15 celebrities wanted you to see how they are when the camera's off. So they took photos.

Andrew H. Walker has photographed a lot of celebrities in his life. But at the 2016 Toronto Film Festival, he decided to try something ... different.

"[Actors] have, not only this personal inside voice, but they have a public persona that they put out there, and they also have their private self," said Walker, a staff photographer at Shutterstock, in an interview with Mashable. "There's this whole other layer of themselves as people. I found that really, really intriguing."

Walker placed a piece of tape on a table and told an impressive list of "A-list" celebrities to pose on either side of it as their "public" and their "private" selves. The only rule was that they couldn't cross the tape line, so he could composite the photos later. As for which side of the tape they "performed" their "selves" on? That was entirely up to them.


Celebrities can be (understandably) protective of their image. But Walker was surprised to find that 51 A-listers were willing and eager to go along with his plan.

The 15 photos that follow are just a few of the highlights that show a surprising difference between their public and private personas — although which one is which, we can't say for certain.

1. Sigourney Weaver was literally born into the entertainment industry.

But just because she's good at being in front of the camera, doesn't mean that's where she always wants to be.

[rebelmouse-image 19519426 dam="1" original_size="750x536" caption="All photos by Andrew H. Walker/ShutterStock. Used with permission." expand=1]All photos by Andrew H. Walker/ShutterStock. Used with permission.

2. Then there's John Legend, who's clearly worked hard to write and produce so many signature grooves.

Legend's somber expression is a powerful reminder that funky rhythms aren't all fun and games when you're cooped up in the studio for days on end.

3. As for Jeffrey Tambor — well, he's got a bit of a Clark Kent vibe goin' on.

I'm not sure which one is the public and which one is the private face. Because other than the glasses, there's not that much of a difference. Which might also be the point.

4. Parker Posey is in a similar, albeit quirkier, boat.

Which one is the real Parker Posey?! I can't tell because they're both just so eccentrically cool, and so ... her.

5. Meanwhile, Oscar Isaac needs a coffee.

He's a busy guy, and those 14-hour days on set can sure get exhausting.

6. Sometimes Lupita Nyong'o is beaming. Other times, she's just stunned.

Her brilliant smile certainly has a way of lighting up the red carpet. At the same time, I can totally understand if her expression on the right is how she feels inside during those events.

7. Perhaps Amy Adams isn't always the stunning debutante.

Or maybe she's really happier than her dramatic roles let on? Sometimes the spotlight's appeal starts to fade when you're right at the center of it.

8. Even silver fox Richard Gere shies away from the attention he receives.

(But like, c'mon, he's still having fun with this either way.)

9. Sandra Oh seems like she's either distracted or totally overwhelmed.

If you've ever been thrust in front of countless lights and cameras, you know that both emotions are a valid response. Or maybe her expression on the right is the way she looks in those awkward moments when she gets stopped on the street?

10. And there's Rami Malek, who ... is as wide-eyed and aloof as I'd expect.

No wonder he's so good on "Mr. Robot." Unless ... maybe one of his personas in this picture actually is the real Mr. Robot? Plot twist! Hey, where's Christian Slater?

11. As for Jane Lynch, she's always a bit wacky and performative.

Frankly I'd expect nothing less of her.

12. Whether he's upright or relaxing, Chadwick Boseman can't seem to shake that natural steely gaze.

He has the shy, stoic look of a performer with the proper introspection to transform into someone else entirely whenever he's on-camera. No wonder he's so good!

13. Is Felicity Jones that much more chipper than the roles she plays?

Or is she actually more reserved than she appears while smiling on-screen — like she's done ever since she was just 12 years old? Your guess is as good as mine.

14. Even Mahershala Ali has two sides of himself to show the world.

Here's another star who looks like he revels in performing himself, in whatever way that he is today. One thing's for sure: He's a lot less intimidating here than he was in "Luke Cage."

15. And last, but certainly not least, there's Anne Hathaway.

Hathaway has had to deal with all the ups and downs of being both beloved and reviled by the general public, which is perhaps why her two different personas here show such a wide range of expression — and all the struggles that come along with being a person.

Walker's work here is an eye-opening look at the many faces that people put on.

