UPDATE (December 2010): Makeup maven Sue Devitt has taken her philanthropic efforts even further since this time last year, when she appeared in our November/December 2009 issue. In May, she returned to Africa with the Africa Foundation, this time helping to deliver 75 Hippo Water Rollers to communities on Namibia’s Skeleton Coast. “I believe that rolling up your sleeves and leading by example is as important as writing a check,” says Devitt. “It also gives me the opportunity to get to know the women of Africa, who live forever in my heart. Their spirit, honesty and incredible work ethic inspire me every day.” Devitt’s charitable crusades extend beyond Africa: She recently launched the limited-edition Golden Temple Effusion Eau de Toilette ($65; barneys.com), a blend of rainforest woods, lilies and wild red berries that’s inspired by Thailand’s bamboo forests. A percentage of the proceeds will be donated to Blue Planet Network and used to help bring safe drinking water to Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle region. For more information about Blue Planet Network, visit blueplanetnetwork.org.
On a trip to Africa in 2008, Australian makeup artist Sue Devitt visited Tanzania and was shocked to see the local Masai women lugging heavy water jugs on their backs for two and a half miles every day in the sweltering heat. “In New York we get a little crazy when stuck in traffic in the middle of summer heading to our houses in the Hamptons,” she says. “And here they were struggling just to bring water into their daily lives.” Devitt had traveled to the continent with the Africa Foundation, an organization that aims to empower and protect communities through sustainable building projects and conservation programs. Because hydration is a main component of her eponymous beauty line, Devitt decided to make water issues her primary cause. When she returned the following year, she brought 50 Hippo Water Rollers, a South African brand of large containers that holds nearly 20 times more water than the jugs the Masai were hauling. Best of all, the Hippo containers easily roll on the ground. “We want to empower them,” Devitt says, “by giving them resources so that they can help themselves.” This fall Devitt released the Sunset on the Serengeti Eye Palette, hydrating shadows in the golden shades of the region, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Africa Foundation’s Hippo Water Roller program. “I think that when you’re attaching your name to something, you really need to be in the trenches and know what’s going on,” she says. “You can fake it, but that’s not my style.” Next up, Devitt is developing an eye shadow, inspired by a recent visit to the Solomon Islands in Melanesia, to help raise funds for the Coral Reef Initiatives for the Pacific. For more information about the Africa Foundation, visit africafoundation.org.