Maria Elena Bello – WOMAN of ACTION™



A Celebration of Women™

is elated to Celebrate the Life of this empowered woman visionary that embraced the strength that a grassroots movement can have on positive change in our world. when witness to catastrophe, this woman immediately took action, founding an organization to empower the women of said region, building health clinic and outreach center.



maria bello images

Maria Elena Bello


Bello was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Kathy, a teacher and school nurse, and Joe Bello, a contractor. Her father is Italian American (with roots in Montella, Italy) and her mother is Polish American. She grew up in a working-class Roman Catholic family and graduated from Archbishop Carroll High School (Radnor, Pennsylvania).

200px-Villanova_University_Seal.svgLater she attended Villanova University, majoring in political science.

She intended to become a lawyer, but took an acting class during her senior year and was later cast in small off-Broadway plays, such as The Killer Inside Me, Small Town Gals with Big Problems and Urban Planning. She would guest star on episodes of The Commish (1991), Due South (1994), Nowhere Man (1995), Misery Loves Company (1995), and ER (1997–98).

maria-300x157Bello’s breakthrough came when the producers Kerry Lenhart and John J. Sakmar cast her as Mrs. Smith in the TV series spy show Mr. & Mrs. Smith (September 20 – December 6, 1996). The show was cancelled after eight weeks on the air. Then came a guest stint on ER (1997–1998) as the feisty pediatrician Dr. Anna Del Amico, in which she guest-starred in the final three episodes of the third season. Bello remained on the show for one season as a regular cast member, departing after the medical drama’s 4th season.

The actress went on into movies landing a role in Coyote Ugly (2000). She was nominated for the Golden Globe award twice: for Best Supporting Actress in The Cooler (2003) and for Best Actress in A History of Violence (2005). She starred in The Jane Austen Book Club (2007) as Jocelyn.

In 2008, Bello starred in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor as Evelyn O’Connell.

In December 2008, Bello began developing a drama for HBO. Besides starring in the new series, Bello will also serve as an executive producer.

maria bello prime suspectShe starred in the 2009 Sundance film The Yellow Handkerchief, which was released in theaters on February 26, 2010 by Samuel Goldwyn Films.

In 2010 Bello guest starred in two episodes of Law & Order: SVU. In 2011, Bello starred in the television series Prime Suspect, which was canceled after 13 episodes.
maria bello sonShe has a son, Jackson Blue McDermott, (March 5, 2001), by her former (2004–2006) boyfriend, the writer and producer Dan McDermott.

Maria And Her Boy Visit Epcot At Walt Disney World.
Maria Bello has captivated audiences with her many diverse roles in such films as “The Cooler” with William H. Macy, (Golden Globe and SAG Nomination), David Cronenberg’s “A History of Violence” opposite Viggo Mortenson and Ed Harris (NY Film Critics win and Golden Globe nomination), along with close to 30 other films. She is currently filming the US version of the critically acclaimed BBC series, “Prime Suspect.”

Bello began her career as an activist at Villanova University where she majored in Peace and Justice Education and worked at the Women’s Law Project in Philadelphia.

MARIA BELLO BKI MOONShe has worked with Save the Children, The Feminist Majority, Vital Voices, and Save Darfur; her main focus being the ’empowerment of women’ worldwide.

She has been on the hill with the women of Darfur to address the issue of sexual violence and rape as a weapon of war. Variety Magazine honored her in 2009 as one of the most powerful women in Hollywood for her work with Save Darfur. She co-hosted the first health summit in the USA for the African First Ladies and continues to work with them.

For the last three years, she has worked in Haiti with Artists for Peace and Justice, raising funds and awareness of the extreme poverty there, and the plight of women and children. Six days after the earthquake in January 2010, she traveled to the country bringing emergency relief supplies to Port au Prince and continues her work there. She started a women’s clinic and has opened a new clinic and education program in Cité Soleil under the title of her newly founded NGO – WE ADVANCE.

WE ADVANCE is an organization dedicated to advancing women’s health, safety, and well being throughout Haiti.

She works with the Haitian Women’s GroupFemmes en Democratie to support their mission of women’s economic and political opportunity, and to ensure that women have full participation in the rebuilding of Haiti. She filmed and spearheaded the media campaign to Elect Haitian Women. The TV and radio spots ran throughout Haiti. She is managing the campaign of her WE ADVANCE partner, Barbara Guillaume, who is running for mayor in Cité Soleil, the poorest slum in the Western Hemisphere.

Bello has been public speaking for the last three years on international women’s issues, gender-based violence, and rape as a weapon of war. She blogs for the Huffington Post about Haiti and about the problems with large NGO’s. She produced the Haitian documentary, “Sun City Picture House,” which is opening the Tribeca Film Festival and is in the process of shooting her second documentary on Barbara Guillaume’s run for office.

Currently, she has co-founded the Jacmel Development Group with her partners in Haiti. The JDG is a local consulting firm in Jacmel, Haiti, that seeks to attract socially responsible investors to rebuild the town into a tourist destination.

Maria Elena Bello (born April 18, 1967) is an American actress and singer.

maria bello with alison thompson and partricia arquetteJust a few of the beautiful women of We Advance — with Alison Thompson, Patricia Arquette and Maria Bello.

