Tippi Hendren – WOMAN of ACTION™


A Celebration of Women™

is elated to Celebrate the Life of this powerhouse, one that lived her life way ahead of the times; not accepting that any form of abuse was acceptable. Leaving a career she excelled at and loved due to sexual harassment at the workplace, this woman was guided into a world that opened her eyes to the plight of other women, specifically Vietnamese women refugees in America.

A Woman that lived ahead of the times !!!

Taking Action to assist and work with these women, she single handed lead the way to self sustainable businesses for these women that has blossomed into a multi-million dollar industry across North America.

We are honored to share this story with you, the Women of our World.





Tippi Hendren

Hedren was born in New Ulm, Minnesota, in 1930, the daughter of Dorothea Henrietta (née Eckhardt) and Bernard Carl Hedren. Her paternal grandparents were immigrants from Sweden, and her maternal ancestry is German and Norwegian.  Her father ran a small general store in the small town of Lafayette, Minnesota and gave her the nickname “Tippi.”

“My father thought Nathalie was a little bit much for a brand new baby,” Hedren explained at a 2004 screening of The Birds.

As a teenager, Hedren took part in department store fashion shows. Her parents relocated to California while she was still a high school student. When she reached her 18th birthday, she bought a ticket to New York and began a professional modeling career.

Within a year she made her film debut (minus dialogue) as a Petty Girl model in The Petty Girl (1950) musical comedy, although in interviews she refers to The Birds (1963) as her first film.

This is a woman who once had the world at her feet as a beautiful model and acclaimed actress.

Because she refused to succumb to the seductive lure of Alfred Hitchcock, her career in film came to an abrupt halt. When asked why she didn’t relent, her answer was: “I would have never been able to live with myself.”

She was once his muse but when young Tippi Hedren refused legendary director Alfred Hitchcock’s sexual advances he ruined her career. Her comments came as production of a television drama about her relationship with the ‘Psycho’ director is wrapping up.

She claims he ruined her career when she refused to bow to his advances, but said he failed to ruin her life.

‘I think he was an extremely sad character’.

We are dealing with a brain here that was an unusual genius, and evil, and deviant, almost to the point of dangerous, because of the effect that he could have on people that were totally unsuspecting.

Tippi Hedren spoke about the rampant sexual harassment as she joined the cast of ‘The Girl’, a collaboration between BBC and American network HBO which looks into the relationship she had with Hitchcock while making ‘The Birds’.

At the time of filming Tippi, born Natalie Kay Hedren, was 34 years old, more than 30 years younger than Hitchcock, and engaged to be married to her second husband.

The knowledge of this did not stop his advances, something which becomes clear in ‘The Girl’.

The film, based on the book ‘Spellbound by Beauty’ by Donald Spoto, portrays the director as a predator who demands sexual favours of his leading lady.


HBO Films presents, The Girl, premiering on Saturday, October 20th at 9PM. For more on HBO Films, go HERE.

Now, cable television brings us The Girl, about her traumatic experiences during the filming of The Birds (premiering in October). “HBO had a screening for me and 30 other people, about two months ago“, Ms. Hedren shared with us the other day. “At the end of the screening nobody moved. Nobody said anything. I think that they were so stunned to see this story come to fruition“.

Later, she added “I think this will empower young women. They should know that you do not have to acquiesce to the demands of anyone. Ever”.

Veteran actress Hedren, 82, says she would have been a rich woman if ‘sexual harassment laws’ existed in 1963 when ‘The Birds’ was filmed. This is an issue that must be addressed, as this form of abuse is still going on today, here is an example from right in the USA: ”

WASHINGTON (CN) – Three women claim in court that their boss’s sexual harassment was so extreme he trapped one of them in a closet and forced her to watch homemade pornography while grabbing her breast and masturbating.

Maria Rivas, Sandra Ventura and Carmen Sagastizado, school janitors, sued UGL Services Limited in Superior Court, claiming it took no action against their supervisor, Felix Miranda, who threatened them with long hours and lower pay if they refused his sexual demands.

