At the age of 13, Mindy Cohn scored her first role—Natalie Green, a part created for her on the hit TV show The Facts of Life, which ran for nine seasons. Since then, she has appeared in a variety of shows and films, and for the last 13 years, she has lent her voice to Scooby Doo sleuth Velma Dinkley. Cohn is a passionate advocate for the work of Heifer International, going so far as to compete on Worst Cooks in America to raise money to support Heifer’s mission.
WORLD ARK: There are a lot of good causes to support. Why do you lend your star power to Heifer?
MINDY COHN: Simple. Their mission, their work and their outreach tick every box as far as what I want to give to and support: ending hunger, empowering women and their families, cultivating a better life in rural communities, and helping people to be self-sustaining while protecting and utilizing the environment. I also would be remiss if I didn’t say that the biggest pull Heifer International has on my heart is that it is a person-to-person organization. Every person makes a difference, every person counts and when you can help one person, well, the legacy of the one infiltrates the whole community. Yeah, I like touching people and making a difference on the most personal level. Heifer International is an expert on all of these fronts.
If you could visit a Heifer project anywhere, where would you go?
Yes. My answer to where is yes! I hope that brings a giggle, but I am kind of serious, too. I love to travel, and I have an intense wanderlust and an insatiable desire to know all peoples. My undergrad degree is in sociology, and people just fascinate me, so, yes. Seriously, though, Vietnam, Haiti and anywhere in Central America would be in my top five.
What is your favorite Heifer animal? Why?
I’m partial to goats based on my a?liation with the Beekman 1802 farm in upstate New York. But, like people, I haven’t met a Heifer animal I didn’t like. Insofar as their value to the Heifer family recipients, too, I think each serves a wonderful purpose.
What do you think people who aren’t very familiar with Heifer’s work should know?
This is a biggie for me. I think due to the success of giving an animal for the holidays, Heifer is often seen as just that. While it deserves the success and publicity it gets, Heifer is SO MUCH MORE than gifting a gaggle or cow.
You recently competed on Worst Cooks in America to raise money for Heifer. What was that experience like?
Hopefully without offending anyone suffering from PTSD … I kind of had PTSD. No joke. I will say this … I earned every dollar that I won!
In your long and successful career, you have starred in TV shows, stage productions, independent films and as a voice actor. Is there anything you haven’t done that you would really like to do?
My motto in my career and life is “the best is yet to come,” so once again I say YES to whatever is next and look forward to it. I also would love to elevate myself and others who want to be ambassadors for Heifer to bring us to the level of the UN’s [Goodwill Ambassadors program]. Just to be able to be known and have prestige on that level is one of my personal missions.
Thanks so much for the privilege of being in a magazine I dearly covet and read cover to cover.