Most celebrities are content just showing up places and getting paid, but for others that's not enough. Some celebrities want to use their spotlight to advance their political or social beliefs and throw their considerable weight behind their favorite projects or candidates.
Playing on a hit TV show set in Washington D.C. may have rubbed off on Kerry Washington. As Olivia Pope on ABC's "Scandal," she fixes political messes. In real life, Kerry volunteers her time for causes such as awareness and funding of programs related to cancer in women and violence against women and girls. She is also a member of the Creative Coalition.
Although Matt Damon tends to play subdued characters in his movie roles, he is very outspoken when it comes to political and social causes. As a co-founder of Safe-Water charity Water.org, Damon works towards developing clean water programs in developing countries.
Known for playing Gaby on "Desperate Housewives," actress Eva Longoria parlayed her celebrity status into that of an activist for the Latino community. Eva has urged President Obama to make changes to current immigration policies and has worked with businesses to invest in the economic development of Hispanic neighborhoods.
Although being born in Austria prevents Arnold Schwarzenegger from being President, it didn't stop him from being the Governor of California. The former bodybuilder and actor first ran for (and won) the election during a 2003 recall and was re-elected in 2006. Although his term expired in 2011, Arnold has still been an active supporter of the Republican Party and endorsed candidate Mitt Romney.
The Haitian-born musician Wyclef Jean has been active in supporting citizens of his native Haiti since 2001 when he created "Yele Haiti," a charity that provides funding for education and disaster relief. In 2010, Wyclef attempted to run for President of Haiti but his application was rejected due to a residency requirement. He continues to remain active in the Haitian political community.
Since leaving her famed daytime talk show, Oprah Winfrey has spent much of her energy (and money) on being an activist. Her influence in politics was so strong during President Obama's campaign that it was dubbed "the Oprah effect." In addition to her involvement in US politics, she also opened and funded a girls' school in South Africa.
Actress Angelina Jolie grew tired of her rebellious antics and shifted her focus onto global causes. She began by fighting for the protection of refugees in Cambodia and later other countries. She was named a Goodwill Ambassador for the UNHCR and she created the Jolie-Pitt Foundation with her partner, Brad Pitt.
While movie fans may know Clint Eastwood as "Dirty Harry," the citizens of Carmel, California also know him as Mayor Eastwood. Clint has long been involved in politics and even though he is in his 80s, he doesn't show signs of stopping, not even after being mocked for talking to an empty chair at the 2012 Republican National Convention.
Billy Joe Armstrong
As the front man for punk band Green Day, Billie Joe Armstrong uses his music for political commentary. He was openly critical of George W. Bush and later endorsed and supported Barack Obama. Although he has expressed his beliefs in interviews and appearances, much of it is still exhibited through his creative works, especially the Green Day albums "American Idiot" and "21st Century Breakdown."
Actor and director Sean Penn has been openly active in political and social causes since 2002 when he visited Iraq to protest Bush's plans for a military attack. In the years since, Sean has put his time and money into helping victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Haitian earthquake of 2010. He has also been a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage.
As a famous comedienne and sitcom star, Roseanne has never been known to hold her tongue, a trait she has recently brought into the political realm. In the early 2010s, Roseanne became a very vocal member of the Green Party. In 2012, Barr ran for President on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket, but wound up receiving less than 0.1% of the popular vote.