Her "Smash" character has her sights set on winning the role of Marilyn Monroe in a Broadway musical, but off set Katharine McPhee has a more global goal: she's on a mission to end malaria-related deaths in Africa and has teamed up with Malaria No More in a "Dream Big" campaign, its centerpiece a contest with a once-in-a-lifetime prize.
Now through Feb. 16, people can enter by texting DREAM to 85944 for a chance to travel to Africa with McPhee this spring and visit the school she helped build in Burkina Faso and to Ghana to distribute life-saving mosquito nets. For each text entry, $10 will be donated to Malaria No More to treat a child for malaria. Entrants will receive a return link to an online form to submit their information and a sentence about their dream for Africa. Ten finalists will submit a blog and a video about why they should win.
"I share a dream with Malaria No More, and that's to see a day when no one is dying from malaria," says McPhee. "Until that day comes, I'm committed to fighting the disease and look forward to helping kids in Africa have a greater chance at achieving their dreams."
Playing "Smash" ingénue Karen is dream fulfillment for McPhee, who wanted to be an actress first and foremost, and studied theater in school, but took the music route of auditioning for "American Idol" "because I was frustrated with where I was and not getting through in the acting world. Little did I know that I would have a record deal and suddenly be a recording artist," she says. "I love musical theater and acting and film and television, so this is more than I could ever ask for."