Tippi Hedren reflects on “Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds” and her foundation

It’s the classic story of being in the right place at the right time. Newly moved to California in 1961, Tippi Hedren appeared in a television commercial that caught the eye of one of the most acclaimed filmmakers in history: Alfred Hitchcock. “Hitch” tracked Ms. Hedren down and cast her as Melanie Daniels in his classic film “The Birds.” She worked with him again alongside Sean Connery in “Marnie.” More than five decades later she continues to work, both on screen and in her continuing fight to stop the breeding of big cats through her THE ROAR FOUNDATION. And talent runs in the family. Her daughter, Melanie Griffith, is an Oscar-nominated actress and her granddaughter, Dakota Johnson, will star in the highly anticipated film version of “50 Shades of Grey.”

As she prepared for her upcoming appearance in Omaha this week at a charity screening of “The Birds” Ms. Hedren took some time to speak with me about the event and her foundation.

Mike Smith: You’re originally from Minnesota. Will this be your first visit to Nebraska?
Tippi Hedren: Not at all. I’ve been there before and I’m looking forward to returning and taking part in the festivities.

MS: How did you get the name “Tippi?”
TH: My father gave it to me. My baptismal name is Nathalie Kay Hedren and that was quite much for a little tiny girl. My father, who was of Swedish descent, started calling me “Touksa,” which is a Swedish term of endearment apparently. It went from Touksa to Tippi. And that’s the story!

MS: What do you think it is about “The Birds” that makes it a “must see” film more than 50 years after it was released?
TH: That movie has a life of its own! But when you do a Hitchcock film you know it’s going to be good but this has just been outrageous. One decade after the other. People like to be afraid and when you can be made afraid of something that you see every day that makes it even better.

MS: As with a lot of the screenings in Omaha, the artist Nicolosi has designed a special United States Post Office envelope to commemorate the event. Have you seen it yet?
TH: No, I haven’t.
MS: It’s a beautiful piece of work. I know you’re going to like it.
TH: I can’t wait to see it.

MS: Your daughter, Melanie, is a movie star in her own right and your granddaughter is about to star in what will surely be one of the most popular films of 2015. Have you ever felt the need, or have they ever asked you, for any advice on how to deal with Hollywood?
TH: Not really. I’ve never felt the need to talk with them. As a family we certainly respect each other’s talent but we’ve never given each other advice.

MS: “The Birds” was your film debut. Do you approach a film role the same today as you did back then?
TH: No. You have to understand that “The Birds” was a unique experience. For someone who had always wanted to be an actress, this was like Cinderella. I was chosen for the part because of a commercial I had done. I had been a model for the Ford Agency in New York City in the 1950s but the 1960s brought along the television and, of course, the television commercial. Commercials were financially lucrative, so much so that I was able to take three months off and travel around the world. Apparently Mr. Hitchcock became interested in me after seeing me in a commercial for a product called Sego, which was a diet drink. It was a commercial with a story line, not just a product plug. He asked Universal to find the girl in the commercial. Lo and behold, I had just moved back to California with Melanie and…
MS: Wow! Perfect timing.
TH: Perfect.

MS: Tell a little about your work with big cats.
TH: I’ve been rescuing big cats…lions and tigers…since 1972. This has become a major, major part of my life. I feel very strongly that these animals should not be bred and born in the United States to be sold as a pet or for financial gain. I’m very busy trying to get my second federal bill passed to stop the breeding. It’s titled the “Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act” and I hope your readers will look it up and write to their senators and congressmen to stop the breeding.

For more information on how to support Miss Hedren’s bill, go to https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/1998

Executive Director Kim Klingler talks about working with the Ian Somerhalder Foundation

Kim Klingler talks is the Executive Director with the Ian Somerhalder Foundation.  Over the the last 12 years, she has worked with a variety of for profits and non profits, in a variety of industries, focusing on strategic mission, start up, product, brand and team development. Kim took out some time to chat with Media Mikes to tell us how she got started with ISF and what they have planned upcoming.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you take on the role of Executive Director of the Ian Somerhalder Foundation?
Kim Klingler: I was watching Ian on the Larry King Gulf Oil Spill Telethon, and was struck with Ian’s authenticity.. and wanted to connect with him to see if there were potentials to collaborate with Well World, a project I was working on with Deepak Chopra. Ian and I spoke on the phone and clicked…we felt the same way about the current state of the planet, and had the same vibe about the types of solutions we wished to see… the rest as they say is history.

MG: Tell us about the foundation’s mission and goals?
KK: Our mission statement is: “The Ian Somerhalder Foundation aims to empower, educate and collaborate with people and projects to positively impact the planet and its creatures.” The underlying energy of the foundation enables our mission and vision. There are more than 650 ISF community groups world wide. ISF is more than an organization, it’s a family of people who wish to see great change for all
living beings on this planet. We thrive off of the collaborative nature of everyone from volunteers to corporate bodies. We welcome out of the box thinkers and encourage people to share their innate talents with change makers creating opportunities for the best of many worlds to come together.

