Drawing Hope, a global charitable organization that supports victims of rape and sexual abuse through art — specifically, the pointillism art project Points with a Purpose devised by the nonprofit's co-founder David Ilan — held a gala benefit with a masquerade theme that drew celebrities including Shantel VanSanten, AnnaLynne McCord, Dominic Purcell, Ariel Winter and Garret Morris, who revealed his own history of abuse.
"I'm a survivor myself. A male and two ladies abused me when I was a kid," confided "2 Broke Girls" star Morris. "I managed to make it out but a lot of people aren't able to do that. This organization helps people who need psychological support, a place of refuge to go, rehab," he said, stressing the importance of victims speaking up and reaching out for help. On a lighter note, he's having "a marvelous time" playing Earl on the hit CBS sitcom. "I don't have to stretch much, it's an easy job. And a fun set, one of the best I've ever worked on." That says a lot, since he's been in showbiz for over 50 years — for which he's grateful. He still does standup comedy and is preparing to act in an untitled comedy film with Rob Reiner and Bob Newhart. Formerly a two-pack-a-day smoker, he's reducing his pollution output by using an electronic cigarette. "I'm down to a pack every two or three days," he reported.
For "One Tree Hill" star VanSanten, who's an ambassador for the organization True Beauty, which promotes self-esteem, it was a natural progression to become involved with Drawing Hope, especially when she met the honoree to whom she was presenting: Pranaadhika Sinha, a rape survivor who crusades on behalf of abuse victims in India, where sex education is not taught. "So many victims of rape and molestation struggle with identity crises to the point of dealing with eating disorders and things like that," she said.
On April 4, the CW will air the "One Tree Hill" two-hour series finale, which VanSanten calls "very quiet, simple and meaningful." Saying goodbye was "bittersweet" for her, "but the more I've had time to sit with it, the happier I am with it," she said. She misses the "small town mentality" of Wilmington, N.C., where the show was shot, but is glad to be back in L.A., where she's auditioning for TV and film roles. If she had her choice, she'd love to do a period piece, perhaps a war film. As for her green practices, "I always recycle and refill water bottles. It's the little things we can do — it doesn't have to be buying hybrid cars or putting solar panels on the roof."
McCord (pictured left), who received the "Heart of Hope" award from "Modern Family's" Ariel Winter (pictured below), got involved because she is a dedicated supporter of the anti-sex-trafficking nonprofit the Somaly Foundation in Cambodia. "I thought we could raise awareness together," she explained. Coming up on "90210," "We have a huge wedding, and Naomi plays a part in it. I can't say what," she said, noting that the character "has come a long way" since the show started. The set is eco-conscious when it comes to plastic reduction. "We cut out plastic water bottles altogether. Everyone brings their own canteen," said McCord, who drives an economical Mini Cooper. "It gets like 45 miles to the gallon."
She doesn't know whether the show will return to the CW for a fifth season, but has plenty to keep her busy either way. She left for Cambodia the following day, and subsequently planned to join boyfriend Purcell ("Prison Break") in Spain, where he'll be shooting the action drama "Tell No Tales." Together nearly a year, they met on the set of the movie "Officer Down," in which she plays a Russian exotic dancer and he plays a strip club owner. "I get killed and there's a lot of voiceovers and flashbacks, and a couple of twists to my story because it isn't exactly as it appears." In another film awaiting release, an indie called "Excision," McCord plays a "disturbed, delusional" character, "a lot of fun as an actress."
Purcell has several movies in the can, including "Bad Karma" with Ray Liotta, and "Vikingdom," an action flick due out next year. While he wont give up his truck, he does try to be conscious otherwise, especially when it comes to recycling.
Winter is diligent about that too, as well as turning off unused water and lights. "Every time I see my friends drop something on the floor I tell them to pick it up right away," she added. Upcoming "Modern Family" episodes involve her dad (Ty Burrell) trying to create some special memories with her character Alex ("of course, he tries and fails") and Alex going to prom at the end of the season.
Reid Ewing, who recurs as Dylan on "Modern Family" and will be seen in an upcoming episode set at Disneyland, said he cares "a lot about the environment, about the earth and animals," adding that the best decision he made after moving to L.A. five years ago was adopting his Beagle mix, a rescue dog. On the big screen, he'll play a "nice stalker" in "Crush," and "a frat boy obsessed with cougars" in the "super campy" movie "Sleeping Around." Virginia Williams ("Fairly Legal") plays the object of his affection.
"I Hate My Teenage Daughter" star Aisha Dee got involved with Drawing Hope because she liked the way they foster candid dialogue and accentuate the positive side of a serious issue. "I think we need to be able to celebrate life and what makes us beautiful," she said. She's enjoying her role on the Fox sitcom, on which "every show is centered around a really monumental teenage experience — big dances, a vacation, and graduation eventually, a few years down the road." A diligent recycler, she's especially encouraged to see corporations like Fox take the green initiative. "It's great for people to do things individually, but when huge corporations do it, it can make such a difference," she said.
Fresh off the Justin Bieber tour, teen singer Jasmine V was glad to perform and support at the gala, and applauded the organization for "giving girls the chance to speak out." Currently working on her debut album, she'll have a video out on March 27. "I don't litter. I turn off the lights when I'm not in the room. I'm working on getting my license," she said. "I wanted an Audi but now I'm thinking of getting a Prius."
Photos: Todd Williamson/WireImage