Community Impact

No slowing down for Jordana Brewster

The ‘Fast & Furious’ star and Red Nose Day ambassador speaks with Walgreens Stories about her busy year and why giving back has become a family tradition.
Sarah Cason
A pandemic can’t slow down Jordana Brewster, who spent the last year filming three movies on top of helping her two young children learn remotely from home. 2021 marks 20 years since “Fast & Furious” debuted, and Brewster has remained an integral part of the franchise as Mia Toretto, sister of Dom Toretto, the elite street racer played by Vin Diesel. When she’s not on set, Brewster loves to spend time with her sons, Rowan and Julian, and her parents and sister, who all live close. Walgreens Stories spoke with the hardworking mom, actress and children’s advocate about why pairing up with Walgreens and Red Nose Day means so much to her – especially during COVID-19.

Red Nose Day aims to help feed, shelter and educate kids who need it most, but this year, the focus is on helping children in communities hit hardest by COVID. Why did you want to get involved?

Jordana Brewster: I've always loved this campaign because I feel like Red Nose Day is wonderful in how it lightens everything up. If my kids ask about it, they start by wanting the Red Nose. And I can ask if they know what it’s about or what’s behind it. And I tell them that to get the Red Nose, we're all going to donate. So it's a wonderful entry into giving back and explaining charity to your kids, but in a less heavy-handed way. I also love that it happens every year. It’s something that's become part of our family tradition. It’s segued from being this tangible thing that we can put on our Red Nose to being digital, which I think is really appropriate, not only for the pandemic, but also for the way we live our lives now. We’re all so used to filters and having fun on our phones. Both options are a great way to celebrate Red Nose Day.

As a mom, why is giving back through Red Nose Day so important to you?

Brewster: Nothing is as important to me as my kids and helping those who may notJordana Brewster and sons have access to everything we take for granted. That’s why I love that 100 percent of the proceeds raised go to Red Nose Day benefiting grantee partner organizations with an even split between kids in the U.S. and kids who live abroad. Just as an example, Red Nose Day donations could help a child like that become the first in their family to go to school, which is huge. It’s these little things that a lot of families take for granted, but that can make a huge difference in a kid's life. That’s what's so touching and impactful. With kids in particular, something as small as access to books or food in a non-shaming way can have a huge impact in their life, their intellectual growth and development, and their self-image.

Red Nose Day also celebrates kindness, caring and giving. How do you teach your sons to be kind and caring?

Brewster: I try to teach my kids by modeling it. I very thoughtfully chose schools and communities that are smaller and that share those values and talk about inclusivity and respecting each other. You can't tell a kid it's not nice to speak badly or do something to someone if you're not modeling those values yourself. I have a very close-knit family. My sister lives down the block. My parents are always around, so that sense of family, respecting each other and loving each other, is really at the forefront. We’re very lucky in that we’re modeling that behavior all the time.

How did your family cope with changes to home life in the past year?

Brewster: I have a 7-year-old and a soon-to-be 5-year-old. Initially I thought, as everyone did, that we would all be at home for a week. But then it turned into two weeks and I realized, ‘Oh my gosh, my kids are not going to go back to school for quite a while.’ It was really challenging because my boys need to run. They don't sit in front of a computer and learn. They need their teachers to tell them what to do, because if I tell them to sit down and listen to Zoom, they're like, ‘Sorry, no.’ It was very difficult to keep everything together. My boys, like a lot of kids, thrive on routine and knowing what's coming up. And there was no sense of that. All of the days bled into each other, and it became like one long day. Our children felt that as well.

You wrapped “F9,” which comes out next month. What other projects of yours can we look forward to seeing?

Brewster: Yes, it’s the 20th anniversary of “Fast & Furious!” We break a bunch of barriers. We go to space. There’s a reintroduction of old characters, so it’s going to be really gratifying for diehard fans. You’ll get to meet Dom’s brother and understand more of their family history, but there are also all of these crazy action scenes. There’s something for everyone in this film. I’m so glad to have worked with director Justin Lin again. He’s the best.

I worked on two other films during the pandemic. “The Integrity of Joseph Chambers,” which had an amazing script that got to show a different side of me, which was really cool. And the second one is “On Our Way,” which was a smaller project, but more character-driven. I was fortunate to work during the pandemic.

From now through May 31, customers can get their Digital Red Nose by donating online at Customers may also donate in-store or, new this year, myWalgreens members can donate their Walgreens Cash rewards through the Walgreens app.

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