Ask Alexandra – February 2002

Question #1:

Hi Alexandra!

First of all I wanted to let you know what an inspiration you have been to me! You are a fantastic actress and a brilliant role model. My question to you is: When presented with a script, what factors affect whether or not you choose to take a part and why?

Sarah Smith

Dear Sarah,

Thank you for your kind comments! Bob Lemond, who managed me when I first became an actress, told me there are 5 reasons to take a project:

  • I love the script
  • I love the part
  • I want to work with the lead actor/director/
    producer etc

  • the money
  • it would be a ton of fun.

Sometimes just loving the part doesnt outweigh the fact that the script is terrible , or it will be shot in Russia in the dead of winter (definitely not #5!), and so I will turn it down. I did a film in 2000, “Exposure” because a) I wanted to work with Ron Silver b) the pay was decent c) it was an opportunity to see New Zealand. The script nor the part were very good but those other factors outweighed it. A year ago, I did a film called “Above and Beyond” because I loved the part. The 3 lead actors (Costas Mandylor and Adam Baldwin and I) were being paid very little, but we agreed to it because of the acting opportunity the movie gave each of us. So, with each project offered to me, I look at all those factors and figure out what is important to me at the moment.

I would say that some projects I have done have all 5 assets to them! 8 Million Ways to Die, American Flyers, Death Train and Nightwatch among them.

Best wishes,


Question #2:

Dear Alexandra: You get asked a lot of health and exercise questions and here is another one (I apologize if you have answered it before but your web page is fairly new to me). How did you START getting healthy or have you always been? My cholesterol is too high, my weight is too high and I generally feel like an old woman at 36. I know it’s because I’ve become addicted to junk food and have become very sedentary. I have always had to fight gaining weight but I’m at a high point right now and “starting” just feels so overwhelming. Do you have any suggestions. (I’m a stay-at-home mom and my daughter is 1 1/2 years old).


Dear Denise,

I am so glad you wrote in because I think alot of people have challenges similar to yours. Having a baby to take care of often means you dont have time to take care of yourself. The stresses of life do tend to encourage us to let our well-being go to the wayside. Here are some of my suggestions:

  • Dont go through this alone! You must know at least one other woman who wants to lose weight and get healthy. Partner up with her to excercise (at least 3 times a week for 45 minutes each time) and give you motivation. You can follow aerobics tapes at home or walk briskly
    together (both of these suggestions mean that you can still watch your babies). If you can get to a gym, then great! Having someone to do this with helps alot. If your husband is motivated and has the same schedule as you, then partner up with him!
  • Write down everything you eat. I do this every day, and I write the time at which I eat. You should write why you ate by each entry also (“bored”, hungry”, “it was there”, etc) This helps you see what you are putting into your body. It makes abundantly clear how we usually eat for every reason except that we were hungry!
  • Commit to excercising. I dont just wake up in the morning and say “hmmm, when am I going to work out and what am I going to do for excercise?” Nuh uh! I make a date with myself in advance, so that other things dont get in the way. If you have a plan to workout on Thursdays from 7pm-8pm, and someone wants to have dinner with you at that time, you will need to either find another evening to see them or make sure
    you move that workout to another day that week.
  • Cut down on your most common treats. One day I noticed that Dennis, a man whom I knew a little from swimming at the local pool, had lost a lot of weight. I asked him how he did it, and he told me that he lost 30 pounds just from stopping his bad habit of eating a big bag of M&Ms each night in front of the TV. Do you eat at fast food places because, well, it is just a habit now? Do you eat junk in front of the TV? Either cut that stuff out completely, or switch to a healthier version. Dont deprive yourself totally though – allowing for a treat is important, otherwise you wont stick to your healthy habits in the long run.
  • Get rid of that junk food. If there is something I like to eat in the house, I will eat it! But if it is not there, I usually dont think about it. So clean out your kitchen, and if you need to keep some snacky food in there for your husband or kids, make sure it is stuff you dont like very much! And limit your liquid intake to water and herbal tea only. Juices, sodas and alcohol are very caloric (and the diet drinks are terrible for you).
  • Join Jenny Craig or Weightwatchers group. This will give you the support and accountability you need to get on a healthier eating plan. It wont be easy, but it will be worth it. Remember I recommended earlier not to go it alone. Joining either of those groups means that you have someone to talk to about your eating.

I sort of sound like an article in a women’s magazine, dont I? I understand a bit of what you are going through, though. Although I am a regular excerciser, I love sweets and would prefer to eat them to the exclusion of everything else, so my diet is far from perfect. Please write with your progress. I would love to hear how you decide to deal with this and how it goes.

Thank you for writing.


Question #3:


You appear unusually uninformed. Didn’t you know that Erlich is a joke and was debunked a decade or more ago? Virtually everything Erlich predicted has been proved wrong.

Stop spreading ignorance. Read what this man of the Left and Greenpeace has to say:




Dear Marcus,

The websites you mention are about Bjorn Lomborg’s book, “The Skeptical Environmentalist”, a book whose premise is that we dont need to worry about pollution in our air and water; there is no fish depletion in our oceans, it is not a bad thing if the population continues to grow as it is; our burning of fossil fuels is not contributing to climate change. A premise I find ludicrous. I went to the two websites you suggested: one site was, where the book is sold. Interestingly, there happened to be 4 reviews for the book, and 3 were extremely negative! I then went to the other site and read the good review on the book, and found, not surprisingly, that the site is run by the Reason Foundation, a very conservative foundation (see Conservatives are not known for their concern for the planet, so of course they would love this book.

Let me first say that I have not read “The Skeptical Environmentalist”, but I have read many critiques of his book by people I admire, people with degrees in biological or social sciences. I found them on a very interesting website, They basically say that his book is full of fallacies, and that he has twisted and debunked statistics that are commonly accepted among scientists as to the state of the environmnent. Bjorn Lomborg himself is a professor of statistics and methods at the University of Aahus in Denmark, who has never published his environmental theories in a relevant scientific journal with peer review. His fellow faculty members (including the former head of the Danish Academy of Sciences) even set up a website, years before the book was published, to warn the scientific community of flaws in his work (see and click on “debate”).

As I have not read the book, I will not argue it point by point. I suggest that everyone reading this go to the websites you mentioned, to the websites I have mentioned, and to Lomborg’s own site, and decide for yourself how valid this book is.

I would like to comment, however, on the beginning of your letter, where you said I “appear unusually uninformed”. I assume you were referring to my beliefs on how scary the human population growth on our planet is. I agree that alot of what Paul Erlich said didnt come true, but alot has, and his books are incredibly informative. Here are some stats for you to ponder: the world (human) population hit 1 billion in 1830. That means that it tooks tens of thousands of years for Man to get to that figure. The next billion only took 100 years (in 1930, world pop. hit 2 billion). It took only 30 more years for the world population to add another billion (in 1960 we hit 3 billion). I was born in 1963, and in my lifetime (38 years), the world population has doubled. In the last 120 years, human population has expanded 6 times over. With the number of people rising so fast and becoming so large, it is just common sense that the earth’s resources (not to mention the infrastructure of our cities, like schools, hospitals and roads – all stuff we are dealing with here in Los Angeles) cant keep pace.

I like to hear opinions that dont coincide with my own, so I appreciate your letter. The beauty of being an American (as I am, but I am not
sure where you are from!) is that we can openly hear each other out.

I hope I have been fair in my response.


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