In the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Bello, with Aleda Frishman, Alison Thompson, and Barbara Guillaume, founded WE ADVANCE, an organization that creates a grassroot movement empowering Haitian women to collaborate toward making healthcare a priority, and putting an end to GBV (Gender-based Violence) within their communities.

Co-founded by actor and activist, Maria Bello, WE ADVANCE is a movement to advance the health, safety, and well being of women throughout Haiti.

We work in some of the poorest slums in all of the western hemisphere – Wharf Jeremy and Cité Soleil – where security issues deter the work of most international NGOs.

bello_2011_a_l (1)Maria Bello & Barbara Guillaume We start from the bottom because it’s where we are needed the most and, as co-founder and activist, Barbara Guillaume, says: “If we can change the worst of Haiti we can change all of Haiti.”

WE ADVANCE models an inclusive grassroots approach with a movement that collaborates with both other organizations and women from every socio-economic class. WE ADVANCE is a rights- and community-based participatory program. We empower women’s minds, bodies and spirits and enable them to discover their own needs and priorities, benefiting the entire community. WE ADVANCE brings in volunteer experts to train local community leaders in the aspects of health, safety and education. WE ADVANCE’s goal is to, in the near future, leave our programs in the hands of Haitian women, the women who know best what they need and how to make it a reality.

The organization seeks to act as a central agency to network the organizations working on women’s issues in Haiti, and to provide urgent care to women victimized by the disaster. Currently their programs are headquartered in one health clinic and one community outreach center in Cité Soleil, Haiti.

WE ADVANCE aims to create a grassroots movement empowering Haitian women to collaborate toward making healthcare a priority, and putting an end to Gender Based Violence within their communities.

WE ADVANCE seeks to act as a central agency to network the organizations working on women’s issues in Haiti, and to provide urgent care to women victimized by the disaster. In addition to unifying the organizations already in existence, WE ADVANCE plans to spearhead new projects and programs that address women’s needs and offer leadership opportunities for women who live in the communities.

WE ADVANCE is an international NGO that strives to empower Haitian women by recognizing women issues, such as Gender Based Violence and limited healthcare. By initiating a grassroots movement and collaborating with other existing organizations, WE ADVANCE acts as a model for helping other countries that suffer from GBV. The WE ADVANCE program is a rights-based and community-based participatory approach that allows women to identify their own needs and priorities, thus empowering themselves.

WE ADVANCE partners with leading GBV groups in Haiti and provides a model for helping other countries empower women.

we advance homepage

Through our pilot program in Haiti, WE ADVANCE is creating a model that can be replicated in other countries marred by high rates of GBV. Currently, we have opportunities to carry out similar projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Darfur, Sudan.

Empowerment is not something that is done to women.

Rather, it is a participatory process that engages women in reflection, inquiry, and action. By sharing life stories and doing a basic analysis of common problems, such as domestic violence, unemployment or inadequate health services, women can gain a clearer understanding of power. They begin to question the world and their place in it, affirm their own sources of power, and discover how other forms of power affect their lives.

1077Currently, Maria celebrates: ” I had the enormous pleasure of being recognized for my efforts in Haiti at the 9th Annual Artivist Awards Ceremony.

Every year, the Artivist Film Festival raises awareness for animal rights, environmental rights and humanitarian efforts, through international advocate films and community action.

I was so delighted to witness and take part of such an amazing production, and with such wonderful people.

I write this post with the hopes to inform all of you of this beautiful event and encourage you to participate in the next years’ upcoming festivals.”

For more information, please visit

About CQ: Clare Munn at Ted Women

Maria shares “I sit on the board of The CQ Matrix company. Clare Munn, my friend, created CQ: Communication Quotient™ which is the bridge between Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and Emotional Quotient (EQ). It is the power to communicate your intentions in a way that can be well expressed and received, making both parties game changers.

CQ™‘s mission is to empower individuals to improve their everyday communication skills in order to transform their personal and professional relationships. By providing simple and widely accessible educational tools, CQ™ enables people around the world to conquer everyday obstacles and manifest seemingly unattainable goals. I am particularly interested in CQ as I see effective and clear communication helps with all forms of life. In my activism work it is really imperative to do your research and be empathetic to different cultures before stating solutions.”

red coat girlsThe Red Coats were created by six women looking to make a difference.

On a recent trip to Kenya,

Sonja Nuttall
Maria Bello
Patricia Arquette
Beth O’Donnell
Clare Munn
Elizabeth Jordan

came together and designed a coat to raise money for their respective charities. With 350 coats sold and counting, a portion of each sale goes to the various charities with which these women are involved. Please check back for further information at:




WEADVANCE on Facebook

Official Facebook Page – Maria Bello

WEBSITE – Maria Bello

Maria Bello – IMDb


A Celebration of Women™

welcomes this activist into our global Alumni with open arms and look forward to watching more, collaborating with and celebrating women’s empowerment worldwide; achieving ‘Equality of Women Among Women’.


Brava Maria!



Speak Your Mind


Copyright 2014 @ A Celebration of Women™ The World Hub for Women Leaders That Care