Ask Alexandra – August 1999
What is your favourite and most memorable Baywatch episode? What was it like working on Melrose Place?
Thank you for writing. My favorite Baywatch episode… hmmm that is a hard one as I so enjoyed shooting the series…but a couple memorable ones are when we shot the spoof on Charlie’s Angels (I was the Kate Jackson role, Pamela played Farrah, and Yasmine played Jaqueline Smith). We laughed alot because we each were very right for our respective parts and we had grown up idolizing the Angels – thinking they were so beautiful and capable. We watched an old episode of the show and it was weird to see it because they actually looked silly in those 70’s outfits and were not as beautiful as in our memories.
The episode with Mary Lou Retton and the Special Olympics was great because I hadn’t spent alot of time around mentally handicapped people, so shooting the episode made lose my fear of the unknown and I learned how lovely and loving people with Down’s Syndrome are.
I also liked any episode where I had alot of rescues (e.g. when I rescued Mitch when he got his back broken – that was an involved shoot!), and in fact David Chokachi (Cody Madison) and I would vie for as many rescues as possible. I even resorted to begging!!
On the Melrose Place front, I feel lucky to have worked on the show before it ended (and actually, being in it as it was ending was lucky for me because viewership went up!) but coming into a show so late in the game, and only for 8 episodes, meant that I sort of felt like the new kid on the block for the whole time. I was grateful to work with Chea Courtney (who played Ryan’s young daughter, Sarah) because she was wonderful and I love acting with kids. She is the famous baseball player’s daughter, Pete Rose, and he visited the set once and that was a kick. I am a big fan of Aaron Spelling and I am glad to have worked for him but I wasnt crazy about my work on the show. Ah well, next time!!!
What is the biggest practical joke you pulled on someone, or someone pulled on you on the set of a movie or TV show? You ROCK ALEXANDRA!
The biggest practical joke I pulled on a set was when I was shooting Christine, the movie based on the Stephen King book. This was in 1983, and I had been in Hollywood just over a year. John Carpenter was the director. Keith Gordon and John Stockwell also starred (if you want to see me all FarrahHairBigEyesChubbyCheeks then this is a Must See). Anyway, my twin sister, Caroline, was visiting me and we decided to dress her up as my character and have her show up on the set instead of me. No one knew I had a twin, so it was perfect. That night, we snuck her into makeup/hair/wardrobe and then John Stockwell (he was in on it) navigated her onto the set, whispering in her ear who everyone was she was saying hi to. Well, no one suspected a thing so they actually shot something with her (an insert of her foot hitting the accelerator that appears in the film) before I came out and said to John Carpenter “Have you fired me already?”. Everyone was shocked and we had a good laugh. I have a photo of Caroline rehearsing that scene, with John Carpenter giving her this questioning look. When I asked him about it, he said that he felt something was off because I hadn’t said hello to him in the same way as I normally did, and he thought I might be sick! Well, his instincts were right, something was off, but I dont think in his wildest dreams he would have believed it wasnt me at all!!! Thank you for writing and checking out the website. Doesn’t the webmaster do a great job? Alexandra
Hello Alexandra! I can’t believe I am talking to you in the flesh, well sort of in the flesh. I have admired you ever since I first saw you on Baywatch. I cried and was sad for many days after Stephanie died, but I understand that she never really died, her spirit will always live on.
My question is-what was it like working at the beach everyday? And what was it like working with David Hasselhoff? I have always admired him too. That’s really two questions.
Much Luck and Love,
Thank you for your support. I am glad you enjoyed watching Baywatch, because I sure loved shooting it! Of all the projects I have worked on in my 17 years as a film and TV actress, Baywatch is the one that has given me the most happiness. That is because it was so lovely to shoot on the beach all the time and the show fulfilled some fantasies of mine: going around saving people and being a beach babe of sorts. When I first moved to California from the East Coast, I lived at the beach in Venice but I always felt like an outsider there, as if I didn’t really belong with the throngs of 20 somethings playing volleyball on the sand and hanging out with their friends, or bicycling or jogging along the boardwalk. They looked happier and cooler than I felt. After my 5 year stint on Baywatch, I feel very at home on the beach!
