Fans of the long-running TV drama “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” will recognize the name Mariska Hargitay. She became a household name for her portrayal as Olivia Benson, who investigates sex crimes, child abuse, and domestic violence, earning her a spot in Hollywood’s who’s who.
Since the pilot episode of the crime drama series in 1999, she has played the role with sensitivity and passion, which has made her an unforgettable star. Yet, it is merely one of her numerous television jobs. Additional appearances include “Plain Truth,” “The Perfect Weapon,” and “I Am Evidence.”
Other TV and film roles she has had include “Jocks,” “The Perfect Weapon,” “Gambler V: Playing for Keeps,” “Mr. Universe,” “Tales from Earthsea,” “Come the Morning,” “Hard Time Romance,” “Night Sins,” and “Welcome to 18,” among many more.
She has also won several honors, such as the prestigious Emmy Award, multiple Gracie Allen Awards, the People’s Choice Award, and the Muse Award. She has also been nominated for several additional awards for her unrivaled commitment to the film business throughout the years.
The 59-year-old “The Advocate’s Devil” actress has accomplished much more outside of her acting profession. She is a rape crisis counselor, a position she earned for her readiness to listen to victims of domestic abuse and other crimes. She also founded the Joyful Heart Foundation, which aims to assist survivors in healing.
Although many performers found their talent far earlier in life, Hargitay had no interest in the entertainment industry. But, as the daughter of two Hollywood heavyweights—bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay and movie siren Jayne Mansfield—she was subjected to the limelight long before she understood what it meant to be popular.
To put it simply, her road to Hollywood was already laid out for her even before she decided what she intended to be. When her mother died when she was three, she was placed in the care of her father and stepmother, Ellen Siano.
Her upbringing in Hollywood certainly added to her prospects of becoming an actress. While in high school, she made her film debut and participated in the Miss California USA pageant.
After graduating from high school, she enrolled at the University of California to learn improv before pursuing a career in acting. Soon after, she won her breakthrough role as Jesse Smith in “Downtown,” followed by her appearance as Donna in “Ghoulies” in 1985.
Even though she had early success as a beauty queen and was obviously beautiful and talented, the actress struggled with confidence, as did many young actors at the time. As a result, she was met with a lot of disapproval in the film industry.
It took her some time to acquire substantial parts, but once she did, she hit the ground running. She quickly moved on to other TV roles, including Didi Edelstein in “Can’t Hurry Love,” Lisa Peters in “Baywatch,” and Carly Fixx in “Falcon Crest.”
Her big break came in 1997, when she landed a recurring role on the medical drama series “ER,” a role that catapulted her into the business and cemented her place as one of the best drama actors on television. She won her part as Olivia Benson in “Law & Order: SVU” a few years later.
The role turned out to be her most popular, and it set a record for how long an actor played the same character in a TV show. The actress has also appeared in the show’s spin-offs, including “Law & Order: Trial By Jury,” “Law & Order: Organized Crime,” and “Chicago P.D.”
Her role in “Law & Order: SVU” won her many awards, including the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, the Glamour Woman of the Year Award, and the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance. She has more to be grateful for, though, since she found the love of her life while on the program.
Hargitay and her husband, “Younger” actor Peter Hermann, met on the program when he appeared as defense attorney Trevor Langan as a guest star. They hit it off right away, married on August 28, 2004, in Santa Barbara, California, and went on to have three wonderful kids, two of whom they adopted.
Hargitay was already in her forties when she married Hermann. She had always wanted children, so finding out she was pregnant was a pleasant surprise. She was overcome with excitement.
But, the actress’s pregnancy was not without complications. During her 15-hour work days on the program and coping with the changes in her body, she began to seek solace in food. She admits that she was overwhelmed by her lack of energy and that the only way she could cope was to eat.
She had gained 54 pounds and developed gestational diabetes by the time she reached the third trimester. To make matters worse, she became immobile at the end of her pregnancy.
