"Apart from the fact that she's my mother, she's a brilliant comedian and a force as a producer," says Almay ambassador Hudson, who poses for her Carter Smith-shot November cover in a Marc Jacobs embroidered frock featuring a buttery yellow bodice and cotton candy pink skirt paired with a David Yurman gold bangle and De Beers diamond bracelet.
"She paved the way for women to produce and star in their own films, and to balance that with being the matriarch of our family is really inspiring."
Hudson, who is a single mother to son Ryder, adds that Hawn and partner Kurt Russell were pros when it came to balancing kids and a career. "They never worked at the same time, and they were very conscious of making anywhere we went feel like home," she explains.
The bubbly blonde, who will next appear in the 2011 romantic comedy "A Little Bit of Heaven," is just one of three actresses to grace the newsstand covers of the latest Elle. Also striking a pose: Gwyneth Paltrow and Hilary Swank.
"When I was just starting out, someone suggested that we finish a meeting in the bedroom," Paltrow, who was photographed by Smith, tells Elle. "I left. I was pretty shocked."
Meanwhile, two-time Oscar-winner Swank, who models a long-sleeved, white Calvin Klein Collection viscose gown and Stephen Dweck sterling silver ring for shutterbug Alexei Hay, says that despite her success, she doesn't see herself as a celebrity.
"In New York City, I take the subway all the time," says the "Conviction" star. "I take it out to Shea Stadium and watch baseball games. It's easy to lose touch with people when you're not around them anymore. You become so secluded and isolated -- and that's just not something I'm interested in."
Elle's Women in Hollywood issue, which also includes profiles of Sofia Coppola, Kerry Washington, Diane Keaton, Jodie Foster, and Diane Kruger, hits newsstands Oct. 17.
In other news, read who Christina Hendricks told Harper's Bazaar copied her hair color.