Individuals of all economic strata are shedding their jobs, hometowns, and lifestyle to embrace a wider experience and a more meaningful existence.
Maria Elena Bello, born April 18th, 1967 in Norristown, Pennsylvania is an American actress and singer who has appeared in the movies Coyote Ugly, The Jane Austen Book Club, Permanent Midnight, Thank You for Smoking, A History of Violence, The Cooler and Payback. On television, she is well known for her role as Dr. Anna Del Amico on the NBC medical drama named ER. Her father is Italian American with roots in Montella, Italy and her mother is Polish American. She grew up in a working-class Roman Catholic family and graduated from Archbishop Carroll High School in Radnor, Pennsylvania. Later she attended Villanova University with a major in political science with the intention of becoming a lawyer. But, Maria took an acting class during her senior year and as they say - the rest is history. She was later cast in small off-Broadway plays, such as The Killer Inside Me, Small Town Gals With Big Problems and Urban Planning. She would do guest appearances on episodes of The Commish in 1991, Nowhere Man in 1995, Misery Loves Company during 1995, Due South in 1994 and on ER in 1997–98.
Her breakthrough came when producers Kerry Lenhart and John J. Sakmar cast her as Mrs. Smith in the spy show Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Even though the show was cancelled after eight weeks on the air, next came a guest stint on ER as the feisty pediatrician Dr. Anna Del Amico, in which she guest-starred in the final three episodes of the third season. Bello remained on the show for one more season as a regular cast member, departing after the medical drama's 4th season. Bello went on to act in movies and landed a role in Coyote Ugly. She was nominated for the Golden Globe award twice: for Best Supporting Actress in The Cooler in 2003 and for Best Actress in A History of Violence in 2005. Along the way she starred in The Jane Austen Book Club as Jocelyn. In 2008, Bello starred in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor as Evelyn O'Connell. In December 2008, Bello began developing a drama for HBO. Besides starring in the new series, Bello also served as an executive producer. She starred in the 2009 Sundance Film called The Yellow Handkerchief, which was released in theaters on February 26th, 2010 by Samuel Goldwyn Films.
In 2010 Bello also guest starred in two episodes of Law & Order: SVU. In 2011, Bello starred in the television series named Prime Suspect, which was canceled after 13 episodes. In her personal life she has a son by her former boyfriend, the writer and producer Dan McDermott.
Aside from being an internationally renowned actor and women’s rights activist Maria Bello is on of the co-founders of We Advance, a movement in Haiti that helps to empower women. She has starred in over 30 films and has gotten several nominations as well as awards for her acting, including the Golden Globe Awards and the NY Film Critic’s Awards. She began her career as an activist at Villanova University, where she majored in Peace and Justice Education and worked at the Women’s Law Project in Philadelphia. In 2009 she was voted one of the most powerful women in Hollywood for her activism for women in Darfur by Variety Magazine. Since 2008, she has worked in Haiti with Artists for Peace and Justice and Femmes en Democratie, a network of 300 Haitian female politicians, businesswomen and artisans. She raised funds and produced a women’s media campaign for the elections in November. She also spearheaded the opening of the women’s clinic in the Petionville Camp immediately following the earthquake. In September 2011, she joined President Martelly’s Advisory Council on Investing in Haiti, advocating for investments for women in the country. She is a member of CGI and works on gender policy within the Haiti Network.
In the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Bello, with Aleda Frishman, Alison Thompson, and Barbara Guillaume, founded a charitable foundation called We Advance - an organization that creates a grassroot movement empowering Haitian women to collaborate toward making healthcare a priority, and putting an end to Gender-based Violence (GBV) within their communities. The organization seeks to act as a central agency to network the organizations working on women's issues in Haiti, and to provide urgent care to women victimized by the disaster. Currently their programs are headquartered in one health clinic and one community outreach center in Cité Soleil, Haiti. We Advance is a movement to advance the health, safety, and well being of women throughout Haiti. Working in some of the poorest slums in all of the western hemisphere – Wharf Jeremy and Cité Soleil – where security issues deter the work of most international NGOs. We Advance starts from the bottom because it’s where they are needed the most and, as co-founder and activist, Barbara Guillaume, says:
“If we can change the worst of Haiti we can change all of Haiti.”
