Hubert Burda Media

Luke Evan's Philanthropic Works

Ahead of the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, the actor took time to join Save the Children in Mumbai.

A regular on the silver screen since his breakthrough role as Greek god Apollo in Clash of the Titans (2010), Welsh actor Luke Evans is no stranger to the spotlight. Well-recognised for his roles in the Fast & Furious franchise (2013 and 2015) and psychological thriller The Girl on the Train (2016), he has also carved out time for philanthropic work, rolling up his sleeves to join in on-the-ground efforts while bringing attention, in particular, to the plight of underprivileged youths.

Besides being an ambassador of The Prince’s Trust (a UK youth charity founded by Prince Charles and Frederick John Pervin), Evans is also a spokesperson for Bulgari’s chosen charity, Save the Children, an international NGO that  aims to give children all around the world the opportunity to learn and protection from harm.

But this commitment to ensuring a healthy start to life for all young people was not a cause he consciously pursued at the start. “I guess I realised more and more that if you’re not given opportunities as a child to learn how to read and to write, and to understand the simplest things that we take for granted, you have few opportunities to grow up and do anything with your life,” the 37-year-old tells Prestige over the phone from Mumbai, India where he was visiting slum communities. “Children are great hopes. They are our future, our legacy.”

What is most memorable about your trip to Mumbai?

It has been a really thought-provoking and moving experience, going to the slums in Mumbai. Twenty million people live in Mumbai and 9 million live in slums. So you can imagine how many of those are children — children that don’t get to go to school for the opportunity to learn even just the basics, like reading and writing. These numbers are painfully staggering and they really do hit home the importance of charities like Save the Children and the work they are doing.

Did it change your perception about life in any way?

Of course. Every person I’ve met has been really inspiring and it has made me think about how lucky I am as a human being, just by the fact that I was born in a different country and had the opportunity to receive an education — the simplest of things which I’ve always taken for granted. Honestly, I don’t see why the opportunities a child has in the UK should be any different from what a child receives here in India. There’s a big divide. But what’s impressive and what I have been able to observe first-hand is the work that Save the Children and Bulgari have done here in Mumbai, providing training and educational materials that are helping these children gain a much better understanding of reading and writing than before.

What is it about Bulgari as a brand that speaks to you?

Representing them has been great. I like watches; I like wearing a nice watch. I can understand the brand and I can identify with the product. But what I didn’t realise when I became an ambassador for Bulgari was that it had this strong and long-standing connection with Save the Children. Inadvertently, I began doing work for [the charity] but when I started to find out more, I realised how much of an impact it makes — how it helps children in some of the most underprivileged parts of the world. And I thought, this is a really good thing.

What does time mean to you?

I know I don’t have enough of it. Time is precious and you should always devote time to the right things. I feel that devoting my time to Save the Children here in Mumbai — instead of being on a film set, at a premiere or attending an event — has been time wisely spent for me.

If you had all the time in the world, how would you spend it?

I would spend it with loved ones. Some peaceful place where the weather is warm and where I can see the sea.

If you could turn back the clock, is there anything you would have done differently in your life?

No, I’m not one for regrets. You can’t change the past — you can only make the future. Even if tomorrow never comes, the past is always behind you. So just live in the present and make the best decisions that you can.