“Get a backup system,” said Hawn, looking sleek in a black pantsuit, gold jewelry and her signature blonde mop. “And figure out what else you’re going to do in life, because you never know. It’s the same thing with a career that goes on and on and on – and one day, that career stops.”
Hawn, 67, hasn’t done much acting work in the past decade – but, as she explained, it’s been a self-imposed hiatus. Except for a small role on Disney’s animated show “Phineas and Ferb” (which she did to impress her grandkids), she’s mainly been focused on running the Hawn Foundation. The organization teams with neuroscientists, psychologists and educators to develop a science-based educational curriculum, called MindUP, teaching children emotional learning skills and how to cope with stress.
Hawn said she felt a calling to create the program after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. When she was a sixth-grader at Silver Spring Intermediate School, she said, she was traumatized after watching footage of the atom bomb, and she worries how the 24-hour news cycle might affect children today.
Although she emphasized that MindUP is science-based, the practicing Buddhist is deeply interested in research about how children can manage anxiety and fears by “calming the mind.” “A happy child is a better learner,” explained the woman who shot to fame at age 22 by telling jokes on “Laugh In.”
Of course, the audience (journalists and fans who managed to snag a seat) wanted to know more about other stuff – like, what was her favorite movie she’s starred in? And what advice does she give her daughter, Kate Hudson?
Hawn, chatty and charmingly goofy as ever, gamely obliged: Her favorites included roles in 1974’s “Sugarland Express,” the first feature film Steven Spielberg directed, and the 1987 comedy “Overboard,” when she got to work with longtime partner Kurt Russell (they’ve been together 30 years but never married).
As for her daughter: “I don’t give advice to Kate,” said Hawn. “She’s strong, and smart, and that’s how I raised her, and my job is done.”
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