If you follow Allison Williams on Instagram, chances are your feed is currently inundated with her posts. But unlike most celebrities and "influencers," she's shilling product for a worthy cause: For the second year in a row, the actress is launching her "10 Days of Giving" social media campaign to raise money for Horizons National, a nonprofit that provides summer learning programs to students from low-income communities.
Twice each day at noon and 4 p.m. on Instagram and Facebook, from July 18 to July 27, Williams will post one or more items from brands like Keds, Ralph Lauren, and Jennifer Meyer that you can buy at awloveshorizons.org and all of the proceeds will go to Horizons National. "You can unfollow as soon as it's over if you want," she recently told InStyle.com by phone. Here, Williams talks more about the organization and what she's up to this summer.
You've been working with Horizons National for a while now. How did you first get involved?
I grew up in New Canaan, Conn., which hosted the first-ever Horizons National back in the '70s. It was completely woven into the fabric of my school: Over the summer, our campus would transform into Horizons campus. My brother was an assistant there, my mom was on the board, and my dad and I were always involved. It's always been something I cared a lot about. Luckily, the idea of summer learning has gotten more awareness over time, but it still isn't something that's pervading throughout the country—the idea that summers can really make or break a child's ability to accomplish their dreams.
It seems especially pertinent considering President Trump's proposed cuts to the federal education budget.
Whenever I read an article that makes me sad about the state of our education system, I just think, "Well, it would take a really long time to transform the education system, but we can do our part to make sure other areas are covered." One of the things that I love the most about Horizons is that it's politically agnostic. It operates no matter who's running The White House, no matter which party is in charge, no matter what the budget is for public schools. Our ability to continue supporting kids and grow these programs is a product of continued fundraising, which is why I started the 10 Days of Giving.
What can we expect from this year's campaign?
This year, we're auctioning off 21 items, and they run the full gamut from small to large, expensive to inexpensive. I'm keeping them pretty close to the belt. The majority of them are still things I love and use. I don't want to break anyone's bank, but for anyone's bank that can be broken, I would love nothing more than to have their money for Horizons.
Did you take a conscious break from social media beforehand?
I am totally aware that there is a half-life for people's tolerance of my face. I didn't want to push it to my limit, and I certainly didn't want to exhaust it before the 10 Days of Giving started. I took a long break, a real breather, no disruptions in their feeds, no 4th of July pics, nothing like that. I really laid off of it, and now they're just inundated—but it's for a good cause!
That was a very special treat, even though I spent a lot of my time there emailing back and forth with the folks at NowThis to put together the videos for the 10 Days of Giving, sending edits back and forth. It was a fun distraction to have going on.
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What are you reading this summer?
I'm almost finished with this book called Evicted ($12; amazon.com), which should be required reading for anyone who didn't grow up in the nightmare and inequity of low-income housing. It uses Milwaukee, Wisc. as a case study for the housing prices and has various angles on it from a trailer park to landlords and low-income neighborhoods. It's not a pleasant read, but it's informative. Other than that, I'm just trying to get through these 10 days.
How about movie-wise? Have you seen The Big Sick? It's interesting that two of this year's biggest box office hits tackle race relations.
I'm desperate to see it. I'm a huge Kumail [Nanjiani] fan, and I've known about the story with him and Emily for years from being a devout listener of the You Made It Weird podcast. I can't wait to read all the very thoughtful think-pieces that are being written about it.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.