Andrea Bowen stars as Julie Mayer in the hit television show “Desperate Housewives,” currently in its seventh season. Bowen’s film credits include “The Preacher’s Daughter” and “Divorce Invitation,” both in post-production. Bowen began her acting career at the age of 6 as young Cosette in the Broadway production of “Les Miserables.” She went on to star in the original Broadway casts of “Jane Eyre” and “The Sound of Music.” Bowen also is well-known for her roles in the television series “Boston Public,” “Nip/Tuck” and “Law & Order.”
ROBIN BRONK: If you had five minutes in the Oval Office with President Obama, what would you discuss with him? What issue would you like him to know about?
ANDREA BOWEN: Well, it’s a good thing I’m a fast talker, because there are so many things worth discussing. First, I would talk to him about putting more emphasis on sexual education in our schools. I have done a lot of work over the years with different organizations to help educate young people about HIV and AIDS. I am continually dumbfounded with how little is known about the virus and disease; and our unwillingness to talk about it is absolutely unacceptable. 1.2 million people are living with HIV in this country, and 1 in 5 of them do not know they’re infected and are, therefore, continuing to spread the virus. HIV is a 100 percent preventable illness, but only if we are armed with the knowledge on how to prevent it.
I also would talk about the importance of funding the arts in our schools. I grew up going to a performance arts school, and it made all the difference in my life. Those programs should not be exclusive to arts schools; these should be as much a part of the curriculum as any other subject. The arts are essential to learning and are a vital part of one’s education.
Finally, I would ask him about climate change and what he is doing to address it. It is a major issue that is becoming more and more apparent and intensely pressing.
RB: If you could give President Obama one piece of advice, what would that be?
AB: I can’t say I am in much of a position to give our president advice. OK — now that I’m done with my attempt to appear humble, I would say to not lose sight of the man you were prior to taking office. We need more of the “Yes, we can” spirit — and action. That, and never put your shoes on the kitchen table. It’s very bad luck. (Momma Bowen’s life lessons.)
RB: If you could ask President Obama one question, what would that be?
AB: How has your vision for America changed since taking office, or has it?
RB: What book would you offer to lend President Obama? Why?
AB: I would lend him Bossypants by Tina Fey. I think it’s very important to laugh every day, especially when your job is being, oh, you know, the president of the United States. A well-rounded person, one who has access to all their emotions, makes for a better leader all around. I’d also lend him Kurt Vonnegut’s Welcome to the Monkey House. Not only is every single page brilliant, but short stories come in handy when you have very limited time to read.
RB: If you were going to send the president to one place in the world for one day, where would that be? Why?
AB: Hot on the heels of my trip to Israel, I have to say I’d probably send [him] there. We’re all very aware of the difficulties that country is facing and the importance of the U.S. maintaining a strong relationship with Israel. I also hear that the president has not made a trip back since his candidacy, so I think it is high time for another visit.
If I got to choose a second location, it’d be the couch in my parents’ living room, so my dad could ask all the right questions, which I am failing to ask, and pick Obama’s brain a bit. It’d be the experience of a lifetime for my father, who is the political honcho of my family, and I’d probably win Daughter of the Year.
RB: Would you ever consider a political career?
AB: I’ll never say never ...
Bronk is a seasoned Capitol Hill strategist and advocate. She started her career at The Creative Coalition, a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group for the arts and entertainment industry, in July 1998. During her tenure as CEO, Bronk has taken The Creative Coalition from a New York-based entity to a national organization. www.thecreativecoalition.org