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Kate Hudson: 'This Younger Generation Has Very Strong Mothers'

Confident. Sassy. Fiesty. Strong.

Photograph by Chelsea Lauren/REX/Shutterstock

You could use these very words to describe Mei Mei of "Kung Fu Panda 3," the female panda that Po (voiced by Jack Black) meets in the panda village after being reunited with his birth father, Li (voiced by Bryan Cranston). Which is fitting because you could also use those exact words to describe the voice actress behind the panda, Kate Hudson.

Hudson became a household name thanks to her performance in the 2000 film "Almost Famous" as the teenage "band aid" Penny Lane. However, she has been in the public eye her entire life, what with having a famous mom and stepdad in Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. Now, 16 years after her Academy Award-nominated role, the mom of two is making her animated feature debut in the DreamWorks Animation film "Kung Fu Panda 3."

Mom.me had the chance to sit down with the actress in a roundtable interview to talk about Mei Mei, working motherhood and raising boys.

MORE: Love Her Look: Kate Hudson

You play a female panda named Mei Mei. What would you say was your favorite thing about your character?

It's actually really fun being a panda, especially Mei Mei. She's not afraid to be confident. I wish I had that kind of confidence sometimes, where you just don't even think about what anybody thinks.

Photo Courtesy of 20th Century Fox & DreamWorks Animation

Photo Courtesy of 20th Century Fox & DreamWorks Animation

How much of your own personality did you bring into your character?

It depends on who I'm hanging out with. I would say she is so fun and I like to put on a show, that's for sure. I like to be big, although I learned how to reel that back in my life.

You are such a "girl power" type of woman. Now that you're raising boys, do you teach them about girl power, women, how to treat women and all that?

Yes, absolutely. I think the boys are being raised very differently now than boys were in our generation. Like from late 20s into sort of late 40s is an interesting generation because we were just raised a little bit differently. I think this younger generation has very strong mothers and that boys are used to what it is to have that sort of woman. It's just a different dynamic in the household. I think even with men that the importance of both parents being nurturers is different than what we maybe grew up with. So, I think they'll have probably a different point of view on it. I don't know. We'll see, we'll see.

I think this younger generation has very strong mothers and that boys are used to what it is to have that sort of woman.

Are you more the fun/silly mom, or are you more of the strict mom with your boys?

I'm just a mix of both. I'm pretty silly with my kids. But, I have a very, very, very low tolerance for when they're impolite. I will be hell-bent if I have children who are not good, solid people and personable. To look people in the eye and be polite and recognize how lucky they are, all that stuff. So, I'm pretty strict. But then, on top of all the other stuff I'm really easy with, I just want them to be who they are, and I want them to make mistakes, and I want them to be OK making mistakes. I don't want them to feel too much expectation.

You are so busy with raising your boys, your career and now launching a fashion business, Fabletics. How do you handle it all?

How do I balance? That's like the No. 1 question I feel like everybody asks. But, I think every working woman has the same stuff. Obviously, I travel a lot for work, so that could be challenging. You just make it work, don't you? You just try to figure it out. I don't think there's any answer. There's no formula. I'm a big proponent for women taking on more leadership roles and working more and being more of a force [at] work. But, at the same time, I really understand why a lot of women would rather just sort of focus on their children and take a different route, and that's great too. For me, I really rely on my friends who are amazing, and I just truly believe that it takes a village. Even when you don't work. I love that. I love when women go, 'Why didn't anybody say how hard parenting is?' It's challenging, but it's the greatest experience ever.

"Kung Fu Panda 3" opens January 29.

Images via 20th Century Fox & DreamWorks Animation

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