Joyful Heart in the News

Q&A with Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order actress, and creator of Joyful Heart Foundation

April 1, 2015
Melissa Seymour

Melissa Seymour: Hi, Mariska! Thanks so much for speaking with us today. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?

Mariska Hargitay: I’m an actress an activist, and a mom of three.  I’ve played Detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for the past 16 years. I’ve also taken my turn behind the camera, directing the groundbreaking NO MORE PSAs and a number of episodes of Law & Order: SVU.  I am also the Founder and President of the Joyful Heart Foundation.

MS: Has your role as Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit changed your perspective? How so?

MH: When I first did research for my role on SVU, I couldn’t believe the statistics I was learning. Then people starting sending me letters and e-mails disclosing their stories of abuse—stories they had never told anyone before. I was holding in my hands the stories behind the statistics I had learned. And they made a very deep impression on me. 
The fact that these people were revealing something so personal to me—someone they only knew as a character on a television— showed me how much they wanted to be heard, believed, supported, and healed.


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