Among Hollywood actresses, Natalie Portman may be an anomaly. “As opposed to talking about fashion,” the 27-year-old says she prefers discussing poverty alleviation. The Israeli-American discovered FINCA International, a microfinance program for women, through her inspiration, Jordan’s Queen Rania, a Palestinian and an “incredible woman whom I really admire,” Portman tells USA Today.
Working with poor women in Uganda and Guatemala has taught Portman she is “really the minority” as an “educated woman who can feed herself.” She’s learned to curb the “accumulation mentality” rampant among her peers. When “you meet people who have one shirt,” it gives pause, the actress says. “If I have 40 shirts, why would I ever buy anything more?"