Tagging the world


POSTED: Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Hannah Cornett was back in town recently, working the “;blue”; carpet at the grand opening of the Counter restaurant in Kahala Mall, along with a few “;Lost”; actors and several other celebrities. She was looking the part in a sexy off-the-shoulder dress and high heels, but that impression belied the real mission in life for the 28-year-old actress, television host, model and athlete: to make a difference.

Cornett is managing to do just that, despite a frantic schedule of surfing, triathlons and new television shows — working in front of and behind the camera for ABC, TLC and Spike TV. And that doesn't include the book deal she just landed with Random House.

Cornett, who once lived in Hawaii but is now based in Los Angeles, has teamed up with Kaiser High School grad and “;Days of Our Lives”; star Darin Brooks and actor Robert Parks-Valletta to participate in Tag the World, Parks-Valletta's new charity.

First covered in the Star-Bulletin in October, Tag the World has grown rapidly in Hawaii, which is now the world's No. 1 location for tag purchases. Therefore, special events like a July celebrity triathlon in Honolulu, which Cornett is spearheading, and a celebrity basketball game to benefit the organization are in the works.

Parks-Valletta, whose sister is supermodel and charity advocate Amber Valletta, wanted to find a way to make philanthropy more appealing for a young, hip generation. So he devised the concept of fashionable unisex jewelry and enlisted dozens of athletes and actors, including Cornett, Brooks and players from the Los Angeles Lakers, to support the cause.

Tag the World is a registered nonprofit that sells five custom metal tags worn on a chain around the neck. When you purchase a tag, you engrave it with someone's name or a cause that means something to you, personalizing the donation, which then is funneled directly to one of 40 established charities associated with curing cancer, protecting animals or assisting children, for example. The five tag categories are global green, animals, Africa, children and cancer. Seventy percent of all proceeds from tag sales are donated.

“;I wanted the charities to actually work together because everyone's fighting for money,”; Parks-Valletta said on the grounds of the Halekulani during a recent visit. The slogan “;Tag you're it,”; encourages people to pass along the enthusiasm for promoting a trend that involves reaching beyond themselves.

“;Everybody's the same but everyone has a story,”; Valletta added. The tags allow you to “;actually wear your story.”;