Mariel Hemingway Finds Freedom in Sharing Family's Tragic Story

Plans to return to films, TV in 2014

Mariel Hemingway shared co-executive producer honors with Oprah Winfrey in the documentary on her family, "Running From Crazy".


Everyone has their own story to tell, and Mariel Hemingway is no different.

“I appreciate people who have the courage to tell their own truth,” she says. “To find their own voice. As you unravel your story, especially one like mine, you find that you are not alone and there are more people like me. I want people to know that whatever the details of their journey to find themselves, they are not alone.”

Hemingway’s reality is layered in her very public upbringing as a member of one of America’s most legendary families, and a family history marked by both great brilliance and tragic mental illness. She is granddaughter to the late author, Ernest Hemingway, and had to endure the stigma of seven suicide deaths in her family, including her sister Margaux and grandfather.

“I wanted to turn a tragic story into joy with the personal revelation that you are the only person that can please yourself,” she says. “Understanding your own personal history brings about self-awareness and freedom. Finding your voice is such a big relief and for me, has led to a place of authenticity.”

She's in the process of promoting a documentary on her family, Running From Crazy, which she shared co-executive producer honors with Oprah Winfrey. After raising her two daughters and growing a flourishing healthy lifestyle brand, Hemingway says she is returning to film and television series work in 2014.

Palm Springs Life caught up to her during a recent visit to the Coachella Valley. Hemingway attended the Astellas Executive Women’s Day at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation as a Cambria USA Ambassador and speaker with a focus on wellness and purposeful living.

Do you feel through your work that you have found purpose in inspiring others?
“Yes. I think that we’ve moved away from the ‘motivators’ of the 1990s. Inspiration moves a person and encourages them to be themselves. There is also an element to aging and self-awareness that allows you to be more alive. I want to inspire people to embrace new beginnings and adventures…to find that thing that makes their eyes light up.”

What makes your eyes light up?
“Joy comes from the courage to be yourself and discover what your adventure is…what you are passionate about. A balanced mind, body, and spirit contributes to our personal sense of joy and influences our body adding to our success."

Your focus on health has been a big part of your journey of self-discovery. Why has this been so important?
"Wellness begins from within and is a mind body union. People don’t realize how you eat, sleep, and exercise all affect your mental balance.Your spiritual care is such a big part of being healthy. Physical activity is also a creative outlet that allows you to direct your energy and then embrace your creative nature. Yoga, for example, taught me how to be present in my body and to bring a calm. I also enjoy a morning meditation or a barefoot nature hike in the dirt. You have to do something that makes you healthy and happy. Society is full of the ideas from ‘someone that knows better than you what is great for you’ but it takes strength of character to give yourself permission to say, ‘I know what’s best for me’ and to honor your own journey to health and self-discovery."

What do you consider a healthy diet?
"I would say that I’m a clean eater and I eat seasonally…but match who you are. Be fit and healthy. We are all, individually, unique with different blood types, heritage, and locations where we live. What I discovered, and I wrote about this in “Running with Nature”, is that there is not a ‘one size all’ diet or exercise. At one point, I thought veganism was the right thing ethically for me…but it was not good for my personal health. Now I am at peace knowing that eating different foods is OK because I choose my food responsibly with environmental care and animal awareness. I also understand there is a food chain and we are a part of it."

You’ve embraced Cambria USA as an ambassador for their quartz surfaces…how is this in keeping with your message?
"Cambria USA is a company that fits in very well with my principles for environmentally safe and responsible practices as well as a big part of my message. If you surround yourself with beauty, it enhances your health and makes you feel good’ and for me, the kitchen is the heart of the home.  Cambria USA is an old American family, it’s a principled company, and their quartz surfaces are of high quality produced with recycled water. They are also a Green Guard Certified product which is a difficult recognition to receive."

What would be your top recommendations to achieve a balanced mind and body?

  • “Take the time for ‘self-care’…be silent, mindful, still.
  • Make the choice to give yourself permission to let go of the ideal of perfection and be free to love yourself.
  • Find your passion, what makes you excited…be it salsa dancing or rock climbing.
  • Take time for simple pleasures such as a cup of tea.
  • Don’t compare yourself to anyone else because we are so individual and good health comes in all sorts of different packages.  
  • It’s beautiful to be yourself. Own that.”

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