People Article: Mariel Hemingway — Breaking Her Family’s Curse

November 19th, 2013

Mariel Hemingway-people magazineAs a little girl, Mariel Hemingway always began the night full of hope. Maybe, she’d think with childlike optimism, this evening won’t end with tears, blood, spilled wine and shattered glass. Just maybe, things won’t escalate in alcohol fueled rage and then recede into chilly quiet. “I’d think, ‘oh, it’s going to be a happy night.’I fell for it every flipping time,” says Mariel, now 51, of her parents nightly ritual. “Wine time,” as they called it, began pleasantly enough at 5 PM. Her father Jack Hemingway, cooked up, say, freshly caught trout at their house in Ketchum, Idaho, while her mother, Byra, looked on, drinking dry Cabernet on ice. Then things would turn. “It would get tense, and it would get ugly, very loud, and all the walls would come down. Then everybody would get quiet, and we’d eat gourmet meals on TV trays and watch Jeopardy! in silence.”

From the age of seven, it was Mariel’s job to pick up the pieces. She padded downstairs late at night to collect wine bottles or mop the floor. Her sisters Margaux and Joan were seven and 11 years older, but “I was the cleanup girl,” she recalls. Looking back, the granddaughter of writer Ernest Hemingway realizes she grew up in “a house of insanity.” Back then, “everybody was on edge and nobody spoke about anything.”

Such despair and denial set the tone for much of Mariel’s life. “Tragedy was in my wake,” says the actress and author, who for years was haunted by an infamous legacy marked by generations of addiction and mental illness. At least seven family members committed suicide, including her supermodel sister Margaux, and her famed grandfather Ernest, who shot himself in the head a few months before Mariel’s birth. While she’s happy and healthy today — devoted to her daughters Dree, 25, a model, and Langley, 24, an illustrator, and her boyfriend, Bobby Williams, 50 — finding peace took decades. During a recent visit to her rustic ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains, she admits ruefully, “I was so afraid one day I would wake up and go crazy too.”

In the documentary Running from Crazy, now in theaters and airing on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network next year, Mariel explores the “Hemingway Curse” and her fear that it would someday befall her. “For most of my life, I didn’t think happiness really existed,” she says, sipping green tea in her cozy kitchen. “Until recently, it was all about survival.”

A dutiful child who sought refuge in nature, Mariel watch her sisters grab the spotlight. Margaux was rebellious; Joan, known as Muffet, showed early signs of mental problems and used LSD. “By the time I was 13, I knew my sister had issues, but no one ever talked about it,” says Mariel. When Muffet was in psychiatric hospitals, “I thought she’d gone off to school.” Muffet was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Mariel Hemingway-people magazineRaised on secrets, the Hemingway girls hid another dark truth, Mariel says: their father was inappropriately “intimate” with Margaux and Muffet in their teens. She recalls lying still after dad visited the room the three sisters shared. “I didn’t see anything specific, but something funky was going on: some kind of uncomfortable intimacy. I think dad was trying to find love.”

Deeply conflicted about sharing the revelation because she loved her father, a writer and conservationist who died in 2000, Mariel hopes it will help “inform why my sisters were the way they were. The hard part for me is my father was a wonderful human being,” she says. “I know it in my heart of hearts that he didn’t even remember [in the morning]. I think living under the shadow of Ernest Hemingway was daunting for him. I don’t condone anybody doing weird s–t see, but alcoholism is a bad disease, and you do f’ed things.”

While Mariel steered clear of alcohol and drugs, Margaux spiraled. “She was very glamorous, and things were seemingly going well for her, but she was always drinking,” says Mariel, who recalls her slurring as they filmed Lipstick, Mariel’s breakout role in 1976. Margaux went on to overdose at age 41, on the eve of the 35th anniversary of Ernest Hemingway’s suicide.

But Mariel was not without demons; depression lurked behind her cheery exterior. “Everyone was like, ‘Oh, you’re the grounded one,’ but it wasn’t like I felt sane,” she says. Even after her own career took off, “I became obsessed with my body and with what I ate because I felt I could control it.” She compulsively exercised and fixated on extreme food plans, eating only fruit for days or fasting until her thyroid shut down. “It wasn’t like I didn’t have happy moments — like the birth of my children — but my underlying through-line was, ‘I’ll just get through it,’” says Mariel, who split from documentary filmmaker Stephen Crisman in 2007. At one point she contemplated suicide.

Mariel Hemingway-people magazine

Today she is a woman transformed. “Finally I quit thinking somebody else had an answer, and I started to trust myself and found balance,” she says. She also found love. Her beau of nearly 5 years, Williams, a stuntman turned wellness advocate, offered solace.” He gave me permission to be childlike and enabled me to play and laugh,” she says. Williams says, “She didn’t have a childhood. She didn’t have a family, friends or community. Now she gets to go out and play, whether it’s rockclimbing, throwing a frisbee or silly stuff like goofing off at the movie theater.”

At their home, the two have created a wellness oasis with organic vegetable gardens, egg laying hens and an outdoor playground with a climbing wall, trampoline, rope ladder, pool and tee-pee. Through books and speaking engagements, they aim to turn their healthy lifestyle philosophy into a business while educating the public about options for treating mental illness and creating a balanced life. “The solution varies for everyone, but no one is or should feel alone,” says Mariel, who is also getting back into acting and developing TV and film projects.

But most of all, they laugh. “We go to restaurants and throw sugar packets at each other,” she says. “People look at us like were crazy!” The good kind.

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Mariel Speaks to Queen Latifah about New Documentary

November 19th, 2013

Mariel sits down with Queen Latifah to discuss her new documentary Running from Crazy, now in theaters and airing on Opera Winfrey’s OWN network next year, which details her family’s struggle with depression.

