Mariska pours us some lemon water from a big pitcher. No sooner does she sit than her phone rings. “Sorry, its my son,” she whispers. Calls from him are taken immediately. “Hi, Augu-dini! Did you make it? I cant wait to see it! Oh, I cant right now, because Im in the middle of work,” she says, sounding like every guilt-ridden working mother in the world. She hangs up and explains that he made her a card. “Hes just starting to learn that Im an actress,” she says, “because he thinks Im a police officer sometimes.”
Her passion for empowering women
Plenty of others are under the same mistaken impression. “Look at this,” she says, leading me over to her computer to show me one of the hundreds of e-mails of the type that inspired her to start Joyful Heart. Many are steeped in pain: I was sexually assaulted by my neighbor … As a girl, I was abused ….
Where she gets her amazing energy
When Mariska returns, I ask her how she does it. Its nearly dusk and shes as lively as ever. One reason, of course, is that shes passionate about the different areas of her life. But she also has another little trick: a book called Clean, written by detoxing expert Alejandro Junger, MD. Mariska recently embarked on a three-week cleanse.
Every year, more than 200,000 people report their rape to the police. Almost all are asked to have a rape kit collected, during which physical evidence is gathered. Its crucial because it can corroborate a victims account and identify the assailant. Shockingly, theres a backlog of more than 180,000 untested rape kits in police storage facilities nationwide.
We spent the afternoon at Joyful Hearts New York City headquarters, a bright, airy space done in tranquil sea colors. Maile Zambuto, the foundations executive director, showed us around and filled us in on the foundations tireless efforts.