?
RW: I believe global, high-profile citizens such as entertainers, musicians, and athletes can always do more to support amfAR and other institutions working to eliminate AIDS. These events are primarily intended for fundraising, but they are also used as public platforms for global issues such as AIDS. Spreading awareness about these issues and organisations like amfAR is vital to their continued existence, because celebrities can become the public face of these issues, bringing a level of international attention and reach that may otherwise be difficult to attain.
Through my years of supporting different charitable organisations, I have the incredible opportunity to see first hand the impact that they can have on people’s lives. These charities grant the access to many opportunities that would not be possible otherwise, whether it is helping a person receive the best healthcare possible or helping a child find the creative fire within them. I proud to be a part of many organisations and programs which give so much to those who are less fortunate.
HW: When we last sat down with you, you gave us your candid and accurate predictions for the 2014 BAFTA Awards. Now with the Oscars right around the corner, many people are excited about Leonardo DiCaprio’s nomination for Best Actor for his role in The Revenant. What do you think it would mean for an actor with such a prestigious and critically acclaimed career as Mr. DiCaprio to potentially take home his first Oscar for Best Actor?
RW: Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the most highly respected actors of his generation, and has made many wonderful films throughout his career. I think his winning the Oscar for Best Actor for The Revenant would be fantastic recognition for his career. That’s the most amazing aspect about the Oscars. The actors and filmmakers being nominated for and given the awards understand the significance of being recognized by their peers.
HW: Some in the arts and entertainment industry have recently raised concerns over a lack of diversity at the Oscar’s. Why do can those in the Arts play in fostering a greater understanding of diversity in society as a whole?
RW: I think demonstrating diversity in Hollywood is important because it gives our audiences broader or differing perspectives from what they may be used to. Celebrities, actors, and filmmakers should be open to showcasing diversity in their work, because by accepting our diversity, we can better share in our mutual understanding and compassion. Beyond its renown for celebrating the very best in its fields, BAFTA (the British Academy of Film and Television Arts) is a charity organization offering year-round education extending the reach of the moving image arts. Its Scholarship Program enables British youngsters to continue postgraduate study and training in film, television, or video games. In 2013, BAFTA President, HRH Prince William launched the Give Something Back campaign, calling on BAFTA members and film studios to support his initiative. You are a member of the Academy Circle and a longstanding supporter of the Scholarship Program. Why is this important to you?
RW: I believe that the British Academy of Film and Television Arts can and should play an important role in fostering the development of young people striving to pursue their dreams of becoming filmmakers. Because of my experience as both a psychotherapist and an executive producer, I know that allowing your creativity and ideas to blossom can lead to a healthier mind and spirit. Endeavors like Give Something Back and the Scholarship Program not only help young artists see their dreams become reality; they can also nurture the next generation of artists and filmmakers, ensuring continued growth and innovation in these fields.
HW: Speaking of star-studded events, you recently attended the 67th annual BAFTA Film Awards with Steve McQueen and Judy Dench. Your sense of fashion blends seamlessly in Paris, London, New York, and many other cities where you have been photographed during couture fashion events. How does fashion impact your own creative thinking and aspirations?
RW: To me, fashion is the most outward expression of the individual’s creativity. As such, deciding upon my fashion choices is an exercise in knowing how to express myself and feel confident by doing so. In that way, I feel more driven to pursue my aspirations creatively, and in other ways. I think that can be rather fulfilling for any creative soul.
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