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Morning Rituals

November 7th, 2013

While blessed with a hugely creative heritage, (Ernest Hemingway is certainly a legacy to admire) good physical health and a gorgeous environment, (Ketchum Idaho), to grow up in I still had a life long battle with depression. It wasn’t until I realized that my past life of extremes ie; extreme diets, over exercising and following teachers gurus and guides did I truly understand that part of the journey towards a life of peace came through the lifestyle choices I began to make that were moderate mindful and more slow than before. Between finding a food regime that suited me alone, exercise that supports my over well being, learning to play, Brain Wave optimization, (an extraordinary technology that helps the brain to find harmony and balance) and take silence daily, one of the more important things I do in my life for inner peace is to start my day mindfully.

Being in tune with the rhythms of nature and which supports sustainability seems to be a daunting task. We live in a fast paced world and while it’s amazing it is counter intuitive to slowing down and becoming mindful of one’s lifestyle choices. The fact that we are surrounded by high speed everything; living, eating, driving and breathing and of course technology it is taking it’s toll on our sense of inner peace. Perhaps we can’t change our entire life but we can certainly make small steps towards healthy choices that in fact will make us happier.

I create a healthy world for myself by shifting the way I begin my day. I think of mornings as a time of new beginnings… I like to wake up and get out of bed slowly allowing the pooling of my blood over night to get unstuck by stretching my body and brain by squeezing my limbs and face, bringing energy to my still sleepy frame. After a good stretch I make an intention to have the best day ever… one where I feel balanced, awake and joyous no matter what the circumstances of the day bring me. I then take some deep breaths two to four deep inhales and exhales and then I sit in stillness for a minute or two, while I think of how grateful I am for all the good things and great people I have in my life. (Even if I am going through a challenging time there are always circumstances and people to love and be grateful for). If this is your intention for the beginning of the day you might be blown away at how that manifests in your day by influencing you to make healthier choices. Why? Because you feel differently, better, more grounded and calmer.

When I get out of bed, I look outside, take in the morning sounds, the cool autumn air and watch the sun as it makes it’s way over the hills behind my home. I look directly at the sun… did you know that most of the vitamin D that a person takes in comes through the eyes? So looking at the sun first thing in the morning or at sunset is one of the best ways to get your vitamin D. Plus looking at the sun during these times (sunrise and for an hour afterwards plus sunset and for an hour before) is not at all dangerous.

After taking in a little nature I embark on my morning ritual. I make my jasmine pearl green tea… I use a pretty teapot or a large mason jar and I pour a dozen or more pearls into the bottom. I add sweet leaf stevia… I boil the water and then when I pour the hot liquid over the pearls and I bask in the scent of jasmine as it fills the kitchen. It gives me a sense of calm. Morning rituals such as this (or grinding organic free trade coffee beans in a grinder and smelling the roasted beans as you make you morning coffee is lovely) are mindfulness practices. When one does simple everyday tasks with slowness and awareness it becomes an act of mindful meditation.

Practices such as these set you up to be calmer and more balanced during the craziness of our lives. I truly believe that how you wake up informs how you walk into your day. So taking time for ritual and for stillness can make you more aware. Then when you go to have breakfast, instead of grabbing a muffin or Danish at a coffee shop you might decide you want to eat fresh berries or a piece of seasonal fruit with raw nuts and some organic Greek yogurt and raw honey at home (because you got up 15 minutes earlier to give yourself time in the morning). Or you may learn to make a green smoothie that is full of nutrients and tastes amazing because it is made with real food: Greens, (fiber and vitamins), coconut water (electrolytes), dates (for thyroid) avocado (good fat) cinnamon (for blood sugar) turmeric (for inflammation) and raw honey (for enzymes) and walnuts (for essential fatty acids)… because you have taken the time for YOU to create something for yourself it will reflect in your well being.

So if you want to shift your life towards a life of less stress and more balance change how you get up in the morning and change your breakfast. The results may astonish you. Change the way you start your day and you will inform how you make choices the rest of your day and see how effortless healthy living can be. :D

Green smoothie

Small bottle of raw coconut water 6 to 8 ounces
½ avocado
2 dates
Handful of raw kale
Tsp. of cinnamon
Tsp. of turmeric
1 TBLS raw unheated untreated local honey add more or less for your own sweet taste test
3 walnuts
Optional 1 TBSP greens powder: combination of mixed grasses and spirulina in powder form (ask your local health store for a good brand)

Note about the author: In November Mariel Hemingway’s Documentary Running From Crazy will be released theatrically throughout the country. The documentary is a journey of self discovery and understanding of mental health, wellness, suicide and the effects that our choices have in life. It will then show on the OWN network in April of 2014.

Breakfast, Healthy Living, Recipes

Mariel and Bobby on CBS Sunday Morning

October 27th, 2013

Mariel Hemingway, star of Woody Allen’s classic, “Manhattan,” still has the same youthful spirit that captivated audiences back when she was 16. But considering her family’s dark history, getting happy hasn’t been easy. Mo Rocca sits down with the Oscar-nominated actress.


New York Times Article: Mariel and Bobby’s Smoothie Therapy

October 25th, 2013

Originally published in the New York Times.
By Amanda Fortini.

The first morning I visited Mariel Hemingway — actor, author, activist, granddaughter of Ernest — I watched as she and her partner, Bobby Williams, prepared a smoothie. This is part of her daily routine: because she comes from a family with a history of mental illness, addiction and suicide (a legacy explored in “Running From Crazy,” a new documentary directed by Barbara Kopple), health and wellness and the preventive measures that promote both are at the center of her life — and thus at the center of my article about her in this Sunday’s magazine.

