Why Teri Hatcher Is Driving Around L.A. In A Vintage Van

Teri__01208xPhoto Credit: Martin Rusch
Picture this scenario: It’s a brilliant, typically sunny day in L.A. and you’re hanging out on the beach in Malibu minding your own business when Teri Hatcher—otherwise known as Lois Lane of Lois & Clark and Susan Mayer of Desperate Housewives—rolls up to you in a vintage van wanting to talk about friendship, love, religion and more. Are you tripping out? No, this is totally happening.

Hatcher and her trusty van are tooling around Los Angeles for her YouTube series “Hatching Change,” which follows her quest to unite and inspire people. “Van Therapy” follows the actress having conversations with everyday people out and about in Los Angeles, and with “Don’t Eat ‘It’ Out Of a Box” she gives tutorials on alternatives to boxed meals and snacks. The latter is in her DNA, given that she’s a health advocate and an avid cook, having studied at the world famous Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts and having won “Chopped,” winning the “Chopped Champion” award. Her easy-to-follow tutorials are as funny as they are informative and educational.

Here, Hatcher discusses going digital, her favorite restaurants in L.A. and how she still relates to Lois Lane, as well as her own personal experience with the women’s rights movement… and why the negative attention she received after sharing her story shouldn’t happen to someone brave enough to stand up and say “Time’s up.”

Teri__01452xPhoto Credit: Martin Rusch

What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned and from whom while out and about filming “Hatching Change?”

On my YouTube show “Van Therapy,” I travel around Los Angeles in my 1978 VW bus camper, looking to connect with people willing to talk to me about all things big and small. I’m learning and sharing so much, but one thing that seems so common and simple is that people just want to be seen and heard. I think they are really valuing having a place to tell their story, to share a problem or a frustration even if the outcome isn’t a resolution. At this point, even with all our technology, I think many of us feel more alone than ever which is ironic. Through these interviews, I’m learning that I’m not alone in my struggles and neither are they. The human experience is more common and similar than our media may make us feel sometimes. We all want to be accepted, loved, safe, and just okay. So it’s a bit cliché, but I think my experience with this project is really validating the saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”

Why is it so personally important for you to hatch change on a daily basis?

If I’m really going deep here, as a recent empty nester, and a long time single mom, and now at 53, I find myself asking pretty important questions: “What are you doing with your life? What is your purpose? What are you passionate about?” Obviously it was easy for me to be passionate about motherhood, but that demand is not as pressing on a day to day basis anymore now that my daughter is older. What I’ve found is that I’m delving into projects that I hope will help others and possibly leave the world a tiny bit better—and kinder—well, that’s what’s important to me. I’m really clear on that! So that’s what I’m doing with my two YouTube shows “Dont Eat ‘It’ Out of a Box” and “Van Therapy,” and so far, it’s working. I’m changing diets and lifting spirits of those I actually meet and for those who watch the channel. When I read the comments from people whom I’ve helped, I feel a great sense of peace and accomplishment.

You studied at the Cordon Bleu. What are some Teri Hatcher-worthy restaurants in LA right now and why do you love them?

Studying at Le Cordon Bleu certainly amped up my passion and appreciation for food, as well as the intricacies of preparing it. As a home chef and mom, on a day to day basis, I’m all about quick, healthy, and accessible meals, and inspiring folks to eat more real food. As for some really great restaurant food in Los Angeles, right now, I am loving Kismet. I’ve even been known to go twice in one day… for breakfast and then dinner. It’s charming and minimalist in size, the staff is easy going, and the last time I was there, Alton Brown was sitting next to me. Try the broccoli toast or the poached chicken and arugula salad for lunch, and the rabbit for two with the flaky bread is a must for dinner.

I also love Honey-Hi for breakfast and lunch. Their combination of taste and health consciousness is unparalleled. Try the breakfast bowl, the mochi pancakes, or even the bone broth.

Manuela, in DTLA, is my go-to neighborhood, guaranteed to impress dinner hot spot. The menu changes frequently, but The Red Neck platter, cornbread, charred cauliflower, and venison burger are mainstays that I could go back to over and over. The atmosphere transports you miles away from your problems, not to mention one of their artisan cocktails—I say try the Rattlesnake Round Up or the Bitter Flower.

Lois Lane wasn’t a superhero, but she was powerful in her own way. How does that relate to you?

I actually shared this question with my 20-year-old college student daughter to see how a woman that age might interpret female empowerment, and she said, “Well mom, you aren’t a superhero, but you’re a super mom.” Of course that made me feel great, that she perceives me that way, but it made me think how mothering (of a child or just in the way women nurture the entire world) is a super power. With it we protect and raise, inspire and invent. Our innate strength in nurturing allows us to grow and strengthen companies, social movements, communities, and yes, children. Lois wasn’t afraid to put herself out there. She wanted to get it right and do the right thing. She wanted to make it on her own, but sometimes you have to admit you need others. Sometimes strength can be seen in asking for help. While I think that fictional Lois was on a journey to learning that, we real women know that united we are strong and capable and becoming more empowered heroes in our society every day.

Do you have a personal story to share that relates back to the women’s rights movement?

I’m not sure there IS a woman out there that doesnt have a story. It’s sadly pervasive and everywhere. In Hollywood, as an actress for over three decades, you’ve most likely had some run-ins with harassment and misogyny at the very least. My generation learned how to dodge and weave, navigate, and ignore, but it never seemed to dawn on us that as a collective group, we could actually fight back and stop it until now. So yes, it’s about time, and time is up. I’m really happy for the future of women, maybe the young ones can stop wasting energy defending against that bullshit and can use it instead to be even more powerful and effective than we already are. For me personally, well, I’ve talked about my own horrific experience with sexual abuse publicly a few times before. I even talked about it at the forum of the U.N .as part of the “Stop Violence Against Women” campaign in 2014. At that event, I received a standing ovation from 600 people in the global community, but many reporters covering it focused on me tearing up while speaking rather than the meat of what I was saying, which was that 1 in 3 women experience this tragedy. I was also accused of doing it for attention. So, hopefully the time has passed when women who come forward aren’t believed or worse, ridiculed. Hopefully when the pendulum stops swinging, we will settle in a place where all humans, of all genders and ethnicities and orientations will be treated with respect and kindness and equality. That’s what we all deserve.