‘SVU’ Star Mariska Hargitay Partners With Stress-Relieving Stuffed Animal Brand Hugimals for a Cause Close to Her Heart

For over 25 years, Mariska Hargitay has embodied strong womanhood as Olivia Benson, the no-nonsense detective at the heart of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Over the show’s 500-plus episodes, Benson has investigated countless harrowing crimes, and dealing with such heavy subject matter on the show led Hargitay to launch the Joyful Heart Foundation, a charity dedicated to supporting survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, in 2004.

The Joyful Heart Foundation is deeply personal to the actress, as she’s received countless letters from survivors thanks to her signature role, and she’s developed a deep sensitivity and empathy towards the trauma that far too many women and girls face.

Hargitay’s latest project is a collaboration with Hugimals, a brand of stress-relieving weighted stuffed animals. Read on to learn more about Hargitay’s work with Hugimals and see how her limited-edition design for the brand helps to raise awareness for a powerful cause.

A special collaboration between Hargitay and Hugimals
Hugimals launched in 2022 and quickly became known for their signature mix of cute animals and science-backed comfort. Similar to a weighted blanket, the brand’s weighted stuffed animals have calming effects that benefit children and adults alike. The pressure of these heavier than average stuffies feels like a cozy hug — hence the name.

Hargitay’s partnership with Hugimals is an extension of her charity work, and it’s a natural fit, given the importance of practicing self-care when it comes to healing from trauma.

Hargitay just launched her Heart to Hug Pillow, a limited-edition 5-pound plush weighted pillow that’s shaped like a heart and is available in “Peaceful Pink” or “Fearless Red.”

Mariska Hargitay holding her Hugimals heart-shaped pillow

Mariska Hargitay with her Heart to Hug Pillow
Courtesy of Hugimals
Hargitay helped design the adorable plush pillow and 10% of net sales from her $44 creation will go directly to the Joyful Heart Foundation. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, so the release is particularly meaningful.

The benefits of weighted pillows
Hugimals are meant to be both physically and emotionally comforting, and they boost real benefits, as they offer an accessible form of Deep Touch Pressure Therapy. This therapy, which is often used by psychologists and occupational therapists, makes use of weighted items to calm the nervous system and slow down the fight-or-flight response.

Woman reclining on couch with heart shaped weighted Hugimals pillow

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