The smoothie she made that morning, which might help ward off the cold currently going around, is a variation on a recipe included in her most recent book, “Running With Nature,” written with Williams:

Green Drink for Two


Kale leaves
½ avocado (plus the pit, Hemingway notes, “if you have a powerful blender,” because it’s “good for your heart”)
1 raw date
2 tablespoons raw olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh or 1 teaspoon powdered turmeric
1 heaping tablespoon raw honey (unheated and untreated)
2 tablespoons superfood powder
Dash of cinnamon

The morning of my visit, she and Williams also used:

Coconut water, raw or frozen
“Ocean’s Alive,” one dropper full — this is a solution of “live marine phytoplankton”
A few fresh mint leaves
Pinch or 2 of cayenne

Sometimes, she says, they add:

Bee pollen (from local bees)
Raw cucumber
Raw asparagus, which she calls a “great antioxidant,”
and/or 1/8 of a raw beet “for the liver.”

“We change it up,” Hemingway told me, as they piled ingredients into a blender. Recently, when I texted her to ask if she had any advice to pass along with her recipe, she replied: “Relax. . . . It’s not law. It’s not science. It’s food, it’s fun. It should be playful and an enjoyable adventure.”

Original Article:


New York Times Article: The Importance of Not Being Ernest

October 25th, 2013

The farm truck for Mariel Hemingway and Bobby Williams’ 1.5-acre ranch. Photo by Holly Andres for the New York Times.

Mariel Hemingway gets up early, perhaps as an unconscious homage to her famous grandfather, to watch the sun rise. Each morning, while still in bed, she and her live-in boyfriend, an erstwhile stuntman and actor named Bobby Williams, begin a series of predawn exercises that consist of breathing, stretching, contemplating the things they’re grateful for and visualizing the day ahead. Hemingway then makes the bed and a pot of jasmine green tea. She fills the hummingbird feeders with organic sugar water, feeds organic soy-free meal to the brood of egg-laying hens that live in her backyard and heads back to the kitchen to prepare a smoothie.

At this point in their elaborate morning ritual, on an overcast day in early May, I joined Hemingway and Williams. They live in a modest three-bedroom ranch house hidden behind a giant oak tree, at the end of a sinuous maze of gravelly roads, deep in a canyon on the edge of Malibu. At quarter to 6, Hemingway was in the kitchen steeping her second pot of green tea while talking about a recent dinner with Woody Allen, who directed her Oscar-nominated performance in “Manhattan” — their first meeting in 15 years. At 51, Hemingway still bears an uncanny resemblance to the 17-year-old girl she portrayed in that film: she has the same long, athletic limbs; the cliff-jump cheekbones; the high, distinctive, Muppet voice. But whereas her character in “Manhattan” was unnaturally poised and still, Hemingway is loose, unguarded and disarmingly funny.

Williams padded into the room, still blurry with sleep. Shirtless and in yoga pants, he displayed the chiseled muscles of someone for whom working out is a primary occupation. (In the 1990s, he was the guy exercising in the Soloflex commercial.) Although he is 50, there is much about him, from the diminutive “Bobby” to his mop of brown hair, that seems boyish. His manner, however, can be tightly coiled. “O.K., first of all, let’s tell the truth,” he said. “You wouldn’t even hear me breathing in the morning. You’re here, so Mariel’s giving you stories, but she doesn’t talk at all.”

You don’t say a word,” Hemingway said. “Don’t throw me under the bus!” She laughed.

In silence, Williams, whom Hemingway calls her “life partner” — they have been together for four and a half years — began loading ingredients into a blender: avocados, coconut water, dates, superfood powder and various herbal tinctures. Hemingway narrated over the grinding. “We put in turmeric for inflammation . . . cinnamon for metabolism and blood . . . the dates are for the thyroid, plus the sweetness is nice. . . . We don’t put fruit in it because it changes it from being an alkaline thing to being more acidic.”

Hemingway, who has written a yoga memoir, an organic-foods cookbook and two self-help books (one written with Williams), believes that the quotidian decisions we make, from the foods we consume to the amount of time we spend lollygagging on the Internet — what she calls our “lifestyle choices” — have a profound impact on mood and well-being. She has maintained this for years, long before the idea became mainstream. “I definitely grew up the healthiest person on the planet,” her daughter, Langley Fox, told me. “My first ‘cookie’ was a nonflavored rice cracker. How a healthy lifestyle will help your whole well-being — I got the whole spiel.”

It’s a topic Hemingway has thought a lot about, because her family not only has a celebrated artistic legacy but also a darker psychological one. Her grandfather, the writer Ernest Hemingway, was a notorious heavy drinker who suffered frequent bouts of depression and committed suicide by shooting himself in the head with a 12-gauge double-barreled shotgun at age 61, four months before Mariel was born. Her older sister Margaux, one of the highest-paid models of the 1970s, struggled with drug addiction, bulimia and alcohol-induced epilepsy; at 41, on the day before the 35th anniversary of her grandfather’s death, she intentionally overdosed on phenobarbital. Her oldest sister, Muffet, is bipolar and schizophrenic and has been in and out of institutions much of her life.

And that’s just her immediate family. Ernest’s father, her great-grandfather, also killed himself, as did his brother, his sister and his first wife’s father, Mariel’s other great-grandfather. (It’s suspected that another Hemingway sister might also have taken her own life, at age 65, though her doctors claimed natural causes.) In his book, “Strange Tribe: A Family Memoir,” John Patrick Hemingway, the son of Ernest’s youngest son, Gregory, called suicide “the family exit.” The term “Hemingway curse” has become shorthand for the tangle of mental illness, addiction and suicide that has plagued multiple generations.

This family tree, as blood-soaked as any from Greek tragedy, is explored in “Running From Crazy,” a riveting new documentary directed and produced by the Academy Award-winning director Barbara Kopple. The film, shown to great acclaim at Sundance, has its premiere in theaters Nov. 1 and will appear on OWN in 2014. (Oprah Winfrey is an executive producer on the film.) The title is an apt summation of the film’s premise: Hemingway has spent her life outrunning the “crazy” that seemed to be her genetic inheritance. “When Margaux died, I thought, Oh, no, it’s my turn. I’m going to get the sickness,” Hemingway told me. “Honestly, I thought I could catch it.”

