The Guardian Angels

Andrew MacPherson

If their obvious warmth for each other was an indicator, then Kristin Davis and Kerry Washington have more in common than busy acting careers. Through multihyphenate commitments to causes such as Oxfam International (Davis), which fights global poverty and injustice, and V-Day (Washington), an activism-meets-the-arts platform for educating women and girls about equality, the women have cemented their place as "It" girls who crave more than writing checks. Davis recently made a trip as an Oxfam ambassador to Africa, where she visited Kenya's drought-stricken Dadaab refugee camps, and she is a board member of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which rescues orphaned elephants in Nairobi. "Thank God we are there to help," says Davis, 46, who adds that the hardest part of her work with elephants is creating awareness on the home front about poaching. "We must change our mind-set here about ivory. We simply don't question where it's coming from." For Washington, a lifelong commitment to the arts has kept her heart -- and calendar -- in our nation's capital: Hers is a voice frequently heard on the Hill as a member of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. "I grew up a latchkey kid in the Bronx, so the arts were like my third parent," says Washington, 34. "I truly believe through the humanities we learn how to better understand each other and ourselves."