Ask Alexandra – January 2007
I have just finished watching ‘Who Killed the Electric Car’… I cried. I really did. I am so beside myself at the absolute insanity that is going on in our government and the auto industry. In an attempt not to rant (which I do from time to time…) I applaud you for your protest at the GM plant. I was so charged when I saw you sitting in that car and I got butterflies in my stomach knowing that someone was taking a stand and attempting to make a difference. I guess I would just like to know how to get involved most effectively. The environment is so important to me (in my daily life and the work I do as an architect) and I just don’t seem to ever feel like my efforts are going far enough to see change. Please let me know your thoughts. I appreciate you reading this and taking the time to think about it. Please don’t give up the fight. We need strong, independent thinkers who are willing to stand up for what is right out at the forefront.
Thanks for what you are doing.
I was thrilled to get your letter and to hear about your concern for the environment. You ask how you can get involved more effectively, and I say through the work you do every day, as an architect. There is sooooo much that can be done to make buildings more efficient! Buildings are a main contributor to global warming by generating 30% of the US CO2 emissions. The construction and maintenance of buildings are responsible for 40% of the energy use in the United States and 30% of wood and raw materials use. ( www.globalgreen.org/greenbuilding). You could be a true pioneer by designing buildings made of recycled materials and that use as little energy and water as possible. Buildings that make the most of natural light and that need little air conditioning or heating actually get more productivity from the people who work in them. Your clients could save money in the long run, be positive role models, and help the planet. I took a tour of the Natural Resources Defense Council building in Santa Monica, California (http://www.fscus.org/green_building/2006_case_studies/entry_5.php), the second most efficient building in the world (the first one is in India, I think) and the things we can do to improve how we design and build buildings are just incredible! So many brilliant ideas and options ( http://www.nrdc.org/buildinggreen ) Green building is a very new field, and you would be a pioneer.
I look forward to hearing from you how you decide to make a difference in 2007 and beyond!
I’m a long fan of yours since I first watched Paper Dolls and I always enjoyed watching your performance on Baywatch. Now that you’ve achieved so much on acting, have you ever thought about producing or directing movies and TV shows in the future? I think you can express your ideas, emotions and environmental activism through these forms of art.
I have always admired actresses who produce or direct. There are not enough female directors or producers out there! Although I did produce 2 educational films on overpopulation and overconsumption (Jampacked and Cost of Cool), I have never been interested in directing. I am currently working turning a book into a film, a true story that definitely embodies a lot of my values but is also a incredible tale. My true love remains acting, but it is also exciting to be able to have more control which is what happens when you produce a project.
Thank you for following my career all these years! I have 5 movies coming out in 2007, and I hope you enjoy them.
What do you feel you have done in your entire life that is the most accomplished thing you have done…Maybe not finshed or completely but the most accomplished YOU feel you have ever done that has made you proud of who you are?
The first thing that has made the most difference in my life is that I was able to overcome my long struggle with bulimia. I am now 15 years free from the overpowering need to binge on food and throw up. Being addicted is akin to hell, and if I still had that demon to live with every day I could not have found the happiness that I have today. The second thing is being with Ian, my husband. I believe that one’s choice of life partner is the most important external factor in one’s quality of life. He gives me happiness and joy every day, and he says I do the same for him. Being married to him is “the most important external factor in one’s quality of life” but I believe what truly is a measure of our happiness is what is internal, our personal peace and sense of purpose. This is inside each of us and not so much dictated by what we have or what we do, who we are with, what we look like etc. Which is why I mentioned overcoming bulimia first: without the work I did on my inner self, I would not have been able to overcome bulimia, and without overcoming bulimia I would not have been able to love someone else as fully as I do Ian. When I was a teenager, I didn’t understand the maxim that you have to love yourself to be able to love others, but now I understand. To love yourself is not conceited: it is an acceptance of who you are, a forgiveness of your flaws, and a celebration of your strengths without putting anyone else down.
Both of these things will never be completely completely accomplished: every day I try to be a better partner to Ian and every day I see in different ways my demon trying to come out. But I find joy in the journey of trying to be a better person!