She has built a life of preventive measures. The morning I visited, we all piled into the car, a white Mini Cooper with a spider-web crack fanning across the windshield, to head to one of the couple’s “sunrise spots” in the Santa Monica Mountains. They believe that gazing at the day’s first light benefits the endocrine and immune systems.

Williams, who was driving, tossed off a litany of health and wellness-related theories and statistics. “Mariel and I, our idealistic vision is, Why have sickness? Why not just get rid of it? Why not educate our kids to go outside, breathe air?” He talked fast, his Long Island accent growing more evident with every word. I wondered about the superfood powder they put in the smoothie. “I talk about the six doctors,” he continued, “Dr. Sun, Dr. Air, Dr. Water, Dr. Nutrition, Dr. Exercise and Dr. Rest. You want to take your guys from the A.M.A. and have them compete against my guys? ’Cause my guys will give your guys a run for their money!” Hemingway, who was holding his hand, gave him the indulgent look people in relationships give each other and said wryly, “He’s not opinionated at all, as you can see.”

By 6:15, we reached the rocky precipice, but a layer of fog was shrouding the sun. Hemingway and Williams slipped off their sneakers — going barefoot whenever possible is another of their beliefs — and climbed 20 feet or so up the orange-red rock, their practiced, agile toes gripping its crags like fingers. “Your skin is the largest organ,” Williams said, “and 70 percent of the absorption is through the bottom of your feet. Think they’re important? And you have shoes on! What are you absorbing now? Zero! What am I absorbing? Minerals, the earth!”

Hemingway crouched on the rock and looked out into the distance. In the contemplative quiet, you could hear the roar of the ocean far below. Williams broke the silence: “My dad always says to me, ‘What do you do all day if you don’t work?’ I say: ‘Aw, Dad, there’s not enough hours in the day for me to take care of myself! Do you know how much stuff I have to do?’ ”

I pointed out that their joint self-care regimen is something of a full-time job.

Hemingway nodded. “We looked at each other one day, and we were like, ‘How can we turn how we love to live into our job?’ Why not turn it into helping other people live a better life? What I love about our book and our message is that it’s completely doable,” she said. “It’s not like this is so hard. Everybody can watch the sun.”

“Running From Crazy” follows the three sisters born to Jack Hemingway, the son of Ernest and Hadley, who was the first of his four wives. Mariel, the youngest of the three girls, was an unexpected addition born 11 years after Joan, or Muffet, and nearly seven years after Margaux, who was so jealous of her baby sister that she cut off Mariel’s eyelashes with a pair of scissors. Their home life was gloomy and volatile. Jack and his beautiful but resentful wife, Byra (known as Puck), fought a lot and drank even more. Their nightly cocktail hours, which they called “wine time,” escalated into arguments that ended in broken glass and blood. Mariel, who from an early age defined herself as the good, obedient daughter, wiped up the mess.

Her sisters, meanwhile, ran wild. In her memoir, “Finding My Balance,” Hemingway remembers Margaux, rebellious and gorgeous, frequenting the local bars of Ketchum, Idaho, at age 14, then “fearlessly bolting down double black-diamond runs stoned and drunk.” Muffet’s prolific LSD use triggered a full-blown psychosis that sent her tearing naked through the streets of their small town and threatening to stab her mother before she was finally institutionalized.

Another blow arrived when Puck developed a cancerous tumor on her thymus gland. Hemingway, at age 11, became her mother’s caretaker and companion, accompanying her on the three-hour drive to her radiation and chemotherapy appointments in Boise and sleeping with her at night. Her father retreated into himself and the basement room Hemingway calls his “land of seclusion.”

You could not have devised a better experiment for driving someone insane. And yet Hemingway, who is the voice and conscience not only of the film but also of her family as a whole, comes across as solid, intelligent and resilient. “Mariel has always been different,” Woody Allen says. “She’s the one that had the personal resources and the human qualities to survive all that terrible onus.” Most remarkable of all is her penetrating candor, which seems courageous, if possibly inadvisable at times. (“Sometimes I would say, ‘O.K., I don’t need to know all that!’ ” Barbara Kopple told me, laughing.) Her honesty may also be an act of rebellion: Hemingway says her father never spoke about Ernest or the mental illness on his side of the family — for years, his daughters believed that their grandfather shot himself accidently while cleaning his gun.

Among the most moving moments of the film are those in which Hemingway talks honestly with her two daughters about their shared history — something she had previously been unable to do. “I really haven’t told you that much about the family history of all the suicide stuff, because I don’t think that I ever wanted you to feel burdened by it,” she says to Langley, a slight girl with dark, soulful eyes, as they sit together after a suicide-prevention walk. Her sense of urgency about breaking the curse has as much to do with the next generation of Hemingways as it does with her own personal happiness.

“Running From Crazy” makes masterly use of raw archival footage taken by Margaux while filming her own documentary about her grandfather in 1983. The footage adds a powerful second layer to the film. As Margaux retraces Ernest’s life in Paris, Spain and Ketchum, we not only witness the walking, talking reality of her parents and sister, Muffet, laughing with one another and enjoying their “wine time,” but we also get a close-up of her pain, which is palpable and heartbreaking.

Margaux is no longer the sylphlike young woman adored by the camera. Instead, we see a heavier, altogether more lugubrious and fragile-seeming person. Her hair is thin and strawlike; her strange, low, scratchy voice is slurry and indistinct: you can almost hear the addiction in it. In one eerie clip, she stands in front of the house where Ernest shot himself and says, “I’ve always felt that if somebody can’t go on living and creating the way they can, I mean, the way they used to, and in a healthy form, in which Grandpapa was accustomed to . . . I mean, I accept the fact that he . . . that he killed himself.”

