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In addition to the amazing activities, there will also be a veritable who’s who of celebrity families in attendance, as CMEE welcomes Honorary Co-Chairs such as Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann, Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka, Jane Krakowski, Katie Lee, Dan Abrams, Stacey Bendet, Molly Sims, Charlie and Lauran Walk, Tiffani Thiessen and Brady Smith.

The annual Family Fair will be fun times for a good cause, as it helps ensure that all families “regardless of ability, background, or income” can access the Museum. The proceeds from the Family Fair enable CMEE to make a difference in the lives of many children and families, as they welcome 65,000 visitors each year.

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A local Tampa swimwear designer will get to visit the White House on Tuesday and hobnob with a number of high-powered women from all walks of life, including the First Lady, Oprah, and tennis great Billie Jean King.

Altrichia “A.Lekay” Cook, CEO of Allusions by A.Lekay Swimwear, was invited to Washington, D.C. for the inaugural “United State of Women Summit,” hosted by President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Senior White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett.

“You had to be nominated” to get invited to the event, Cook said. “I was totally blown away.”

Even though she won’t be speaking on a panel, Cook anticipates meeting other women who she describes as those “who don’t take no for an answer.” In fact, she calls them “bad ass women” who are change agents in helping women break through barriers.

Cook, 29, showcases, sells and distributes globally to countries in Europe. Her luxury swimsuits have walked the runway at New York Fashion Week and graced the cover of magazines like Cosmopolitan. In fact, pop idol Nicki Minaj wore a Cook swimsuit on that cover.

Her line of luxury, high-waisted swimwear was created to mask abdominal imperfections from child bearing.

Yet, Cook’s entrepreneurial success is just one aspect of what she wants to achieve. Cook also speaks at events ranging from empowerment luncheons to high school commencements.

“Through my efforts and activism in the community and through mentorship, I believe that I am fulfilling my life’s purpose as well as making strides to ensure that I am imprinting the lives of others (especially girls and women) and making powerful difference in our collective future,” she said.

The summit will focus on topics ranging from economic empowerment to violence against women to educational opportunities in the science, technology, engineering and math or STEM fields. Among the speakers at the two-day event will be feminist icon Gloria Steinem and actresses Patricia Arquette, Connie Britton, Mariska Hargitay, Debra Messing, Amy Poehler and Kerry Washington.

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Kate Coyne, the executive editor of People magazine, is finally willing to tell tales on some big names like Tom Cruise and Jennifer Lopez.

But her new book, “I’m Your Biggest Fan,” isn’t spilling swill. Coyne is sharing those hard-to-forget moments from her long career as a star-struck celebrity journalist who sometimes got a little carried away.

There was that night, for instance, at an Emmy party, that Mariska Hargitay grabbed Julianna Margulies’ hand as Hargitay recoiled from Coyne.

“I’d like to say I’d never seen her look so shocked, but it was the same look she gets when she’s attacked on SVU,” laughs Coyne.

Five years before, Coyne had interviewed Hargitay, the beloved Detective Olivia Benson on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” for a Good Housekeeping cover story.

Hargitay had been so warm, crying several times throughout the interview as she revealed intimate details from her life. At one point, a delighted Hargitay told Coyne how much she wanted the reporter to become a regular at her game nights. She even insisted on getting Coyne’s cell number.

Coyne figured those game nights had to be celebrity-studded and was certain she’d fit right in.

Hargitay never called. That night at the Emmy party, Coyne cut through a crowd that included Tina Fey and Jon Hamm, to get to Hargitay and her good friend Margulies. She reintroduced herself and the chitchat was pleasant until .

“So how come you never invited me over to play charades?” Coyne suddenly heard herself demanding. The cackling laugh she followed up with had the panicked actresses backing away.

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Hamilton fans looking for another way to feed their obsession, or simply hungry to read more about the musical’s origins, will be able to get their hands on Hamilton: The Revolution (or as creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda calls it, the “Hamiltome”) on April 12, in hardcover and audiobook.

