Jennifer Cooper, E!
One of the best parts about working for E! is being able to use our global platform to raise awareness and educate people on important issues. That's why I decided to take on the Global Poverty Project's Live Below the Line challenge: to live one day for under $1.50. (Trust me, it's harder than it sounds!)
With all of the glitz and glam I see covering entertainment, it was a real wake-up call to read that 1.4 billion people live in extreme poverty. Do most of us keep those who fall into that less-fortunate statistic in our minds on a daily basis? Well, that's why I wanted to get involved with this organization.
There are rules for participating (for example, you don't have to include transportation in your daily funds, and are encouraged to do it for a week, spending a total of $7.50 buying food to cook meals), but I decided to take it to the extreme and see if I could spend nothing.
That's right: living and working in New York City on $0 a day!
Well, the day started with my hairstylist and friend picking me up and taking me to work. Then I walked to my morning meeting, which was actually a business meal, not paid for by me. From there, I made it to another shoot, then another meeting all based off of the generosity of others and by walking. By the time I made it back to the office midday, I was exhausted and hungry. (You never know how handy the subway is until you can't shell out the $2 to use it!) Fortunately for me, my coworker generously shared half of her lunch.
The final event of the day was a red carpet, but part of the perks of this job is that I was able stop in and eat there. Oh, and I did "splurge" and buy a banana earlier. Other than that, though, I made it on nothing.
I know my experience living below the line was unique because of my job. Very few get to wear beautiful clothes, get hair and makeup provided by their employer and have supporting friends with means to help out. Still, it wasn't easy, and it certainly made me count my blessings more and take a moment to have gratitude for all of the giving people in the world.
Celebrities such as Ben Affleck (who is taking the challenge to support the Eastern Congo Initiative), Sophia Bush and Josh Groban are all supporting Live Below the Line.
What about you? Will you take the challenge starting April 29th?
For more about Alicia's Living Below the Line challenge, tune in to E! News Thursday at 7 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.