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Interview: Robert Piper

Robert Piper: How do you stay healthy?

AnnaLynne McCord: That’s not one of my strong suits. Thankfully, my girlfriend, who’s a nutritionist, helps me in that department as much as possible. I recently discovered that I’m highly intolerant to gluten, which I thought was going to ruin my life forever, and it has not ruined my life.

It’s so important that people get tested and find out what they’re allergic to, because they might be struggling with their weight or health issues and not realize that they’re actually just allergic to the food they’re eating. My whole life, I thought that I was allergic to every tree, like the pollen. What I didn’t realize was, literally, for twenty-six years, my nose and eyes watered all day long. Elaina, my girlfriend, finally was like, “Go off gluten for one week.” My nose and eyes stopped watering, and all of a sudden, the results were very clear.

RP: Can you explain some of the charity and activism work you do?

AM: Yes, that’s the stuff that makes me happy. I work with an anti-human-trafficking organization in Cambodia called AFESIP, a French acronym that stands for “helping women in distressing situations.” The founder [Somaly Mam], a survivor of human trafficking, [has] rescued over seven thousand girls. I am a survivor of sexual assault, and those girls and Somaly have rescued me from my own—I call it a “mental brothel” because I was in my own suffering in my mind—and they really set me free.

So that obviously is everything to me because it saved my life. I was going to end my life, and this has changed my entire—it’s turned my world upside down, being involved. So I go to Cambodia a few times a year. We do fundraising and ambassador work on the U.S. side. Awareness is a big part of it because it’s not that people don’t care; it’s that people don’t know.

I also work with an amazing organization in New Orleans called St. Bernard Project. They’ve been working for ten years, hard to believe, [with] victims of Katrina and the Gulf [spill]. It’s obvious that the stigma is quite strong around that, and St. Bernard Project has become the first organization in all of the New Orleans area to offer free mental health care.

Everything that I’m involved in, I can become a little bit of a crusader. I’m very passionate, but it always has a message of “Let’s get this stuff out on the table.” I feel like we are so much more comfortable sweeping things under the rug and putting on a brave face, and to me, sweeping under the rug is a coward move, not a brave move at all. I want to get out there and have a conversation.

AnnaLynne McCord is an actor, writer, director, and activist. She contributes to several charities and helps raise funds for Somaly Mam, an advocacy group against human sex trafficking. She wrote, directed, and starred in a short film, I Choose. She writes a column for SheRa called “The Naked Truth with AnnaLynne.”

THEANNALYNNEMCCORD.COM | ICHOOSECAMPAIGN.COM | NEWSOMALYFUND.ORG | STBERNARDPROJECT.ORG

PHOTO: NEAVE BOZORGI

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