Mariel Hemingway and I have been in touch for a little over a year. I admire what she stands for, and how she has turned tragedy into triumph. Mariel is one classy lady, as you will see. Enjoy getting to know her in this candid interview.
What was it like growing up in the Hemingway family? Those three beautiful daughters, your father a writer, your grandfather, legendary writer Ernest Hemingway. I know you never met him, but I am a writer as well so I am very fascinated. Was writing and “the gift of the gab” something that came to you naturally? Do you have any keepsakes from your brilliant grandfather?
Growing up a Hemingway for me was no different than you being a Diamond or someone else being a Smith. I never knew anything different. I knew my grandfather was important and I felt a deep connection to his views of the world. I loved how he wrote about nature, and I feel that this is my biggest energetic connection to him. He had an understanding of the outdoors, food, and relationships in a way that I admire and always have. I have no keepsakes from my grandfather, but that is a whole other story. I too love to write, and one day hope to tackle a novel. I think it would be a fascinating journey. For now, I am sticking to self-help writing, which I love.
How did you get into acting and notably, that famous first role in Woody Allen’s "Manhattan"? You were just a teenager at the time and nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. I can imagine as a teen, that was quite thrilling.
I got my first role in "Lipstick" playing my own sister Margaux’s little sister. It was a fun thing for me, but at age 13, I didn’t think acting was my future. It was purely a chance to buy school clothes in the big city of L.A. at the time. After making "Manhattan", I fell in love with acting. It was fun and new, and Woody was such a magical director for someone who was such a country bumpkin like myself. I was pure kid at the time. I was 18 when I was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, and I really didn’t have a clue what the Academy Awards were all about. It took me years before I grasped the impact of that project and how it would then change the course of my life. In fact, I just did an interview for a documentary on Woody Allen a few months ago, as well as a photo shoot about Woody Allen’s muses for W Magazine just yesterday. It will come out in June 2011.
Did you feel forced to grow up too quickly with your family, including your sister Margaux, in the spotlight? What were some of the highs and lows of that? Do you have any regrets?
My life is the way that it is and I never regret it. I had to grow up too quickly, but less because of my early career choice, and more because my mother contracted cancer when I was a kid and I was her primary caregiver from age 10 on. That was more challenging than being an actress. I was blessed to have grown up in Idaho, and my connection to the outdoors is what kept me sane and balanced in a crazy home. I have highs and lows, but everyone does. I have battled fears of mental instability, cancer, and food issues not unlike many. But I have dealt with them through lifestyle choices in my food, exercise, silence, and how I think, feel, work, and move through life.
Describe what it has been like for you dealing with your “family demons” and having watched those close to you suffer so deeply. I know suicide touches close to home–your grandfather Ernest Hemingway took his own life just months before you were born, and your beautiful sister, Margaux Hemingway, took hers in 1996. I cannot imagine such deep pain.
It has been a powerful learning experience to come from such creativity as well as such pain and dysfunction at the same time. I don’t cry victim. I have used my history and the history of my family to learn more about myself. It has been a great doorway to self-awareness, and I believe that we are given things in life to make us conscious. I see everything that has come into my life as a way to get healthier.
You have turned to healthy living as a way to get off the fence and keep yourself well. I love your motto, HEALTHY LIVING FROM THE INSIDE OUT. How has creating a healthy mind and body and making healthy choices changed your life?
Being healthy or the quest for it has never been an option for me–it was initially survival and now it is how I thrive. I love my life, I love making healthy choices, I love going outside into nature and challenging myself to become stronger, better and healthier. I am in a relationship that thrills me and expands who I am… life is good! Being healthy is first a belief system–it starts with the thoughts that you think. That is why I say INSIDE out first. What you think, what you ingest, how you are on the inside informs who you are on the outside. Being amazing is everyone’s birthright…we all need to claim it.
What words of advice would you give to a person who has someone close to them struggling with addiction and trauma? How can you support these people and keep them from falling down?
Realize you are not alone. Find others that understand your feelings and your plight, and then realize that energy ALWAYS shifts. I would also remind them to allow the pain to come in, and then realize that the pain will subside with time. But look into what is happening in your life and NEVER run from it. Face it dead on. Everything is here to teach us something, no matter how hard, or how mundane. Life is a journey of lessons and possibilities. Embrace everything and everyone as your teacher.
What has being a mother taught you?
That you are able to love more than you ever thought possible. Also how to love unconditionally. These are just a couple things among many that being a mother has taught me.
Drink good water out of a glass.
Take time for meditation or silence even if it is just a few minutes a day.
Breath deeply everyday.
Take a few minutes to consciously breathe.
Eat one new food a week–perhaps a new veggie you have never tried.
Drink green juice.
Cut back on caffeine.
Talk to us a little bit about your blog and what keeps you busy today. What does your future hold?
I am launching a company with the love of my life, Bobby Williams, called The Willingway. Bobby has the WILL and I have the WAY. It is about connecting to your authentic self and connecting to nature through what you eat (biodynamic, organic, raw, sprouted, cooked and live food), by how you exercise, and whether or not you do some kind of adventure. It is a company about inspiration to be YOU. We are producing TV shows and films, and creating an online store for cutting-edge health products. It’s all very thrilling. You can find me on line on Twitter @MarielHemingway and at MarielHemingway.com and MarielsBlisscuits.com (my gluten-free, sugar-free cookie company) and at Opensky.com which is an on line shopping experience.
BIO: As the granddaughter of illustrious author Ernest Hemingway, Mariel appeared predestined to be well known and publicly recognized. However, at the tender age of 13, Mariel became famous in her own right when she made her silver screen debut in "Lipstick." Four years later, her work in Woody Allen’s "Manhattan" earned her an Oscar nomination. She has since made 30 films as well as numerous television appearances in series and as a host of environmental and humanitarian documentaries. Now 47, Mariel is the mother of two daughters: Dree, 22 and Langley, 20.