Alyssa Milano: ‘Social Media Can Change the World’

Dec 01, 2015

For some people, Alyssa Milano will always be Tony Danza's daughter on the 1980s sitcom Who's the Boss. To others, she is Phoebe Halliwell, one of the three sister witches on Charmed. But to Milano herself, acting is just one of the many pursuits that make her who she is.

"No matter what you do, and however passionate you are about what you do, you need a complete array about things that make you feel emotionally fulfilled," she said to the audience at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit in San Francisco on Tuesday evening. "So that if one area is not fulfilled, you have other things that make you feel like a complete human being."

For Milano, the "complete array" includes philanthropy work for organizations like UNICEF and PETA, advocating for breastfeeding, advising financial technology startup Square, creating a graphic novel, and launching a women's sports apparel line, TOUCH by Alyssa Milano. The entrepreneur currently has deals with the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLS, Nascar, and minor league baseball. She is currently the only licensee for female-focused apparel in every major league.

"I was raised to believe I could do anything," she says, and credits her "very New York Italian family" with giving her the courage to pursue her passions.

The culmination of all of these ambitions is her social media presence, which Milano uses "as a platform to share things that [are] not only important to me but [are] interesting to me." A close friend of Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey, Milano is an avid tweeter with nearly 3 million followers ("Is it really more than Bernie Sanders?") and believes deeply in the power of social media. "This is a powerful tool that if used for good can really change the world," she says.

"There used to be a time when you needed a leader to create a movement. Now you just need a moment. A moment can create a movement," she says.

With a successful acting career under her belt, two children, and a burgeoning startup, Milano's moment is now.

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