Mariska Hargitay Reveals Her Favorite Words

Mariska Hargitay is best known for her role as Olivia Benson on the hit NBC series Law & Order: SVU. She’s working on her 22nd season on the show, and many fans couldn’t imagine what the series would be like without her.

Hargitay has become an inspiration for people everywhere, and someone that’s known to fight for survivors and advocate for justice. She uses her celebrity for good, and she’s a force for positive change.

What are Mariska Hargitay’s favorite words?

Mariska Hargitay
Mariska Hargitay | Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Hargitay spoke on Inside the Actors Studio in season 20, episode 3 of the series. In a video of a portion of the episode on Bravo’s website, Hargitay spoke with James Lipton, who asked her questions from the Bernard Pivot Questionnaire.

She’s asked what her favorite word is, but she actually has five. “I have five,” Hargitay reveals. She goes on to name them: “Inspirit, sparkling, open, heart, and light.”

The words she chose as her favorites are extremely eye-opening. Inspirit means to enliven and fill someone with spirit. It’s a positive word, and Hargitay’s other favorite words can also be seen as positive. The words she chose say a lot about her and the character she plays on our television screens.

Of course, the next question is about what her least favorite word is, and it happens to be one that many people out there can probably agree with. “Moist,” Hargitay says, which prompts the crowd to laugh. “It’s gross,” she adds.

Hargitay is a force for positive change

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All the words Hargitay chose as her favorites can be considered positive depending on how they’re used. Hargitay herself is a powerful source for positive change on and off-screen. She is well known for her advocacy efforts for survivors of sexual assault and violence.

She is so much more than just a celebrity. She’s never been one to sit on the sidelines, and she’s done a lot to advocate for survivors. She started The Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004 as a way of responding to numerous fan letters she received of people telling her their stories of survival. One of her favorite words, “Heart,” is even in the name of her foundation.

Mariska Hargitay
Mariska Hargitay | Virginia Sherwood/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Hargitay spoke on The View in 2018, and she was asked what she hears from fans, and Hargitay disclosed the “different kind of fan mail” she received, prompting her to start her foundation.

“I have been so blessed and when I started shooting the show, started getting a different kind of fan mail,” Hargitay explained. “Most fan mail says you know, ‘I love your show, can I get an autographed photo.’ And early into the show, as soon as it started airing really, I started getting letters from survivors, disclosing their abuse, and many for the first time, and telling me, ‘I’ve never told this to anyone.’ But sharing their stories of assault and running the full gamut. In these letters, which I was so privileged to receive, but also shocked because I didn’t know how to respond.”

According to The Joyful Heart Foundation’s website, the foundation’s mission is “to transform society’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, support survivors’ healing, and end this violence forever.”

That isn’t the only thing Hargitay has done to help survivors and promote change in the world. She is also the producer on I Am Evidence, an HBO documentary that recounts the stories of four sexual assault survivors. Their stories are told and the backlog of untested rape kits in this country is put front and center. The Joyful Heart Foundation is the campaign partner of the film, showing just how important this topic is for Hargitay.

Mariska Hargitay’s favorite words say a lot about the person she is.