She claims she wanted her kid to be able to eat from all food groups, and in order to do so, she overate. As a consequence, her kid was born with a huge birth weight, necessitating an emergency Caesarian section. Despite the difficulties, she and her husband gave birth to their son, August, on June 28, 2016.
As is common with most women, losing weight after delivery proved difficult. Hargitay hired trainer Jay Wright to help her get back into shape after having a kid.
Her shift in nutrition during nursing also contributed to her weight loss. She, on the other hand, claims it was never about her appearance. She accepted parenthood and all that came with it, even her belly pouch.
Hargitay has been chastised for her appearance throughout the years. Several of her fans have said that she has had plastic surgery to make herself look better, which she strongly denies.
She said that she was originally opposed to cosmetic surgery since she was raised by a dad who did not approve of physical changes, including makeup. But, she eventually recognized that women needed to do whatever they needed to do to appear good.
No matter how she feels about plastic surgery, she tells women not to go too far with beauty treatments because the natural look is the most attractive. Even though she feels sorry for people who choose to have these kinds of operations, she says she has never had one herself.
Hargitay has always had a difficult career, with individuals often criticizing her looks. She revealed that some people believed her nose was too wide, while others thought it was too small.
Even though Hargitay was born to a mother who was so beautiful that she was called a “sex symbol” in Hollywood and a father who cared about how his daughters looked, Hargitay never felt good about how she looked. She said that she spent the most of her early twenties being denied chances because of her appearance.
Her self-esteem plummeted to dangerously low levels for years, and she was unable to obtain a job for eight years owing to her lack of confidence. Yet the story did not stop there.
Several of her followers even rushed to social media to chastise the actress for “becoming overweight.” One admirer described Hargitay as “attractive” until she started to gain weight. Despite all the negatives, she opted to concentrate on the good, and things quickly improved.
With the birth of her son August, she completely accepted her body, and she even started telling other women to stop judging themselves by how they look. She tells people to describe themselves using several metrics. In her words, “What about your heart, your soul, your compassion, your generosity, your strength, and your power? There are so many other things to focus on besides your waistline.”
Rather than focusing on her appearance, she channeled her attention towards nurturing her three beautiful children and her husband, as well as counting her happy days.
Some of her fans thought that her new body was beautiful and didn’t understand why some media outlets called her fat. One fan praised Hargitay’s beauty, walk, and strong presence when she walked into a room, while another said that the actress’s beauty wasn’t given enough credit.
And maybe acceptance was all she needed. Now, she is very proud of her curves and strives to avoid Hollywood’s exaggerated notions of what beauty entails. She likes her curves because they conceal a parenting narrative.
She has not only accepted but also enjoyed flaunting her new figure. She recently attended the star-studded CFDA Fashion Awards in a jaw-dropping gown that surprised those in attendance as well as those from afar.
The actress walked into the room wearing a black bodycon dress by Christian Siriano that showed off her beautiful curves. The gown’s long sleeves and delicately puffed shoulders complemented her hourglass form, which was further enhanced by an extravagant tulle-layered mermaid tail that turned heads.
Near the end of the night, the “Lake Placid” actress’ husband captured a magnificent shot of her with the New York City lights in the backdrop, revealing the silhouette of her lovely form. Viewers praised the 59-year-old in the comments section for her stunning shape and beautiful clothes.
One admirer observed that placing a queen in front of New York was the only way to make it more magnificent than it already was. For somebody who has spent the most of her life hearing negative comments about her appearance, Hargitay has clearly turned things around for herself, and the world is embracing it.
She continues to enjoy her professional success and happily raises her 3 kids with her supportive spouse. Despite the obstacles put in her way at such an early age, she shifted the narrative and came out on top.
She is now a well-known actress with countless parts and honors to her credit, a devoted wife to the “Goodnight Mother” actor, and a devoted mom to her three children.