Nigel Barker, fashion photographer and former judge on America's Next Top Model, has a serious passion for giving to others. The dad of two (son Jack is 10, and daughter Jasmine is almost 7) also makes sure his kids understand why giving is so important. We caught up with Barker, who's currently involved with Johnson & Johnson's Donate a Photo program, to get some of his best parenting tips—just in time for #GivingTuesday!
P: What exactly is Donate a Photo?
NB: For every photo uploaded to the Donate a Photo app, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 to the charity of your choice. This app will actually make a difference, and it's free. It's a no-brainer. I support other charities like Save the Children and Girl Up, but I'm involved with Donate a Photo as a USO ambassador.
P: What does being involved with Donate a Photo mean to you?
NB: I've spent my life taking pictures and hoping they would make a difference, and wanting to change hearts and move minds—sometimes you do, sometimes you don't. But what's so wonderful is right now the whole world is taking pictures. Everyone is obsessed with selfies and might be hoping those photos will make a difference or change someone's mind, but this particular program does just that.
P: Can you talk about the photo you decided to donate?
NB: I donated a photograph of my grandfather who was a naval officer. He's walking down the street with a slight smile on his face. It meant the world to my grandmother to look at that picture and see him [when he was deployed], certainly then when communication was poor. This photo was one of only four pictures that my grandmother had. It was a way for my grandmother to look at the photo of him and be able to think of him smiling or being happy and looking handsome. Johnson & Johnson donates $1 to the USO for every photo uploaded, which equals 30 minutes of communication with a loved one for a solider on active duty.
P: You're so passionate about giving back. How do you instill that same passion in your children?
NB: I've got two little kids at home. As a parent, you always obviously want them to grow up to be the best children possible and to care, love, protect, and serve. It's one thing to advise them and tell them what to do, but it's another thing to actually do it and let them watch you do it. As a parent, actions speak louder than words. When they see you doing things that make a difference, it's really great. Activate your kids.
P: How important is it to teach children to give back?
NB: You think children would rather be doing something else, but actually it sinks in. You realize how important it is and it just becomes a part of life. Giving back is the most important and the most rewarding thing we as humans can do.
P: Your wife must be totally on board with 'activating' your children.
NB: I would dare to say that my wife is more beautiful on the inside than she is on the outside. She's the most beautiful woman I've ever seen—and I work with supermodels.