“The Jungle Book” Star Freida Pinto Talks Philanthropy + Girl Power In Hollywood

Freida Pinto at (ANDAZ) RED cabanas unveiling at Andaz West Hollywood
Freida Pinto at (ANDAZ) RED cabanas unveiling at Andaz West Hollywood

Photo Credit: Jennifer Graylock/Getty Images for (ANDAZ)RED

This holiday season, Freida Pinto is seeing (RED). The Slumdog Millionaire star and philanthropist was on hand this week to reveal the first-ever (ANDAZ)RED Cabana during a special evening that included a cocktail reception at the Andaz West Hollywood. Andaz & (RED)—a non-profit organization that was founded in 2006 to engage businesses and people in the fight against AIDS by partnering with the world’s most iconic brands that contribute up to 50% of profits from (RED)-branded goods and services to its Global Fund with (RED)—have teamed up to create a package where thirty percent of each room package will be donated to the fund. The cabanas are the newest experiences offered as part of Hyatt’s World of Hyatt platform, which is built on the idea that a little understanding goes a long way.

The Andaz‘s collaboration with (RED) creates a unique opportunity for guests to have inspiring experiences, while helping to save lives with every reservation (just think, you can sit poolside and fight AIDS—winning!). The Andaz (RED) Cabanas are bookable today at the following four resort locations: Andaz Mayakoba Resort, Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo, Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa and Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort.

We caught up with uber-philanthropist Pinto at the (RED) event, who spoke about the collaboration, the cause, her holiday plans, her upcoming new film, The Jungle Book and why this is really the female time to roar in Hollywood.

Andaz Red Cabana
Andaz Red Cabana

Photo Credit: Jennifer Greylock/Getty Images for Andaz Red

Why is (RED) such an important cause to you?
We are at a point where the world is in a bit of turmoil and the human consciousness has been awakened so there is now such a focus on doing good that when there is an organization like (RED) who is doing so much in the fight against AIDS, supporting them in any way I can seems like a no brainer. (RED) is in such an important position as they are able to partner with such iconic brands and contribute a percentage of their profits directly to the Global Fund with the money going directly to the fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Over the last decade (RED) has been able to raise over $500 million, which has impacted nearly 100 million people with life-saving prevention, treatment, counseling, HIV testing and care services. As consumers we have such power, and (RED) is able to harness that power for good allowing everyone the opportunity to give back to such an important cause in whatever small or big way they can just by purchasing (RED) products.

Tell us how and why you became involved in revealing the first (ANDAZ)RED Cabana
Andaz was looking for someone that organically fit into the values of the brand and I loved the idea that with these (ANDAZ)RED Cabanas you are able to travel in luxury and enjoy these gorgeous hotels and amenities while still giving back a portion of the profit to such an important cause. When I heard about the partnership there was no question that I wanted to do whatever I could to join them in helping make a difference.

How important is philanthropy in your life?
Honestly, I don’t really think of giving back as a chore. For me it’s truly exciting to find ways to uplift lives wherever in need. To me it is about helping your fellow man in the same way you would help your family and friends if there were in need. If I am in a position to help, then why not do whatever I can? But I don’t look at it as charity, in fact I quite dislike that word, to me it is an opportunity to connect to someone else on a very human level and that connection is so important because at the end of the day, everyone wants to feel like they are being heard.

How do you give back all year long? Does that change in any way (increase) during the holidays? How, if so?
I don’t categorize times of the year when I give back- it’s so organic for me to help where I can. There are projects I do all year that focus on giving back, I have a nonprofit project that I am producing now, which has me thinking about how I can give back throughout the year. The holidays are a great excuse to give more though; if you are buying gifts and are in the giving spirit why not give to those who are really in need.

What are the top items on your Christmas wish list?
Mostly things that money cannot buy- like time for example. Time with family and friends, and time away from cell phones and laptops- hopefully on a nice holiday in a beautiful location, which I guess is something that money can buy. So a few things money can’t buy and one it can.

How are you spending the holidays this year?
I’m going to on wellness retreat with my family and switching off all technology.

Favorite holiday movie?
I love Home Alone 1 and 2!

You just wrapped “The Jungle Book.” How would you describe the experience?
I grew up reading the Jungle Book as a child and visited the park where Rudyard Kipling wrote the book with my father, so it was really a full circle experience getting to revisit something that was so important to me as a child.

Hollywood is going through a time of extreme, needed change right now. What’s your take?
The time is right, and the time is now. We have to grab the opportunity while people are feeling safe to speak out about the injustice they face. You wonder why it didn’t happen years ago, but we can’t focus on what we didn’t do and focus instead on how it can be better going forward. We have to create an environment where everyone feels safe, and we’re getting there.

What, in your opinion, is the greatest luxury in life and why?
Time and perspective are the two greatest luxuries. Time because it’s so easy to get caught up in the rat race and hustle and bustle that we lose track of time and don’t get the chance to really savor each moment before it is gone. It’s the same for perspective, we get so caught up in everything going on around us that it is difficult to not get lost. There is a quote in the Kite Runner where Khaled Hosseini puts it perfectly: “Perspective was (is) a luxury when your head was (is) constantly buzzing with a swarm of demons.”

Interior of the Andaz Red Cabana
Interior of the Andaz Red Cabana

Photo Credit: Jennifer Greylock/Getty Images for Andaz Red