Actor, singer and now TV director, Emmy Rossum (real name Emmanuelle Grey Rossum), turns 31 on Sept. 12. She has appeared in popular films and television shows like The Phantom of the Opera, Shameless, and Beautiful Creatures. She has demanded equal pay with her Shameless co-star and she has given her time to charitable causes. On top of all this, she manages to find ways to inspire her fans and make us strive to be better ourselves.
Beautiful, wickedly talented and articulate, she’s a role model for young women everywhere. To celebrate her special day, we came up with these key reasons why Rossum is clearly best friend material.
1. Rossum sings for a hot dog
Famous for her opera-singing skills, Rossum told Conan O’Brien that she would walk past a butcher on the way home from rehearsals when she was 7 or 8 years old. If she could sing an aria, the butcher would give her a hot dog. In this clip, O’Brien tests her skills — hot dog included.
2. She’s inspired by kindness
On the talk show Chelsea, Rossum responds to the trolls who didn’t like her tweet from election night in which she said, “I am a woman. I am Jewish. I am marrying an Arab American. My sister in law is handicapped. I’m a victim of sexual violence. It’s personal.” She told Chelsea Handler, “There’s a need to come together… it’s not about who you voted for or what you believe, it’s about common decency. It’s about decorum. It’s about correctness and kindness.”
3. Rossum fights for animal adoption
Rossum has rescued her four pets: Fiona, a cat she named after her amazing character on Shameless; Pepper, a terrier-Havanese mixture she describes as her best friend; Cinnamon, a teacup Yorkshire terrier; and a sweet pup named Sugar. Her partnership with the Best Friends Animal Society’s Save Them All campaign has inspired many others to adopt pets that would otherwise be euthanized by animal shelters.
4. She served up food for the homeless
Some stars merely donate money to their favorite charities, but Rossum actually donned an apron and chef’s hat to serve up mashed potatoes for Los Angeles’ homeless on skid row.
5. Rossum served as a Pinkitude spokesperson
According to Variety, “MGM has inked thesp Emmy Rossum to serve as the spokeswoman for its new Pinkitude line of apparel inspired by MGM’s Pink Panther franchise. Lion is donating 5% of Pinkitude sales to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer research org.” We love that Rossum is speaking out about this terrible disease.
6. She’s an actor & a director
Rossum says she felt familiar enough with the tone of Shameless to feel comfortable directing two episodes of the show. But it wasn’t a walk in the park. “There were so many challenges. Everything from the scheduling, to the duality of being in front of the camera and being behind the camera at the same time.” She took her new endeavor seriously and prepared by taking cinematography classes at NYU. She’s also directed an episode of Animal Kingdom.
7. She stands up for herself when it comes to pay
Playing Fiona Gallagher has been one of the great privileges of my life. I'm so happy to continue w my SHAMELESS family!Back to work in May!
— Emmy Rossum (@emmyrossum) December 14, 2016
Though Showtime hasn’t officially announced that Shameless will return for Season 8, it seems pretty likely since Rossum’s tweeted that she was able to work out her salary dispute after being paid less than her co-star, William H. Macy, for seven seasons. According to Variety, Showtime finally offered to pay her the same salary as Macy, but she wanted more since she felt she had been underpaid all those seasons. We don’t know what figure the lawyers settled on, but we’re glad they decided to pay her more. She’s a great actor and deserves equal pay.