While co-authors Miranda and Jeremy McCarter will narrate the lyric annotations and the book’s introduction, respectively, the prose sections will be read by none other than Law & Order: SVU star and Hamilton “superfan” Mariska Hargitay, EW can announce exclusively. At Manuel’s own request, Hargitay agreed to the project: “Mariska, in addition to being the #1 fan of the show, represents, to me, much of what Hamilton is about — tough, smart, and New York,” Manuel says in a release. “She’s an essential part of this city; it feels only right for her to narrate the story.” Manuel added, during his own recording session: “and she has a killer voice! I want to hear her telling the story.”

“I’m hard-pressed to express how thrilled and honored I am to do this,” Hargitay says. “Lin-Manuel’s Hamilton enthralls me, and to think that I get to play a part in telling the story of how this masterpiece came into existence, it’s really just a lot to take in.”

The downloadable audiobook edition of Hamilton: The Revolution will feature a PDF of the full libretto, while the CD edition contains an “extensive PDF of images from the print book.”

This project isn’t the only intermingling of Hamilton and SVU we’ve seen lately: Actors Leslie Odom, Jr. (who plays Aaron Burr), Anthony Ramos (who plays John Laurens and Philip Hamilton), and Daveed Diggs (who plays Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson) have all appeared on the long-running NBC drama alongside Hargitay.

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Stay tuned for air dates 🙂

Three pilots were taped featuring guests Colin Farrell, Mindy Kaling, Mariska Hargitay and Dakota Fanning, Connick says. From the tests, a sizzle reel was assembled that has been used to sell the show. Among the stations that have signed on are the Fox Television Stations in 17 markets in a deal announced last October. It surprised many in the TV industry because it was long assumed that the NBC O&O’s would pick up Harry as a replacement for Meredith Vieira, which was recently canceled. Instead, the NBC O&O’s seem intent on expanding their local news production, leaving little or no room for a new syndicated show such as Harry.

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When Mariska Hargitay first played Detective (now Sergeant) Olivia Benson on NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in September 1999, Bill Clinton was president. Star Wars: Episode I, The Phantom Menace was in theaters. J.K. Rowling had just published Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third book in the series.

And when the 17th season of SVU kicked off last month, kids who were babies during that long-ago first season were entering their junior year in high school.

Hargitay is one of the keys to the seemingly endless popularity of the often gut-wrenching crime drama: Her Benson is at once amazingly heroic and totally relatable. She’s the nurturing friend you’d call first when you found out your boyfriend was cheating on you — and the badass cop you’d want in your corner if that boyfriend turned out to like to use his fists.

Hargitay was the first lead actor from any of the behemoth Law & Order franchise series to win an Emmy Award (in 2006), and she earned leading actress Emmy nominations 8 years in a row.

Art and Life

But after all this time, isn’t she ready to try something new? No way. In an era when few people stay in the same job for 5 years, much less 16, Hargitay says she’s just as excited to be playing Benson today as when she auditioned for the show in the spring of 1999. In those days, she was a virtual unknown whose biggest role had been a short-lived stint as Dr. Mark Greene’s girlfriend on the TV medical drama ER.

“That’s a question I get asked a lot, and something I’ve asked myself, but the truth of the matter is that the show feels like a completely new show to me now,” Hargitay says. “We had such a great run for the first 12 years, and then our new showrunner Warren Leight came on board and brought Olivia to incredible new depths. It’s great writing, and that keeps me so invested.”

She admits that she considered leaving SVU when her longtime TV partner, Chris Meloni, moved on in 2011. “When Chris left, I thought, ‘I can’t be on the show without him! We’re partners and we started the show together and we have to finish together.’ But it turned into such a beautiful lesson of life, that things change and they evolve into something different and something beautiful if you let them. And now that I’m directing and producing as well, I have to work harder at it and use very different muscles. There’s so much more for me to learn. All good things have to come to an end at some point, of course, but sometimes when I thought things were over, they just began again.

Read the full article here.




One of the more delightful developments of 2015 has been the emergence of a friendship between pop princess Taylor Swift and TV queen Mariska Hargitay (who’s been starring in “Law & Order: SVU” since 1999).

It may have all begun when Swift named her kitten after Hargitay’s “SVU” character, Olivia Benson, but it definitely picked up steam when the pair met at the Met Gala and bonded. Hargitay has since appeared in Swift’s “Bad Blood” video and onstage during her most recent tour.

