As a teenager growing up in Southern California, Mariska Hargitay didn't exactly embrace her curvy figure. "I was a competitive swimmer and a tomboy and I thought my curves got in the way. I rebelled against them," says Hargitay. "But now I love my body. I try to focus on who I am rather than who I'm not." At 49, Hargitay is the star of the long-running detective drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, the founder of the Joyful Heart Foundation, which helps empower abused women, and the mother of three kids (August, 6; Amaya, 2; and Andrew, 1). Incredibly successful yet surprisingly down-to-earth, Hargitay is one of our favorite cover stars and she was happy to answer LHJ readers' questions about gaining body confidence and living a more satisfying life.
You seem to be so together and sure of yourself. What helped you get this way?- Kathy Agate, Banner Elk, North Carolina
MH: I wasn't always confident. I spent most of my 20s having people say no to me. I'd go on auditions and the casting directors would be like: You're not tall enough, you're not pretty enough, you're not blonde enough, your nose is too big, your nose is too small, your skin is too dark, your skin is too light, change your name! There was so much rejection. I didn't work for eight years. But my dad taught me not to give up. He'd hold his forefinger and his thumb about an inch apart and say, "Mariska, it takes about this much more to be a winner." I'd get an audition and he'd say, "How hard are you going to work for it? What are you going to do today to get yourself closer to your goal?" So I did what I could to become the best actor I could be: I read every play, I went to acting class, I took every audition, I pushed myself when I didn't feel like pushing myself. I acted confident even when I wasn't. And slowly, by doing the thing I loved and by getting better at it, I became more confident.( Long interview, but she's flawless and such an inspiration.Collapse )
I just absolutely adore her. My tumblr is basically a dedication to her. My Queen