Let’s say you’re an actor or producer. You’re going to be in Patagonia for the next two months, filming a romantic thriller. Most of the crew speaks Spanish. You’ll be working ten-hour days, but you’ll also get a week off to explore the local landscape and culture. It definitely seems like Spanish might come in handy. But you’ll need to learn it fast.
This kind of scenario is very familiar to Anne-Marie Walworth, who works on public relations for Rosetta Stone. “We’re always getting phone calls,” she explains. “Rosetta Stone can be more convenient than a private tutor. Especially if someone values their privacy.” She’s hesitant to name names, but she knows that some of the most famous people in Hollywood can be found in Rosetta Studio sessions.
Anne-Marie recently took me along on a trip to Los Angeles. While we were there, I had the chance to meet with some actors, producers, and directors who agreed to publicly announce their language-learning journeys. Believe it or not, many of the people I met had already purchased the classic Rosetta Stone box set for their families, but they had no familiarity with the Version 4 TOTALe online features. Anne-Marie and I were happy to explain that in addition to the coursework, they’d be able to access one year of Rosetta Studio live, coach-led sessions. Mobile apps and an online gaming community also come with the online subscription.
In turn, people shared their reasons for learning with us. I was particularly interested in Tichina Arnold’s story. She explained that she became a cultural ambassador to Brazil, after being told that she was one of a small group of strong, black women represented on Brazilian television. Black and mixed-race people form the majority of Brazil’s population, but television does not necessarily represent the country’s demographics proportionally. “I wanted to go visit the favelas, and see if I could make a difference in the lives of my fans,” Tachina explains. She’s already been looking into studying Portuguese to facilitate frequent trips to Brazil.
CCH Pounder was also interested in learning Portuguese. Her region of interest is Mozambique. She’s on the board of directors of the African Millennium Foundation, and sponsors a sustainable village, A Nossa Casa, that supports schoolchildren living with AIDS. Although there are major dialectical differences between Brazilian Portuguese and the Portuguese spoken in Mozambique, we hope the Rosetta Stone Portuguese program will give her the foundation in the language that she can build on through her travels.
Tucker Abrizzi also impressed me. Although he’s only 13, his passion for learning Italian is unrivaled. He’s interested in exploring his Italian heritage, and he spoke very eloquently about all the architecture and art he’d like to see when he goes on a long-awaited, month-long tour of Italy.
Chris Tucker, known for his comedy and his roles in movies like the Academy Award nominated “Silver Linings Playbook,” spoke with us about his interest in the Middle East. The actor proved much more openminded than the character he portrayed in “Rush Hour,” who tried to overcome a perceived language barrier by yelling the famous line, “Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?” In real life, Chris is willing to put in more effort. He explained that he’s interested in learning Arabic so that he can communicate better on his trips to Arabic-speaking regions. Speaking the local language, we agreed, can be an important way to show respect and forge a connection with new friends.
While I’m on the topic of new pals, I encourage you to browse through the friendly faces below. Click on the first photo to view the slides. And, the next time you’re chatting with someone in Rosetta World, be sure to ask about all the places they’ve traveled “for work.” Their answers might surprise you!