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Kerry Washington Uses Fashion to Fight Domestic Abuse

Written on September 17, 2014 at 7:56 pm , by

Ever since Scandal began its run in 2012, Kerry Washington has risen to the top of every best-dressed list in the world. Whether she’s rocking the red carpet, fabulously dressing her baby bump (ahem, back when she was pregnant) or collaborating on a line based off her Gladiator character, Olivia Pope, the woman knows how to accessorize. Now she’s taking that knowledge to the next level by teaming up with Allstate for the Allstate Foundation Purple Purse program that aims to stop domestic abuse.

Washington worked to design a purple purse—the color for domestic violence awareness—that shines a light on an often forgotten part of domestic violence: financial abuse. And the timing behind its debut couldn’t have been more perfect, thanks to the spotlight the NFL is already shining on the issue due to Ray Rice’s recent actions. But we had to know: Why a purse?

“The purse is a symbol of a woman taking her purse strings back,” explains Washington. ”[It is] just such a perfect symbol of where a woman’s financial well-being lives, where her worth resides. That’s where you keep your phone and your wallet, and your keys to your apartment and your car and whatever else matters to you.”

In 98 percent of cases, financial and physical abuse go hand in hand, explains Victoria Dinges, senior vice-president of the Allstate Foundation. It’s one of the biggest reasons behind why women stay in an abusive relationship—credit scores could be ruined or a tremendous amount of debt may rest on their shoulders. And when she leaves, financial security is the biggest indicator of whether or not she’ll be able to stay away.

Dinges also knew that tying fashion into the cause would help women be more open about a private issue that can hit very close to home. “It’s easier to talk about a purse than it is to talk about a black eye or destroyed credit, so the purse is a good entry point [of conversation],” says Washington.

But she didn’t stop with the symbolic meaning of the purse—it was heavily integrated into the actual design, too. “I wanted it to be a clutch because I wanted it to be something that you really hold onto; you can hold it close to you,” says Washington. “I wanted it to be a day bag…a bag you can use to hold the things that matter to you on a regular basis. It’s able to fit your little tablet and your wallet and keys and phone and all the things we travel with.”

The only downside to the Allstate Foundation Purple Purse: You can’t get one yourself. Only 500 are being made, so keep an eye out for them with your favorite female celebs. But Washington says that any purse can be a purple purse. The tassel is detachable, and anyone can get one, along with a story of inspiration from a survivor of domestic abuse. “This tassel, for us, is like the yellow Livestrong bracelet or the Breast Cancer ribbon,” she says. So if you want one, stop by your local Allstate or find one at a local organization that works to stop domestic abuse.

And for all you Scandal fans, you may just see the cause close to Washington’s heart explored a bit more in the upcoming season. Fans of the show know that Olivia Pope rescued her fellow gladiator, Abby Whelan, from an abusive relationship. Will we get to see more of that storyline, similar to when we learned more about Huck and Quinn? “We’ve been told that this season we’re going to get more backstory in her world,” says Washington. “I have no idea what the writers have planned, but it would be interesting if we were able to see more of that. But even just the fact that we’ve talked about it is such a testament to Shonda Rhimes and how fearless she is about bringing up stuff that’s difficult to talk about.”

What else can we expect from season 4, which premieres September 25th? “You will definitely know where the plane was going [at the season 3 finale]…and crazy things happen there,” confesses Washington. “”You’ll definitely see a version of Olivia Pope we’ve never seen before.”

Oh, and because we had to know: Is Washington Team Fitz or Team Jake? “I am Team Shonda,” she says. “So whatever Shonda writes, I’m game.”

Well played, Olivia Pope. Well played.

Want to get more involved? Join the Allstate Foundation Purple Purse challenge through October 3rd and help raise 2 million dollars for the 140 organizations across the country that help fight domestic abuse.

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Speedo USA Pulls Athletes, Artists and Philanthropy Together with Cap Art

Written on December 13, 2013 at 10:33 am , by

It’s about life’s journey, rather than destinations, Coughlin says. (Photo courtesy of Speedo USA)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Searching for a meaningful gift for the swimmer in your life? Lucky for you, Speedo USA launched its Art of the Cap Campaign earlier this week, introducing five new, limited-edition swim caps designed by incredible athlete-artist duos that give back to influential charities across the country.

Team Speedo athletes (and Olympic gold medalists) Ryan Lochte, Natalie Coughlin, Nathan Adrian, Dana Vollmer and Cullen Jones paired up with celebrated artists  to design the five caps available just in time for the holiday season. At the core of the collaborations is a true connection between the athlete and the artist, from personal stories to interests and style, which breathes life into these creative designs.

The proceeds from each swim cap will be donated to five charities selected by the athletes themselves—Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, Right to Play, Kids Beating Cancer, Simon’s Fund, and the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash Initiative. Head over to the campaign’s website to learn about each athlete’s connection to their selected cause and what it means to them to be able to give back. Coughlin’s design in particular reflects not only her love of swimming, but her deep appreciation of the environment. Proceeds for her cap provide sport program opportunities in disadvantaged communities across the globe.

The swim caps are available exclusively at SpeedoUSA.com for a limited time, so check out this inspirational project and unique gift idea before it’s too late! Trust us, it will be tough to decide which team made the coolest cap.

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