When she was young, Elizabeth Matthews was obsessed with the idea of becoming a star.
Matthews, who grew up in rural Virginia, was one of the first girls to attend college and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science.
Her friends and her family all saw her as the next James Dean, the star who would one day become the most famous person in the world.
Matthews was in college in the fall of 1989, and she didn’t have much money.
But she was determined to make it.
“I said, ‘I’m going to try and be the most successful person in America,'” she recalls.
Matthews had a lot of money, but she had never even considered going to a professional concert.
So she decided to raise money by selling her ticket stubs to a charity event and giving a few dollars to charity.
“You have to remember that my goal was to be the best person in this world,” Matthews says.
“That was what I wanted to be.”
The event sold out in a matter of days.
Matthews got the idea for a charity concert that summer.
“My friends, and I were all just so excited.
We were all like, ‘Oh, we can go to a music concert!'”
Matthews says of her friends and family.
“We’re all kind of like, You know, ‘Wow, we just got to go to this concert, right?'”
Matthews was shocked when she received a call from a friend who had a ticket to a concert, but couldn’t attend because he didn’t qualify for the $3,000 charitable deduction.
She called back, and a man answered.
“He said, Hey, do you know where I can get a ticket?”
He explained that he had gotten tickets for his parents and brother.
Matthews quickly got her parents to help her, and her brother to go too.
“They were like, Yeah, no problem,” Matthews remembers.
Matthews then made sure her parents could get their tickets.
She and her friends drove to the event and bought tickets on the street.
By the time the concert was over, Matthews was selling tickets for the event on eBay.
“It was really cool, just because it was so easy,” she says.
Matthews sold $2,500 worth of tickets that summer, and soon she had the opportunity to raise even more money for charities.
Matthews used her fame to help fund several initiatives, including a foundation for the arts, and helped launch an organization to help children.
She was even a regular guest on Oprah Winfrey’s daytime talk show, The Oprah Win Show.
“People would come up to me and say, ‘Mom, when did you realize you could be so successful?'”
Matthews says she thought.
“But I was like, I just had to keep going.”
She even made appearances at the BET Awards, where she won the Lifetime Achievement Award.
“If you think about it, I was actually the most popular person in school,” Matthews explains.
“The most popular people in school were all boys.
I was the only girl in the class, and they were like ‘Well, you can’t have everything.’
But I was able to have so many things that I was so proud of.”
Matthews also helped establish the National Trust for Historic Preservation and served as an ambassador for the National Parks Foundation.
In addition to her philanthropic efforts, Matthews had been a champion of social justice issues and worked to promote the causes of environmental justice and the rights of women.
Matthews is also a former contestant on the reality TV show The View.
“She’s a really strong person.
She has a lot to offer,” her friend, Marisa Zebrowski, told People magazine.
Matthews credits her mother, Ruth, for raising her to be such a great person and a strong leader.
“Her role in raising me, I never had to do anything,” Matthews recalls of her mother.
“Because she always knew exactly what I needed.”
When Matthews turned 50 in 2015, she took some time off from her philanthropy to take care of her father, who was in the hospital recovering from colon cancer.
“A lot of people would ask me if I had a birthday or if I was going to have a baby.
She’d say, No, I’m not going to do that, I don’t have that kind of time,” Matthews recalled.
Matthews still has her mother’s support, but her new passion is working on her own charitable endeavors.
She hopes to start a foundation that will help families in need, and is also planning to launch a website for people to donate to.
“There’s no question that there’s a lot more to her than just her talent and her celebrity,” Matthews said.
“And I think that’s what’s so cool about her.”
Follow David on Twitter: @David_Grimm