More

A new men’s talk show in the works will challenge gender norms. Hell yes.

Justin Baldoni, of The CW's 'Jane the Virgin,' is on a mission to change masculinity.

A new men’s talk show in the works will challenge gender norms. Hell yes.
Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images.

The reflection staring back at Justin Baldoni in the mirror looks, to him, quite a bit different from the svelte leading man his fans see on television every week.

He sees a version of himself that's about two decades younger.


That person is gangly, awkward, and pimply, Baldoni says, complete with crooked teeth hiding behind rows of braces and a large nose that draws taunts from bullies from near and far.

"I didn't have a date for homecoming because nobody wanted to go with me," Baldoni recalls of his teen years. "That's who I still struggle with when I look in the mirror."

"I struggle with massive insecurities about my body," says Baldoni, who plays Rafael on The CW's "Jane the Virgin." "And I'm a guy who takes my shirt off on TV every week."

Baldoni believes he has a form of body dysmorphia. And he's certainly not alone.

"As a man I can tell you right now that I struggle with my own body image & there are infinite layers that contribute to why," Baldoni writes in his caption on Facebook. Photo courtesy of Justin Baldoni.

Forms of mental illness in men stemming from body image have become an increasingly concerning issue.

It's a topic the actor thinks people aren't talking about enough, and research suggests he's right. Studies show that men with body image issues are far more likely to go undiagnosed and untreated than their female counterparts, because men are more likely to suffer in silence and hold off on accessing help out of shame.

Even though it may be scary, Baldoni knows he's only able to take his shirt off for his day job because of the various forms of privilege he's benefitted from (namely, that his current body conforms to society's standards of male attractiveness). So he's certainly not asking for a pity party in honor of his insecurities.

He is asking, however, for change on behalf of men everywhere.

That's why Baldoni is launching a new talk show focused on exploring what it means to be a man in 2017.

"I believe we need to adjust and change the way we see masculinity," Baldoni notes. "Who says masculinity has to be forceful and powerful and strong? What if it looks different? What if it looks different for every single man?"

[rebelmouse-image 19528283 dam="1" original_size="750x938" caption=""[Men] need to be able to not judge each other," Baldoni wrote on Facebook. "To hold whatever is happening in our lives, to cry together, and listen to each other." Photo courtesy of Justin Baldoni." expand=1]"[Men] need to be able to not judge each other," Baldoni wrote on Facebook. "To hold whatever is happening in our lives, to cry together, and listen to each other." Photo courtesy of Justin Baldoni.

The first two episodes of the series (the title has yet to be determined) are in production this summer by Baldoni's media company, Wayfarer, and will live on an online platform that will also provide viewers with helpful resources on a number of issues affecting men.

Experts and celebrity guests — including actor and activist Matt McGorry ("How to Get Away with Murder") — will help Baldoni parse through a wide variety of topics that affect men of all colors, backgrounds, sexual orientations, and identities, Baldoni explains.

Actor Matt McGorry will be in the first two episodes of Baldoni's new talk show. Photo by Catrina Maxwell/Getty Images for SCAD.

The second episode of the show will be dedicated to body image.

"I'm absolutely nervous," Baldoni admits of the deeply personal endeavor. "I'm also terrified. I'm insecure. I feel very vulnerable and exposed at the same time."

Baldoni began thinking about creating a talk show for men after his marriage proposal video went viral in 2013.

The video, which has amassed a whopping 11 million views to date, was originally meant to be shared with only wedding guests, the actor says. But he and his wife, Emily, reluctantly posted it to YouTube after being egged on by family and friends.

The 27-minute long proposal shows Emily reacting to an epic video pre-recorded by Baldoni — one involving boy band performances and a car chase — as she waits, shocked, in the restaurant where the couple went on their first date. In the video's conclusion, Baldoni appears in the restaurant to ask for Emily's hand in marriage.

Reactions to the proposal online were ... mixed.

Baldoni with his wife and daughter. "My personal truth is that I get pretty damn sad when my girls leave," he wrote on Facebook. "Even if it's just for a week and a half." Photo courtesy of Justin Baldoni.

Women, overall, seemed to appreciate it, Baldoni recalls. They shared it with friends and excitedly congratulated the couple. Men, on the other hand, tended to either attack or mock Baldoni for the dramatic gesture. At least, that's what they did publicly.

Privately, men complimented Baldoni, emailing him their thoughts and asking for advice in proposing to their own partners. Baldoni remembers an intimidatingly buff stranger at the gym who quietly approached him, admitting the video made him cry.

"I realized we have an issue," Baldoni says. "Men are embarrassed to share their feelings.”

That embarrassment — along with a lengthy list of other negative effects sprouting from traditionally held gender roles — has far-reaching ramifications.

“There are too many signs that our world is overrun by the wrong kind of masculinity," Baldoni says.

Suicidal men are literally dying for somebody to talk to. Substance abuse is silently affecting the lives of men refusing to reach out for help.

In Washington, bravado seems to trump substance.

"Trump and other men like him exist everywhere," Baldoni says. "And they’ve always existed." Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

More men need to know it's OK to be open, to be vulnerable, to be flawed.

"Maybe you're someone who's struggling with depression, or maybe your career isn't going as well as you want it to ... maybe you're addicted to porn and you're so embarrassed about it that you've never talked to anybody," Baldoni says. "Reach out and start to build strong male relationships that don't focus on what game is on or what NBA player is killing it."

