Ask Alexandra – March 2008

Question #1:

Dear Alexandra,

I am 15 yrs old and I have a passion for acting. But when I tell people that I want to be an actor, they roll their eyes or give me some sacrcastic smile and they laugh. I don’t understand why this is so funny. My teachers look at me strange, and my parents are just like yeah right, whatever. Where there people that didn’t support you when you decided to be an actor, if so, who?

You are my absolute favorite actress!


Dear Cory,

You have to follow your passion and your heart when it comes to making a career choice. Don’t talk about your life plans to people who are not supportive, but in the meantime there is a lot you can do to prepare for life as an actor:

I encourage you to read a lot of biographies on actors (Sarah Bernhardt, the Barrymores, Vivien Leigh and Lawrence Olivier, Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando etc.), plays, and books on Hollywood (the Hollywood blacklist of the 1950s, Peter Biskind’s book Easy Riders, Raging Bulls to name a couple – go online to to order. I haven’t read Biskind’s book so don’t know how appropriate it is for a 15 year old…but look on that website or on Amazon to see what you can find). And I repeat: read plays and if you can, go to the theater.

Also, watch films like those on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 Best Films and make sure you see some foreign films too! Look for them in the foreign film section of your video store or Netflix.

Take dance, voice and acting classes if you can, but if that isn’t possible don’t worry. When you are out of high school and majoring in drama in college you will have the opportunity. When you have finished your formal education and you want to be in film or television, I urge you to come out to LA as soon as you can. So start saving your money now…

I did not decide to become an actress until I was 18, and I was lucky to have a supportive family and boyfriend.

I wish you the best of luck and I support you 100% in following your dream. Remember that along with dreaming takes discipline, hard work and stick-to-it-iveness, especially in show business.


Question #2:


I noticed that a lot of your recent roles involve playing gay characters, which I think is wonderful. Do you ever fear that people may typecast you?


Dear Karen,

I believe we are each typecast constantly – even if we are not actors, our co-workers, friends and family see us in a certain way and expect us to react to things in a familiar manner etc. The challenge is to make sure that this typecasting doesn’t keep us in a box, that we keep changing so much that there is not too long a period where we are perceived a certain way, and eventually the typecasting box will get bigbigbig. I don’t worry too much about being typecast, and I especially don’t worry about being typecast as a lesbian – I would in fact like to play more lesbians and have wanted to be on that show The L Word for a long time. As a longtime proponent of equal rights for gays, and as the proud identical twin of a lesbian, I believe the more America sees gays on television and on the big screen, the better. And if I have to play 10 more gay roles to that end, great!

I hope you get to see A Date with Murder on here!tv and Tru Loved in the theatre or on dvd when they are released.

Thank you for writing.


Question #3:


I just wanted to say that I appreciate all that you have done for the environment and the animals. The world needs more people like you. I was just wondering if you have any new books to share with us, particularly any environmental or political books.

Your number one fan,


Dear Amanda,

Ah I really have to update my book list, don’t I? Here are some updated recommendations on political and environmental books:

  • When Corporations Rule the World by David Korten
  • The Shock Doctrine – the Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein
  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
  • Waging Peace by Scott Ritter (the book itself is only mediocre, but Scott Ritter re-printed the US Constitution and the UN Charter at the end and those were fantastic reads. Well worth the price of the book.)
  • Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way We Treat Animals by Karen Dawn (Karen is friend of mine, and I am interviewed for the book, so I have a bias here)
  • When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron (this is not political nor environmental, but helped me deal with some tough personal things in my life this past summer and is a wonderful book even if you aren’t currently going through a crisis). And more on that note:
  • Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment by Tal Ben-Shahar (written by a professor who teaches a class on Happiness that is the #1 most popular class at Harvard. Not woo-woo, very practical)

I also scanned the NY Times bestseller Skinny Bitch, and although it is essentially a diet book, it is a strong proponent of veganism which I applaud.

Happy reading!


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