I had the chance to interview Tippi Hedren today.
Hers is a tremendous story of three lives. Her first was as an actress whose debut role was starring in Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. Not a bad start—though it came with it's challenges. In an interview where she opened up about Hitchcock's obsessive controlling relationship with her, Tippi claimed Hitchcock not only ruined her career (he wouldn't let her out of her studio contract thus refusing to let her work on other films), but that he was "evil."
Her second life came in 1975. After the war, Vietnamese were coming to the United States as refugees and she was the international relief coordinator for a charity called Food for the Hungry. In one of the refugee camps, she came in contact with Vietnamese women who loved her long beautiful nails. Like the Chinese proverb about teaching a man to fish, she is responsible for putting Vietnamese women on their career path as manicurists—a path that has led to an astounding 80 percent of California's current mani/pedi artists pool that are Vietnamese Americans. Recently, Bellacures nail salon in Brentwood and OPI products honored Tippi for her humanitarian efforts. They screened, "Happy Hands," a documentary directed by Honey Lauren that tells the story of why you see so many Vietnamese women in the nail art biz.
Tippi's third life is centered on her Roar Foundation that she founded in 1983 to support Shambala, the animal preserve outside of LA that cares for large wildlife like elephants, tigers, lions, cougars and more. She lives on the preserve and hosts "safaris" for guests to help fund the foundation. shambala.org
My final question to Tippi today was, 'What animal would you like to come back as?' "A Liger!" she answered. A cross between a tiger and a lion, and yes, she once had a liger at Shambala named Patrick.