That 50 Cent never ceases to amaze. First the rapper dropped from 214 pounds to a shocking 160 to play a cancer-stricken football player in his self-penned flick Things Fall Apart, and now tells Us he gave it all back by eating up a storm! But that's not all he's doing. Besides just finishing a tour and recording his next album, he also just filmed a PSA urging fans to donate to Leukemia Foundation DKMS and registered last week to donate his own bone marrow.
If it matches up, the likely benefactor will be Shannon Tavarez, the 11-year-old star of Disney's The Lion King on Broadway, who was diagnosed with the debilitating disease last April (visit getswabbed.org to see the clip and find out how to help). Want to know more? I just buzzed my man Fitty in his office to find out more about how he got involved, put on the pounds and got his thoughts on his current Twelve movie costar, Chace Crawford.
UsMagazine.com: Tell Us about how you got involved with DKMS?
50 Cent: Shannon is actually a distant cousin, her mom is my first cousin's third cousin. So that's how I was made aware of her actual story. Shannon is playing young Nahla on Broadway in The Lion King. she was complaining of being tired, was coming down with a cold and her mother saw a bruise on her leg and noticed little red spots. That kind of set the alarm off. When doctors ordered tests they found out she has has Leukemia.
Us: You also go a swab last week to register with the DKMS. Can you explain that?
50 Cent: I think when people hear about donating bone marrow, the whole process seems complicated, and a lot more difficult then it would be to actually to save someone's life. I think people would be interested [to donate], especially if they saw me do it, because [fans] look at every blog I put up. So one of the things I'm interested in is being a donor at some point. 70% of the people don't have a match in their family so they have to look outside. You need the help of someone you don't know.
Us: How was it filming the PSA?
50 Cent: [The production crew] came to my office; we sat down, had a brief conversation before going in and swabbing, and trying to make a match with somebody. It should get way more people involved. It never really dawns on you that you can help, till it hits someone close to you. Then you're swabbing because you want to see if you're a match for that person, because you know that person.
Us: Your son is a few years older than Shannon. Did he inspire you to act?
50 Cent: Absolutely. I thought, 'what if that was my kids?' I felt for Shannon, for her mom. I've to do something. It's the least I can do.
Us: What do you hope the outcome is?
50 Cent: If my influence could find a match for a person, even if it's not for Shannon, it would be great. When you do things from the right place, you can't gage how much of an accomplishment it is. I bet I'll be a match for someone. I should know this week.
Us: You would donate to her if you were a match?
50 Cent: Yeah. It doesn't make sense for you to be swabbed if you're not going to donate.
Us: If you're a match for Shannon, will you have to go in for surgery?
50 Cent: Well I haven't done it, but to my knowledge, it's not very painful. It's probably not as painful as tattoo removal.
Us: Switching gears, I wanted to to get an update from you on your weight.
50 Cent: I'm now 210. I was a little fat boy, but I'm back at the gym. At my maximum weight I was 214. In the actual film I went to 160. I think the film project is going to be great, not just the transformation and the weight loss but my performance in itself. I'm excited to see it.
Us: How did you gain it back?
50 Cent: It's the art of eating. The no complex route. It seems everything that is fun is no good for you. I had different things I don't usually have in my diet, to put the weight back.
Us: So you have Twelve out in theaters. What was it like working with Chace Crawford?
50 Cent: I didn't know the fanfare around him was that high. I'm not a persistent Gossip Girl watcher. But the opportunity to work with him was interesting. It's a huge demographic of young girls [who may see the film].