Ian Somerhalder has a new photoshoot for Flaunt Magazine which could best be described as “70s demented preppy off his meds.” He’s shown in loud mismatched resort wear while brandishing a gun and generally looking crazy. This is the same publication that had Kirsten Stewart pose in a trashy outfit while smoking cigarettes in a trailer, which seems positively quaint when compared to the ridiculousness that is this photoshoot.
In terms of the interview, Somerhalder talks at length about the environmental causes he’s involved in, and the new technologies he’s excited about that will help us live greener, cleaner lives. I know a lot of you find him preachy and sanctimonious, but he doesn’t come across like that to me here. He’s a man with a cause and he’s young. He wants other people to get as fired up about it as he is, and that’s refreshing to see.
“Here is the problem: university and professional ego are what set us behind in the times.” Now, he’s in the penthouse suite on the eighth floor of the Beverly Hilton, sipping rosé after a successful six-hour shoot. Somerhalder is in L.A. to work on his documentary, and to grace our pages. He lives in Atlanta, where he shoots The Vampire Diaries, the CW network show based on the serial novels by L.J. Smith. It’s a show young girls love—a strategic move on his behalf. Young girls, says Somerhalder, are “the most powerful audience in the world. What you can change is the next generation; generational change is the only thing that’s going to shift the paradigm. I used to get so angry, but then you realize that’s just wasting energy. But if you focus your energy and realize that it all comes from education, and it’s the sharing of information that will eventually blend out the bureaucracies that exist now.” Information is something Somerhalder’s far from lacking…
But, as you may have inferred from Somerhalder’s lofty aspirations for the liege of young girls that covet his resolute gaze, his is not the same old actor story; Somerhalder is not a one-trick pony. In unveiling the Ian Somerhalder Foundation in January of this year, which is now active in 190 countries, he’s given voice to a militia of young followers, aptly calling themselves the ISF Kids Army. Through the foundation, Somerhalder testified before Congress at a conference on energy policy in Washington, D.C. last week; he’s been offered an ambassadorship for the United Nations Environmental Programme; he’s bought a 195-acre farm in Louisiana to invite students to learn how to build green bunkhouses; he’s been trying to win his mentor Allan Savory a Nobel Prize for slowing climate change through holistic farming by directing a (soon-to-be-finished) documentary; and he’s begun Go Green Mobile Power which is about to innovate the county of Los Angeles and two oil companies with solarised lights. He’s trying to create an “environmental keeping up with the Joneses.
“We look at things like deforestation in Brazil,” he continues, “and we always say, ‘Oh god, it’s a shame what they’re doing down there.’ What do you mean ‘down there’?! There is no ‘down there.’ It’s all the same f*#%ng sphere! We’re literally in each other’s backyards, there is just a nautical distance between us, and for some reason we don’t see these distances.”
Those nautical miles are something Somerhalder thinks about everyday, having grown up in the Gulf of Louisiana, in the marshes that BP destroyed. Suddenly his frutti di mare—the fish, the crab, the shrimp—was gone. Somerhalder’s ex-girlfriend’s uncle, Peter Seligmann, the CEO of Conservation International quickly became a confidant of his, as too did Deepak Chopra, whom he met at a telethon on Larry King Live for Gulf Aid. He then met Allan Savory, and what started as a plight to bring attention to global environmental issues, inspired him to invest in the project and get his hands even dirtier.
“I am fed more information on a daily basis than I know what to do with,” Somerhalder says, “but if you start to study the history of the most phenomenal thinkers of modern times, guys like Buckminster Fuller, who in the ’40s designed cars that ran on ethanol that got 60 miles to a gallon that transported four people…” He trails off, then bites again, “What I’m saying is that we are perpetually pushed backwards technologically. Now fine, [the pushing] has been done for years; I say it stops now. I say the generations to come will start to understand that alternatives are available to them. I’m not saying shut down oil companies. You can’t fight them—they’re too big. Wouldn’t it be better to show them really amazing technologies that they can actually invest their money in? Instead of putting together gigantic funds to battle them? That seems like a much better bet.” He makes a point.
And then somehow we begin to discuss an even deeper topic of humanity: love. To that, he offers this advice, “I think we’re in love all the time with various things,” and he detours, “I mean, I know what it’s like to be in love, trust me, and it’s a very interesting game because it always inextricably brings up our deepest darkest insecurities. It’s just a matter of being able to see them, appreciate them, squash them, and let them go before they get the best of you.”
It’s getting cold on the balcony and Somerhalder’s rosé is long gone, leaving the smudged fingerprints on his glass to reflect in the light through the hotel window. The sunlight has fallen from the sky and lights turning on sparkle across the horizon of the ever-decadent Beverly Hills—people are using energy at an alarming rate. Somerhalder spots four ducks flying overhead. “Where are they going?” he asks, and then louder toward the flock, “Where are you going?” He rights himself. “Probably to some rich person’s pond.” Somerhalder looks into the night. “There are seven billion people in this world going through all this crazy insanity and we’re part of it, trying to save this and conserve that. We’re trying to protect this, trying to teach that, and to learn this, and not learn that. There’s so much sh*t, I don’t know how you could be bored.”
[From Flaunt.com via ONTD]
Somerhalder has testified before congress, he’s started his own charity and he’s also funded a green energy company and has a big farm to show these principles at work. I would love it if more celebrities got into causes like this. It’s better than reading about another train wreck, or hearing someone bitch about how hard it is to be rich, famous and privileged beyond most of our wildest dreams. Yes he uses a lot of unnecessary big words and sounds like that pseudo intellectual douche in your college earth science class who was always lecturing you about something, but I like that. I find it interesting and I love to see someone put their money and effort where their mouth is.