Ask Alexandra August 2014
1) Hi Alexandra,
I have to admit that I am pretty nervous writing you when I have known of you since I was about 15. I have followed your activism and on-screen characters since about the mid-90′s. I loved Baywatch, you were actually truly my favorite, that’s where I first saw you. I used to record them on VHS tapes, haha…try not to laugh too hard at me! 😉 I was in high school and I guess the only question that comes to mind is just wondering what keeps you going when things are rough and not looking so well ahead? I do my best to be optimistic, but I know everyone has their down days. I admire greatly all you’ve done to make this world a better place and I give you the best of luck in all you do. And thank you, for being such a down to earth person who seems to love to laugh, which I say is the best thing ever to do in life.
Thank you for your kind email. I am so glad you loved Baywatch – I still have dozens of the episodes on VHS myself, and of course no longer have a VHS player, so am thinking of transferring them online. 3 seasons came out on DVD, but that leaves 3 seasons and tons more of my old movies that I need to figure out how to preserve…
Your question is a good one – what keeps me going when Life gets me down?
I am really fortunate to have a really strong foundation: a husband who loves me soooo much and with whom I am equally in love. That makes any bad day so much better, to know I always come home to Ian. But a lot of folks do not have that kind of partnership in their life, so there are other ways to keep upbeat. Working out and taking care of myself is critical; I used to say the one thing I had control over was my workout, so no matter how tough a day was, I knew I had at least gotten that right! I always exercise first thing in the morning, so nothing else gets in the way, and it ensures I start off feeling good (all those endorphins!). And it has an upward spiral effect: I feel good so I am able to handle better anything that comes my way. A lot of how our life goes is how we choose to handle situations, how we react – not what happens to us per se.
Ann Landers, who was one of the United States’ most famous self help columnists (her twin sister, Abby, was her only rival in that department for almost 50 years, actually) once advised someone who wrote in about their sadness, that the best way out of despair is to help someone else. I think that is true. So my volunteering gives me a sense of purpose and gets me out of myself when I feel down.
I also believe in writing down what we feel grateful for, as it gives perspective. It is easy to just focus on the negative, so writing down the good things we do have allows us to remember what is beautiful in our life. In fact, I am a proponent of writing down a lot of things when we want to move in to a different space: to keep a log of food and exercise each day motivates us to be more mindful and disciplined (especially if we send it to someone else on a regular basis). Gratitude journals (writing down every day the things for which we are grateful) teaches us to automatically see the good rather than mindlessly choose to be pessimistic. Writing down clear, specific goals and the steps needed to get there also crystallizes what we really want and helps us get there.
Oh yes, and one other thing: a lot of times we feel heavy hearted because we are avoiding something. When there is a dull weight on us that greys our days, it is usually our body saying “Stop! Listen! You are not dealing with something!”. A really good book I read by Pema Chodron called When Things Fall Apart talks about how much energy we spend avoiding pain and if we just opened our hearts wide to it, it would engulf us for a moment and then poof be gone. Instead, we avoid avoid avoid, feeling bad because the truth is we are really avoiding anything – it is still there, we are just refusing to face it head on.
So if you are feeling down, the first question is “What is really going on? WHY am I feeling this way? ” and really sit with that. Find the answer! It is scary sometimes to look inside yourself like that, but worth it.
I hope this has helped you. As you can see, I am an expert in dealing with sadness, but I consider myself an extremely happy person. These techniques work!
Let me know how you handle your blue periods in the future….
2) I just watched that old movie “Christine”, about the old red Plymouth. The movie was scarey, but surely there was not one single girl, prettier than Alexandra Paul. So young, so innocent, and acted so well. I also used to see bay watch. Too bad them good old movies and T.V. series are gone.
Christine has certainly become a classic. And I was young and innocent! I was 19 years old, it was my third acting job and I feel so fortunate to have been cast.
The gorgeous Kelly Preston is in the movie with me. Fun fact: she was born Kelly Palzis, and was trying to figure out to what she should change her last name, since her given name sounded too much like “palsy”, the muscle disease. She decided on “Preston” during our filming, and I think it was a very good choice.
Thank you for being a Baywatch fan too. I must say, though, I think television has much improved here in the United States since the 1990s. There are so many tv shows I would rather watch than going to a movie nowadays!
Great to hear from you,