LIFE

Pamela Anderson frontsMAC AIDS Fund drive

By Elis Kiss - Kathimerini English Edition

With its operating mantra, «All Races, All Sexes, All Ages,» MAC cosmetics is known for pushing the limits of the global beauty industry. The same is true when it comes to its efforts in fighting AIDS, for which the company is currently collaborating with Pamela Anderson. Local fans of both the curvaceous actress and the company's gamut of makeup choices will get a chance to meet the star and support a good cause early next week, as Anderson is expected in Athens on Sunday for a series of events organized by the MAC AIDS Fund, the hip company's charity leg. Since the fund's establishment in 1994, MAC's charity campaign has raised more than 65 million dollars. Canada-born, former «Baywatch» sensation and Playboy cover-girl record holder, Anderson is known for her involvement in charity, including working with children and supporting associations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Famous faces Besides joining an array of celebrities (in recent years, the MAC AIDS Fund campaign has been associated with the likes of Christina Aguilera, Missy Elliott, Chloe Sevigny and Linda Evangelista), Anderson had her own, personal reasons for coming on board as the campaign's face and spokesperson last year. «MAC Viva Glam V is a great campaign to be involved with. I feel privileged and empowered to help raise funds and awareness on the importance for getting tested. After being diagnosed with Hepatitis C, I knew the importance of knowing your status. Only then can you make informed and wise decisions for your health and life. Everyone, everywhere, has to get tested. It's the responsible choice. Knowing also helps stop spreading the disease that has no cure... yet,» noted Anderson in a statement. Established by Frank Toskan and the late Frank Angelo in Toronto, Canada, in 1984, MAC soon flourished through cool combinations of recycling strategies and show-biz glitz. Restless and not fully satisfied with simply managing a highly successful and forward-looking business, the duo founded the MAC AIDS Fund with the support of the company's staff. Right from the start, the campaign's international development was sustained by the wholehearted participation of diverse popular culture personalities such as RuPaul, kd lang, Boy George, Mary J. Blige, Elton John and Lil'Kim, among many others. Campaigns Already in its fifth edition, Viva Glam lipsticks and lip gloss are the principal fund-raising products behind the campaign, with 100 percent of their sales going to those living with AIDS as well as raising public awareness. Though MAC has now become part of the Estee Lauder Companies, the charity vision of its founders persists; besides the Viva Glam products, the fund also continues to develop the Kids Helping Kids cards (based on designs by children victims of AIDS) as well as campaigns such as the Deck of Cards. On Monday, Anderson will hold a press conference, during which a 30,000-euro check issued by the MAC AIDS Fund will be handed to Kentro Zois, a Greek non-profit organization presided over by Lela Bobou. (All proceeds from the campaign's Greek leg benefit the association, which assists AIDS patients.) Later on in the day, a number of fans will get to see Anderson up close and personal at MAC's flagship store in downtown Athens, on pedestrian Ermou Street. The first 150 visitors to purchase a Viva Glam lipstick by 2 p.m. will also get to spend time with the actress, who is scheduled to make a, no doubt, glamorous appearance at the store at 4 p.m. A milestone Accompanying Pamela Anderson in Athens is Peter Lichtenthal, MAC global general manager. Kathimerini English Edition caught up with him a few days prior to his visit. Did Pamela Anderson's personal experience with Hepatitis C make her an «ideal candidate» for the position of the MAC AIDS Fund's spokesperson? Pamela is committed to the fight against HIV/AIDS. Her passion for helping to stop the spread of this disease and her interest in helping others, combined with her celebrity power to influence millions of people worldwide, make her the ideal candidate. How important are celebrities in today's cosmetics industry, both on a charity and a purely commercial level? They have a voice and enormous power in influencing people's opinions of HIV/AIDS. MAC started out as an innovative, small-scale company with a real soul. How do you maintain its «soul» now that it's part of a giant such as Estee Lauder? MAC remains as committed to its values and soul today as it was when it was founded. To date, nearly $70 million has been raised through the sale of Viva Glam lipsticks, helping to support men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS... This is a bittersweet milestone.

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