Ask Alexandra – September 2007
I saw a news clip several years ago that you were going to do the Ironman in Hawaii and your mother was concerned about this event. I am in training to qualify for the 2008 Ironman and was wondering how you finished.
Thanks for being a positive role model.
I took a hiatus from acting and spent 1997 training for the Hawaiian Ironman (2.4 mile swim/ 112 mile bike/ 26.2 mile run). The legendary triathlete, Scott Tinley, was my trainer and he gave me a very, very challenging training program to follow. I needed it, as I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was a teenager and I had never run a marathon – much less a marathon after a 2.4 mile swim and a 112 mile bike! I raced a dozen triathlons that year and ending with the Hawaiian Ironman, which I finished in 13 hours and 18 minutes. No speed demon, I, but it was a respectable finish.
Since then, I have had a knee surgery, so I can no longer run. The only triathlon I continue to do (because it is such an awesome event) is the swim leg at the San Diego Triathlon Challenge (www.challengedathletes.org), It raises money for athletes with physical disabilities and there are hundreds of athletes in chairs and with prosthetics who participate.
My passion for endurance races is now funneled into longer distance ocean swims. I don’t do many: last year a 10 mile from the island of Lanai to Maui, next year an 11 miler between two Fijiian isles. I continue to work out daily, just to feel good and stay healthy – 1 hour of cardio a day mixed in with yoga and weights.
Best wishes to you in your quest to qualify for Kona. I wish I had some words of wisdom for you, but it sounds like you must have quite a bit of experience if you are trying to qualify for the most competitive Ironman race out there! The one thing I have learned is that since triathlon is 3 sports rolled into one, triathletes often train more at the sports in which they feel most comfortable and at which they are most proficient. Instead, we should be concentrating on our “limiter”, the sport we like the least and with which we are least comfortable! So, concentrate on your limiter, that is my advice. (That kind of philosophy works well in life, too!)
Please let me know how your 2008 season goes.
I just saw some pictures on your page from the film “Tru Loved.” I love your look! Your look very rugged and cool! You should keep the red in your hair! It rocks! I was wondering though, I’ve noticed you have done some movies where you play a lesbian. What are your views on gays, gay marriage, and actors being gay or playing gays? Do you think Hollywood portrays gays in a negative way? Also, do you think there should be programs in schools for gay, bi, and/or lesbian kids so they can be in a judge free enviornment? Because these days, it’s hard to come out. I am a bi high school student who is sort of in the closet so to speak. I’d love to hear your views on this subject because i think you are a remarkable woman with very stong and inspiring views and opinions! Plus your very beautiful! Your a wonderful woman Alexandra! God Bless!
I like the red in my hair too, thank you. I dyed it back to brown when the filming finished, but now that is fading and the red is coming through again, which is nice.
My views on gays, gay marriage and actors being gay or playing gays… I believe that being gay is totally normal and beautiful. I don’t care if it is something one is born with or something one chooses (which I would find hard to believe, since it isn’t easy being gay in our society) – it is still totally cool with me. I find it interesting that it matters whether it is a choice or not, like if it was a choice it would be wrong but if gays cannot help it, it must be accepted?
Gays should be able to marry with all the rights of hetero marriage – civil unions I find insulting, as they are separate and unequal. The fact that some people feel that allowing gays to marry is going to erode the American Family is hilarious – the 50% divorce rate is because of heterosexuals! Plus, as my gay comedian friend Jason (www.jasonstuart.com) says, “Allow us to marry each other and we won’t marry you”.
In Hollywood, it is hard to be an “out” actor and be cast as a romantic, straight lead, so most actors and actresses stay in the closet for fear they will be pigeonholed as gay and never be able to play anything else. I empathize with them. Hopefully, one day that will no longer be the case. Just as I – a straight girl – have been cast 3 times to play a lesbian, an out homosexual should be able to play a heterosexual on tv or on the movies. Actors who are married in real life play single men onscreen – we suspend disbelief even though we know that Harrison Ford is dating Calista Flockhart – so why can’t we do that with a gay man playing a love interest to a woman? We have to get used to it, and we get used to it by it happening more and more often.
Even though kids nowadays are much more open than when I was your age, as a high school student it must be very difficult to come out. The more teenagers that do, however, pave the way for the generation behind them. It is a personal choice, and you will come out when you are ready. I hope you are out to at least one person close to you, so you don’t have to pretend all the time! Pretending to be who you are not, or having to suppress who you really are, is very stressful. Have you come out to your family?
I know that the internet these days makes it easier for gay teenagers to connect with other gay teenagers, and that is wonderful. I encourage you to find these groups (online or in person) as it makes it easier to have support in our life from likeminded people going through similar experiences. I think it is wonderful when there are Gay Straight Alliances in schools (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay-straight_alliance; http://www.gsanetwork.org/about/ or www.glsen.org).
The fact that movies like Tru Loved are being financed and shot shows that there is a market out there eager to watch stories about coming of age as a gay teenager. I hope that you see the film when it comes to a theater near you. Please call your local cinema and request that they screen it. To keep up with the latest news on the movie, go to www.myspace.com/truloved
I hope to hear from you more in depth about how you are coping with being a bi or gay teen. Remember: being gay is beautiful.
Thank you for writing in.
What’s the strangest thing that ever happened during one of your film shoots?
When I was filming Landslide in Vermont a few years ago, one of our crew members was hit by a train. We had to cross railroad tracks to get from base camp, where the trucks and trailers were set up, to the set Luckily, he survived. Then a few days later, Fed Ex x-rayed the film from a day’s work as it traveled from Vermont to LA, which meant re-shooting that entire day. Then Fed Ex x-rayed the last day’s work and ruined that film too! It was very complicated earthquake scenes and several months later the cast involved had to fly back to Vermont to reshoot it. Luckily, I was not in any of those scenes, and insurance paid for the reshoots. The film did get finished, but for a while there we all thought there was an unlucky star hanging over it.
When I was in Croatia filming Death Train with Pierce Brosnan, the war between Croatia and Serbia was just heating up. Pierce and I played UN peacekeepers in the movie, but boy was I humbled when I came back to the Intercontinental Hotel each night, my makeup a bit smeared from a hard days work, and I rode up in the elevator with real UN peacekeepers doing real hard work.
On Baywatch, David Hasselhoff had a stand in that looked remarkably like him, and whose name was David Hass! One day, I was doing some 2nd unit work but Hasselhoff was on first unit so, since it was just a running scene of the back of our heads, David Hass did it in Hasselhoff’s place. The beach where we shot the show was always crowded with tourists eager to see us filming, and 2 German fans approached David Hass asking for an autograph. David Hass tried to tell them he wasn’t Hasselhoff, but because of the language barrier they didn’t understand him. Finally, he ended up signing Hasselhoff’s name and taking a photo with them! I was laughing so hard watching David Hass try to be on the up and up and then just giving up and making those folks so happy.
In 2005, I was arrested for blocking trucks that were taking away EVs ( http://www.alexandrapaul.com/activism/activism_electric_cars.htm). I went before a judge to explain why I wasn’t a danger to society. In typical Hollywood fashion (“everyone wants to be in movies”), it turns that I had been in a movie with that same judge sixteen years before! He was the brother of the director of one of the Perry Mason tv movies I shot in 1989 in Colorado, and he played a judge in one scene. I went from leading lady to standing before him as a defendant in real life… small world! Luckily, he did not think I was a danger to society (even though the City of Burbank sent out 20 cops to arrest Colette and me) and I only got 80 hours community service and a $632 fine. Phew.
Every film or tv show has its own quirks, laughs and adventures. These are just some of them…