At the time this footage was filmed, Margaux’s film career had foundered, while Mariel’s had taken off. This was especially galling to the older Hemingway, because she had procured her sister her first role, in the 1976 rape-revenge fantasy, “Lipstick.” Vincent Canby, writing in The New York Times, dismissed “Lipstick” as “anti-intellectual in the ways that B movies always have been” and Margaux as “not much of an actress yet.” Meanwhile, he wrote that Mariel “gives an immensely moving, utterly unaffected performance that shows up everything else as a calculated swindle.”

Impressed by “Lipstick,” Woody Allen cast Mariel in “Manhattan” as Tracy, the wise 17-year-old girlfriend of his neurotic 42-year-old alter ego, Isaac. She was 16 at the time and had never had a boyfriend; Woody Allen was her first real kiss. She remembers the making of the film fondly. She stayed at the apartment of Ernest’s fourth wife, Mary, and Allen, she says, took an avuncular interest in her, taking her to museums and movies. “It made me feel mature,” she remembers. “It made me feel seen. I was such a kid . . . and he was really kind.”

Hemingway dropped out of school and moved to New York, partly to pursue acting full time and partly to get a break from taking care of her mother at home. (Her mother died in 1988, when Mariel was 26; she was ill, more or less, for 15 years.) Hemingway says now that she wishes her parents had insisted that she remain in Idaho. Once she was on her own, her need for control intensified. She cast herself as the self-contained foil to her sister’s barely contained chaos. “I was like, I can control my life, why can’t she control her life?” she says of Margaux, who, in the ensuing years, would marry and divorce twice, declare bankruptcy, flicker in and out of sobriety and do a stint at the Betty Ford Center.

Hemingway’s self-discipline expressed itself mainly as a rigid attitude toward food. She was vegetarian, then vegan; she ate all fruit, no fat, very little protein; she drank only espresso while fasting for days, “addicted to the feeling of lightness.” Eventually, her thyroid shut down, and her periods stopped, the latter of which pleased her: “In not allowing my female qualities to come fully into bloom, I thought I was controlling my own health and sanity,” she writes. “My female role models represented nothing I wanted — illness, instability and heaviness.”

Her boyish figure and natural athleticism led to a starring role as an Olympic track-team hopeful in Robert Towne’s “Personal Best.” Next came Bob Fosse’s “Star 80,” in which Hemingway played Dorothy Stratten, the Playboy playmate murdered by her estranged husband. Because Fosse was not immediately convinced that the prepubescent girl-boy of “Personal Best” could play a voluptuous sex symbol, Hemingway got breast implants and lobbied hard for the role, explaining that she understood Stratten’s desperate need to be loved.

Despite the relative critical success of “Star 80,” Hemingway’s career stalled in the wake of its release. The following year, in 1984, she married Stephen Crisman, who at the time was 34 and the manager of the Hard Rock Cafe in New York. Within five years she had given birth to their two daughters, Dree, now 25, and a model, and Langley, 24, an illustrator. Hemingway continued to work regularly, if not always illustriously, taking on a role a year, often for financial reasons. (She doesn’t receive money from the Hemingway estate.) “I was focused on being a mother. I’d do something to make money, to support the family. . . . I’d get offered a ton of bad movies, and I did some of them, just to get by,” she says.

For her, those years were marred by anxiety, obsessiveness and depression. “It was kind of like a low-grade fever,” she says. Her career wasn’t absorbing; her marriage was unhappy; she was self-destructively healthy. Her diet became even more abstemious, consisting of “big bowls of salad or popcorn or these big foamy things of coffee.” (She would put organic instant coffee in a blender with hot water, blend it with ice and eat the foam — an anorexic’s cappuccino.) She exercised two, three or four hours a day, until she would become sick and “broken down.” She sought out “a succession of strange spiritual wacks, psychics, astrologers and holistic doctors” to free her from her obsessions. There was one period during which she felt her family would be better off without her.

In 1996, when Margaux took her own life, Hemingway, who had recently begun to repair her relationship with her sister, was shocked. “I was sad that I wasn’t as sad as I probably should have been,” Hemingway told me, with signature frankness. “I didn’t know how to feel. It was so confusing. It was so sad.” Three years later, Hemingway’s husband, Stephen Crisman, received a diagnosis of Stage 4 melanoma, which thrust her back into the role of caretaker. (The couple divorced in 2008, several years after Crisman’s cancer went into remission.) “My days were about getting through,” Hemingway says. “How do I manage myself and not end up like the members of my family? How do I control what I’m feeling?”

Although her depression has lifted, Hemingway is still like a sentry guarding her self. In the months I trailed her, I never witnessed her indulge in a single unhealthful habit. She abstains from alcohol, has renounced coffee, forgoes gluten and sugar and appears to subsist mainly on avocados, almonds, eggs and large quantities of salad greens. She believes her way of living has kept her sane and alive.

Her most recent book, “Running With Nature,” written with Williams and published in June, is essentially a chronicle of a healthful lifestyle perfected. “It’s an experiment in how to live,” Hemingway says. The couple’s 1.5-acre property, which they call the Ranch, serves as their laboratory. There are organic vegetable beds, an infrared sauna and, in the backyard, an adult playground of sorts, featuring parallel bars, punching bags, a slackline, a rope ladder, a climbing wall, a basketball court, a full gym, a giant trampoline and a tepee — making time for “play” is one of the main principles of the book. While some of their suggestions (holistic dentists, tossing your microwave because it renders food carcinogenic) may seem extreme to anyone unfamiliar with alternative-health dogma, most of them (going outside, getting more sleep) are common knowledge.

