Ask Alexandra – April 2009
Dear Alexandra, I’m Italian and I hope you can forgive me for my bad English!
Yesterday I saw a horror movie with you, but unfortunately only the last ten minutes! In that movie you were a mother possessed by the devil trying to kill your daughter… wow, your interpretation was awesome! Congratulations!
I’d like to know the title of that movie, because I want to see it since the beginning for the next time!!
Have you ever worked in Italian cinema?
Thank you and good luck for your future works!
That movie was probably Spectre, a film I shot in Ireland in 1996. I am sorry I dont know its Italian title! I had a lovely time working on that film, and fell in love with the west coast of Ireland. Such a beautiful country!
When I was modeling as a teenager, I lived in Milan for part of a summer. About 10 years later, in 1990, I shot a film called Millions (or Miliardi in Italian) in Italy and France, by the Italian director Carlo Vanzini. It was filmed in English, but the cast was international – it starred Billy Zane, Carol Alt, Lauren Hutton and myself from the United States, but also actors from Brazil, Italy and England – all playing part of the same rich, corrupt family! It was funny as there were so many different accents, and we were all supposed to be related. I actually just finished reading Carol Alt’s book on eating raw foods, and it impressed me very much.
Your English is terrific. My Italian is not as good, so just let me say
I watched your new demo reels and think they are all excellent! I really enjoyed the activism one. I had no idea that you had done so many amazing things in your life, aside from acting. Congrats! Out of all your adventures in activism, can you please tell me which you are most proud of?
Thank you for watching the new demo reels. Ashley Ayre did a terrific job putting together the ones on my activism and athletic history. Actually, the activism one only goes back about 9 years for the most part, since I started taking more photos then!
The issues I have been involved in are all so important to me. I can say that walking for 5 weeks on the Great Peace March (1986) really got me out of my comfort zone. I was incredibly scared and anxious about participating, but I was so concerned about nuclear war that I knew I had to go. Co-founding Young Artists United (1985) was also a big responsibility, but with the talent and enthusiasm of my co-founder Daniel Sladek, I found my groove, and realized that I am best suited as a “right hand man”, instead of the leader. In 1994, fellow ZPG-er David Abramis and I developed the Population Education Project,a 50 minute curriculum about human overpopulation, and taught it to thousands of Los Angeles schoolkids. I took several months off acting that winter so I could make calls to schools and get into the classrooms. I still get people coming up to me saying “you came to my school and spoke”. Wow.
In 1987, I was arrested for the first time for civil disobedience, for protesting nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site. Because I didnt want to pay the $50 fine to a government that was testing these horrible weapons, I was sentenced to 3 1/2 days of jail, which I spent in Beatty and then Tonopah, Nevada. I was terrified, but was more terrified of the consequences of nuclear war or a nuclear accident. It was a huge learning experience, and the end of my fear of being incarcerated for my beliefs. Since then, I have landed in jail at least 15 more times for issues of peace, AIDS and the environment.
Those experiences were not shown in my activism demo reel, but they mean alot to me. They were “firsts” and always accompanied by some fear on my part, but I am proud that I managed to overcome that fear and concentrate on the issue.
I have a 15 yr old daughter who wants to be an actress just like you. I’m not sure if I want to subject her the amount of rejection and scrutiny she’d have to deal with on a day to day basis. Was it hard for your parents to allow you to pursue a career in acting at first? Did they really want you to pursue something else?
Yes, it was hard for my parents to support me in my acting at first, as I gave up college at Stanford University to pursue it, and this concerned them very much. I was so much on the college track that I ordered a catalogue from Stanford when I was in 6th grade, so deciding not to go 3 weeks before school started was a big turnaround for me.
My mother was also worried I would become corrupted by Hollywood. She soon realized that I still didnt drink or do any drugs and that I had nice friends, and since I was happy and starting to make a living, they slowly accepted that this was my career. I have wonderful parents, and I feel lucky that they worried about me but did not criticize my choice.
I encourage you to support your daughter’s dream. There is rejection and scrutiny in all areas of life, and the joy of pursuing a career she really loves is what is really important. I am very sensitive, yet I have learned so much from the tears I have shed and the hurt I have felt about the ups and downs of this business. I have gotten tougher, yet I am more open as a person at the same time. And I am really, really happy when I go to work – how many people can say that?
I do think college is important, though – I see that me not having a college degree makes it extremely hard for me to do anything but act, so I am lucky to have success in this field! Hopefully, your daughter will get a degree and then go to LA or NY to pursue acting. If not, perhaps she will go to college at the same time, and this will mean a fallback if she decides not to stay in show business. Or she can give herself a certain amount of time to commit to acting (2 years, say) and if there isnt enough momentum she goes to college after that.
I once heard someone say “It’s the things I didnt do that I regret, not the things I did do”, and it is for this reason that I believe your daughter should follow her dreams. I wouldnt want her to regret years later that she didnt try something she wanted to pursue.
Let me know what she decides!