And as the Emmy winner told TODAY.com, the friendship endures. “It has been such a treat and a joy and a surprise,” she said. “She is so lovely and mature and has really inspired me.”

Taylor Swift is inspiring? Yep. And it’s all about a song.

“The song ‘Shake It Off’ touched me deeply, profoundly,” revealed Hargitay.

That’s right; while most of us were just finding goofy ways to parody the delightful dance tune, the earnest actress was looking deeper.

“I thought, ‘What a beautiful message to send to people,'” she continued. “I’ve certainly had thin skin at times, and things hurt my feelings and you sit there and go, ‘Why do you let that hurt your feelings? And you know what? Shake it off and move on.’ What a beautiful lesson. … There are certain things in life we need to put our attention on and there’s other things we don’t.”

A reaction that seems totally natural from the woman behind Olivia Benson, who was just voted the most popular (by a wide margin) female character on TV. Hargitay is set to return for her 17th season on Sept. 23 and is one of Olivia’s biggest fans.

“She is fearless, a lioness, a protector and she’s compassionate and empathetic,” she said. “So we feel safe with her and it’s all those feminine things we are and yet she is not pigeonholed, because she is a badass. … She does it all; it’s not easy, but she doesn’t quit trying. Takes the hit, gets up again. She’s really the Terminator.”

Still, even the Terminator might have been a little intimidated by joining Swift in the middle of her concert. “The first time I went onstage in Philly, I was like, ‘I don’t know what’s happening!’,” laughed Hargitay.

So will we get Swift — or other members of her posse — on board at “SVU”?

“We can only hope,” said Hargitay. But then she whispered behind her hand, “I think so!”

“Law & Order: SVU” returns to NBC on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 10 p.m. ET

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Who doesn’t wanna be on the show?! 🙂

20. I love Law & Order: SVU, and Mariska Hargitay is my queen. Get me on the show! #illbeadeadbody

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Mariska Hargitay on Taylor Swift, who memorably named one of her cats after Hargitay’s SVU character: “I’m amazed at how much earned wisdom Taylor threads into her work. She seems tuned in to the greater good, and she embraces—thoughtfully and authentically—the chance to contribute to the world. I’m always trying to find the best words to talk to my kids (and myself) about growing up, but you can’t top her beautifully articulated advice. The haters are gonna hate, but, well, shake it off. She illuminates our inner music that lets us dance to our own beat… Also, it doesn’t hurt that she named her cat after me.”

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Mariska Hargitay: Honey, how are you?
Sophia Bush: I just got home and I feel like I’ve won the lottery.

MH: “Home” home, like LA home?
SB: Yeah.

MH: Good for you! So, sweet Sophia, let’s start at the beginning: Tell me when you first knew that you wanted to become an actor.
SB: It was honestly an accident. My junior high and high school had a series of arts requirements, and I put off my theater requirement until the last semester. I knew it would interfere with all my extracurricular activities. The second semester of my eighth-grade year, they said, “You have to take a theater class,” and I protested because I was on the volleyball team, and they said, “It doesn’t matter. You could have done this last semester, but you waited and now you have to do it.” We did a production of Our Town—

MH: Oh!
SB: Something just clicked, and I realized that my passion for English and my love of literature could be put into action. It rocked my world and I just thought, I get this.

MH: I have a similar story. I was an athlete. I met somebody and he was like, “You should go on auditions,” and I was like, “Nope, I’ve got a volleyball game; I’ve got a cross-country game.” It wasn’t until I did a play that I went, Hey, wait a minute. I like this. Doing sports as a young girl really teaches us how to strive for something. In so many ways, too, it makes you a better actor.
SB: Absolutely, because you have some understanding of the need to persevere. I get this question all the time about our schedules—people say, “What happens when you’re sick?”

MH: And you say, “Nobody cares.” [Laughs]
SB: If you’re sick, you come to work with a bucket and you deal with it.

