20 Feb Like Mother, Like Daughter | Catt Sadler and Linda Rendleman
Mother, Linda Rendleman and daughter, Catt Sadler, work together to empower women all over the world.
Story by Felicia Waldman and Ashley Daniels.
Please help Sally Colon-Petree, Linda Rendleman and Catt Sadler to finish their powerful and passionate documentary at Indiegogo.
Most days you will find Catt Sadler, host of E! News, looking impeccably stylish, devoting long hours here in LA and often traveling around the world, gathering and reporting the latest Hollywood news. When you meet Catt you soon begin to realize that this is simply only one of her passions, and it has some stiff competition. This is clearly a woman who has her priorities in order; her two young boys, husband, and family, put the real twinkle in her eyes. Between family life and life at E!, her plate is full, her cup runneth over. However, there is one thing outside of work and family that inspires her and changes her life in ways she could never imagine; something she now embraces wholeheartedly and happily carves out space for.
Catt is the International Spokesperson, and her lovely mom, Linda Rendleman, is the CoFounder of Women Like Us Foundation. WLUF supports women around the globe who seek to make the world a better place. They help victims of female genital mutilation at a women’s center in Africa, by raising funds, sending supplies, and visiting them and helping them in person.
Through their “One Girl at a Time” program, they mentor teen girls to help them become educated, self-confident women who not only learn to be an active part of our world, but also understand the importance of giving back. WLUF hosts humanitarian trips each year to many countries such as Africa, Costa Rica, and Uganda. Linda’s passion for WLUF is infectious. Listening to her soft voice share beautiful stories of how WLUF has made a difference in so many women’s lives, and how they are able to actually see the results of their donations and efforts, makes you want to sign up to travel with her on their next humanitarian mission! WLUF has helped so many and yet Linda and Catt wish they could save the entire world. Personally, their work has touched them so deeply. They filmed their journey to Kenya, along with their inspiring work both here in the U.S. and Costa Rica, and this compelling footage is now being produced into a documentary by Sally Colon-Petree of Dream On Productions, due out in 2015. Ashley Daniels sat down with the dynamic mother-daughter team and was overwhelmingly inspired by their passionate stories of Women Like Us.
LINDA RENDLEMAN: Well yes, giving back is totally in my everyday life that’s for sure. We have all been affected by cancer, I’m not the only one that’s gone down that road but something happens when you hear that in your life. For me, it was ‘wait! wait wait! I have things to do – I haven’t written my book yet, I haven’t made a difference in the world like I want, and you know…my kids!” So you become a little panicky, not a little, for pete’s sake it’s cancer! But yeah, it’s really made a difference for me and as so many people say, the things that really matter take on a WHOLE new meaning. You really do realize that, how am I living my life, what do I want to leave behind, and truly Women Like Us Foundation is my legacy and I’m real happy about that. I always knew that I wanted to give back to the world, and I really wanted to particularly support women.
FOCUS: Catt, it is so special that you work closely with your mom for such a wonderful cause. You must love it, because you are kind of busy in your daily life as a mom and host of E! News, and yet you still find the time?
CATT SADLER: [smiling] Mildly busy! But I have to say, just hearing Mom talk about what propelled her into doing the foundation at all, Mother has always been a beacon of strength, and she’s always been an inspiration to me personally. She always exuded such confidence and such drive and she was always just a force of nature. A single mother for most of our lives, she was always this light, and this exception to any other woman I’d ever known. She was always telling me – you can do anything, you can be anything – and that is everything who I am today. And yes, the foundation is really really thriving right now. It’s just amazing to be so intimately involved with it, to literally travel the globe. We went to Kenya this summer for an absolutely life changing experience, but even then, in Africa, in the dirt, around the Maasai, around those less privileged, from afar to just watch Mom do what she does, it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing. And I’m inspired, and I think everyone who comes in contact with this organization in particular, leaves….changed.
LINDA: When we were in Kenya we were supporting our women life causes, and that was certainly Kim DeWitt, who is in our documentary. She founded a home for girls who are victims of female genital mutilation. And we all learned so much being there and seeing the girls. Catt did laundry with them, in the river in buckets. They get their water from the river, they showed us how they bake their bread, and I think the most touching thing for me was when we saw their rooms. Because their rooms were just like any girl’s you’d see in the world. I often say that our stories are singular. In other words, our stories are different, but our passions as women are shared. And it really is true. There is a sisterhood of women around the world, and these young girls are becoming, what I like to say, women like us. And we want to help bring them along so that they can speak their voice, and they can have positive change and make an impact on the world.
CATT: I think that’s the thing that one of the takeaways, again from that trip and from doing charity work like this – we’re all winning, it’s such a reward.
LINDA: Oh my, yes.
CATT: We are teaching them and we are, hopefully, bringing them resources they don’t have, and we are opening up their eyes in a way that maybe they otherwise wouldn’t have. But we all were so fulfilled by the entire experience. I left there with just this real sense of hope because I was inspired, I mean look at what they are up against, look at the challenges they face every day. Look at the hardships they have been through – this horrific female genital mutilation – and still…they want to get their education, they want opportunity, they want to be put in front and – they want to take over the world! And they do it with this spirit of such strength. I took home a wooden carved Masaai woman and I stare at it every day in my house. I look at it because it’s like, “Really? We got problems here in Western culture? Like, oh yeah, oh darn, my fake lash fell off today you know during my show..” Or whatever. And I look to that like the reminder every day through this Women Like Us experience, that is my strength. Let’s bring it back, because if these girls can do it the way they’re doing it, with a smile on their face, and holding tight to their dreams, then we can do it too. So again, the rewards are endless. It’s just as special as it sounds. It really is.
LINDA: Yeah, it’s fabulous. When I started the Foundation I wanted to help everyone. And you know you can’t help the entire world. But you can pick the things that you can help, and you don’t go one time, you go back again, and again, and again. And you build it. And that’s really what we’re about, so it’s sustainability. We can all make a difference. And my favorite quote, that I live my life by, is, “When I get to the end of my life, I not only want to live the length of it, I want to live the width of it as well.”