Freida Pinto, the Indian actress who shot to fame for her role in the Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire, says her passion in life goes beyond the film world. Speaking at a meeting headlined by First Lady Michelle Obama June 28, in Marrakech, Morocco, Pinto told the gathering of young girls she was committed to education even before she entered cinema. Pinto accompanied the First Lady Michelle Obama on the Morocco leg of her “Let Girls Learn” trip to several countries in Africa. Hollywood actress Meryl Streep was also present at the meeting in Dar Diafa Restaurant in Marrakech.
“I want to be the storyteller, a storyteller who’s responsible, who is enthusiastic, and who the people back there will listen and then take the story to the rest of the world, to the United States, to back home in India” Pinto said in her remarks following those of Michelle Obama.
“I have a passion, and my passion goes beyond what I do for my day job, which is acting and producing and being part of the film world,” Pinto said. Her stardom gave her the platform to further the idea of bringing education to the girl child. “… that start that I got in 2008 put my (sic) on a platform,” noting that she came from “a very simple, middle-class family,” and her parents “worked really, really hard to put me in the best possible school, the best possible college, get the best education they could afford.”
Even before Slumdog gave her a wider platform, Pinto said, she had been working to help girls who couldn’t get a basic education, with the help of her mother, who was also a teacher. With Slumdog fame, “I realized this voice that I got suddenly started becoming really powerful. I was setting somewhat of a trend,” Pinto said.
She went on to find the right organizations and people to move forward, among them Meryl Streep, and Mrs. Obama. “I have a lot to learn. I have a lot to learn from people like Meryl Streep, Isha (Moroccan activist), and Mrs. Obama,” Pinto gushed. “It’s important for girls to be able to stand their ground. It’s important for you to not be shy to raise your voices.” Streep and Pinto, along with Obama and her two teenage daughters, Sasha and Malia, also gathered at the King’s Palace to join Princess Lalla Salma for a traditional Moroccan iftar, a dinner to break the fast of Ramadan.