In her role as law enforcer Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU, Mariska Hargitay has shown her ability to empathize by giving emotional hugs to assault victims. Now, the actress is opening up about that action on its national holiday.
Mariska Hargitay Opens Up
Today, January 21, is National Hugging Day in the United States. “I’m a hugger,” Hargitay posted on Instagram, along with a photo of her mother, late movie star Jayne Mansfield, who is, appropriately, hugging herself in the picture.
National Hugging Day was introduced on January 21, 1986, by Kevin Zaborney in Clio, Michigan. Studies have shown that hugging can aid in building a strong immune system and lead to a decrease in heart disease. It can lower blood pressure and help aid in the release of healthy hormones.
Zaborney selected this particular day to be National Hugging Day as it falls between Christmas Day, December 25, and Valentine’s Day, February 14. “American society is embarrassed to show feelings in public,” Zaborney said, hoping that by establishing this holiday people would become more comfortable with hugging.
Hargitay — Mother On and Off Set
The popular actress may have gotten her love for hugging from her incredibly famous mother but now she’s a mother herself — to her three kids as well as a figurative mother to everyone on the set of her record-breaking NBC hit show.
On set, Olivia Benson is the one her squad of detectives turns to for guidance but Hargitay also serves that same role behind-the-scenes — whether she’s directing an episode or her ongoing role as executive producer of the series. The morale on the show remains high, and it’s a good bet that is due to their leader showing compassion — and a hug when necessary.
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