We all have different ways of presenting ourselves in different situations — to our jobs, to our friends, to our families, and to ourselves. We even act differently when we're in front of a camera, perhaps especially when we're trying to show off who we think we really are.

It only makes sense that these celebrities would be the same way since they're people too. But the question still remains: Which one shows their "true" self?

Maybe there's not just one right answer to that. Maybe we're all multifaceted, with our own unique collection of personas, just like these celebrities. And maybe that's totally OK. Because maybe that's what makes us human.

Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan
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Growing up in Indonesia, Farwiza Farhan always loved the ocean. It's why she decided to study marine biology. But the more she learned, the more she realized that it wasn't enough to work in the ocean. She needed to protect it.

"I see the ocean ecosystem collapsing due to overfishing and climate change," she says. "I felt powerless and didn't know what to do [so] I decided to pursue my master's in environmental management."

This choice led her to work in environmental protection, and it was fate that brought her back home to the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra, Indonesia — one of the last places on earth where species such as tigers, orangutans, elephants and Sumatran rhinoceros still live in the wild today. It's also home to over 300 species of birds, eight of which are endemic to the region.

"When I first flew over the Leuser Ecosystem, I saw an intact landscape, a contiguous block of lush, diverse vegetation stretched through hills and valleys. The Leuser is truly a majestic landscape — one of a kind."

She fell in love. "I had my first orangutan encounter in the Leuser Ecosystem," she remembers. "As the baby orangutan swung from the branches, seemingly playing and having fun, the mother was observing us. I was moved by the experience."

Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan

"Over the years," she continues, "the encounters with wildlife, with people, and with the ecosystem itself compounded. My curiosity and interest towards nature have turned into a deep desire to protect this biodiversity."

So, she began working for a government agency tasked to protect it. After the agency dismantled for political reasons in the country, Farhan decided to create the HAkA Foundation.

"The goals [of HAkA] are to protect, conserve and restore the Leuser Ecosystem while at the same time catalyzing and enabling just economic prosperity for the region," she says.

"Wild areas and wild places are rare these days," she continues. "We think gold and diamonds are rare and therefore valuable assets, but wild places and forests, like the Leuser Ecosystems, are the kind of natural assets that essentially provide us with life-sustaining services."

"The rivers that flow through the forest of the Leuser Ecosystem are not too dissimilar to the blood that flows through our veins. It might sound extreme, but tell me — can anyone live without water?"

Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan

So far, HAkA has done a lot of work to protect the region. The organization played a key role in strengthening laws that bring the palm oil companies that burn forests to justice. In fact, their involvement led to an unprecedented, first-of-its-kind court decision that fined one company close to $26 million.

In addition, HAkA helped thwart destructive infrastructure plans that would have damaged critical habitat for the Sumatran elephants and rhinos. They're working to prevent mining destruction by helping communities develop alternative livelihoods that don't damage the forests. They've also trained hundreds of police and government rangers to monitor deforestation, helping to establish the first women ranger teams in the region.

"We have supported multiple villages to create local regulation on river and land protection, effectively empowering communities to regain ownership over their environment."

She is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year. The donation she receives as a nominee is being awarded to the Ecosystem Impact Foundation. The small local foundation is working to protect some of the last remaining habitats of the critically endangered leatherback turtle that lives on the west coast of Sumatra.

"The funds will help the organization keep their ranger employed so they can continue protecting the islands, endangered birds and sea turtle habitats," she says.

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen. Do you know an inspiring woman like Farwiza? Nominate her today!

Jennifer Lawrence

After being a Hollywood staple, Jennifer Lawrence vanished from the public eye following the release of "X-Men Dark Phoenix" in 2019.

Sure, the pandemic had something to do with that … in addition to the usual way our society treats Hollywood "it" girls, once it grows accustomed to the flavor. But in a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Lawrence opens up about some other reasons she chose to step away for a time.

Lawrence went from being a highly sought-after Oscar-winning actress to starring in less-than-successful films like "Passengers," "Mother!" and "Red Sparrow." The films were not only poorly received among critics, but commercially as well.

"I was not pumping out the quality that I should have," she told VF. "I just think everybody had gotten sick of me. I'd gotten sick of me. It had just gotten to a point where I couldn't do anything right. If I walked a red carpet, it was, 'Why didn't she run?'"

