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Maria Shriver

Tell Me More: Maria Bello

Image: Actress Maria Bello
Actress Maria Bello arrives at the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, Calif. on March 1, 2014. DANNY MOLOSHOK / Reuters

As an actress, Maria Bello has delivered performances that have been critically lauded, nominated and awarded. From her intense and visceral performance in 2005’s “History of Violence,” to her most recent work in 2013’s “Prisoners,” she has shown a consistent and uncanny capacity to create characters that feel deeply rooted, complex and true. But as committed as she is to her work as an actress -- her thirty plus credits span the worlds of both television and film -- she is devoted to her work as a social justice and women’s rights activist.

Activism, in fact, is where Bello began her career, working at the Women’s Law Project in Philadelphia in 1987 and co-founding her first NGO, The DreamYard Drama Project, in Harlem in 1997. Today, Bello sits on the advisory board of Artists for Peace and Justice and is hard at work with WeAdvance a women’s rights based group she co-founded based in Cite Soleil, Haiti, which supports efforts in education, health and empowerment. Bello is also a partner in Gate Global Impact, which is working to fulfill the demand for socially responsible impact investing.

The actress and activist made headlines at the end of last year with her powerful op-ed for the New York Times titled “Coming Out as a Modern Family.” Her son’s response upon learning that she was romantically involved with her best friend, a woman, was a profound summation of his mom’s deeply thoughtful and heartfelt essay: “Mom, love is love, whatever you are,”

Here, Bello, who will be back in theaters this year with director Paul Haggis’ next movie “Third Person” (out in June) and in Disney’s upcoming “McFarland” opposite Kevin Costner, shares her thoughts on integrity, honesty and success.

What does honesty mean to you?

Living my authentic self in every moment: the light, the dark, the ugly, and the beautiful.

What makes you feel loved?

When people share their authentic selves with me.

What qualities does a remarkable man possess?

Compassion, honesty, humor, authenticity.

What qualities does a remarkable woman possess?

Ditto.

What question stumps you?

"How are you doing today?"... My mood changes constantly!

What is power?

Knowing yourself and allowing the universe to express itself through you.

What is success?

Being fully present in the moment.

Describe one aspect of your dark side.

The self flagellation that comes with motherhood.

What does integrity mean to you?

Walking your talk.

For more information and inspiration visit MariaShriver.com