Elaine Hendrix

My 5 Minutes with the President

Elaine Hendrix is best known for her big-screen roles in Disney’s “The Parent Trap” and “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion.” Most recently, Elaine finished filming “General Education” — alongside Janeane Garofalo — due out in theaters Aug. 24. Other notable film roles include featured parts in “Inspector Gadget 2,” “Superstar” and “What the Bleep Do We Know?”

Elaine currently stars in the new AOL and Vuguru (an independent studio founded by Michael Eisner that finances story-driven content for digital and emerging platforms) dramedy, “Fetching.” Elaine is an animal-rights activist who is a founding member of Animal Rescue Corps, a nonprofit animal-protection organization.

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?

ELAINE HENDRIX: We share a respect for Gandhi, and he aptly said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by how it treats its animals.” So I would like to talk to President Obama about animal-protection laws, and what can be done to increase them — for wildlife, agriculture animals and domestic companions. Without exaggeration, hundreds of millions of animals deliberately suffer every year at the hands of humans, mostly by large industries that exercise greed over decency and ethics, and these industries actually allowed such abuse due to weak laws. Animals are sentient beings, and therefore can feel pain. The idea that animals are objects, like a chair or a table, is antiquated, and it’s time our society deliberately reflects that in our laws and in our actions. 

RB: If you could ask President Obama one question, what would that be?

EH: Would you like to come on a puppy-mill bust with the nonprofit for which I’m a founding officer, Animal Rescue Corps?

RB: What piece of advice would you give President Obama as he’s campaigning for the upcoming election?

EH: Take Bo with you, Mr. President. Generally speaking, people love dogs. People’s whole attitude — even their body — shifts when they’re around the unconditional love and joy a dog gives. Not to mention, the pet industry is a 46-plus billion-dollar industry. That represents a lot of constituents ... and us “animal people” tend to have strong convictions. Also, having your dog around is a great stress reliever — and it must be very stressful on the campaign trail. But, whatever you do, don’t tie him to the top of the campaign bus.

RB: If you were going to send the president to one of your favorite places in the United States for one day, where would that be? Why?

EH: I would invite President Obama and his family to my home in East Tennessee and take him for a drive through the country and mountains. I’d treat him to a relaxing, down-home day with plenty of cornbread and sweet tea, in one of the most beautiful places in the United States. President Obama and family, please take me up on my offer anytime. It would be my pleasure, and Bo and my dog Ellie would have a time of it!

RB: What piece of music would you recommend that President Obama add to his collection? Why?

EH: “On Earth as It Is in Heaven” from Ennio Morricone’s “The Mission” soundtrack. For me it’s one of the most inspiring, celestial pieces of music ever created. It’s an all-purpose creation of genius that stimulates happiness, relaxation and energy, every time I listen to it.

RB: Would you ever consider a political career?

EH: Absolutely. I’d want to be a diplomat ... for animals. “Ambassador to National and International Animal Relations” has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

Robin Bronk is CEO of The Creative Coalition — the leading national, nonprofit, nonpartisan public advocacy organization of the entertainment industry. Bronk is a frequent speaker on the role of the entertainment industry in public advocacy campaigns and represents The Creative Coalition and its legislative agenda before members of Congress and the White House. She produced the feature film “Poliwood,” airing on Showtime, and edited the recently published book Art & Soul. Bronk pens this weekly column with assistance from Risa Kotek.