Stage/Film/TV Actress Elaine Hendrix Started The Pet Matchmaker - Part II

Elaine Hendrix wakes up and celebrates every day of life with a huge breath of air and a great big smile on her face. She puts passion and love into everything she does, whether it's acting or saving animal's lives.
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Elaine is an advocate for animals. For more information, visit The Pet Matchmaker. For a limited time only, catch Elaine on the NYC Stage in It's Just Sex through August 28th at The Actors Temple Theatre, 339 W. 47th Street, NYC. 212-947-3499.

Elaine Hendrix wakes up and celebrates every day of life with a huge breath of air and a great big smile on her face. She puts passion and love into everything she does, whether it's acting or saving animal's lives.

Why did you drop your first name "Katherine" and use your middle name "Elaine" as your stage name?

There's always been controversy around my name. I was home from the hospital for a full week before I was named. 'Jennifer' was first choice, but then my mom landed on 'Katherine Elaine'. (My father was in Vietnam with limited contact which meant he had limited input.) She then wanted to call me 'Katie' but her seven brothers and sisters overruled that and called me 'Elaine' along with various nicknames: 'LaLa', 'Lainey' and 'E'. So, 'Elaine' stuck and I've spent my whole life correcting teachers, changing reservation details and answering why I don't go by 'Katherine.'

Tell us about your character in It's Just Sex.

My character 'Lisa' in It's Just Sex is tough. Fun, but tough, especially on her husband. She's an attorney and doesn't seem to have an "off" switch when it comes to her sharp-tongued opinions. I find that as long as I know what the boundaries are in any given project - creating inside the parameters is limitless. The actors have to know what the tone and the style of a piece is, and then it becomes a like a sporting event - and may the best choices win. THEN it's up to the director to mold and shape it. Every director is different, and every artist has a different process. Hopefully, you find a way to communicate that works for the good of the whole.

Doing the play over and over definitely deepens it and I find nuances during almost every show. That's the goal anyway, otherwise I'd go batty from the boredom. This show in particular needs a clipped pace, so it's important to keep finding ways for the lines to be quick and meaningful. Luckily I'm opposite other actors - especially the one who plays my husband - who also want to find new moments in the piece. There's little worse in this business than working with someone who doesn't care or is doing the job for the wrong reasons. We feed off one another, and we all walk off stage having pretty much the exact same assessment of what just happened. That's cool. Doesn't always work out that way - having seven actors like each other and be in sync with each other, on and off the stage.

Anyone ever tell you that you have sinister looking eyebrows?

HIGHlarious. I'm not sure "sinister" has been used to describe my eyebrows, at least not to my face - pun intended - but I definitely get a lot of comments on them. They are certainly one of my more distinctive features, and I'm beyond grateful to say - I don't do a thing to them. Never have. Their "archness" tends to put me in a specific category acting wise, but I don't mind. It supports the attitude I carry. =^.^= Meow. They tend to have a mind of their own and do a lot of expressing for me. I can thank my mother for this. I am a carbon copy of her in the eye/eyebrow department.

Are you tired of still being known for the film "The Parent Trap?"

Ha. This is a great question and it changes depending on my mood. There are times I'm entirely sick of being known for "The Parent Trap " (and a few others) particularly because I've done so much work (and such variety of work) since we made it. At the same time, "The Parent Trap" is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, a classic film that plays on a virtual loop in people's homes across the world. It was a game-ghanger for me, and I have the most incredible memories from it. There's literally not a day that goes by that I don't get stopped on the street or receive a piece of fan mail, and "The Parent Trap" is a huge part of that. It's been a great lesson too in managing people's judgments and expectations. I've built a successful career in one of the toughest industries that exists. Whatever my credits are, that's something for which I can be extremely proud.

Does it suck having a birthday so close to Christmas?

The upside to having a birthday three days after Christmas and three days before New Years is that no one forgets it. The sucky part is I've rarely had a party actually ON my birthday - they were usually 2-4 months later. My parents were great about making a separate, big deal about it though, so I got plenty of presents. In fact, the guilt factor probably got me even MORE of them.

I do celebrate Christmas, but not in a religious sense. I believe in Jesus, but not necessarily in a traditional way. He was a great man, but I think throughout history a lot of damage has been done in the name of "religion." My main practice these days is SGI Buddhism. I love how practical, active and ritualistic it is. It addresses exactly what's happening in the here and now. It also recognizes that we ALL have a Buddha nature, we need only cultivate it. I like that - focusing on the inherent "good" in people and life. Lord knows the world needs more of that.

Anything else you'd like to add?

The Pet Matchmaker is definitely my pet project - pun intended once again. Its mission is to help people choose the best pet possible and then provide entertaining stories and information to help them care for that pet their entire lives. We also have some exciting new programs in development and I just love it. It's run be a group of extremely dedicated and amazing volunteers. I couldn't be more proud or honored.

As for anyone looking for their next pet, the biggest piece of advice I can give - make sure you are ready for a lifelong commitment, and once you determine you are: ADOPT! As many as 6 MILLION animals are killed every year in the U.S. shelter system silly because they don't have a home. To help put that in perspective -- you'd need approximately 120 Yankee Stadiums to seat that many animals. It's staggering, and so completely avoidable. The next piece of advice I would give -- and this is important -- have your pet spayed or neutered. Having litters isn't cute and if you think you want to experience the "miracle of birth" just make sure you also go to your shelter to experience the "reality of death."

What's next? Well, I'm working on a video game that I'm not allowed to talk about, but it's BIG. And I'm so excited. It comes out November 2014 and I can't wait. I'm writing a TV pilot and my bestie Lisa Ann Walter (another positive that came from "The Parent Trap") and I wrote a movie together that we will be filming in Pennsylvania. So...there's never a dull moment. I will also be regularly joining Jim Brickman on his nationally syndicated radio show "Your Weekend with Jim Brickman" starting this September. I'm always interested to see what's gonna happen next. Just like in a good play.

Please see Part I to find out more delicious details about Elaine Hedrix, her love for animals and her career!

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