The multi-faceted dedication of Patricia Arquette

By Sydney Radclyffe for Box News

An acclaimed actress, philanthropist, newly-minted writer and longtime friend of Box Media, Patricia Arquette wears many hats. We sat down to talk with Patricia about her career and creative pursuits. Patricia is a passionate activist in the field of sanitation systems in developing communities and a committed promoter of equality in the workforce.

Learn more about how she juggles it all while staying sane.

Passion and perseverance with international influence

With multiple awards on her shelves, including this year’s Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress, Patricia Arquette’s name is undoubtedly one of Hollywood fame. Arguably, she’s achieved as much off-screen as on it. 

Patricia formed the non-profit organisation GiveLove.org after the devastating Haiti earthquake of 2010. It supports the implementation of ethical, eco-friendly sanitation and composting, as well as broader community planning and construction projects. 

After the initial project in Haiti came initiatives in Kenya, Uganda, Colombia, and Nicaragua. 

Activism and change on home soil, too

Patricia’s US-focused activism re-emerged in 2015 when she used her visibility to advocate for equal wages and fair treatment of women in the film industry during her Academy Awards acceptance speech.

Her speech helped to galvanise the entire community and presaged the ongoing conversation around justice for women in Hollywood, a conversation that continues to hold the whole world’s attention.

Perhaps Patricia’s life can best be characterised by this contrast between the glamour of the red carpet and the hands-on work of charitable activism. Patricia is unfazed by this apparent dichotomy and has little sympathy for the more squeamish attitudes that some have about the causes she champions.

For Patricia, the key to raising awareness and real understanding of the problems faced by struggling, marginal or ‘far-flung’ communities is inter-community collaboration, an example being international school-to-school fundraising programmes.

Sharing the past to understand the future

Patricia is as much an educator as an entertainer. This year, she’s completing a long-awaited memoir taking us through her life and career, as well as the tragic death of her activist sister Alexis Arquette due to HIV. Painstakingly examining the effect of this on Patricia and her work, the volume promises to be equally poignant and illuminating.

Despite this latest literary turn, Patricia openly talks about having dyslexia and that for her, “writing is the most terrifying art form”. At the same time, the activity takes her back to childhood, when writing was a solitary act of self-soothing which her mother nurtured and encouraged.

Care for others, but make sure you care for yourself too

Although Patricia recognises the importance of self-care, she often has to remind herself to slow down and take care of her own needs. After experiencing some physical signs of ill health, doctors once told her to rest and forbid her from working, reading, or even watching serious films in the evening. Such symptoms, according to Arquette, are “really just an accumulation of many years of bad behaviour.”

Patricia brings a tireless work ethic and refuses to abdicate responsibility for her actions. If this is ‘bad behaviour’, then perhaps the world could use a little more of it.