There’s no excuse for not voting, according to Rosario Dawson.
In face, Dawson flew cross country just to vote in the primary elections. “I was here in New York and I had just come in from Europe and it’s very privileged of me that I was able to do this, but I realized I didn’t set my schedule appropriately so I was going to miss voting in California for the primaries so I flew [back],” she told Variety at the Tribeca TV Festival presented by Tumi on Saturday in NYC. “I had just had our CFDA dinner and I jumped on a plane and went to LA, voted, and then came right back because I had to be here.”
And while she went out of her way to vote, she was disappointed in the overall turnout. “When you’re looking at all the messages and trending hashtags online, you would just imagine that we were going to have like 99% turnout and it was abysmal,” she explained. “I think it was like 25% of eligible voters voted, and that’s just a crisis. It’s a crisis of attention and of power. You can have great or not great people running but if people aren’t showing up and voting and holding their feet to the fire, then we’re going to continue having the same problems that we have. For me, I’m really rooting for the voter to really get out there and feel empowered and to know that their voice really matters.”
As for whether she’d consider running for office herself one day, Dawson didn’t rule it out. “Maybe down the line, long down the line, but not right now,” she told Variety.
During a conversation with “Orange Is the New Black” star Laverne Cox at Spring Studios, Dawson revealed how she grew up in a squat on the Lower East Side. “There was no water, heat or electricity when we first moved in…we had plastic windows, we had a hole in the floor, we had a plywood door for our door and siphoned energy with an extension cord that went from one of the buildings on the block,” she said.
And even now, with all of her success, she still feels guilty seeing people struggle. “That’s always something that’s really bothered me, like I’m going to go step over a homeless person on my way to a fundraiser and that fundraiser is going to be for Africans and there’s not even going to be any Africans there,” she said. She co-founded and launched Studio 189, a sustainable fashion line produced by local artisans in Ghana, to help give back.
Dawson also shared the story of how she landed her first acting role in “Kids.” “I was just sitting on my stoop and Harmony Korine said, ‘We’re making a movie, do you want to come audition?’ and I was discovered,” she recalled. “I always kept waiting for that Apollo hook to come over and yank me off the stage and say, ‘This kid went to Julliard, they really want to do this and you were just off the street.'”
“Activism and advocacy work has always been a big part of it because I was always like, ‘What if they don’t put the microphone back in front of my face? I gotta take advantage of it right now.’”’