Inside D.C. entertainment

Mandy Moore tries to shake specter of Nicholas Sparks and talk about global health

October 4, 2011 - 01:37 PM
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It became apparent at last night's Power of 1% event to promote global aid that Mandy Moore will never, ever escape A Walk to Remember. The party/panel at the Newseum featured Moore in a pair of leather pants, but despite her earnest words on malaria in Cameroon, she couldn't change the fact that her name only summons thoughts of Nicholas Sparks. Asked to discuss their impressions of Mandy Moore, the crowd at the Newseum only knew four words.

“I know A Walk to Remember,” says Elizabeth, who works in global health. Her friend Rani, who also works in the field, can’t name a film or song associated with Mandy Moore.

“She’s a little younger than us,” she offers by way of explanation. “If I heard a song I’d probably recognize it.” Like “Candy,” her best-performing single to date, which was featured in the classic ballet flick Center Stage? The ladies’ blinking stare shows no flicker of recognition. “She seems to have kept a clean image,” Rani offers.

A table of young brunettes does no better. “I only know A Walk to Remember,” says one brunette.

Madeline finds Moore’s foray into global health admirable. “She’s young compared to a lot of other celebrities who do advocacy,” she says. Any favorite Mandy Moore tunes? What about “Stupid Cupid,” recorded for her role opposite Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries? Madeline doesn’t respond.

Danny is unfamiliar with Moore’s now-defunct clothing line (Mblem), celebrity dating history (Andy Roddick, Zach Braff, Ryan Adams), or her noted interest in Ultimate Fighting Championship. “I knew her from the one movie,” he says. “The one where she had cancer.”

Even a hearty introduction by Jon Lovett, speechwriter to Barack Obama, can’t erase the cloud of Nicholas Sparks prose that has surrounded the starlet since she appeared in 2002’s A Walk to Remember. Lovett, who emceed the evening, praises Moore’s work and says she’s helped raise $2 million to address global health issues. When an Iraqi activist comes onto the stage so Moore can interview him about his work, he gives the audience a sly look.

“It was a stroll to remember,” he says, and the crowd erupts in laughter.

Nicholas Sparks wins.


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