MH: Speaking of work, tell me what you think it is about Chicago P.D. that the audiences connect to.
SB: First of all, we’re so lucky to be part of this larger wheelhouse that you’ve influenced and that Dick [Wolf] has been growing for so many years. Television has grown as an industry. When I was a little kid, there were only a handful of channels, and now there’s a thousand to choose from. That has widened avenues that we have for storytelling, because we’re not looking at shows the way we used to. I grew up watching reruns of Dragnet on Nick at Nite. There was a crime and then they solved it, and that was that. Now we’ve been given permission on the show to allow our heroes to be flawed. Are they bending the rules to service the law? Are they breaking the law? Do we root for them? Are we afraid of them? Nobody’s always playing perfect.

MH: What’s your favorite thing about playing Detective Lindsay?
SB: She’s not one of those bleeding hearts that sees the world and wants to fix it. She wants to fix the world because she was taken advantage of as a child, because she was recruited to work in a gang environment, because she was a drug addict, because she’s been at the lowest point and seen what one person who cares about you can do for you, and now she wants to give that to other people.

MH: And what initially drew you to it?
SB: I’d been on location doing [One Tree Hill] for nine years, and then I worked a season on a show in LA and was so excited to be home. I didn’t quite know what I wanted to do next, but I always wanted to work for Dick, and I always wanted to work with you. I get this call, and my agent said, “Dick Wolf is doing this show, and they really want to see you for the lead female, and it shoots in Chicago,” and I’m like, “No way. Chicago’s so cold, it’s so far away, I don’t know anybody there…. I’m not going.”

MH: [Laughs] But Dick Wolf has a pretty good record.
SB: I know. And they were like, “But Sophia, it’s literally two of the three criteria for a job you’ve ever wanted. You could just read it.” And I said, “All right.” I was protesting, but not much, because in the back of my head I was so excited. And you know what that feeling is like, when you read a script and from the first moment it gets its hooks in you? I just went, “Uh-oh.” [Laughs] I knew I was in trouble.

MH: You’ve said that Law & Order: SVU, which you starred in, obviously, in the crossovers, is your favorite show. What was that experience like? I want you to be honest. [Laughs]
SB: For so long, I talked about how all I would do on a day off was bingewatch SVU marathons and how Mariska Hargitay was just the coolest woman on TV. I was this shameless gusher. I was doing this as an actor on a show, so these words were being printed—it wasn’t, like, on my private Tumblr page. Then six or seven years ago, I was walking down the street in Soho, and I looked up, and it was like all the lights on Broadway started shining in my face—it became a weird sort of Wes Anderson film—and there you were, and I just blacked out. I know that I went up to you and that I probably babbled. I think you knew my brain was short-circuiting, and you touched my arm and said, “It’s so nice to meet you. I think your show is just great. Want to take a walk with me?” And I was like, “Sure.” What? And we just talked for 20 minutes, and it’s weird because now we text, we e-mail, we chat, we send each other stupid pictures, but I remember that day not understanding how to compute just how genuinely lovely you were.

MH: That’s so gracious, but it’s been such a pleasure getting to know you, working with you, and having you teach me how to tweet and Instagram. And your photos are amazing. This is a fun fact about Sophia Bush: She is such a great photographer. You wouldn’t even know she’s an actor, and she’s like, “Okay, stand over here.”
SB: Taking photos together now, it’s like, “Wow, I basically accosted this woman on the street in Soho, and now we’re working together—”

MH: And now you’re telling me where to stand for photos. [Laughs] But let’s talk about support: The environment is something that means a lot to you—you’ve done beach cleanups, marathons to benefit The Nature Conservancy. Tell me about conservation and why it’s so dear to you.
SB: I honestly think it’s a no-brainer, and some of that comes from growing up in Southern California—spending all my time as a kid exploring beaches and the sea and the mountains, and just realizing that we’re such a small part of this giant planet, yet we wreak the most havoc on it. When the president of the United States is saying that climate change poses a greater threat to American citizens than terrorism, people are finally opening their eyes and realizing that the world doesn’t exist for us to trample and use. I really hope that citizens will start to demand change both from the companies where they spend their money and the governments they elect to represent them.

