The singer-songwriter and actress has recently teamed up with the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation (GCF) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) on an anti-cancer campaign called Reality Check: What Young Women Don’t Know About Cervical Cancer.
Why did you get involved in this cause?
Actually, GCF and GSK kind of approached me with this idea of doing the Reality Check campaign. Like a lot of other young women out there, I was a bit unaware of a lot of the statistics and facts about cervical cancer.
When I learned that it's the second leading cause of cancer death in women in their twenties and thirties in the United States, I was like, "Well, this is a pretty big deal, and this is definitely a cause that is worth getting behind."
As a young woman, I wanted to spread the word to other young women out there that we have the power to protect ourselves against cervical cancer.
Has there been a story that's touched you?
A few months ago, I went to D.C. for the first annual Race to End Women's Cancers. I ended up meeting a bunch of women who've been battling cervical cancer or who had battled the disease. It was very inspiring to put a face to the cause. To talk to a lot of women and hear about their fights and their stories…it was definitely moving and put everything into a new perspective for me.
You're recently married. Did the thought of one day having a family spark your interest in learning more about this disease?
Oh yeah. Obviously, maintaining your cervical health is so important if you'd like to have a family. I didn't really put two and two together at first; I didn't really realize that either cervical cancer or some of the procedures one might have to treat changes in her cervix can affect the ability to carry a pregnancy to term. I was a bit unaware of all that. I'm at a new point in my life where having a family is on my mind.
As you mentioned, cervical cancer is the second leading cause of women's cancer death in the U.S. Do you think it gets the recognition it deserves?
I don't. I think a lot of young women are probably a bit blissfully unaware in terms of what their cervix even does. I have to say, before I got involved with this campaign, I wasn't as informed as I should have been.
A lot of attention is focused on other women's cancers, but this one is important too, and it's so easy to protect ourselves. Go to the doctor, get a checkup, and get Pap smears regularly. Cervical cancer is very preventable, and if you catch it early, there are tons of ways to treat it as well. I'm happy that GCF is spreading the word about cervical cancer.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
I'm working on some music and the Disney film Rapunzel right now. It's an animated musical that's coming out next Christmas, and it's been super fun. I'm excited—I think it's every girl's dream to be a Disney princess. I used to walk around the house pretending I was Ariel from The Little Mermaid, so it's kind of a dream come true.
More on the Reality Check campaign
Read our July interview with Mandy