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How Grace Hanson Thrives as a Comedian, Actress & Entrepreneur

A look at how the Comfort Cards founder is helping destigmatize mental illness with helpful greeting cards

Grace Hanson / Photo courtesy of Grace Hanson
Grace Hanson / Photo courtesy of Grace Hanson

A Los Angeles transplant by way of England, Grace Hanson is a prolific 20-something entertainer. She is perhaps best known for her role in Sebastian Sdaigui’s short film A Girl in the Woods, which premiered in 2017. However, aside from acting, Hanson is undoubtedly creative at heart, both having written for publications (e.g. Galore Magazine) and penned screenplays.

Grace Hanson is also a huge mental health advocate and notably created a line of ironic yet hilarious greeting cards called Comfort Cards. An attempt to remove the stigma that is often associated with mental illness, Hanson — who has been interestingly nicknamed “the Impressive Depressive” — is undoubtedly setting a positive example for young Hollywood.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Grace Hanson — who can be visited online via www.comfortcards.co.uk/shop and followed on Instagram via @GraceHanson — by telephone, and below are highlights from that fun August 2019 chat.

Darren Paltrowitz: How do you like to be thought of primarily? Actress? Comedian?

Grace Hanson: I genuinely really just don’t attach a label on myself. I just like to be so kind of in the creative role, so maybe a creative.

Paltrowitz: What made you choose Los Angeles of all places to move to?

Hanson: I actually had lived in New York prior to Los Angeles and I love New York. But I mean, the weather in L.A… But most importantly, I think L.A. always has been more accepting of being of people being who they are and people being completely and utterly unique. New York and London destiny are very metropolitan and unique themselves. I think in Los Angeles you can really combine any creative industry and you don’t have to stick to one lane.

Paltrowitz: When and where in your journey did Comfort Cards come from?

Hanson: I definitely was writing, doing comedy, acting… But Comfort Cards came during my mental health journey. I would say the idea arose about a year ago, and it kind of came to fruition at the start of this year, when I was I’ve been thinking for a long time how to love and support two people dealing with mental health issues…

I kind of wanted to find a way to give support to the friends and family of those dealing with mental health issues, because I felt that that was a lot of pressure on my friends and family and loved ones who were trying to support me, but they didn’t know exactly how… Whether they should just send me a text or send me a cupcake… So I thought a greeting card was kind of ideal in that scenario.

Paltrowitz: Do you eventually see this growing to be that kind of thing that it’s in major stores? Or is the hope for it to be more of an organic niche kind of thing?

Hanson: I definitely think that no matter what, to be in major stores or smaller boutiques or maybe just through Instagram or on websites, I will always 100 percent make sure it’s organic and they are unique. The only reason it started was to have a personal feel to it… Kind of the whole point was to take the stigma of mental health away and I definitely wouldn’t want to make it kind of stereotypical in the sense of, “Oh just cheer up” — you know what I mean?

Paltrowitz: When people Google you personally, the show Grace & Frankie seems to come up, and of course the band Hanson is going to come up, and the famous singer/songwriter Beck, his real name is Beck Hansen? Was there ever thought of “Man I’ve got to change my name?” Or does that not matter to you that other people come up initially before you’re super-super famous?

Hanson: You know what is so funny? This is honestly something I just thought about the other day because I wrote for Galore Magazine for a short while… But I was trying to find one of my articles, so I typed in my name and the only thing that came out was, as you said, the character from Grace & Frankie… But you know what? I would rather have Jane Fonda’s photos come up than mine. She always looked so together… But I do love my name. I mean, I have a middle name, a very strong German, “Katarina.”

I guess if push came to shove, and I really don’t want to be associated with Grace & Frankie anymore, maybe… But Jane Fonda is so good-looking, I’d rather everyone think I look like her .

Paltrowitz: Well in your defense David Bowie was David Jones and the singer of The Monkees was already Davy Jones, so he had to change that. The actor Michael Keaton is really Michael Douglas, but there was already Michael Douglas so he had to change it. So it has happened before.

Hanson: I had no idea that it was Michael Douglas as in Michael Keaton…

Paltrowitz: As someone who works a lot, how much do you usually sleep?

Hanson: I either sleep probably nothing or I sleep about 20 hours… I can sleep for so long or I can let get by on about an hour’s sleep. So I don’t know what that says about my health, to be honest.

Paltrowitz: Ultimately if you get to where it is that you’re hoping to get to career-wise, is the goal to still be doing exactly what you’re doing now? Or is it more to just focus on one aspect of what you do?

Hanson: I will always want to continue doing what I am doing currently, not just singling myself in one aspect of the film industry. I love writing… I’ve been absolutely petrified of directing. I love acting, that’s what I’ve wanted to do ever since I was young, so I would always want to grow… Directing, producing and acting on projects…

Paltrowitz: So in closing, Grace, any last words for the kids?

Hanson: People definitely ask me a lot of the time, “You do so much and how do you do it?” I really believe if you don’t think you need to limit yourself, and you don’t believe that you’re just kind of in one field… You truly can do such a variety of amazing things. I really believe that it’s just accepting that you’re a multi-talented, multi-faceted person, and not being ashamed of trying out different things.

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