for anything or anyone."
W hen Kimberley Crossman went to India to visit her sponsored child, she was upset to learn that young girls in the community would often skip meals because they feared for their lives if they were to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
"It was a real wake-up call for me," recalls the Celebrity Treasure Island favourite. "As someone who suffers from anxiety and depression, I'm scared of things like not fulfilling my potential as a creative artist, but I don't live in fear for my own safety, which must just be so paralysing."
Yet Kim tells Woman's Day the people were so joyful because Kiwi sponsors like her were making such a difference by bringing education and sanitation to their village, near the city of Putna. And the women she met were often more concerned about her wellbeing.
The actress laughs, "They were so worried that I was a single woman nearing 30 who didn't have any children. They were giving me advice, like, maybe if I work hard enough, someone will want to marry me!"
The high point of Kim's 2019 trip as a World Vision ambassador was meeting her sponsored five-year-old girl Megha. The former Shortland Street star, now 31, remembers, "I'd been sending her colourful hairclips and she was wearing every single one of them. She's just this energetic bundle of joy – a tomboy who loves cricket and has a beautiful smile."
During the pandemic, Kim was upset to lose contact with Megha. "The virus hit India hard and then there were those horrible earthquakes," she tells. "For about six months, I didn't know whether she was dead or alive." It's only recently that she was overjoyed to hear the wee girl is alive and healthy.
"But unfortunately, because of COVID, all the effort that's gone into helping women out of poverty and educating them has taken a massive backstep. Millions of girls are now at risk of being sold off as child brides. It's heartbreaking."
This impending tragedy is the reason why Kim is fronting World Vision's 1000 Girls campaign, which aims to get a thousand young women sponsored by Children's Day on November 20. She says, "It's just a drop in the bucket, but having visited, I know that when you're sponsoring one child, you're really helping four because of your contribution to the community.
"It was so inspiring seeing these educated 12-year-old girls find their voices, help younger girls who weren't as privileged, and teach their parents about hygiene and nutrition. I was so filled with pride because it was the contribution of just a handful of New Zealanders who'd enabled that to happen."
Since Treasure Island, when not helping her niece and nephews with their lockdown home-schooling, Kim has been busy shooting The Brokenwood Mysteries and the upcoming sitcom Raised By Refugees.
She's also excited about the January premiere of her comedy God Save The Queens, in which she plays a Miley Cyrus-style musician alongside Peter Facinelli, Michelle Visage and an army of fabulous drag queens. She grins, "I get to live my fantasy of being a pop superstar with lots of crazy costumes – without even opening my mouth to sing, thank God!"
Last week, Kim flew back to Los Angeles to star in another top-secret project. All she'll say is, "It involves me playing golf and I totally oversold my golfing abilities, although I did once play in a celebrity tournament with Caitlyn Jenner, who was awesome."
Her filming schedule means she'll miss Christmas with her family in Auckland, but Kim says, "My career is still my number-one focus. I probably put too much importance on it, which is something I'm trying to work on, but I get such joy from working and being of service to others."
As for those Indian women's concerns she's still single and childless, Kim laughs, "I feel fine about it. As Candy Lane says, you're only as old as you feel and I still feel as if I'm in my late teens. I had my tarot cards read recently and was told I've got two 'spirit children' waiting for me, but they should get comfortable in the spirit world because I feel like I've got time – J.Lo had kids at 40!
"I don't feel like becoming a mum is the definition of success for me right now. I've got amazing nieces and nephews, and I've got Megha as well, so I feel really fulfilled in terms of family. I'm not searching
for anything or anyone."
for anything or anyone."
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Make a difference to a whole community by sponsoring a child at worldvision.org.nz, where you can also join stars like Kim, Toni Street and Matilda Green in downloading the free children's e-book Stories From Girls Who Dared To Dream, which teaches Kiwi kids about courage, kindness and what matters most.
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