Huffpost Fifty

Andie MacDowell: Taking Risks, Staying Curious, Agreeing To Disagree

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Andie MacDowell returns to television January 3rd in a new series called "Jane By Design" on ABC Family. Born in Gaffney, South Carolina, MacDowell began modeling in the early 1980s and made her film debut in 1984 in Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. In 1989 director Steven Soderbergh cast her in the independent film Sex, Lies, and Videotape.

That performance earned her multiple awards, including an Independent Spirit Award, and led her to a series of box office hits, including Groundhog Day opposite Bill Murray and Four Weddings and a Funeral opposite Hugh Grant. More recently, she starred in the remake of "Footloose." A mother of three, MacDowell talked with Huff/Post 50 about taking risks, creative inspiration and her biggest accomplishments and regrets. (Check out videos of her top films below the interview.)

What's the one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you were growing up?
When I was growing up I was dealing with so much that I forgive myself for any imperfections. I wish I had been given the space to enjoy knowledge and reading. I love learning and I think that curiosity is a wonderful gift. I think in a way I knew that when I was little, but I did not have the support I needed to grow. So I guess I have learned that it is never too late to learn something new.

Now that you're over fifty, what's the one rule you feel you can break with impunity?
The one rule I can break at my age is I think what I think, feel what I feel and if you don't agree that is fine with me. We are allowed to agree to disagree.

What is the riskiest thing you've done in your life since you've turned fifty?
The riskiest thing I have done in my fifties is to do a Polish accent for a new film. I had a great time working on it and two wonderful people to guide me. A dialect coach that I have known for thirty years and a Polish actor. Also I am playing a driven, tough, difficult character for a new TV series called "Jane By Design" for ABC Family which is a completely different role for me.

What ignites your creativity?
My work is stimulating and my truest creative outlet. I still love finding the soul of the characters I play and defining who they are. This to me is my paint set and the colors are always exciting to choose.

What social or political cause are you most passionate about?
There are so many causes and it is hard to say no, but at some point you have to choose the ones where you feel you can really make a difference. I am committed to Ovarian Cancer research on a national level and in my community in the Carolina's. It is important to me to know the women that are true fighters of this difficult disease. I also find supporting Dress For Success to be a good fit for me. I want to support women that want to work and help them reach their goals to be able to provide for themselves. I also support the United Way, the Humane Society, Habitat for Humanity, the arts and environmental causes. I am big into land conservation and have personally donated over 2000 acres to be preserved for perpetuity.

What is the best advice anyone ever gave you?
My mother told me I was unique and that I could do anything I set my mind to. I think that is true for everyone.

What is your biggest regret?
My biggest regret is rolling in regret. It is best to pick yourself up , dust yourself off and move on.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
My children without a doubt are my greatest accomplishment. If I did nothing else I would feel just having and raising them would be enough. The rest is icing.

If you could say one thing to the next generation, what would it be?
The next generation is left cleaning up the mess we made. We did not create the best environment for them to take over. We need to find ways to make less garbage. We have too many people, not enough new ideas. We need change; we say we need change but we resist change. What I would say is don't take no for an answer, get together and make it change. We also need to say we are sorry for the crap job we've done.

If you could reincarnate as anyone or anything, what or who would it be?
I love the idea of living a life that is completely humble and quiet. It could be as simple as someone in a small town that is not famous, but is making a huge difference in their community. Without any attention.... I would love that.

What's your favorite Andie MacDowell film? Vote below!

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