Charlize Theron Dishes on Taylor Swift Fandom and How Her Daughter Is Diving Into Philanthropy (Exclusive)

The Oscar-winning actress was recently a speaker at 'Town & Country's philanthropy summit.

By now everyone's seen the adorable video of Charlize Theron dancing to Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" with daughters Jackson and August to celebrate her 48th birthday. And while a bunch of Swifties hailed the Oscar-winning actress as an awesome mom, the truth of the matter is she was simply feeling the emotions this particular Swift track tends to evoke.


"It looked like I was being a good mom, but I was actually really happy," the actress tells ET's Rachel Smith at New York City's Hearst Tower where Theron spoke at Town & Country's Philanthropy Summit.

Yes, Theron's daughters -- whom she adopted in 2012 and 2015, respectively -- are certified Swifties, but dancing along to Swift's 2014 hit at SoFi Stadium in August for the singer's Eras Tour was a special moment for her, too. Theron and the girls have bonded even more over Swift's music, though the drive to school now comes with a set of its own challenges.

"So, every morning they get to DJ," she says. "They fight over who's gonna DJ when we're driving to school. And sometimes I'll be like, 'Do I get a turn? Like, I would like to play.' And I'll play some '90s and they're like, 'Oh my god, Mom. Who is this?'"

Theron's tried to drop some music knowledge on the girls (keyword, tried), but that's also proven to be a bit difficult.

"I was trying to tell them the other day that the Rolling Stones, it's like a religion and they're like, 'Really?'" Theron says. "Their minds were blown. I was like, 'I need to play some more of this for you guys. You'll get it.'"

Their bond over music and Swift, however, has also made her realize that the girls are growing up so fast.

"We love that stuff," says Theron when asked if they've gone to see Swift's concert film. "And my oldest daughter went to the movie with a bunch of friends. Yeah, she doesn't wanna do that stuff with me anymore. She's just like, 'Mom, just drop me off at the mall, please, please!'"

That Theron spoke at Town & Country's Philanthropy Summit in celebration of the event's 10th anniversary is fitting. She's synonymous with the act of giving. Having founded the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project in 2007, the South African native's foundation spearheads efforts to support young people, their sexual and reproductive health and rights, as well as gender-based violence prevention.

Early initiatives included CTAOP dispatching mobile health clinics in South Africa in partnership with Oprah's Angel Network to offer HIV prevention programs to young people. This endeavor's especially meaningful to Theron, who grew up in the Rainbow Nation when the AIDS epidemic began ravaging the country during the 1980s. 

"I was around 10 years old, and people around me were dying and scared," she tells Town & Country. "We now know that it was HIV and AIDS, but not a lot of people had that information then. It left an impression on me from a young age that has always been hard to shake."

And therein lies her gargantuan effort to bring awareness to a disease that continues to hold a tight grip on her beloved South Africa and beyond. It's why the Devil's Advocate star works nonstop behind the scenes, while also setting an example for her daughters like her mom, Gerda Jacoba Aletta Maritz, did.

"I don't think my mom ever sat down and talked to me about this. She just lived the example, and that was really powerful and it stayed with me," Theron tells ET. "And I hope my kids know what CTAOP is, and they know South Africa and they know the work."

Theron's unparalleled act of kindness has rubbed off on her youngest daughter, August, and it shows.

"My youngest daughter is incredibly interested, and she's done little speeches at her school about it," Theron shares with pride. "I just take a step back because I want them to discover this for themselves. I don't want them to be mini me's. Just be good people. That's what I want them to be."


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