Elizabeth Hurley Talks the Power of Wearing Pink and the ‘Stroke of Genius’ in Connecting It to Women (Exclusive)

It’s not unusual to see Elizabeth Hurley wearing the color pink — especially if it’s October.

The actress and global ambassador for the Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Campaign knows the power of pink and says she’s been “collecting and hoarding pink things” for years, thanks to its connection to breast cancer awareness.

“I do have a lot of pink in my wardrobe!” she tells PEOPLE exclusively. “I think it was a stroke of genius when Evelyn Lauder chose the color pink to symbolize people caring about women and breast cancer at a time when people didn’t appear to as much.”

Elizabeth Hurley wearing pink.

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Lauder and the Estée Lauder Companies were one of the early adopters of tying the color pink to breast cancer awareness, along with the Susan G. Komen organization in the early 1990s. Both organizations began using the pink ribbon as a symbol of awareness, hope and remembrance.

After Estée Lauder began handing out the ribbons at makeup counters and saw a huge feature on the cover of Self magazine, as well as Komen handing them out at Race for a Cure, the pink ribbon for breast cancer was officially born — and pink officially became the color of hope for women.

“Pink is a great color, you know?” Hurley, 58, tells PEOPLE. “There’s a shade of pink for everybody, and it’s a very unifying color, especially during October when you see somebody wearing pink or wearing a pink ribbon.”

Hurley touts the number of ribbons the Campaign has given away over the years, with a number nearing 200 million and growing. She adds that every time she sees someone wearing a ribbon, she instantly feels touched and a bit emotional, because she knows the weight that ribbon carries.

Elizabeth Hurley wearing pink.

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“I always clock it when I see someone wearing a ribbon,” she says. “Very often I feel moved when I see a man wearing a pink ribbon — I know that means he’s had a battle within is family, whether it’s his wife, mother or someone else, but I know he’s had a battle and that means a lot to me.”

Though Hurley says she wears pink more during the month of October because of breast cancer awareness, she’s quick to admit that she wears the color “throughout the year” as well, touting the amount of it in her wardrobe. Because of the power of the color and its significance in its ties to awareness, she says every time she wears the shade, she feels all the emotions.

“I always think about breast cancer when I wear pink,” she says. “Always.”

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