A week after our early-morning hike, I accompanied Hemingway to an evening event at the ArcLight, a movie theater in Hollywood. A 10-minute video she stars in for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health’s Emmy-winning “Profiles of Hope” series was being shown, as were some clips from “Running From Crazy.” In the past few years, Hemingway has become a regular figure on the mental-health-awareness circuit, speaking for organizations like McLean Hospital and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “People feel like, ‘O.K., if this celebrity can do this, I can, too,’ ” Robin Kay, chief deputy director for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, told me, as we waited for the event to begin.

“All I want to do is to inspire others to say, ‘It’s O.K., I’m not alone, I can tell my story,’ ” Hemingway told the audience, gesturing emphatically. “There is mental illness and mental instability practically in everybody’s life.” Her message was one of equality, of our shared human journey. “Of course, I have your story,” she told me in the car on the way home. “It’s everybody’s story. Everybody has the same story.”

In telling her story, she spares no detail: her sister’s suicide, her simmering depression, the bizarre diets and “wackadoo” gurus. She cries as easily as she laughs, her eyes filling and her voice wobbling as she speaks. Her emotions are right on the surface; witnessing them come and go is like watching clouds gather and pass.

The audience listened, rapt. Many of those who came to see her that night had personal experience with suicide: they’d lost a family member, or they’d attempted suicide themselves. Hemingway gently pointed out that unlike almost any other illness — “AIDS or addiction or alcoholism or diabetes” — mental illness and suicide remain taboo topics of discussion. “People feel tremendous shame around it,” she said.

The theater darkened, and the “Profiles of Hope” video began. There was Hemingway, all blond hair and tawny skin, seated in her sunlit living room. “I truly feel I have broken the chain of whatever that is — people have called it the family curse,” she says. As empowering as this idea is, it’s also potentially controversial, because she often speaks to practitioners who take a more traditional meds-and-talk-therapy approach. She is careful to present her methods as only one possible solution. And she concedes that some people need antidepressants: her sister, Muffet, she says, is on a “truckload of pharmaceuticals.”

In the video, Hemingway enumerated ways of healing yourself. She advised viewers to “be a kid again, play like you’re a child.” There were images of Hemingway walking the slackline and scaling the rope ladder in her backyard. “We’ve got a climbing wall,” she narrated. “We’ve got stationary bikes. We’ve got organic biodynamic gardens.” At the mention of organic biodynamic gardens, I heard two women sitting to my right snicker.

When the lights came on, I turned to them. One of the women told me she was a real estate agent who specialized in time-share properties, a sector of the market no longer flourishing. In the past two years, she’d also developed spinal stenosis and arthritis in her neck that caused her chronic pain. “I lost my house, and I lost my rental properties, and I lost my job,” she said, standing with one foot in front of the other, as if to steady herself, “and the rug from my life was just pulled out from underneath me . . . and I went into a really superdeep depression.”

I asked what she thought of the clips.

“I wish I had that kind of lifestyle,” she said, “but so many things limit me from having that, and that’s an excuse, yes, but it’s a really good one — it’s a reality. I mean, I don’t live in a beautiful place and have that setting as my backyard. I don’t have a life partner who supports me. . . .”

“Sunday is play day!” Hemingway said, in her singsong Jim Henson-character voice. She and Williams and I were driving 60 miles up the Pacific Coast Highway to Ojai, Calif., where they would shop for sunflower sprouts, pumpkin seeds and raw sprouted almonds at the local farmers’ market and visit a healer who used dowsing rods to make his diagnoses. (“Bobby,” said the healer, a stern but solicitous middle-aged man in a white lab coat, with a Slavic accent so thick as to render him nearly unintelligible, “needs to eat fermented foods to purify his liver and deal with his anger.” Hemingway was “balanced.” I was to increase “my appetites” by smoking pot.)

The freeway was a thick soup of Sunday afternoon beach traffic, but Williams would not be deterred. He darted back and forth between lanes, exploiting any visible space between cars to wedge in. When this failed to move us ahead with satisfactory swiftness, he swerved to the right shoulder and drove 80 miles an hour on it the rest of the way, jerking the car sharply back into the lane whenever the shoulder ended.

“Please be watchful for the Man, babe,” Hemingway said, warning him to look out for cops, though she did not seem all that bothered by the speed. “She definitely has that Hemingway gene of living on the edge, of allowing adrenaline to come through,” Kopple later told me.

As we zoomed along, Williams lectured me through the rearview mirror on the benefits of raw egg yolk and buffalo meat. “The stronger the animal, it’s going to be energetically better for you,” he said. In the mirror, I could see the words “Just Breathe” written on his T-shirt. I tried to remember this as he revved to 115 miles an hour. I was reminded of one of the documentary’s climactic scenes: Williams is driving on a dirt road in the middle of the Idaho desert when he grabs the emergency brake in an attempt to spin the car around action-flick style, which causes it to stall. This disrupts the mountain-climbing expedition they’d planned and creates a crisis over how to deal with the car. When Hemingway starts to get upset, Williams tries to shut her down: “Look, you can’t talk like a girl. Be a boy for one minute. Just one minute. No girl talk.” The argument that ensues is not exactly an advertisement for healthful living. But the scene ends, astonishingly, with a quiet Hemingway scaling a mountain nonetheless.

“Bobby brought spontaneity into my life,” Hemingway said, back on the road to Ojai. “I realize now I was really rigid. I was always about order and routine.” She swiveled around to face me in the back seat. “A little of that is good, but too much of that makes you old — I was older when I met him.”

On the way home, fed up with traffic, the pair pulled over on the side of the road to climb a massive sand dune. Upon reaching the summit, they began to perform joint calisthenics. From my vantage at the bottom of the dune, they were miniature figurines on the top of a wedding cake. Miniature Williams got down in the sand and did push-ups. Miniature Hemingway followed. They did stomach crunches. Miniature Williams heaved a boulder in the air and started lifting it up and down. Miniature Hemingway lifted two smaller rocks like free weights.

