Rachael Hollingsworth, Oprah's Big Give Contestant

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Rachael Hollingsworth
Rachael Hollingsworth is a survivor. Born in Brooklyn, she says she grew up a victim of gang violence as well as sexual and physical abuse. "After those experiences, I wanted to escape my own feelings of victimization," Rachael says. "Helping people less fortunate than myself gave me perspective—there's always someone who has it worse than you."

Watch Rachael's video bio Watch

Rachael, a singer, currently lives in Hollywood, where she is recording her first solo album. She has sung backup for Donnie McClurkin, Cassandra Wilson and Max Roach and shared a stage with P. Diddy and Erick Morillo. When she's not in the studio, Rachael is working on starting her own nonprofit organization, which will serve as a safe haven for kids in Brooklyn's inner city. Her ultimate goal is to open a school in every inner city in the country.

"I wanted to be on Oprah's Big Give because I know that Oprah does everything with love in the details. I just wanted to serve," Rachael says. "On her show, Oprah always stresses trusting your instincts, and my instinct was screaming, 'You have to be there!' I waited for six hours in line with a 104 fever, but I knew I wanted to give back in an O way."

Rachael's Favorite…

Giving Back Moment: I went to Dakar, Senegal, for six weeks in December 2004 to work with children who had nothing—not even parents. I taught song and dance, and it was just the most amazing experience of my life.

Food: Jamaican cuisine, especially sweet fried plantains

Movie Shawshank Redemption and Malcolm X

Type of Music/Artist: Whitney Houston

Dessert: Rum bread pudding

Time of Day: 2 a.m.

Indulgence: A beachfront Swedish deep tissue massage

Vacation The all-inclusive spa at Le Sport at Saint Lucia

Memory: Being in Jamaica when I was 18 years old. It was the first time I ever liked a guy who liked me back the same way! We were just sitting on a boat together, talking, underneath the Jamaican sun. It was a movie moment.

Snack: Orville Redenbacher Kettle Korn and vegan chocolate nut ice cream bars

Weekend Activity: Sabar and Djembe African dance
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