Idol Chatter

by the Pop Culture Passionistas

A sitcom teen keeps her good deeds on the down low, a major mogul goes green and a DIY star lends a hand to build habitats. Here are this week’s most inspirational pop culture moments.

‘The Middle’ Star Won’t Toot Her Own Horn

Eden Sher plays the awkward teenage daughter Sue on the ABC sitcom “The Middle.” Charlie McDermott plays Axl her older, athletic brother. And while the two characters don’t always see eye to eye on the series it seemed in a recent exclusive interview that the pair actually get along great. In fact at one point Charlie joked, “We’re the only friends that we have.”

On “The Middle” Sue Heck is what you might call an underachieving overachiever. She is constantly trying to join school clubs and organizations but repeatedly fails. This eternal optimism is a trait that Sue shares with Eden in real life. Off camera, the young actress is very involved in charitable work. We asked her about her efforts with Al Campo International. She described it saying, “It is an organization working in Central America. They take a group of 15- to 18-year-olds and they teach you about sustainable agriculture and sustainable irrigation systems and you live with a host family for a month. And you do awesome work and you learn Spanish and have a jolly old time… and you surf.”

She seemed slightly reticent to talk about the charity, but she did state, “I’m saying this solely to promote it, because I think it’s an awesome organization and I think kids across the country should totally do this.”

We discovered that it’s not that Eden didn’t want to promote Al Campo International, it’s more that she doesn’t like to toot her own horn. Charlie clarified, “Most child actors that I know that do charity… they do it for publicity and for attention. And Eden tries to keep her stuff under wraps as much as possible. She doesn’t really like to talk about her stuff. She does it for real reasons, which is good. It’s not for any publicity or anything like that. She actually cares about the organizations and did it before she was in any type of public eye. It’s something she’s been doing for a long time.”

To find out more about Al Campo International visit their website.

Mark Cuban Goes Green at Home

Mogul Mark Cuban is known for being a tough as nails businessman. Tonight he brings his savvy to the “Shark Tank” and will have an opportunity to give some worthy entrepreneurs their big break. In a recent conference call interview, Cuban addressed the question of whether or not he takes eco-friendliness into consideration when he’s making decisions about his enterprises.

Although Cuban admitted to not being as educated as he could be on the green issues, he clearly is doing his part to for the environment on the home front. He confessed, “I can’t say that I’ve been a big investor in green companies simply because from the technological side, I’m not as tuned into it as I probably should be. It’s not really one of my strengths. But just from a personal perspective, I try to be as supportive as possible.”

He explained his family’s philosophy on environmental issues. “When in doubt, I always give the benefit of the doubt to an eco-friendly product or a green product. We do all the recycling things and we have classes with our kids where we teach our three kids about recycling. And we have points that we track on the wall literally from kids turning off the lights, not letting the water run, not leaving the TV on when you leave the room those types of things. So I try to be smart. I’m believer that I want to leave the planet a little bit better for my kids and their kids and their kids.”

Watch “Shark Tank” tonight at 8 p.m. EST/7 p.m. Central on NBC to see Cuban in action.

A DIY Host Works With Habitat for Humanity

Amy Matthews, host of two shows on the DIY network, “Sweat Equity” and “This New House,” went to school for opera and acting, but ended up combining her performance talents with her interest in carpentry. From a young age Matthews spent a few weeks each summer in a group work camp that would travel across the country doing service jobs, repairing and restoring homes for families in need. She said, “It was a pivotal turning point in the beginnings of my DIY [career].”

And now that she’s a professional she has carried her love of giving back into her adult life by volunteering each year with Habitat for Humanity. In a recent interview she remarked, “I just love them… I like how Habitat has progressed in its builds, acknowledging that where everything is so expensive, you’re not going to go building a bunch of new houses. So what are we going to do? We’re going to rehab the things that are in disrepair that are existing.”

Matthews has worked with the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project for the last five years doing their blitz builds. Last year she helped on a build in San Pedro, California, and this past year the job was in her hometown of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota. She recalled, “They were rehabbing homes, which was awesome to see… One neighbor said they looked out… on their street on either side and they realized out of the ten houses on their row, four of them were uninhabited and one had turned into a crack house. This was a great neighborhood through the years… so it was nice to see that get renovated.”

She also went to the Far East in ’09 on the Mekong build that took her to China, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. Matthews mentioned that rather than build 2×4 construction in Thailand they used concrete and masonry. She explained, “You build what’s there… When you look at that it just seems to make sense, too, because you’re building it to sustain in that environment. But also you’re including the work force, locally, that is able to help build or maintain.”

Matthews also pitched in with Habitat after Hurricane Katrina. She revealed, “[It] was great, but really challenging because we were at the end of a row of houses and not one of the other homes was being touched. They were in some form of not just disrepair but deconstruction where they should have either been gutted or completely leveled. And so here we are putting up this house at the end of the block for this homeowner… but still you’re sitting on a row of eight houses, there’s one that was habitable.”

She continued, “But the beauty of that situation is you really see people going, ‘This is my home, this is where I want to be.'” So she said, “The idea of all of that is how do you build sustainably? It’s simply going this is our climate, our environment and how to you build the right thing for that area. So I think with the Habitat project down there, too they were really trying to do the right thing.”

To learn more about Habitat for Humanity visit their website. Tune in to “This New House” on Wednesday nights at 8:30 p.m. EST/7:30 p.m. and then watch “Sweat Equity” on Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. EST/8 p.m. Central on DIY.


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