Ask Alexandra – February 2007
I can’t believe it’s been 7 years since my first question was posted in ‘Ask Alexandra’ (January 2000). At the time I was 17 years old, which makes me 24 now. A lot has happened since then. I’ve become more aware and even more dedicated to making this world a better place.
Every once in a while I check back at your website to see what you’re up to. It’s great to see you doing so well both for your self and Ian, and your country and the world. Overpopulation, war, pollution, democratic elections, animal rights, gay rights, all such important topics! I am concerned about these things and I am thankfull to those who dedicate much of their time addressing these issues. You remain an inspiration for me!
In September 2006, after 2.5 years of studying International Relations I switched over to the University for Humanistics. Here I follow a 6-year programme (Bachelor & Master) about things that are really important. (For further information see http://www.uvh.nl/defaultuvh.asp?oChapter=20&oId=42&hId=sub90) Finally I feel at home at a university and I know this is what I want to do with my life. Improving both myself and (to a lesser extent I’m afraid) the world.
Now my question is, will you be coming to Europe any time soon? It would be great to have such an inspirational and intelligent activist coming over to talk to students about her ideas and actions!
To conclude, I would like to wish you and Ian all the best! Keep up the good work! And best of luck to your sister Caroline as well!
It is so nice to hear from you again! Congratulations on your schooling. I did look at the link you provided and it seems like this curriculum is designed to help people improve their lives, which I think is wonderful.
I do not have plans to come to Europe soon, although I would like to. All of the films I have shot in the last 5 years have all been in Canada or the United States, which is where most of the work is nowadays. I do love Europe (my mother is British and I spent several years of my childhood in France) and I have worked in at least 8 countries there (including Holland, where you live). I appreciate your encouragement, however, and I hope to get there soon!
Please let us know how you are and what you are doing in another few years! Thank you
Hi Alexandra! My girls and I are great fans of yours! You are such a beautiful and charismatic actress! I remember seeing a movie you made a long time ago about a young girl who thought she was overweight and then started eating healthy and lifting weights. I really want to share this movie with my girls. It was inspiring and fun. Please let me know the name of the movie. Thanks for being wonderful!! The Weber Girls in California!
To the Weber Girls,
The movie was a CBS Movie of the Week called Getting Physical, which I shot in 1983. You can get it through Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Physical-Alexandra-Paul/dp/6301801482. I am glad you enjoyed it – it seems a lot of women were inspired by it, as years later my dad was watching Jeopardy and one of the contestants said she named her daughter Kendall after my character in that movie. My trainer for that movie (I was cast only a week before we started filming, and I had to look like as much like a bodybuilder as possible within a month!) was Franco Columbu, who was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s training partner, and he was terrific. I still see him, 24 years later, because he is my chiropractor.
I hope the movie isn’t too dated. One thing I know: you will get a chuckle out of the gym wear, all those sweatbands and matching legwarmers!
See you at the gym!
I am a vegan. But the thing is i find it extremly difficult. my parents are totally against it. I live in sri lanka, so our food altenatives are not like in USA. when i skip out on unilever products i am out of products. I really want to speak up against animal testing, meat, etc. but our culture is restricting me from doing anything major. ( the sri lankan culture doesnt allow me as a girl to work at the dog shelter, go talk to strangers, put up posters etc) but its horrible sitting here knowing so many animals die and not do anything. ( the last person i handed a flyeron animal testing yelled at me saying the only other alternatives available are too expensive, or unusable – sadly its true). I really want to do something about all the suffering animals here & around the world. but right now i am clueless. i cant find any related organisation in my area or anyone who is genuinely interested. do you have any suggestions please? it would be a great help.
It is hard when society does not let you express your values to their fullest, but I did do an internet search on “animal rights, sri lanka” and came up with a site that helps you meet up with other animal rights folks, by city: http://animalrights.meetup.com
The Vegetarian Society also has a website for Sri Lanka: http://www.ivu.org/congress/thai99/texts/srilanka.html. It looks a bit outdated, but it may lead somewhere helpful. Try a google search yourself and see what you come up with too. It is very important that you have friends that have the same values as you do, because you can support each other in your cruelty free lifestyle. If those friends are not nearby, you might need to rely on communicating with them on the internet. I promise you there are many Sri Lankans who care about animals like you do. You just have to find them.
I would argue that animal testing is actually more wasteful and expensive and less reliable than non-animal testing. So many products have already been tested, why do we need to torture more animals for a new mascara with some silly new ingredient in it? And many medicines that were deemed safe on animals turned out to hurt humans. What has happened too is that a lot of labs are making tons of money getting grants to do useless tests on animals. The fact that it is too expensive to switch to non-animal testing is an argument that will never wash with me. Unilever can darn well afford to switch – it just doesn’t want to. But the bottom line is that the incredible cruelty innocent animals are subjected to in research labs is not justified because it is cheaper and easier or even (if it were) more effective. You don’t think that doctors can come up with non-animal tests if they had to? Of course they could. Go to www.peta.org to find out more on this issue.
Being an activist is not easy. When you speak out, it is inevitable that others will speak out against you. That is democracy and it is a good thing, although it is often hard to take. I have a thin skin myself, and am not comfortable with confrontation, so I choose to focus on the millions of people who are open to my message but just either haven’t had the inspiration to put it into practice, or aren’t educated enough on the issue. I don’t try to change the minds of people I feel are not going to change their minds. Why bother, when there are so many sitting on the fence wanting, open to getting off? It is important that you remain non-violent and respectful of others’ opinions in all situations, and you will more likely be treated well back. Not always, unfortunately, and that is why it is vital to surround yourself with people of like mind.
The fact that Sri Lanka does not have many animal rights activists means your country and its animals need you even more.
Good luck to you and thank you so much for writing. I hope I have been helpful. Don’t lose heart, you are doing the right thing, as difficult as it may be.