War of THE ROSES
There is still a long way to go in the fight against breast cancer but Elizabeth Hurley, in full support of Estée Lauder’s Pink Ribbon initiative, remains undaunted. By SC Chua.
At 48, Elizabeth Hurley still sizzles with her flawless skin, toned arms, and smouldering eyes. The former model and actress first caught the media’s attention in 1994, wearing That Dress (a black Versace number held together with gold safety pins), accompanying thenboyfriend Hugh Grant to the premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral, and was quickly signed on as an Estée Lauder spokesmodel despite her lack of modelling experience and her age of 29, which most in the industry might consider a little old.
Hurley has starred in many of the beauty brand’s advertising campaigns since, lending Estée Lauder her own brand of femininity and elegance. Her rise to fame was also the start of her acting career; Hurley charmed audiences in several movies including Serving Sara, EDtv, Bedazzled, and Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, followed by more recent TV appearances such as Gossip Girl. These days, the star has taken a back seat in showbiz to focus on her swimwear line, Elizabeth Hurley Beach, of which Elle McPherson, Katy Perry, Kate Moss, and Nicole Scherzinger are said to be huge fans.
MEMORIES OF LOVE
While she’s no longer the face of Estée Lauder, Hurley continues to work with the company, especially on its Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) Campaign, a personal passion of hers. “Just after I started as an Estée Lauder model in 1995, Evelyn [Lauder] asked me to help her with the BCA Campaign, and we became good friends,” she says. “My grandmother had recently died of breast cancer, so it is a cause very close to my heart. This is a disease that knows no boundaries and does not discriminate, touching everyone in every country around the world.”
Losing her grandmother in 1992 was cataclysmic for Hurley. Women like her grandmother kept their health fears to themselves, afraid to share such concerns with even close family and friends, which is why Hurley believes it is essential to educate both women and men about the disease, particularly in terms of prevention and early detection. Her ongoing efforts to raise funds for breast cancer research include working with health institutions such as the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) and Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre in Pakistan. One of her most memorable fundraising dinners with the latter saw the auction of designer watches, fine jewellery, and an exclusive training session with cricket legends Imran Khan and Wasim Akram.
“As Evelyn used to say, ‘Knowledge is power.’ I believe that knowledge includes knowing your own body as well as the facts about maintaining good health and preventing illness. It is why I am dedicated to spreading awareness around the world.”
For her efforts, Hurley was awarded the Humanitarian Award by the BCRF in 2009. Furthermore, a BCRF-funded grant at the Royal Marsden hospital in the UK is funded in her honour. “On a personal level, it is extremely rewarding to work on the BCA campaign, and I know that my grandmother would be very proud to see me carry out Evelyn’s mission by serving as a voice for breast health and early detection,” shares Hurley. Here, the star elaborates on her cause.
Evelyn Lauder and Elizabeth Hurley in 2010