Ask Alexandra – November 2005

Question #1:

This really isn’t a question….Mostly a thank you! A few weeks ago I caught part of an interview you did on E! (I think) where you talked a little about your struggle with Bulimia. Thank you for speaking about it. I grew up watching Baywatch and wanting to be as small and perfect as all of you….Needless to say I became anorexic/bulimic. After watching that part of your interview I decided to get help. (Not an easy step after struggling with it for 10 years.) So thank you for talking about your struggle and giving me that little push to do something about my eating disorder!



Dear Leah,

Wow, your letter means so much to me, because I heard that interview was on again (I taped it at least 11 years ago), and I cringed because I felt vulnerable that my past was being brought up. E! plays that interview a lot, and I have always wished they didn’t, but after your letter I am reevaluating. I am very happy that it may have inspired you to seek help – it makes it worth it to me to have bared my darkest secret.

I have not been bulimic for over 14 years now, and it is one of my proudest accomplishments. I am so much happier, and for the record, my weight is more stable than ever. Going to therapy and Overeaters Anonymous were what helped me, and I had a sponsor with whom I spoke every day for 10 years after I stopped, to make sure I didn’t revert back to bingeing and purging.

I wish you the best of luck in your struggle. It isn’t easy at all to stop any addiction, and an addiction to food has its unique challenge because we can’t stop eating altogether – we have to practice moderation, which for an addict is very difficult!

Thank you so much for writing. Hearing from you made my day.


Question #2:


I just would like to say how much I enjoy reading your website, especially your Day in the Life column. Your last entry about going to Mississippi to help the animals is inspiring. Can you please tell us more about your two cats?


Dear Bridget,

Yoda is a cat that I inherited from my dad 2 years ago. She was given to him by a woman who had 10 cats, and Yoda was being bullied by them.. Shortly after she was given to him, Dad went into the hospital for 3 months, so Ian and I took her home with us. At 11 years old, she was a very scared and timid cat, and it has taken us a long time to make her feel safe in our home. She makes us laugh a lot, though, because she has the longest meows, and we love her very much.

A year after we got Yoda, Ian and I went to the pound to get another cat (we only get pets from the pound: NEVER buy an animal – they are living beings, not commodities! Plus there are so many unwanted animals in shelters). We liked this friendly black 2 year old, so we adopted her. We named her Hallie, short for Halloween, because Halle Berry was just coming out in CatWoman and she was a black female feline too! Unfortunately, Hallie took to bullying Yoda – or perhaps Yoda didn’t know how to stick up for herself again – so we had to separate them. I had a pet analyst come in to help me figure out how to have them live in harmony. A year later, they are better together (Yoda stands her ground more often), but they are not best buddies like I had hoped they would be!

I love cats. They are independent enough that you can go away for a few days and leave them at home, but they can be cuddled

Thanks for writing,


Question #3:


What could a 15 yr old aspiring actress do to be more like you? I live in Milwaukee, which isn’t exactly a great place to get into acting. Any advice would be much appreciated!

A big fan,


Dear Emily,

I would bet that most of the actors you admire grew up in places other than New York or Los Angeles, so Milwaukee is a great place to be from! It makes you part of who you are, and that will inform your acting. In my first few years in Hollywood, I was often cast because I had a freshness and innocence that young actors raised in New York or Los Angeles didn’t have.

There is a lot you can do while you are still in school and living at home.

  • Take dance lessons! Take singing lessons! These will enrich you as performer, even if you are not great at them.
  • If you don’t have a drama program in your school, is there a community theatre nearby? Consider auditioning for a part in one of their plays.
  • Read! Read novels, plays and history books – these will open your mind and your heart. The more you know, the more choices you have at your disposal when you act. Also, read about different methods of how to act (I recommend books by Larry Moss, Harold Guskin, Bobby Lewis) and books on the business of acting (Samuel French is a bookstore that only sells plays and books on all aspects of show business – google online to see if Samuel French sells books over the internet).
  • Watch classic movies, go to plays, musicals, ballet, opera etc. Go to museums. In other words, learn about the arts.
  • Finish high school – I think education is very important, but since I didn’t go to college I don’t feel comfortable insisting you go. Definitely finish high school, though. Studying drama at university is an amazing experience, and many of our best actors started out this way, however, so please consider doing that.
  • When you are ready to strike out on your own, go to New York or Los Angeles as soon as is feasible. If you want to be in movies and tv, come to Los Angeles. For theater, go to New York. Do not delay. Continue your acting classes there, of course.
  • Don’t give up too easily. Acting is not an easy choice of profession, as there is so much rejection even for the most successful. It is also very competitive. But give it all you have for several years, and see what happens! There are many other wonderful ways to live your life, so if you decide to pursue something else, great, but at least you will have no regrets that you didn’t give it a shot.

Good luck, and I hope this was helpful.


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