Alexa and Carlos PenaVega show off their digital Red Noses along with their sons, Ocean (center) and Kingston.
She used to moonlight as a Spy Kid. He was always in a Big Time Rush, and together they enjoyed one Enchanted Christmas.
Alexa and Carlos PenaVega are used to teaming up. On-screen, they’ve starred in several movies together. Off-screen, they’re raising their sons, Ocean and Kingston (and dog Sasha Bear).
And now they’ve teamed up with Walgreens and Red Nose Day to help children in need.
For the last six years, Walgreens has helped to lead the fight against child poverty by serving as the exclusive retailer of the Red Nose. Since 2015, Red Nose Day has raised more than $200 million in the U.S. as Walgreens, in partnership with supporting vendors and customers, raised funds through merchandise purchases and cash donations in stores.
In the time of COVID-19, the need to end child poverty is greater than ever. But in order to reach people who are practicing social distancing, Walgreens had to get creative. For the first time ever, the iconic Red Nose is available digitally, allowing people to spread awareness while also staying safe at home.
Alexa and Carlos sat down with Walgreens News via video conference, sporting their digital noses, to talk about what the cause means to them:
Walgreens News (WN): Why does Red Nose Day, and ending child poverty, mean so much to each of you?
Alexa PenaVega (APV): I grew up in a big family – I was one of seven kids – so I was raised to be compassionate toward other children and helpful to kids all over the world. That's something my mom instilled in us all at a young age. Now being a parent myself, the idea that any kid, anywhere, could be suffering or going through a hard time is just heartbreaking. Red Nose Day has taken a very serious conversation about child poverty and made it easier to talk about with kids, making them aware that even at a young age they can make a difference. Plus the fact that they've raised over $200 million … I just think what they're doing is fantastic and they're starting the conversation in such a fun, organic way.
Carlos PenaVega (CPV): I’ll just reiterate that we are so passionate about children. We sponsor a number of kids through various organizations, and it's so important to us that every child is taken care of. Once you have kids, it completely changes your perspective. For us, the cause really hits home.
WN: Were you excited to go #NosesOn and share digital noses with your millions of followers this year?
CPV: I think it's perfect and just completely right on. Everyone is on social media right now, especially during this time. Everybody's on their phones constantly, so I can’t think of a better way to get the word out about what Walgreens is doing. This is the best way to do it. What's that phrase? A picture … ?
APV: A picture’s worth a thousand words! Exactly. These days, having that digital filter option makes it so convenient for people to be a part of Red Nose Day. They can be safe at home and give back from right where they are. It's so awesome that we're able to do that with the digital noses – spreading the word in a really easy, convenient way.
CPV: Yes, exactly. Our kids ask us for the filter constantly now. Ocean loves it. He’s always saying, “Nose, please! Nose, nose, nose!” He's 3, so it's kind of hard to explain to him exactly what it is, but we try our best. And like Alexa said, it's a fun way to give back and start a really important conversation.
WN: Speaking of Ocean, how has he been handling his first year as a big brother to Kingston?
APV: Well, there are certainly good days and bad days, but mostly good ones!
CPV: Right now, it’s a lot of shoving [laughs], and it’s funny because I think Kingston is going to be way bigger than Ocean. I keep telling him, “Dude, you have got to be careful. He’s going to remember all of this one day when he’s bigger than you.”
APV: We have moments when he's just so sweet, when he feeds him or helps him drink something – those older sibling qualities that just make your heart melt and make you say, “This is beautiful.” And then as soon as he's done giving him something to drink, he’ll kind of shove him to the floor, and I’m thinking, “Oh well, that moment just got tarnished.” But they have so much fun together.
WN: But your dog, Sasha Bear, still rules the roost, right?
CPV: We live on two acres in Maui, and Sasha Bear, our goldendoodle, is the boss of all of it. She barks at everything that comes on our property – the chameleons and other little animals that wander in. It’s all hers and she keeps it safe for us.
APV: She also loves the water, so it’s a good thing we brought her to live on an island. She wants you to put her in the ocean and then she’ll just swim, sometimes for 30 minutes straight. She’ll just go out there as far as she can and come back in.
WN: What’s your go-to item when you’re shopping at Walgreens (aside from the Hallmark cards)?
APV: [Laughs] Well, yeah, the Hallmark cards – of course!
CPV: Both of us are from Florida, so growing up, Walgreens was everywhere. That was our go-to place for everything. Any kind of snack I wanted after school, it was always there. I have had Walgreens in my life forever… they’re always there for me.
APV: Didn’t you ride your little scooter there?
CPV: Yes. I’d hop on my little push scooter, and go scour the aisles for stuff. But now it's become such a great place for us when we’re traveling or on a project, to get supplies. We know that wherever we go there’ll be a Walgreens, and we can go get whatever we need for ourselves and the kids.
APV: They even have different baby formulas for Kingston. So when we're traveling, I know that I can always go in there and get any essential I need. And not just for that … makeup-wise it can be hard to find what I need in most places.
CPV: You’re telling me. Most of the time, I’m going in there, makeup-wise, to find all the rest of the things she needs! But I do think the best thing is, no matter where you are, you can always find a Walgreens, which is so comforting. I can go in there and I know what I’ll find. It’s convenient and familiar. Even when I’m not in an area I’m used to, I have a nice familiar spot I know I can go to.
WN: You’ve both expressed your gratitude for front-line workers through your #CareEnough videos. Can you offer any words of support or encouragement for Walgreens team members who’ve been working on the front lines throughout the pandemic?
APV: You keep us all going. If we didn't have essential workers right now, we wouldn't be able to get the supplies we need. All of us at home would be struggling so much more. And having people show up for work, stocking everything, filling prescriptions and making it convenient for us to be able to get what we need for our family … you’re bringing peace of mind into our homes, whether you realize it or not, by being there for us. We're beyond thankful because you’re making that choice every day to be there for us.
CPV: Let’s face it. In the era of online shopping, there’s nothing like being able to go and get what you need and have someone there to smile and say hello and point you in the right direction, joyfully.
APV: Joyfully is exactly right. The way Walgreens team members are showing up to work joyfully and with so much love and kindness in your hearts, especially during a time like this, just speaks volumes to who you are, as people, and we are so grateful for you.
To celebrate this year’s Red Nose Day, stars unite for a world of good during the Red Nose Day TV Special airing on NBC Thursday, May 21, at 7 p.m. CDT.
For more information on Red Nose Day and how to get involved, visit Walgreens.com/RedNoseDay.