Rosario Dawson is best known for her career as an actress on a string of Marvel shows like “Luke Cage” and a recent stint on “Jane the Virgin.”
But on Tuesday, she introduced the world to her latest starring role in an Australian environmental awareness campaign called “Save Ugly.”
Directed by Dawson’s “Death Proof” co-star, Zoë Bell, “Save Ugly” aims to raise awareness about the creatures who are perhaps less popular and appealing than the cute animals taking over our Instagram feeds, but who are responsible for keeping the planet healthy.
Dawson is the star of the musical short, dressed as a moth, and dancing through a fancy set that looks like “Sesame Street” set in the wilderness. Dawson sings to the puppets of creepy crawly creatures voiced by actors like Cate Blanchett and Joel Edgerton.
“These are creatures that are becoming endangered, she says. “I would have never known about it if it wasn’t for this.”
It wasn’t just the chance to raise awareness for this cause that drew Dawson to the project, it was also the chance to collaborate with her old friend, Bell. “I couldn’t say yes fast enough,” Dawson said when she heard Bell’s pitch.
“I love Zoë so much. We’re talking about becoming ‘ZoRo’ and doing a couple of projects together,” she says. “This is the beginning of a whole other direction we’re going in.”
Dawson welcomes the change of attitudes toward women when they take on writing and directing.
“A few years ago, I don’t think we would have gotten as much support as we’ve gotten now,” she says. “I know that because I’ve only worked with a handful of women directors in 24 years of acting.”
For Dawson, it’s not just about saving the creatures in the “Save Ugly” campaign, but also how to sustain the planet, yourself and your community.
It’s about fighting off fatigue when fighting for what you believe in.
“So many of these causes and issues get ignored when something else trends,” she says. “I work a lot in West Africa, and when Ebola hit, people couldn’t raise enough money for cholera. But it’s still there. We can’t forget what else needs attention.”
Lately, she says she has paid more attention to self-care so she can keep her work and activism strong – even when it feels like the progressive causes she cares about are losing ground.