Baywatch was a project that I was reluctant to do at first because I had purposefully avoided doing a series up till then. I was afraid of the commitment a series requires of you and since I didnt own a TV, I looked down on television work (I still dont have a TV, but now I adore series work!). Back then, going from TV movies and films to a series was a step" backward” (no longer – now movie stars are begging for series). But I soon found out how great it is to work on Baywatch: a real sense of family with the cast and crew; David Hasselhoff used to say,” our office is the beach!” and that was wonderful; also, as a woman in a series you have more opportunities to ACT, whereas in alot of films the woman’s role might only have a couple good scenes in a several month shoot. In Baywatch, the female characters were as developed (no pun intended) as the men’s and that was great. And as a mostly outdoor show, we didnt have the horrendous hours that alot of shows have – we were out by sunset.
Having David Hasselhoff as the lead in the show was such a treat. The lead actor sets the tone for a show and David was always so enthusiastic and cheerful that he brought everyone up with him. And because he is so professional (nary a “Star Tantrum”) he was a very good role model to the other actors, who were often completely new to the business. If the star of the show isnt being difficult, how could anyone else be? He realizes how important his fans are to his career and I have never see him be rude to any of them. When we were shooting on a cruise ship, he would be late to the set, but only because so many passengers wanted his autograph and he couldnt disappoint them! And he is so funny!! Often he would have everyone in stitches – he is a big kid. He would also shrug at the Baywatch critics and say “This isnt brain surgery, we are just light entertainment”.
That was a long winded answer to your questions! As you can see, I have alot of enthusiasm and gratitude for my Baywatch experience!
Best wishes, Alexandra
G’day Miss Paul my name is Ingo. First, I want to say that you are doing a great job acting (e.g., Death Train, and being the most attractive female on Baywatch in my humble opinion). But I’m very impressed about your other doings , e.g. the personal engagement to handicapped people and the work you do for our environment (pollution, and overpopulation).
Now here is my question: How do you find the time to do all of this, plus acting, working out, etc? I have been wondering if you have any free time left for yourself and how you use it, like relaxing, or hobbies ,or even singing. 🙂
Thank you in advance!
With kind regards,
P.S. Do You have a pet?
Most importantly, I do have a cat! His name is Henry and he is 9 years old and I got him from the pound (I wont buy a pet from a pet store because that supports “puppy mills”, where they breed animals for profit, and keep them in cages until they are sold. There are so many animals in shelters to adopt, why are people breeding more?) He is, of course, neutered.
I find the time to do my volunteer work with the environment etc. because it is so important to me. I also have a lot of time off as an actor, so I have incorporated it into my life since I was a teenager. But for those of you who think you are too busy to do any volunteer work, please know that you only have to do one hour a week (or even less) to make a BIG difference. I really encourage you to find an area you care about, and then find an organization for which you can lend your time, or talents. It will make you feel good about yourself (the best way out of the blues is to help someone else – believe me, I know from personal experience), and you will meet some great people. Most of my friends I met through my activism, so my social life and my activist life often intersect. Remember, donating a little time can mean so much.
Another way to be an activist, is to be a good example to others. Just LIVING what you believe (boycotting a certain company, or recycling, or never gossiping) is an education for those around you (no preaching allowed, just be a role model and others will follow). For me, that means I recycle and compost and bring a bag to the grocery store and don’t use products tested on animals or wear wool or leather. My beloved, Ian, picks up litter when he sees it. For each of you, it will be different, depending on your beliefs and what you feel is important in the world.
As for what I do for fun, Ian and I love doing crosswords together! We also enjoy working out together and going to the movies. Pretty typical stuff, probably. And, of course, I really enjoy the environmental and social issues I’m involved with! Thank you for writing, Alexandra