"At some point we have to learn how to open up because we need each other," Baldoni notes. "Masculinity doesn't have to be as lonely as it is."

To keep tabs on Baldoni's new talk show, which is slated to premiere in late fall 2017, follow him on Instagram and Facebook.

Courtesy of Creative Commons
True

After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

Keep Reading Show less

Few child actors ever get to star in an award-winning film, much less win a prestigious award for their performance. That fact appeared to hit home for 8-year-old Alan Kim, as he broke down in tears accepting his Critics' Choice Award for Best Young Actor/Actress, making for one of the sweetest moments in awards show history.

Kim showed up to the awards (virtually, of course) decked out in a tuxedo, and his parents had even laid out a red carpet in their entryway to give him a taste of the real awards show experience. When his name was announced as the Critics' Choice winner for his role in the film "Minari," his reaction was priceless.

Grinning from ear to ear, Kim started off his acceptance speech by thanking "the critics who voted" and his family. But as soon as he started naming his family members, he burst into tears. "Oh my goodness, I'm crying," he said. Through sobs, he kept going with his list, naming members of the cast, the production company, and the crew that worked on the film.

"I hope I will be in other movies," he added. Then, the cutest—he pinched his own cheeks and asked, "Is this a dream? I hope it's not a dream."

Keep Reading Show less
True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

There's an old saying that luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.

There's no better example of that than a 2016 discovery at the University of California, Irvine, by doctoral student Mya Le Thai. After playing around in the lab, she made a discovery that could lead to a rechargeable battery that could last up to 400 years. That means longer-lasting laptops and smartphones and fewer lithium ion batteries piling up in landfills.

Keep Reading Show less
Tory Burch

Courtesy of Tory Burch

True

This March marks one year since the start of the pandemic… and it's been an incredibly difficult year: Over 500,000 people have died and hundreds of thousands have lost their jobs. But the pandemic's economic downturn has been disproportionately affecting women because they are more likely to work in hard-hit industries, such as hospitality or entertainment, and many of them have been forced to leave their jobs due to the lack of childcare.

But throughout all that hardship, women have, over and over again, found ways to help one another and solve problems.

"Around the world, women have stepped up and found ways to help where it is needed most," says Tory Burch, an entrepreneur who started her own business in 2004.

Burch knows a thing or two about empowering women: After seeing the many obstacles that women in business face — even before the pandemic — she created the Tory Burch Foundation in 2009 to empower women entrepreneurs.

And now, for International Women's Day, her company is launching a global campaign with Upworthy to celebrate the women around the world who give back and create real change in their communities.

"I hope the creativity and resilience of these women, and the amazing ways they have found to have real impact, will inspire and energize others as much as they have me," Burch says.

This year's Empowered Women certainly are inspiring:

Shalini SamtaniCourtesy of Shalini Samtani

Take, for example, Shalini Samtani. When her daughter was diagnosed with a rare immune disorder, she spent a lot of time in the hospital, which caused her to quickly realize that there wasn't a single company in the toy industry servicing the physical or emotional needs of the 3 million hospitalized children across America every year. She was determined to change that — so she created The Spread the Joy Foundation to deliver free play kits to pediatric patients all around the country.

Varsha YajmanCourtesy of Varsha Yajman

Varsha Yajman is another one of this year's nominees. She is just 18 years old, and yet she has been diligently fighting to build awareness and action for climate justice for the last seven years by leading school strikes, working as a paralegal with Equity Generations Lawyers, and speaking to CEOs from Siemen's and several big Australian banks at AGMs.

Caitlin MurphyCourtesy of Caitlin Murphy

Caitlin Murphy, meanwhile, stepped up in a big way during the pandemic by pivoting her business — Global Gateway Logistics — to secure and transport over 2 million masks to hospitals and senior care facilities across the country. She also created the Gateway for Good program, which purchased and donated 10,000 KN95 masks for local small businesses, charities, cancer patients and their families, immunocompromised, and churches in the area.

Simone GordonCourtesy of Simone Gordon

Simone Gordon, a domestic violence survivor and single mom, wanted to pay it forward after she received help getting essentials and tuition assistance — so she created the Instagram account @TheBlackFairyGodMotherOfficial and nonprofit to provide direct assistance to families in need. During the pandemic alone, they have raised over $50,000 for families and they have provided emergency assistance — in the form of groceries — for numerous women and families of color.

Victoria SanusiCourtesy of Victoria Sanusi

Victoria Sanusi started Black Gals Livin' with her friend Jas and the podcast has been an incredibly powerful way of destigmatizing mental health for numerous listeners. The podcast quickly surpassed a million listens, was featured on Michaela Coel's "I May Destroy You," won podcast of the year at the Brown Sugar Awards, and was named one of Elle Magazine's best podcasts of 2020.

And Upworthy and the Tory Burch are just getting started. They are still searching the globe for more extraordinary women who are making an impact in their communities.

Do you know one? If you do, nominate her now. If she's selected, she could receive $5,000 to give to a nonprofit of her choice through the Tory Burch Foundation. Submissions are being accepted on a rolling basis — and one Empowered woman will be selected each month starting in April.

Nominate her now at www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen.