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Kate Hudson surprises teenage girls in Washington with mentoring session

Her appearance was a surprise, so there was applause and squealing when Kate Hudson walked into the small conference room at the Dupont Circle Hotel Tuesday. Just goes to show that even the most serious teenage girls get a little goofy around movie stars.

The 50 high-school sophomores and juniors were hand-picked for a three-day global leadership conference in Washington, a joint program of Vital Voices and the Ann Taylor company. The young women listened respectfully as corporate CEO Kay Krill held forth on the fashion business and asked thoughtful questions about career and life planning.

But then Hudson crashed in and the place went a little nuts. The teens whipped out their phones to record the star’s every move. The reigning Ann Taylor spokesmodel — boho-polished in a blue patterned top and pencil skirt — grinned broadly and launched into her remarks. “The main thing I want to tell you is pretty obvious,” she told them. “It may not be easy to choose a path, but whatever path you choose, run down that path at full speed.”

Kate Hudson! A grown-up mentor type already? Why seems like just yesterday, she was the giggly ingenue of “Almost Famous”. . . oh wait. That was way back in 2000, as Hudson realized far better than we did.

“I’m not sure if you guys have seen it, because you guys were, like, toddlers,” said the nearly 34-year-old actress, “which is really weird to think about — that you were toddlers when this movie came out.”

Thus, old enough to pass on some advice for success. Mom Goldie Hawn is a great mentor, but “more spiritually than work-related.” Take chances, she said: Hudson passed on a leading role in “Spider-Man” for a period movie that tanked. “What was I thinking?” she laughed. But “the only people who never fail are the ones who really never try.”

Cliches? Sure, but delivered with enough charm that the girls hung on every word. Hudson spent another 30 minutes fielding questions on acting, fame, motherhood and celebrity fashion. “We need some real female leaders out there,” she urged them. “I would like to be a part of seeing that happen. I hope that you girls go out there and are fearless because we need you and you can do it.”

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