Oliver Stark calls himself a "feminist" and stands firmly behind the Black Lives Matter movement in the US. The British actor says feminism is all about giving everyone a fair chance to grow and get ahead in life.
"For me, it (feminism) is about opportunities being evenly distributed. So, everybody has the ability and the path ahead of them to rise. And anything I can do to help that... I want to put myself there and do my best," Stark told IANS in an interview over the phone.
Do you feel more inclined to use your celebrity status to fight for issues that matter?
"For me, it is very important. Because if you are lucky enough to be in the job that gives you some kind of platform (to speak up), I think you should use that platform for what you believe in. I count myself as a feminist. I'm a vegan, so I believe in animal rights. I stand behind the Black Lives Matter here in the US. I want to help wherever I can," he added.
For Stark, it is not about standing for any or every cause.
"The most important thing is to be fully educated on it before you speak out. Because you cannot just say things out. I think if it is something an actor believes in and has an opinion on it, then there is no better way to use that platform."
The actor, who is enjoying a successful run of his show "9-1-1", aired in India on Star World, is happy about the conversations around gender equality, inclusion and women empowerment gaining mileage in the West.
He said: "People are becoming braver and are speaking up. They see that there is a community around them who will support them and power is being taken away from those who are against that movement."
And that is being reflected on the stories being churned out.
"The shows which have strong female characters are long overdue. I think there should be more and I am glad to see that there are more. There are fantastic female and diverse actors all around the world. I am glad to see that they are getting more recognition and being pushed into light more and more."
Stark, who was born in London, is proud to be part of a show which stands for equality. "9-1-1", also featuring Angela Bassett, Aisha Hinds, Peter Krause and Connie Britton, is about the life of first responders, including police officers, paramedics and firefighters.
Taking inspiration from real life incidents, the show explores how they put their life in danger to save the lives of strangers. Stark is seen as a firefighter in the series.
"The show is ahead of the curve, really. It was in production before the movement began," he said.
"We don't think about the first responders until we need them. Like I don't unconsciously think everyday about these people and their lives, but that is what they are doing. I hope (through the show) we have given some kind of insight to the fact that these are real people who risk their life every day for complete strangers."
Stark, who got his first breakout role with martial arts drama "Into the Badlands" and has also featured in "Underworld: Blood Wars", "Hard Tide and "Montana", described working on "9-1-1" as living a dream.
"It has been the most positive, exciting experience of my whole life. I am pinching myself every day that I get to be in the show and live this life at the moment," added the actor, who is preparing for the second season of the show and enjoying his time off.
(Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at email@example.com)
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