Buffalo native and actress Wendie Malick attended last night’s Planned Parenthood fundraiser at Kleinhans Music Hall, lending her support to the entity that helps individuals and families receive healthcare.
Q: So many celebrities throw their support behind Save the Whales, PETA, etc., why Planned Parenthood?
A: Well, I’ve been with the whales, too. But I want to interact with – stand for – the environment, population control, civility, and I think Planned Parenthood encompasses all of those things. We’re lost if we don’t take better care of each other in our families and community.
Q: It’s National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. With that in mind, what is the role of Planned Parenthood?
A: I’ve been involved with Planned Parenthood for 8 years now. My first-ever march back in 1970 was dedicated to the right to choose. And I think education plays a large role with young people; it’s a mighty sword. Young people can’t always resist this natural part of being alive, and I think we’ve learned that abstinence is not an option. We need to give kids the tools to decide. And we’re looking for ways to include boys more. We’d like to do a series of PSAs with their idols – maybe rappers and athletes and others who can influence them not to leave their stuff around. They need to own their manhood and be sexually responsible.
Q: Would you say your passion about the subject makes you feel responsible to get the word out?
A: I’ve been through legislative battles about this. Celebrities are people with the ability to light a match under an event to help realize the picture. Besides, how many times can you talk about what you’re wearing?
Q: Get back to Buffalo much?
A: Every summer. My parents have a house on Lake Erie, and it’s a great summer rendezvous.
Q: First thing you think of when you think of Buffalo?
A: A sense of humor – and great bars. Tough people with a lot of steel in them to grow up here. Buffalo is not for sissies. Then there are these pockets of wonder in Buffalo; I’ve shot movies here, done plays here. I came back and did one for Studio Arena, and I’m very sorry to hear it’s closed. That scares me. And then there’s the architectural and natural beauty – the history of Buffalo as a place with great bones.
Q: Ever bring people “from away” here? What’s their initial impression?
A: I’m a great champion of Buffalo and everyone I’ve brought here loves it. I wish I could pull a little village of people here who would lend everything they know to everything Buffalo can be.
Malick also took time to sit with a group of high school students, 6 of 25, who script and act in plays dealing with issues relevant to teens. Addressing the students, Malick said, “It’s very important what you’re doing, and even if you don’t become actors, you’re helping kids to think. Kids live up to expectations.”