So then, why do it? As any workaholic would know, it's about so much more than money.

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Courtesy of Ms. Lopez
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Marcella Lopez didn't always want to be a teacher — but once she became one, she found her passion. That's why she's stayed in the profession for 23 years, spending the past 16 at her current school in Los Angeles, where she mostly teaches children of color.

"I wanted purpose, to give back, to live a life of public service, to light the spark in others to think critically and to be kind human beings," she says. "More importantly, I wanted my students to see themselves when they saw me, to believe they could do it too."

Ms. Lopez didn't encounter a teacher of color until college. "That moment was life-changing for me," she recalls. "It was the first time I felt comfortable in my own skin as a student. Always remembering how I felt in that college class many years ago has kept me grounded year after year."

It's also guided her teaching. Ms. Lopez says she always selects authors and characters that represent her students and celebrate other ethnicities so students can relate to what they read while also learning about other cultures.

"I want them to see themselves in the books they read, respect those that may not look like them and realize they may have lots in common with [other cultures] they read about," she says.

She also wants her students to have a different experience in school than she did.

When Ms. Lopez was in first grade, she "was speaking in Spanish to a new student, showing her where the restroom was when a staff member overheard our conversation and directed me to not speak in Spanish," she recalls. "In 'this school,' we only speak English," she remembers them saying. "From that day forward, I was made to feel less-than and embarrassed to speak the language of my family, my ancestors; the language I learned to speak first."

Part of her job, she says, is to find new ways to promote acceptance and inclusion in her classroom.

"The worldwide movement around social justice following the death of George Floyd amplified my duty as a teacher to learn how to discuss racial equity in a way that made sense to my little learners," she says. "It ignited me to help them see themselves in a positive light, to make our classroom family feel more inclusive, and make our classroom a safe place to have authentic conversations."

One way she did that was by raising money through DonorsChoose to purchase books and other materials for her classroom that feature diverse perspectives.

Courtesy of Ms. Lopez

The Allstate Foundation recently partnered with DonorsChoose to create a Racial Justice and Representation category to encourage teachers like Ms. Lopez to create projects that address racial equity in the classroom. To launch the category, The Allstate Foundation matched all donations to these projects for a total of $1.5 million. Together, they hope to drive awareness and funding to projects that bring diversity, inclusion, and identity-affirming learning materials into classrooms across the country. You can see current projects seeking funding here.

When Ms. Lopez wanted to incorporate inclusive coloring books into her lesson plans, The Allstate Foundation fully funded her project so she was able to purchase them.

"I'm a lifelong learner, striving to be my best version of myself and always working to inspire my little learners to do the same," she says. Each week, Ms. Lopez and the students would focus on a page in the book and discuss its message. And she plans to do the same again this school year.

"DonorsChoose has been a gamechanger for my students. Without the support of all the donors that come together on this platform, we wouldn't have a sliver of what I've been able to provide for my students, especially during the pandemic," she says.

"My passion is to continue striving to be excellent, and to continue to find ways to use literature as an anchor, depicting images that reflect my students," she says.

To help teachers like Ms. Lopez drive this important mission forward, donate on DonorsChoose.

Courtesy of Ms. Lopez

This story was originally published on The Mighty and originally appeared here on 07.21.17


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Tired of avocados turning brown? Try this simple trick.

Ah, the delicious, creamy avocado. We love it, despite its fleeting ripeness and frustrating tendency to turn brown when you try to store it. From salads to guacamole to much-memed millennial avocado toast, the weird berry (that's right—it's a berry) with the signature green flesh is one of the more versatile fruits, but also one of the more fickle. Once an avocado is ready, you better cut it open within hours because it's not going to last.

Once it's cut, an avocado starts to oxidize, turning that green flesh a sickly brown color. It's not harmful to eat, but it's not particularly appetizing. The key to keeping the browning from happening is to keep the flesh from being exposed to oxygen.

Some people rub an unused avocado half with oil to keep oxidation at bay. Others swear by squeezing some lemon juice over it. Some say placing plastic wrap tightly over it with the pit still in it will keep it green.

But a YouTube video from Avocados from Mexico demonstrates a quick, easy, eco-friendly way to store half an avocado that doesn't require anything but a container and some water.

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