Miranda is not named as a defendant in the complaint, though he is named. The only defendant is UGL Services, of Portland, Maine.


In 1952, Hedren met and married 18-year-old future advertising executive Peter Griffith. Their daughter, actress Melanie Griffith, was born on August 9, 1957.

They were divorced in 1961. She married her then-agent Noel Marshall, who later produced three of her films, in 1964; they divorced in 1982.

She married businessman Luis Barrenechea in 1985, but they divorced in 1995. Since 2002 she has been engaged to veterinarian Martin Dinnes, although they are not married despite internet rumors to the contrary.

Tippi is not easily moved by emotional displays and can be curiously detached from her own emotions and those of others. It is almost as if she could turn her feelings on and off at will; Tippi should be careful not to leave the switch “off” too often, for she could easily become too impersonal.

Family relationships and attachments are not as important to her as they are to most people and Hedren often considers her friends closer to her than her blood relatives.

Certainly, Hedren’s sympathy and concern extends much beyond her immediate family. In her personal relationships, Tippi Hedren insists upon a certain amount of independence and the freedom to pursue friendships with as many people, of both sexes, as she chooses.

Tippi does not appreciate a jealous, possessive partner.

One day, Hedren decided she wanted to create some magic of her own. Not Hitchcock’s magic of malevolent mischief but the compassionate conjuring of doing good.

This was California in the mid-1970s. So she went to a tent city for refugees to try to change the lives of a group of women stranded there from war-torn Vietnam.

With a wave of a wand, in this case her scarlet-tipped nails, she helped teach them the mysteries of the ancient art of turning the stubbiest of fingernails into objects of beauty.

In so doing, she not only helped get these women back on their feet but unknowingly set off an entrepreneurial revolution.

That one single act of good intentions, dear reader, is why there is now, likely somewhere near you, at least one nail salon run by Vietnamese immigrants.


Transforming an industry

What started out with a group of 20 women trained by Hedren’s personal manicurist has mushroomed across the U.S. and Canada.

That initial group would be joined by another wave, the so-called boat people, those opponents of the Communist regime who risked their lives by fleeing in rickety boats after the fall of Saigon in 1975. Her efforts working with the Vietnamese American community stemmed from her providing career guidance to a nucleus of only 20 Vietnamese refugee women – fled from a war-torn country in the aftermath of April 30, 1975 – whom she arranged to receive training as manicurists in 1975.

Hoping to rebuild their lives and providing a safer environment for their families in the “land of the free,” the women quickly learned the new job skills and sought after the nail industry with Hedren’s compassionate support. The pioneering work of that initial group of 20 set the foundation for a thriving beauty service industry.

Not speaking the language or having any marketable skills, they tended to cluster together once they arrived in North America, not unlike other ethnic groups in similar circumstances. Italians in construction, for instance. Koreans in convenience stores. Filipinas in nursing and child care.

Actress Tippi Hedren with Vietnamese actress Kieu Ching when Hedren was presented with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in January 2003. Hedren aided Ching when she fled Vietnam, by providing her with living space in her home for over a year.

But none of these groups have transformed a single industry as radically as the Vietnamese boat people did with nail salons.

Before these Vietnamese women came into the business, a manicure was a costly affair. If a woman did go to a manicurist it was usually only for a special occasion.

Now, what was once a swank industry for the well-to-do caters to the masses of women who used to do their own nails at home. Prices are down, way down. A manicure today can cost anywhere from $7 to as much as $50 in a traditional upscale spa. But around $20 seems to be the norm.                                                  

That, by the way, is what it cost decades ago before the Vietnamese came along. But a dollar then was worth a lot more than it is today. Currently, there are over 100,000 manicuring shops in the U.S. operated by Vietnamese Americans – a significant entrepreneurial success for the large population of Vietnamese newcomers to support their families and send their children to school.