As I watched them, it occurred to me that Williams is a contemporary, extreme-sports version of Ernest Hemingway, without the literary ambitions. He is all of his masculine pretensions distilled. Another day, when Mariel and I dropped by the house after an interview to find him standing at the counter in a cowboy hat making a gluten-free pizza, he said: “Hemingway was a show-off! He was trying to be something he wasn’t! He had no confidence! If I got him in a boxing ring, I’d give him a whupping.” Mariel hooted with laughter, put her hand over his mouth and said: “Be quiet. I love you, but you’ll sound stupid.”

When I last spoke to Hemingway in early October, she told me she was rereading her grandfather’s books, as she does every few years. It makes her feel close to him. She also plans to produce the film version of “A Moveable Feast,” the story of her grandparents’ relationship in Paris and her favorite book. She has purchased the option from the estate. “It represents a piece of me,” she says. “I’m a part of it in a way, because my father was a baby then.”

As she talked about Ernest’s work, it became clear that a tendency toward depression isn’t the only thing she inherited from her grandfather. There is also, arguably, a more positive connection, a shared quest: “The machismo thing, I think that’s secondary,” she said. “I think it’s a cover-up for what he was really doing, which is looking at deep emotion. To me, that means being truthful about what is real and what is happening. It’s being true to what is. That’s why he loved adventurous circumstances, because they bring out raw emotion: there’s no bull in the middle of a bullfight.”

Amanda Fortini is a writer who lives in Livingston, Mont.

Editor: Lauren Kern

A version of this article appears in print on October 27, 2013, on page MM18 of the Sunday Magazine with the headline: The Importance of Not Being Ernest.

Original Article


WATCH NOW: Super Soul Sunday with Oprah Winfrey

October 3rd, 2013

Discover the 6 doctors that are available to you anytime, anywhere — FREE!

Mariel Hemingway and Bobby Williams sit down with Oprah Winfrey to discuss how the prescription to a more mindful, connected life can be written by six doctors, on call for you anytime, anywhere: Dr. Air, Dr. Sun, Dr. Water, Dr. Nutrition, Dr. Exercise and Dr. Rest. Find out how becoming familiar with these (free!) concepts can help you better connect with your spirit.

Read more at!

events, Exercise, health, Healthy Living, news , , , , ,

6 Breakfast Recipes For A Healthier You

April 24th, 2012

People often tell me they want to change the way they eat, but they simply don’t know how to start. I say, “Change your breakfast.” Here is my reason. Breakfast means that you are breaking a fast…you have been asleep anywhere from four to 10 hours and probably haven’t eaten for at least eight hours. You have given your body/digestive system a well-needed break from the work of processing nutrients, or sometimes processing chemicals and alcohol that the body needs to eliminate in the best way it can. Our rest from the hard work our bodies do day in and day out is critical for our wellness. Hence, what we eat in the morning is an important way to begin a healthy day. Our body is more acidic when we wake up because of the elimination process that occurred while we sleep, and choosing a food that is alkaline helps jump start the body’s energy.

Enjoy and good health to you. xo

Tomato, Tarragon and Mostly Egg White Frittata ( Serves 8 )

marielfritatta Mariel’s Kitchen: 6 Favorite Breakfast Recipes

8 large egg whites
2 large eggs
2 oz. parmesan, grated
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh tarragon
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of sea salt
2 tsp butter
½ small onion, diced
6 organic plum tomatoes, seeded, diced


  1. Preheat oven to broil.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs briefly until blended. Add half of the parmesan and all the tarragon, pepper and salt.
  3. Melt butter in a 9- or 10-inch nonstick, oven-safe sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until soft. Add tomatoes and sauté for 2-3 minutes (or a little longer if they are very watery to allow water to evaporate). Pour egg mixture into pan and stir gently with a heat-resistant spatula. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the egg has set on the bottom and begins to set on top.
  4. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan on top and place under broiler for 3-4 minutes, until lightly browned and fluffy. Cool slightly, and then invert onto serving platter. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Spinach Pancakes (Makes about 9 six-inch pancakes)

marielspinach Mariel’s Kitchen: 6 Favorite Breakfast Recipes

4 large eggs
1 10-oz. package frozen, organic spinach, thawed and drained
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2/3 cup low-fat milk or almond milk
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp almond meal flour
½ tsp sea salt
Cooking spray


  1. Combine eggs, spinach, garlic, milk, oil, flour and salt in a blender or food processor and blend until well combined.
  2. Coat a 6- to 8-inch nonstick pan with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Pour a small amount of batter in the pan and spread to coat bottom. Cook pancake until the batter bubbles evenly and the bottom is browned; flip to cook the other side until browned. Remove to a platter and repeat until all batter is used. Serve immediately or freeze individually for later use.

Hot Cinnamon Quinoa Mush (Serves 6)

marielquinoa1 249x300 Mariel’s Kitchen: 6 Favorite Breakfast Recipes

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup coarse ground quinoa
3 tbsp Xylosweet
3 ½ cups fat-free milk or almond milk
2 tsp ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish


  1. Place oats, quinoa, Xylosweet, milk and cinnamon in a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring very frequently, until thick and creamy, about 8 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, separate into individual bowls and garnish with cinnamon.

Buckwheat and Coconut Flour Waffles (Makes about 8 waffles)

marielwaffle Mariel’s Kitchen: 6 Favorite Breakfast Recipes

½ cup buckwheat flour
½ cup coconut flour
¼ tsp sea salt
1 ½ tsp baking powder
2 tbsp Xylosweet
3 large eggs, beaten
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 cups buttermilk


  1. Preheat waffle iron.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl and combine. Ladle onto hot waffle iron. Cook until golden brown. Serve warm with fresh fruit.

