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VEGETARIAN ELITE Hollywood Actress Elaine Hendrix: For the Love of Animals    
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A lot of people tend to think or will say to me, “How can you help animals when there’s starving children in the world?” Just because I have compassion for animals doesn’t mean that it’s going to run out and then I won’t have compassion for humans, or vice versa. It’s limitless, and it’s infinite, truly infinite. And compassion is compassion is compassion, and all living beings deserve compassion.

The vibrant and beautiful Ms. Elaine Hendrix. You probably recognize her from blockbuster movies like Disney’s “Parent Trap,” “Inspector Gadget 2,” and “Superstar;” as well as the acclaimed CBS television series “Joan of Arcadia,” and independent film productions like “What the Bleep Do We Know!?”

Despite being famous for her many roles as the “bad guy,” the real Elaine Hendrix is a tender-hearted animal rights advocate who sets aside time in her demanding profession for her greatest passion – the humane treatment of animals, by working to protect and save our fellow beings while raising awareness about their suffering.

It’s one thing to love an animal, but to respect it as the animal that it is and for its own animal needs, that’s something different.

Elaine Hendrix has long been recognized for her energetic nature and performance skills, which were evident at an early age.

I basically have been performing since the time I was born. I was one of these children who made everybody sit down and watch me as I entertained them after dinner. So I did school plays, I did dancing, modeling. I was on all kinds of team sports, like cheerleading where it was also performance oriented.

And then I went to a performing arts high school, and then that’s kind of what changed everything for me when I suddenly realized that all of my artistic inclinations could actually become a profession. And from there I won a model search and got an agent, and then learned about acting. I traveled in Europe, then through the US, and then finally came out to Los Angeles, and the rest is history.

Elaine’s versatile talent has led to over 100 film, television, and stage credits. Renowned Pulitzer Prize-winning film credit Roger Ebert said that she had earned her comedic stripes. We asked Ms. Hendrix what his compliment meant to her.

A lot of my roles have been very physical, have been very comedic and out there. That’s kind of, I guess, would be my specialty. And a lot of that comes from my dance background, being physical, being aware of my body, knowing how to use it – as a dancer, you dance through the pain. I’m not really nervous about getting hurt and things like that for stunts. I’ve had lizards in my mouth and I’ve had vases broken over my head, and jumped out of exploding buildings, and all kinds of crazy stuff. So at least that’s what I like to think he’s talking about. I’ve paid my dues.

And you also starred in the movie, “Inspector Gadget 2.”

That was one that we shot in Australia. We were in Brisbane for three months. The cast and crew became very close. I’ve done a lot of movies for Disney, and working for Disney. It’s just fun, it’s for kids, and it’s very colorful. Driving down the road and I got the kangaroo crossing in front of me – just things that I don’t experience here in the US. So all the way around it was an amazing experience.

Elaine’s role as a teenage cheerleader opposite Molly Shannon and Will Ferrell in “Superstar” made it an especially memorable film. We asked her approach in doing comedy, and what other projects she enjoys working on.

Have fun. I mean, that’s the name of the game in comedy – have fun. Absurd circumstances, and make them as real as you possibly as you can.

Is there a particular show you really enjoyed or were proud of being a part of?

All my projects are like children. I don’t necessarily have one favorite over the other. I appreciate every project I’ve done. Certainly “The Parent Trap” has been something that really kind of set the tone for my career. And it’s on TV pretty much every single day somewhere in the world, and it’s afforded me a lot in life. And I’m really grateful for that.

But the “Bleep” was really special; I’ve got a part for that film in every capacity, from shooting the movie to speaking at conferences, to writing the music for the sequel, to doing voiceover for the sequel, to producing a live concert event, a festival for them, so I really got to be involved.

And then television is fun because I get to kind of go in and out to create different characters all the time. It used to be very much that you were a theater actor or you were a film actor. But all those lines are blurred now. And that’s kind of how I live my life. I believe creativity is creativity, no matter what genre or what medium you’re putting it in. I love independent films. In fact, that’s starting to become the bulk of my work. I really enjoy the autonomy of independent films, and I enjoy how the characters I get to play change.

I was part of this film, “Dear Lemon Lima,” a beautiful, very quirky film, coming of age of a young girl. It’s set in Alaska, has a lot to do with Native Americans, and her journey in accepting herself. And every single day I did nothing to my hair, I wore not one stitch of make-up. I wore polyester sweat suits, and I just don’t know how many studios or networks are going to give me a chance to do that because they see me as the glammed up role. So that’s a good example of something that I got to do that was very outside my range.

And you are also an award-winning producer. For example, you are co-producing the film “Good Intentions” featuring Luke Perry and LeAnn Rimes. How did you find the role of producer?

I’ve been producing live events since I was in high school. I’ve produced fashion events, festivals, concert events, non-profit events, stage, films. It’s a different side of my brain that I like to exercise. And so with that, I got a call one time to go be a part of this film. And I was like, “Well, I’ve got a lot of contacts and a lot of experience, and I can really help you all.” And again, all independent, and for the web, and a couple of TV projects. I have a radio project now in development. And I enjoy it.

In addition to acting, animals have a special place in Elaine’s heart, and her compassion for them is truly admirable.

