Meet PEOPLE's People of the Year: Four Celebs Who Were Here to Help in 2022

POTY people cover tout
POTY people cover tout

The boldest thing we can do? Help.

I've been thinking a lot about what inspires someone to take action, to donate their time and money and passion to a cause, to do anything more than fire off a tweet or Instagram post. It's been on my mind because the world seems to need our help more than ever and also because the people we celebrate in this issue didn't hesitate to meet the moment. They didn't ask why me or wait for permission or get caught up in self-doubt. They just moved.

When Matthew McConaughey's hometown was devastated by a mass shooting last May, he and his wife, Camila, quickly returned to Uvalde. They didn't have a plan; they just started talking to the victims' families and immediately saw how much the parents wanted their kids' lives to matter. In Washington, D.C., to urge gun reforms, the couple carried with them those "frontline stories from the families," the Oscar winner says. One month later Congress passed historic federal gun legislation.

Emmy winner Quinta Brunson created Abbott Elementary because she wanted a show that would bridge generational divides, that would get her and her parents and grandparents laughing at the same jokes. "Having the same laugh is really important to me. I think it's spiritual, I think it's healing," she's said. To bring people together for a moment of joy? What a gift.

With her new talk show, Jennifer Hudson made it her mission "to create a platform for everyone, just so we all have a place to feel included," she says. It's so simple yet important — and the show launch comes on the heels of her incredible year, in which she became, at 41, the youngest woman ever to achieve EGOT status (that's an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony).

When Mila Kunis saw Russia invade Ukraine, she didn't expect to deliver aid to the Ukrainian people. But when friends reached out, assuming Mila could tell them where to give, since she was born in Ukraine, "I knew I had to help," she says. Not knowing where to start didn't slow her down: "We didn't have a solution, so we created one." To date, she's raised $37 million for refugees in need.

Taking action can sound so big, so monumental. But often it's just taking one step and then the next. As Mila put it, "Helping — not even asking, just doing — should be our standard norm."

For more on PEOPLE's 2022 People of the Year issue, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

I hope this issue inspires you to make a difference in your corner of the world.

Matthew McConaughey, Quinta Brunson, Mila Kunis and Jennifer Hudson are PEOPLE's 2022 People of the Year! Look for all four covers on newsstands this week and read more from their revealing interviews in the new issue.