The We Advance story began with four women who found themselves in a position to coalesce a groundswell of support – primarily from other women – for a community devastated by natural disaster. The story has evolved to include the network, or dare they say movement, of women who have refused to take no for an answer. In the years since the 2010 earthquake ruined lives and created overwhelming health and security hardships for Haitian women, We Advance has delivered basic health services to over 30,000 patients in the worst slum in Haiti, has provided powerful and empowerfing community outreach and adult education programs, and has become a key advocate on both national and international levels. Through the lessons We Advance has learned, they have also formalized a model of agility and efficiency where many have failed. And they have done this with staggeringly small resources. But WE ADVANCE is also the story of their network that guides them, their clients who humble them, their donors who took risks and support them, and their partnerships with other NGOs who continue to honor We Advance through their own perseverance. In addition, We Advance owes a huge debt of gratitude to the community of Wharf Jeremy who worked with them every step of the way to prove that hope overcomes fear, compassion outweighs divisiveness, and hard work trumps apathy. We Advance is a true ‘David versus Goliath’ success story that they are immensely privileged to share. Their simple success brings into question the long held beliefs of traditional relief organizations. We Advance has proven that we are all stronger together than we are alone.
We Advance models an inclusive grassroots approach with a movement that collaborates with both other organizations and women from every socio-economic class. We Advance is a rights and community-based participatory program that empowers women’s minds, bodies and spirits and enables them to discover their own needs and priorities, benefiting the entire community. We Advance brings in volunteer experts to train local community leaders in the aspects of health, safety and education. The goal of We Advance is to, in the near future, leave these programs in the hands of Haitian women, the women who know best what they need and how to make it a reality.
In 2011, the actress's organization provided health resources and education to over 50,000 people in Haiti. She colorfully described We Advance as a conspiracy of these "fucking fierce, incredible women" who advance the health, safety, and well-being of women and girls throughout Haiti.
"I have always been an activist at heart, particularly for women’s rights. I started at 18 years old, studying peace and justice education in college and working on a women's law project in Philadelphia. I was on my way to law school to be a women's rights lawyer. But at the end of my junior year, I took an acting class as an elective. This was so clearly what I wassupposed to do. So I asked my mentor for advice and was told: You serve best by doing the thing you love most. Use all your bits and pieces and your passion. That's how you have the greatest capacity to serve..."
"So, for all of these years I've had the opportunity to have a large stage and platform because of my acting. When I first stepped foot in Haiti, I knew I was fucked for the rest of my life. It is an incredible place. All of my friends on the ground in Haiti are these fierce, incredible women. I'm totally inspired by their stories, what they accomplish in the grassroots. I've lived there half the time for the last five years. I have a clear vision, and always have, about women's full participation in the world. But Haiti - it’s so clear that women will lead the way. We are working with the State Department on social impact investing, trying to develop businesses and products that can sustain the people. So we don’t have to keep asking for money. We are in the middle stages on that. And we’re an employer as well. We have 36 people, including security drivers, nurses, and doctors. Everyone except one is Haitian."
25 episodes (1997–1998)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Blockbuster Entertainment Awards for Favorite Supporting Actress – Comedy/Romance
Patricia Olson / Patrica Crane / Sigrid Valdis
Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Nominated — National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress(2nd place)
Nominated — Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated — Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Assault on Precinct 13
A History of Violence
Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Performance
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Village Voice Film Poll - Best Supporting Performance
Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — London Film Critics Circle Award for Actress of the Year
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture Drama
Thank You for Smoking
Marcia Prior Glass
Dixie Film Festival Prize for Outstanding Actress in a Film
RiverRun International Film Festival's Jury Prize for Best Actress
World Trade Center
The Jane Austen Book Club
Butterfly on a Wheel
Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Female
The Yellow Handkerchief
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
Replacing Rachel Weisz, who played Evy in The Mummy and The Mummy Returns
Help advance the health, safety, and well being of women throughout Haiti in some of the poorest slums in all of the western hemisphere at Wharf Jeremy and Cité Soleil. We Advance directs assistance where security issues deter the work of most international NGOs - starting from the bottom because it is where your assistance is needed the most. Please click here make a donation today.
Yabanci is a book by a Dutch woman who moved from Holland to Turkey to start a new life in a Turkish village overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. A great read for those who are considering a move abroad or have lived in a different culture. Available in English as an ebook or in Dutch in both print and popular ebook formats...
take a look