What she did instead was to sail around the South China Sea, giving food and clothing to refuges Boat People from Vietnam.Her in the U.S., she taught Vietnamese women how to do manicure and then sent them on to beauty school.

In 1981, Hedren and her daughter Melanie Griffith produced Roar, an 11-year project that ended up costing $17 million and starring dozens of African lions. “This was probably one of the most dangerous films that Hollywood has ever seen”, remarked the actress. “It’s amazing no one was killed.”

During the production of Roar, Hedren, her husband at the time, Noel Marshall, and daughter Melanie were attacked by lions; Jan de Bont, the director of photography, was scalped. She later co-wrote the book Cats of Shambala (1985) about the experience. Roar made only $2 million worldwide.

The film directly led to the 1983 establishment of the non-profit Roar Foundation and Hedren’s Shambala Preserve, located at the edge of the Mojave Desert in Acton, California between the Antelope Valley and the Santa Clarita Valley 40 miles (64 km) northeast of Los Angeles.

Shambala currently houses some 70 animals, including African lions, Siberian and Bengal tigers, leopards, servals, mountain lions and bobcats.

Hedren lives on the Shambala site and conducts monthly tours of the preserve for the public. Hedren took in and cared for Togar, a lion that belonged to Anton LaVey, after he was told by San Francisco officials that he couldn’t keep a fully grown lion as a house pet. More recently, Shambala became the new home for Michael Jackson’s two Bengal tigers, Sabu and Thriller, after he decided to close his zoo at his Neverland Valley Ranch in Los Olivos, California.

Thriller died in June of 2012 of lung cancer. On December 3, 2007, Shambala Preserve made headlines when Chris Orr, a caretaker for the animals, was mauled by a tiger named Alexander.

Several documentaries have focused on Shambala Preserve, including the 30-minute Lions: Kings of the Serengeti (1995), narrated by Melanie Griffith, and Animal Planet’s Life with Big Cats (1998), which won the Genesis Award for best documentary in 1999.

The animals at the preserve served as the initial inspiration for the life’s work of artist A. E. London, who started her career working for Hendren.

Tippi also opened a safari style sanctuary for many big cats used in the entertainment industry. Lions, tigers, and leopards make up this reserve at Shambala, her California home.


Hedren’s contributions to world cinema have been honored with Life Achievement Award in France at The Beauvais Film Festival Cinemalia 1994; in Spain, by the Fundacion Municipal De Cine in 1995; and The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, 2011.

In 1999, Hedren was honored as “Woman of Vision” by Women in Film and Video in Washington, D.C., and received the Presidential Medal for her work in film from Hofstra University.

She received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003 and a Genesis Lifetime Achievement Award from the United States Humane Society (HSUS) in 2009.

She received a Golden Globe for her performance in The Birds and in June 2011 received the “Women Together Award” founded by the Queen of Spain and presented by the United Nations.

Tippi received a humanitarian award for her efforts in Washington, D.C.


“As a volunteer at the “Hope Village” facility outside of Sacramento, established by Food For The Hungry in 1975 to aid the integration of Vietnamese refugees into the mainstream America, I became friends with these Vietnamese women.

One of the programs I introduced to them was a manicure class supervised by my own manicurist, Dusty Cootes. My mission was to help these wonderful women I grew to love so dearly. It was a major success; 20 women passed the cosmetician exam in Sacramento, in English, and went out into our communities to begin their careers. From that first group, the Vietnamese manicuring industry has expanded rapidly over the years and became one of the largest in the country.

I have always been impressed with these women — so bright, so anxious to make a life in a country where they had arrived with nothing but the clothes on their back, and their life stories. They are good business women, and willing to work hard to build their new lives. More impressively, they did not want to be a burden on our country!

I am honored to take part in their success in the manicuring business. I am in awe of how successful they have become.”


Here we have a woman who surmounted regret and disappointment,

proving to the world that “the best is yet to come”.



A Celebration of Women™

is elated to have this woman nominated into our Alumni of WOMEN of ACTION.

Brava Tippi!




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