Ask Alexandra – May 2003
You are by far my favorite actress! I’ve learned so much about you through your site. Your website rocks! My question is general, but I hope you can answer it. I’ve always been curious when actors are on talks shows. Are you told ahead of time what to talk about or do you just go with the flow? You and other actors always seem so
Best of luck with everything,
| Dear Melinda,
When an actor agrees to go on a talk show, a segment producer calls the actor a few days before and we discuss what to talk about on the show. The actor usually has something to promote – a movie, say – and the producer has researched the actor and has some ideas on how to make the interview entertaining. The producer will ask for “funny stories” on the film, or from the actor’s life (I remember Jeff Bridges telling me once that he couldnt get on the Tonight Show because he didnt have cute stories to tell). Then the producer goes back to the staff of the talk show and in a meeting they craft what questions they want the host to ask, so they can get the “funny stories” in. Just before the show, the producer briefs the actor what the host is going to ask, and reminds the actor how to respond. So it is choreographed loosely – the interview isnt scripted, but the guest knows what will be discussed. But anything can happen when you are up there – digressions happen often!
Thank you for your email!
My name is MelanieJo and I am 20 years old. I have been a HUGE fan of yours since Baywatch. You were my favorite character. But when I started to watch it, I always wanted to be as thin as you. I haven’t had an eating disorder yest but I have come close to it so I just wanted to ask you, what advice would you give someone like me who wants to make it in Hollywood and how would I be able to get over my low self esteem?
Your Number 1 Fan 4 Life
In Hollywood, there is a huge amount of pressure to be slender (yet curvy in the certain places, hence the preponderance of breast augmentation), but what really makes someone a star is being comfortable in one’s skin – there is nothing sexier than self- confidence. You can be successful in show business with the body type you have – be the best you can be with what your genes gave you. The quickest way for you to fail is for you to work against what you have to offer. On Baywatch, I didnt try and be like the other women on the show – I became more myself, by emphasizing my athleticism and my natural outdoorsyness. Think if I had gotten implants and lightened my hair – would that have made me more successful? NO!!! Because that is not me, so I let the woman who can do that well do that, and I concentrated on what I could bring to the table.
In film and television, sexy sells. But who defines sexy? Most men prefer women with curves, and are more attracted to a woman with a few extra pounds than a woman who is underweight. Ian hates it when I get too skinny – it is just the woman’s magazines that promote this thin look, and nobody but other women find it attractive. I know alot of women who are successful actresses are small, but hey, not all of them are, so there is room for you too.
I am begging you not to resort to unhealthy methods to lose weight. They dont work in the long
You ask how you can get self-confidence. I got self-confidence by doing things in my life that I was proud of – for me that was my activism and involvement in charity work. It was also my discipline in studying acting, working hard. I went to therapy regularly all through my 20’s, and that helped me realize that it is Ok to be firm with people and set boundaries – before that I had been too worried that people wouldnt like me, but then I learned that I had to be true to myself first, no matter what (read Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged to learn more about respect for oneself – two very pivotal novels for me). I also only dated men who were kind and supportive, and my friends are the same way.
I wish you the best of luck in your acting. Go to acting classes. Do plays. Dont give up. I am sure if I met you I would think you were great, so dont sell yourself short. I met a woman last week who was a big woman, and she said to me,” I am a great friend, a great wife and a really good person”, and I just thought that was the coolest thing! And I wanted to be around her because her self-confidence was so uplifting – she wasnt cocky or vain, she was just happy with herself and it was awesome to see.
I know that you are a vegetarian and a tri-athlete. I will be starting this summer off with a duathalon, consisting of 3 mi run/16 bike/3mi run. I was wondering about diet – SO many people have their opinions on diet and training – especially when it comes to vegetarian/vegan diets. If you could please, is there any information you had when you were training for the ironman? I know that this was quite an extreme difference from what I am doing – however, the basics should be the same. ANY information you have would be greatly appreciated by myself and all who are “atheletes in training”.
By the way – THANK YOU for such a wonderful job you have done on Baywatch and all the other movies and shows you have done. You gave Baywatch a “real” person to connect with and look up to.
Love and happiness forever!
Congratulations on your duathlon! That is wonderful. I dont know if you are a vegan or a vegetarian, but I do have some suggestions for you:
– Eat in the morning. Ian, my triathlon-coach-husband starts every day with the same thing, and I think it is good to start the day with something your body knows and is comfortable on. Not alot – a shake maybe (Ian’s choice), with some soymilk, fruit and fiber (I use psyllium husks) in it. Put some protein powder in too. On race day, eat that for breakfast too, a couple hours before.
– Eat regularly and eat small meals. My nutritionist, Cathy Sassin ( www.Intrafitt.com), who specializes in the diets of athletes, recommends eating small meals every 3 hours. She recommends eating carbs, fat and protein at every meal. This is better for digestion, and if you let too long a time go between meals, your body thinks it is being starved and your metabolism slows down. You will also overeat when you finally get food.
– Drink more water. It is a challenge, but drink water throughout the day (your pee should be light yellow in color). When you exercise, you can fill your water bottles with an electrolyte drink, as that replaces salts. I never liked the taste of that stuff, so I stuck with water and ate bars to supplement. Do you drink coffee? It is best if you can quit, but at least cut down to one cup a day. And no soft drinks – those are useless calories, unhealthy diuretics and full of chemicals. Drink water and herb tea instead.
– Protein. If you are a vegetarian, eat egg whites for protein. You can buy egg whites in jars at the health food store or order them from Eggology ( www.eggology.com or (800) NO-YOLKS) so you dont waste yolks and shells. As a vegan, soy, beans & rice, and leafy green vegetables will do you right (some people are allergic to soy, so be conscious of that).
– Eat after a workout. I learned this from Ian: you need to eat something healthy within 45 minutes of working out, so that your body can rebuild properly, and so you will have good energy. He eats “high glycemic foods” like cereal or strawberries. No need to eat alot, just something healthy.
– Eat normally the night before the race. I know some people like to “carbo-load”, but eating too much the night before means I am sluggish in the morning. Just eat normally the night before, but make sure that the two days before you have been hydrating well (dont go overboard on the water – you dont want to pee out all your salts).
– Rule number one: dont eat anything new on Race Day. It is best to train with the gels and drinks they are handing out at the race, or bring your own to carry with you, so your body is familiar with what you are racing on. Go to the race website to ask what they are serving. Eat what you always do when you get up race morning, so that your stomach stays calm, but eat it several hours before the race.
Good luck and have fun training and in your race!
P.S. I will leave the book writing to my sister, who is a far better writer than I, but thanks for the encouragement!