National Press Club

Actress-activist Goldie Hawn speaks up about 'MindUP'

November 6, 2013 | By Richard F. Lee |

Actress Goldie Hawn laughs as she listens to National Press Club President Angela Greiling Keane introduce her before her luncheon speech Nov. 5..

Actress Goldie Hawn laughs as she listens to National Press Club President Angela Greiling Keane introduce her before her luncheon speech Nov. 5..

Photo/Image: Al Teich

Goldie Hawn came to the National Press Club to speak up about MindUP, a curriculum and teaching model for primary school children, at a Nov. 5 Club Luncheon. It’s a cause that’s important to her, and she wants to spread the word about it, she said.

The Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actress, fit, blond and still glamorous at 67, said she was “traumatized” by the events of 2001. “I just sat there, for days, watching it over and over on television, wondering how something so terrible could happen in our country. This was not the kind of world I grew up in. But I realized just how much the world was suddenly changed by that attack.” she said.

The Hawn Foundation, which she established in 2003, was a result of that experience and her fears for the future, she said.

Its major initiative is MindUP, which was developed by a team of neuroscientists, educators and psychologists, she said. It’s a program to address the growing problem of emotional stress among children, she added.

Hahn sees that it is critically important to help young children live better lives in the face of school shootings, the threat of terrorism, bullying and other contemporary ills.

“We need to help children understand their own emotions, their moods and their behavior,” Hawn said. “We need to give them the tools to reduce their stress and anxiety, to live emotionally healthy lives.”

"Why don't our children know about the brain?" she asked. "The brain is the greatest tool they have. Our children need to know about this amazing thing they have. It's better than any computer."

Since its creation, Hawn said, schools in six countries have adopted the program, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, China and Venezuela.

A native of Washington, D.C., she was raised in the Jewish religion. Her mother was a jewelry shop/dance school owner, and her father was a musician. She grew up in Takoma Park, Maryland.

A college dropout, Hawn started out as a dancer, and always saw that as a “back-up” career option, she said.

A screen veteran of 30 movies, most of them comedies, Hawn first attracted attention on TV as the ditzy blond on Rowan and Martin’s “Laugh-In,” in the late 60s. She also produced one of her most successful starring movies, “Private Benjamin,” in 1980.

“Women have made a lot of progress in Hollywood,” Hawn said. “But we still don’t always get the respect we deserve.”

She appeared in three movies with actor and long-time partner Kurt Russell. NPC President Angela Greiling Keane asked if there was any chance they will appear in another one together.

“I don’t think so,” Hawn replied. “People like to see younger actors kissing on the screen. We don’t have that mystique anymore. We’re like an old married couple. Kurt wants to work with another girl, and I want to work with another guy.”

Attendees of the VIP reception can find their photos here.