Your co-star for “Inspector Gadget 2” was French Stewart and he was inspired by you to change the way he saw and treated animals. Could you tell us about what happened?

French and I became friends after “Inspector Gadget 2” and he’s such a sweet guy. He is just a lovely, lovely human being. And so I was awarded the Guardian Award at the Animal Rights Conference. I asked him to come and present the award, actually present the award to me, and he said yes. Anyone who knows me knows that I love animals.

But I think that night was just particularly special to him, because he had heard me talk about it, and then to see me sort of in my environment. He was so cute. He went out and bought some Vans that wouldn’t be leather, and he didn’t wear a belt and all these things.

Growing up in a small town and blessed with nature-loving parents, Elaine’s adoration for animals was fostered since her youth.

Growing up in Tennessee, I grew up on a hill with a forest for a backyard. Basically, where I lived was the foothills of the Appalachians. And so I grew up to respect nature. And my love for animals, just innately was developed. And every chance I got I’d be around animals. And still do, so my respect for them has grown.

When I was a kid, I had 103 stuffed animals, and I could’ve told you every single one of their names. And I’ve always had dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, turtles, fish, rabbits, what else? I’m about to get a goat. I’m about to rescue a goat. (Really?) Yes, that’s an animal that I’ve always wanted to have. So I just, I love them, and I respect them. I think, like most people, I never knew what was happening to animals. I had no clue.

I had a rabbit fur coat when I was a child because I loved rabbits, and I just thought, “Oh, I love rabbits and I have this rabbit fur coat, and I just love it and I love them.” And had I known how a fur coat came to be, there’s no way I would have wanted a fur coat. There’s just no way. When I got older, it was actually from an undercover fur video that I became enlightened as to what was happening with animals. And it really did shift my life forever.

And I just remembered doubling over and I just started sobbing uncontrollably. And then I was rocking back and forth because I think looking back I actually went in shock, and because I could not believe what I’ve seen. And I just started rocking, saying, “Oh my God, oh my God! I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry!” I had already been a vegetarian. And then, I had long given up my fur coat. I was already leading a somewhat humane life, but without really the reason of the cause or the knowledge behind it. But from that moment forward, there was no denying, no claiming ignorance anymore.

And then I learned about animal testing and I went through our entire place and I had all of our products. I was like, “We are getting rid of all of this.” And so all of our products are cruelty-free. I got rid of all my leather. I got a new car so they won’t have leather interior. And of course, all my animals are adopted, and they are spay and neutered. And I always tell people helping animals is really easy. You just need to know. That’s all. You know, it’s just about different choices, and particularly different choices with your almighty dollar.

To truly live her ideals of a kind and peaceful world, Elaine is a dedicated vegetarian.

Well, I eat vegan whenever I possibly can. I started that a long time ago, mainly when I first started practicing yoga and meditation, and just felt that it was the right thing to do.

Did you notice any changes in your health after changing your diet or your awareness?

Yeah, yeah. I find that I am, over time, becoming a softer person, I think. I feel like it also contributes to how youthful I look and feel. It increases my energy. It makes me happy. It keeps me out of feeling guilt and shame. So I think that’s a good thing. I always tell people, “You know what? Just start, cut out one day. Just go one day without meat.”

Because our bodies, we actually really, really, really don’t need meat as people think. Our country is fighting a major obesity problem. And heart disease is the number one killer. The number one cause of heart disease? Red meat. So try just cutting it out and adding in fresher, healthier, more alive food to your diet.

In learning about Supreme Master Ching Hai’s tireless devotion to animal welfare, humanitarian, and environmental causes, Elaine Hendrix offered her words of gratitude.

She just seems like off the charts busy, which I can definitely respect, especially from one woman to another. Setting big causes in the world, I commend that immensely and I hope I get to meet her. A lot of people, a lot of leaders talk about peace, and they talk about compassion, but a lot of them forget to include our furry, feathered, and finned friends.

So the fact that she’s so vocal about it, I just love that and really, really appreciate that. Because the animals need as many voices out there for them as they can possibly get. Thank you. Just very simply thank you. Thank you for the work that you do and for the role model that you are, and the inspiration that you are.

Supreme Master Ching Hai sends the following reply to Ms. Elaine Hendrix: Thank you yourself, beauty. We are lucky to have such a star like you, shining inside out. God bless you!

On August 27, 2011, Supreme Master Television hosted a star-studded event in commemoration of its 5th anniversary of constructive programming. Ms. Elaine Hendrix was among the five vegetarian and vegan celebrity Masters of Ceremonies to present a special program that included Oscar-, Grammy-, Tony-, and Emmy Award- winning artists.

I was honored to be an MC of today’s event. Five years, that’s a nice marker.

Don’t miss the re-broadcast of “The Real Love” musical and Don McLean in concert, with part one of 12, airing September 26 on Enlightening Entertainment. Next week on Vegetarian Elite, we’ll be back with Elaine to learn more about her mission to progress animal welfare.

For more on the vibrant Elaine Hendrix and her work in Hollywood and for the animals, please visit www.ElaineHendrix.com

I am Elaine Hendrix.
World Vegan,
World Peace.

Gracious viewers, thank you for your presence today on Vegetarian Elite. Coming up next is Between Master and Disciples, here on Supreme Master Television. Wishing you a tranquil weekend in the blessed company of loved ones.
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