MH: What are a couple of things you’d suggest to readers who want to protect the environment?
SB: It’s important to realize that every dollar you spend casts a vote. When you have to spend money, look at where it’s going. There’s actually a company that a friend of mine helped start called Conscious Commerce, where you can look up all kinds of conscious beauty products, gift items, fashion items. I switched over to a clean diesel [car] a couple of years ago, and it’s made a great impact on my life and saved me a ton of money in the process. I don’t use plastic bags anymore; I take my own bags to the grocery store. I try to drink bottled water that I bring from home in a glass bottle, but if I have to use plastic, I make sure I’m recycling. Buying my groceries at the farmers market on the weekend instead of buying produce that’s shipped using pesticides to stay fresh…. In the minutiae of our everyday, we have the chance to create change.

MH: It’s been beautiful to see how you’ve used your social media to get the message out there, and it says on your social media that you call yourself a “storyteller” and an “activist,” and “I believe a pencil can change the world.” How do you want to change the world?
SB: The notion of a pencil changing the world to me comes from all of my work with Pencils of Promise and really seeing that we have the capability to change the world by educating its children. I’d like to see us investing in education, in the environment. I’d like to see us treating one another like we’re all in this together. If every one of us really embraces that and says, “I should start with myself, then I can have a ripple effect in my universe,” that’s it.

Vegas: Local car dealers talk about how you wrote a Huffington Post op-ed in 2013 about the benefits of buying a diesel vehicle. What inspired that article?
SB: I would love for clean-diesel vehicles to be a huge thing everywhere. It all ties back to being passionate about the environment and looking at ways to lower our fossil fuel consumption, looking at ways to create cleaner vehicles. Even when I was just looking for a car a couple of years ago, doing all the research and being able to sort of compare a regular gas option, a hybrid option, and a TDI—a clean diesel vehicle, and clean diesel won far and away—I just think it’s something we can do so easily, and I really wish that people were being given more options. This isn’t the kind of thing that we can wait on, taking care of the environment.

MH: Now, hold on—I heard you were at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Vegas last September? I was there, and I did not know that you were there. [Laughs] Tell me about that, and how was your experience in Vegas?
SB: Oh, it was so much fun.

MH: How great is that city? Unlike any other place on the planet.
SB: It is. It’s so wild—kind of like Disneyland for grown-ups.

MH: I feel like it’s another planet. [Laughs]
SB: It is. [Laughs] I’ve only ever really been in Vegas for a weekend, and it’s usually to celebrate—we’ll do a bachelorette party, or a birthday…. We always just have a great time. Tao has always been lovely; Light has always been lovely…. Usually my MO in Vegas is, if I’m going for the weekend, I love to go out with my friends one night, and then love to hit the pool the next day, have a great meal, and see a show, and then head home on Sunday. I think that’s kind of the perfect mix. I’m not one of those people who can have a crazy night out two nights in a row. [Laughs]

MH: Yes, exactly.
SB: Two of my best friends and I, we flew in on Saturday morning. We spent a day lying by the pool and drinking smoothies and catching up. We saw so many of our favorite musicians play. I got to present Lorde, which was awesome ’cause I think she’s the coolest, and I was backstage with her before I went out to present her performance, and I’m watching her warm up, and I sort of forgot that she’s only 17. And then she gets out onstage, and she’s such a force, and it was really cool. I thought, We’re lucky we’ve got another really amazing generation of strong and incredible women who really have something to say and really care about their art.

MH: That’s exciting to watch. I feel like the younger generations are so much more self-possessed than we were. I remember thinking that even when I met you—I was like, God, if I knew what you knew when I was your age, I’d be a lot further along in the game, ’cause it’s exciting to see young women go after what we want and not have any sort of trepidation about it, but just be like: This is what I want, this is what I do, this is what I’m capable of, and I know I can do it, and I’m going to go after it. It’s fun to see people put sort of self-doubt and limitation behind them.
SB: I think it’s taken me forever to learn that. I feel like something sort of magical happens to women in their 30s, where suddenly you go, Oh! All the things that people told me—stop worrying and don’t doubt yourself and you’re doing great—oh, I see why they said that. And then I was looking at this girl and I was thinking, Look at how much she knows about everything.

MH: Already! [Laughs]
SB: Yeah, and it’s just going to get better for them.

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