For many of us, Alexandra Paul came into our living rooms each week on one of the highest rated syndicated television shows of all time, Baywatch. As Lt. Stephanie Holden, she entertained us for years, and in the process, gathered a legion of fans from all over the world. But what a lot of us might not know is that Alexandra Paul is also a force within the world of political activism. This smart, well-spoken woman believes in the ability to change the world around her. And VIVA GLAM had the opportunity to speak to her about her acting and her causes that she is so passionate about.
1. I remember watching Who Killed the Electric Car? and being impressed with your desire to educate others about the need for alternative energy resources. When did you start being politically active?
My first activism was when I was 9-years-old and I wrote to President Nixon asking him to stop pollution. A couple years later, my mom had us boycott tuna because the fishing also killed dolphins. In high school, I campaigned for independent presidential candidate John Anderson before I could even vote myself.
2. Do you think being outspoken in the political arena has helped or hurt your acting career? For example, in 2003 you spent 5 days in jail protesting the war in Iraq and it wasn’t the only time you got arrested for protesting. Some may view this as radical.
I have been arrested for peaceful civil disobedience over 16 times .¨ for the environment, gay rights and peace, but it is really hard to gauge how that has affected my career. Speaking out is such a part of me that if I took that away, I just would not be myself. On the positive side, when you star in such fluffy fare as Baywatch, Melrose Place and on Lifetime movies, people think you have no substance. However, when they learn I am an activist, it makes them reassess their assumptions that I might be an airhead. On the downside, it is possible that folks might not have hired me because they do not agree with my socio-political views. C’est la vie – my morals are more important and I have to be true to them first!
3. Or, conversely, do you think your acting career has helped by providing a platform for you to become an activist that is heard?
Oh yes being an actress has helped me promote the issues that are important to me, because media outlets such as yours ask me about them during interviews. My issues are not simple, popular ones. I now focus on animal rights and human overpopulation – both issues which make a lot of folks uncomfortable. When I discuss them in mainstream media, it encourages people to think about these topics and to change their lives accordingly.