Poached Eggs on Wilted Greens (Serves 6)

marieleggs1 Mariel’s Kitchen: 6 Favorite Breakfast Recipes

1 tsp white wine vinegar
12 large eggs
3 tbsp water
2 heads escarole, or 2 bunches Swiss chard or baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 plum tomatoes, cut into small wedges or diced


  1. Fill a pot with 2 inches of water. Add vinegar and bring to a light simmer over medium heat.
  2. Begin gently cracking the eggs, one at a time, closely into the pot (do these in batches of three to be sure not to overcrowd the pot).
  3. Once the whites begin to set up, but the yolks are still soft and runny, carefully remove each egg with a slotted spoon and set aside in a warm area.
  4. Place 3 tbsp of water in a large sauté pan with the greens. Heat until barely wilted (the warm eggs will wilt the greens more).
  5. Season with salt and pepper, drain slightly to remove excess liquid and divide the greens onto 6 individual plates. Place tomato wedges around the plate or sprinkle the diced tomatoes on top.
  6. Top each plate with 2 poached eggs and serve.

Breakfast Pudding (Serves 2)

marie 237x300 Mariel’s Kitchen: 6 Favorite Breakfast Recipes

1 10-oz. bag frozen blueberries
1 organic avocado
1 tsp flax oil
2 scoops vanilla whey protein isolate powder
2 limes, juiced
¼ – ½ cup boiling water, more or less as needed


  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add boiling water as necessary to reach desired consistency.

Breakfast, health, Healthy Living, Recipes

Eat Green – Happy Earth Day 2012

April 22nd, 2012

Eat GreenThere is no better way to connect with our planet than to eat what it provides naturally – products produced, manufactured and proven over the centuries.  This is why I choose to start my day from products derived from our Earth naturally and organically.

Start your day the healthy way:

What do you eat after your hot drink? Again, think of alkalizing, especially if you tend to eat and drink highly acidic foods, i.e., coffee, alcohol, red meat, fried foods, processed foods and sugar. My favorite choice for breakfast is to make a green smoothie. Don’t think because it is green that it will taste like a swamp and be icky healthy. No…I like my food to taste delicious. (See smoothie recipe below.) Plus, if you like moving first thing in the morning and having a heavy breakfast is simply too much, then this is the perfect choice. When I have my green drink, I can practice yoga, do kettle bells or go for a hike without feeling like I am working on digesting, as well as working on “getting up a mountain.”

Green Smoothie Recipe


Celery, spinach, cucumber parsley juice (either homemade or from your local health store) OR raw unpasteurized coconut water (8 oz.)

1 kale leaf

1/3 avocado

1 tbsp raw honey

1 tsp turmeric organic for inflammation

1 large tbsp greens powder (I like Org Lives super greens, which you can get from my online store on Openskyclick link to shop)

Dash of cinnamon


1. Blend all ingredients in blender and ENJOY. Feel the difference.

Protein Smoothie


Unpasteurized coconut water (8 oz.)

1 scoop organic raw whey powder or hemp protein, or jay Robb egg-white protein (all Stevia sweetened)

1 raw, organic, free-range egg

A dollop of plain yogurt

1/3 cup berries

1 tbsp flax oil or 1 tbsp raw almond butter


1. Blend and ENJOY.

Make sure you connect with me and let me know how you like the recipe.  Send pics, post on Facebook or Twitter

xo Mariel

Earth Day 2012, health, Recipes

The Journey

April 21st, 2012

YMDQMy personal journey to wellness has taught me that nurturing your body and mind is not only the greatest thing you can do for yourself; it’s the greatest thing you can do for everyone around you—for your family, your kids, your colleagues, and your community. That’s what wellness is all about.

Every day that I wake up and can go outside and watch the sunrise, I feel calm and good about starting my day. There is no better way to start a healthy day than this.

I no longer diet, as I have tried all ways of eating, from healthy to crazy—all fat, no fat, all protein, no protein, macro, vegan, raw—all of them have good pieces, but now I eat ethically and with meaning.  I don’t eat abused animals, only from local farms.  I start my day with raw food, usually a smoothie. The main thing I have discovered is balance in all my food and organic—no sugar, no processed food, and no alcohol.  When I limit addictive foods, then I have less “noise” in my brain, and how I eat becomes a very easy way of life.  I love simple, pure, and healthy food every day.

I have studied health all my life and now it is my passion and my business.  Mariel’s Kitchen is my cookie company—cookies I created that are sugar- and gluten-free.  They’re a delicious (potential meal replacement) cookie called a Blisscuit, which will soon be available all over.  The Mariel’s Kitchen Cookbook has the recipe.  I love my brand—I love that I can create food and lifestyle choices for everyone so they can live healthier, happier lives.


“You must make time for what’s most important to you.  Ask yourself questions so that you can find places where you can pull back and reset your priorities.  How much television do you watch?  Are you taking time to exercise?  Do you take five minutes to close your eyes, breathe and listen to internal whispers?  It’s often the everyday places, people and things of value that work to keep you connected and balanced.”

Removing The Stigma

I love this statement from Together Against Stigma:  ”Stigma is a major barrier preventing people from seeking help. Many people living with a mental illness say the stigma they face is often worse than the illness itself. Mental illness affects people of all ages and from all walks of life.  It can take many forms including depression, anxiety and schizophrenia.

What is Stigma?

Stigma is made up of two parts: negative and unfavorable attitudes, and negative behaviours that result from those attitudes. People living with a mental illness often experience stigma through:
Inequality in employment, housing, educational and other opportunities which the rest of us take for granted.  Loss of friends and family members  (the social and support network).”

“We navigate a difficult world and all of us need to be understood.  Please start talking about mental health and suicide.  It is an epidemic. Education and understanding are vital.  Talk about the journey of mental health with your children, teens, loved ones and friends.  It is OK to discuss.” xo Mariel

Mental Health & Education