On Saturday, October 13, Emmy award-winning actress Mariska Hargitay served as the keynote speaker at the third annual Virtua Health Women’s Health Symposium, which was held at the Burlington County College Enterprise Center.  At the event, the Law & Order: SVU star gave a talk that revolved around women taking responsibility for their own health.

More than 500 women attended the event, which offered participants sessions on everything from metabolism and knee replacements to loss of sex drive and spider veins.  Other health-related issues, such as screenings, smoking cessation education, and sun damage assessment, were also discussed at the event.

However, it was Mariska Hargitay’s scheduled appearance that proved to be the highlight for many of the participants.  During her session, the 43-year-old actress, who plays Detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU, revealed that she too has had bouts with deep and sometimes immobilizing insecurity.

“I lost my mother when I was only 3, and it left me with lots of terrible fears about being a parent myself,” Hargitay, whose parents are actress Jayne Mansfield and bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay, told the crowd, adding that she felt other people were always more capable than her.  She also spoke of the immense pressure she felt from her father, and that even though at first she often clashed with him on the matter, she eventually grew to realize the value of her father’s insistence that she excel.

“It took me a long time to get there, and to believe my own self-talk,” she said.  “I had to minimize my self-battering, and that’s not easy.”

Not easy, indeed, especially during the early part of her career, when she was often criticized for not looking a certain way and compared to her famous mother.  Nevertheless, Mariska Hargitay managed to overcome her hardships and eventually landed her starring role on Law & Order: SVU.

The legal drama, which is currently on its ninth season on NBC, has educated Hargitay well on matters related to sexual offenses, and a few years ago, she launched the Joyful Heart Foundation, an organization for survivors of sexual assault.

“The show is the most rewarding experience of my life.  I feel as if I’m doing something that matters,” she told the crowd.  “I’ve learned more about sexual assault through the show than I ever knew before, and I now understand that souls get shut down and the lights go out for many of these women.  They’ve been robbed of something precious, and it’s hard work to ever feel free again.”

-Lisa Claustro, BuddyTV Staff Columnist

Source: Burlington County Times
(Image Courtesy of Burlington County Times)


Staff Columnist, BuddyTV