Kate Hudson's heard this one a lot, but there's no getting away from it: it's definitely in the genes. And when you see Kate giddily flouncing around in a garish little pink number in 200 Cigarettes or illuminating Cameron Crowe's acclaimed tale of love and idolisation, Almost Famous, you'll see she resonates the same feel-good radiance as her mother, Goldie Hawn.
But Goldie wasn't the only showbiz influence in Kate's upbringing. She was born in April 1979 to Hawn and singer-comedian Bill Hudson. But within months of her birth, Hawn's second marriage spiralled downhill, resulting in a divorce soon afterwards. Kate's relationship with her biological father never really blossomed and has been subject to much tabloid speculation since her rise to fame. Vanity Fair quoted the 21-year-old star as saying "My father doesn't know me from a hole in the wall."
The man Kate refers to as dad is actually Hawn's partner since 1983, movie star Kurt Russell. Russell moved into Hawn's house in Hollywood Hills, ensuring Kate and her siblings would have a balanced parentage. "Kurt is a saviour who came into my life. He's been there for everything," Hudson told Detour magazine.
Fifty most beautiful people
Despite Hawn and Russell's reluctance to steer Kate the showbiz way, her inclinations for performance were evident from an early age, as she spent much of her time singing the songs of Annie and Flashdance. Hudson pursued her heart's desires, and by the mid-1990s, she'd graduated from the School of Arts and Sciences and had been accepted into New York University's esteemed Tisch School of Drama.
By now, Hudson's parents had accepted their daughter's career path, and Russell suggested she audition for 1996 action flick Escape From LA, in which he was starring. She didn't make it, but she was about to embark on a whirlwind adventure. A brief guest spot on the appallingly slushy TV drama Party Of Five followed, and she finally made her big screen debut in the Morgan Freeman movie Desert Blue in 1999, followed by Ricochet River and then her breakthrough role amongst the ensemble cast of 200 Cigarettes.
Hudson shone next to the likes of Courtney Love, Christina Ricci, Ben Affleck and Janeane Garofalo, and a star was born. She starred alongside Stuart Townsend in Gerry Stembridge's contempo Irish flick About Adam and the lack-lustre teen drama, Gossip. Although she had earned her reputation as a talented actress, Hudson's appeal isn't exactly damaged by her startling good looks, and she was featured amongst People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful of 1999 poll.
Without doubt, Hudson's key platform has been Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous. Starring alongside Billy Crudrup and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, she shines as star-struck groupie Penny Lane. It was a role she desperately wanted from the moment she finished the script, but only by a twist of fate did she acquire it.
"I just wanted to be in Cameron's movie as anything, even an extra," she told Dark Horizons magazine. "I knew I could do it. Then I had the opportunity to read the script, and I cried at least five times. I knew, having read Penny Lane, that I could give this to Cameron and make it special for him."
Crowe initially cast actress Sarah Polley as Lane and Hudson was cast the part of lead character William's older sister, turning down other films just to work on this project. When Polley backed out of the part, Crowe turned to Hudson and, as the actress explained to Cosmo magazine, she "had a nice dance around the kitchen with my mother and family. We call it the Happy Dance. It's a little embarrassing, but that's okay. Life's all about embarrassing moments."
A big, big star
And now the only is way is up for Kate Hudson, with roles in Robert Altman's forthcoming Dr. T and the Women, an adaptation of Dave Barry's first novel, Big Trouble, and alongside Wes Bentley (American Beauty) in Four Feathers.
She also spent New Year's Eve 2000, marrying Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson. The wise money says that very soon Kate Hudson will be a big, big star, and maybe she'll even outgrow those constant comparisons to her mum.
About Adam opens nationwide on 19 January. Almost Famous opens nationwide on 9 February.
By Laurence O'Toole