MG: How has it been working with Ian to accomplish these goals?
KK: If you can believe it, I’m not asked this question often. Which is truly crazy! I’ve seen Ian inspired, happy, very sad and even angry – I’ve got all the goods! I wish people would ask this question more, because it gives me an opportunity to share a little more about him and why I’m grateful to be working towards change with him.Ian is a very creative being, in too many forms to list. He’s also exceptionally intelligent and quite strategic. If he could he would try to solve every problem, because it’s in his genuine nature to heal. He’s very sensitive to the energy in a room, and can pick up things most people miss. He’s also a naturally grateful person which makes working with him a delight. He’s one of my more favourite human beings on this planet but keeping up with him is not an easy task! Im almost convinced the man has perfected teleporation and mastered sleep deprivation!

MG: How did ISF get involved with Best Friends Animal Society’s Strut Your Mutt?
KK: We are huge fans of Best Friends it was just natural to get involved withthis awesome project. We all work virtually, and I love the way I can work in tandem with people all over the world but there is something to be said about connecting in person. It renews that human connection all social animals crave, so having the opportunity to walk with and power up with people who care in person was to hard to resist!

MG: What can people do to get involved even if that can’t attend?
KK: If you can’t be in Lafayette, LA on September 22nd, you can still Strut Your Mutt by becoming a “virtual” member of the ISF Dog Pack. Every ISF Dog Pack member creates their own personal SYM page, sets there own fundraising goal and raises funds via sponsors like family and friends. For the virtual walkers, we are encouraging them to set aside a day and take their pet on a special walk. Then share their walk with their sponsors and others on the SYM Facebook page through pictures and a story.

MG: What does ISF have planned next after this event?
KK: We have a stack of to do’s a bunch of creative directions and a whole lot of work ahead of us! We are VERY excited about moving forward with the Animal Sancturary and it’s bully program- keep your eyes posted!

 

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Ian Somerhalder talks about his foundation and “The Vampire Diaries”

Ian Somerhalder is known best for his television roles on shows like “Lost” and “The Vampire Diaries”.  Ian also spends a lot of his time working with his foundation, Ian Somerhalder Foundation or ISF.  The foundation is participating Best Friends Animal Society’s annual Strut Your Mutt event at Park Sans Souci in Lafayette, Louisiana this year.  Media Mikes had a chance to ask Ian a few questions about his foundation and also about returning to season 4 of “The Vampire Diaries”.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us what made your start your foundation, ISF, and how did you come up with the mission of promoting love and interconnectedness?
Ian Somerhalder: After witnessing the devastation of the Oil spill in the Gulf, I had find a way to utilize my voice to make a change. I was not alone. I witnessed the compassion from others, equally as grief stricken, unite in determination. People of all ages gathered together to make a difference. I soon realized the immediate need for a platform for these amazing people to come together to have their voices heard. This launched the IS Foundation. As we come together more and more from all ages and walks of life, we celebrate our shared passions as well as our differences. With an understanding of the ultimate interconnectedness of the universe, we emphasize the unique strengths in all the different voices that make up the ISF Family.

MG: Tell us about your participation in the Best Friends Animal Society’s annual Strut Your Mutt eventat Park Sans Souci in Lafayette, Louisiana?
IS: ISF has long been a fan and supporter of Best Friends Animal Society and their mission of “No More Homeless Pets”. As we developed the idea for our Animal Sanctuary, we were looking for opportunities to spread the word and raise funds for this ambitious project. The “Strut Your Mutt” event in my home state is a great opportunity to get out and do just that alongside some amazing people and animals. We hope you join us and participate in this fantastic event!

MG: How can people help that cannot attend the event?
IS: Understandably, not everyone will be able to attend. By spreading the work of ISF, especially our plans to build a sustainable animal sanctuary, you are still participating! We are tremendously grateful for donations from ISF family members who want to see this dream come true. If just 1,000 people donated $10 a month for a year, we could achieve our goal!

MG: How do find time to focus on your charity along with starring in the hit CW show “The Vampire Diaries”?
IS: Although it can appear overwhelming at times, it’s necessary. We all lead busy lives, but to see the changes we want for this world we have to make time to stay active with our ideas and continue to collaborate. We can’t do it alone. I wouldn’t be able to accomplish nearly as much as I do without the incredible ISF family. Together our voices weave a tapestry that serves as support for our array of initiatives. ISF has an amazing Executive Director, Kim Klingler, who brings a tremendous amount of passion and knowledge to the table. We are also fortunate to have talented and driven volunteers who commit countless hours contributing their time on projects, content for the website, event planning and much more.

MG: How is filming going so far for the upcoming 4th season?
IS: Great! Coming back for a new season is always reminiscent of the first day of school. The cast and crew are incredibly close, so rekindling bonds and positive energy encompasses the set. And from what we’ve seen so far, this season is bound to be excellent. Things are going to be very interesting for Damon…so I hope you stay tuned to see…

MG: What do you have planned next for ISF and where can people find out more information?
IS: ISF is currently working on several projects and initiatives. We are planning our very own Vampire Diaries Convention to be hosted in Canada early next year. We are also working on a youth development conference to held next year as well. To see information about any of our current projects like the Animal Sanctuary, you can visit isfoundation.com and follow us on twitter and facebook.