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Madeleine Stowe, Star Of 'Revenge,' Reveals True Passion With Haiti Work

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Madeleine Stowe may play a scheming socialite on ABC's primetime soap "Revenge," but don't think the 53-year-old actress is anything like her on-screen persona in real life. Stowe, who earned a Golden Globe nomination for her role on "Revenge," admits her true passion is her charity work in Haiti.

Stowe spoke to The Huffington Post about her work in the recovering Caribbean country and admits that, while she enjoys her work acting, Hollywood's "vanity parade" is something she could do without.

"Revenge" is full of twists and turns -- and lots of backstabbing. Have you ever plotted revenge on anyone in real life?

Well, gosh. Sometimes when you're married you have angry moments, so you've thought about it. I think it's human nature.

There's a saying that "Revenge is a dish best served cold." Do you agree?

I've found that if I've had ill feelings for somebody, time will usually take care of it. It's nothing I ever have to do or aggressively pursue, and eventually it plays itself out.

You do a lot of charity work in Haiti.

I've been doing work with an organization that serves 900,000 people [called Artists for Peace and Justice]. We've built the first free secondary school in Haiti and we're going to have 3,000 pupils there. It's the vision of a doctor who is a complete bad-ass Catholic priest [The Rev. Richard "Rick" Frechette]. I'm very devoted to them and it's the part of my life that fulfills me.

Haiti has been impoverished for so long. Do you ever have moments of doubt that it will get better?

Oh yeah, of course. There is a possibility of a permanent underclass. The first time I went there -- a year and a half before the earthquake -- I was staggered. We went to an area where the U.N. wouldn't go; there was no electricity, no running water, open sewage and a mother in desperation tried to pass her child into the car because she couldn't provide for her. That was a particularly striking moment, but bit by bit the work gets done.

Is it weird to go back and forth from such extreme wealth and pampering in Hollywood to such extreme poverty in Haiti?

It's ridiculous, but I also feel I was a little bit bred for it because of my upbringing as a child. It's not unnatural to me. My father was very ill so I was involved in being his nursemaid. There were a lot of unanswerable questions for me growing up and this has answered many of the questions. I feel exhilarated when I'm there and I feel connected and it saves me, when I have real moments of doubt about what it is I do and feel conflicted about wearing all these beautiful clothes. That has very little importance to me. My work in Haiti is what drives me. It's made my life very dear and worth living; I feel compelled to do this. When I'm there, I feel alive.

More alive than walking the red carpet at the Golden Globes?

It's lovely. It's a great vanity parade, but I can do without it.


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