Robert Gauthier—Los Angeles Times/Contour by Getty Images
April 19, 2016

A lot of celebrities know how to raise awareness. Charlize Theron is different. First, she is deeply, deeply involved in the actual work of her foundation, the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project; for the past nine years she has spent a lot of time in southern Africa with young people, helping them protect themselves from HIV. Second, she’s incredibly results-oriented and knows her programs really well. And third—and this is what makes her particularly effective with people who can make stuff happen—she’s not afraid to say what’s on her mind. I’ve never met anyone who holds less back. That means people trust her, which helps spread her influence. We’ve been giving kids shoes for 10 years at Toms, and what we’ve found is that making kids feel special is just as important as putting shoes on their feet. Charlize’s work is the same: the work she’s doing is important, but the way she goes about it, by building kids’ self-esteem, is just as valuable.

Mycoskie is the founder of Toms Shoes

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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