This 'Empire' actor has a unique way of connecting with people when she travels.
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Barilla

When we visit a new place, we all have our own way of learning about the people we meet.

Maybe we read up on the culture and history of the country we are visiting or try to learn how to speak a little of their language — even if it involves acting out words we don’t know.

Actor Grace Byers, best known for her role in the television show "Empire," has her own way of getting to know people in a new country.


Image via While the Water Boils/YouTube.

"I come to a country, and I’m like, 'What games do you play? Let me learn. And win,'" she said with a laugh.

That’s because to her, games are about more than just having fun. They’re about finding a great way to connect with other people.

"It’s this time when you get to be vulnerable, where you get to be open, where you really get to connect to other people and truly be yourself," she told Hannah Hart on the YouTube show "While the Water Boils" while the two played card games and cooked a delicious pasta dish.

Image via While the Water Boils/YouTube.

In fact, Byers loves games so much that she made a game out of who could pick the basil leaves off the stalk the fastest with Hannah while they were cooking pasta. Check out it out in their interview:

Byers' love for games comes directly from her childhood.

"I grew up in the Caribbean," she said, and while her childhood might sound idyllic with its beaches and fresh fruit, it was also easy to run out of things to do for fun.

"There’s not much to do on the island, really," she said. "You know, you have the movies, you have bowling and stuff like that, but the main thing that we really love to do is play games."

Image via While the Water Boils/YouTube.

Games, especially card games like Spit, became her favorite thing to do with family, friends, and even strangers. Later, she brought that passion for games with her when she moved to America from the Cayman Islands to study acting. And today, she even plays games such as Spades on-set with fellow actors.

Card games also became a way for Byers to find a great work-life balance in her career.

Image via While the Water Boils/YouTube.

"It’s so important to have a balance," she told Hart. "We will work, we will get the job done, but then we don’t really put that same effort into having fun and relaxing."

It’s important to make time for play and the things that you enjoy, no matter what they are — because that is how you keep your passions alive. And for Byers, card games do the trick better than anything else because they allow her to be herself, let down her barriers, and just have fun.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.