Whoosh! Issue 80 - August 2003

INSIDE THE HEAD OF ALEXANDRA TYDINGS:
THIRD TIME'S THE CHARM

By Amy Murphy
Content © 2003 held by author
WHOOSH! Edition © (c) 2003 held by WHOOSH
3774 words


Introduction (01)
Alex's Head (02-134)
Alex's Resume
Acknowledgments
Articles
Biography



INSIDE THE HEAD OF ALEXANDRA TYDINGS
Third Time's the Charm



Introduction

Aren't you glad they got a new graphic to begin these interviews with? I know I am!

Alexandra Tydings
(from AlexandraTydings.com)


[01] This is my third time talking with Alex and I must say that each and every time, I learn more and more about this incredible individual. Still very full of life, extremely insightful, thought provoking, and just plain fun. I hope that I've succeeded in making people who read this see that person. I have to say this interview blew my mind and then some. Thanks again, Alex, for being such a mench for the fans.



Alex's Head


Interviewer:
[02] Question by T. Novan: - DC BardCon

"Every weekend I have to drive to Pennsylvania to pick up my daughter from school and the route takes me over a bridge called The Millard E. Tydings Memorial Bridge. I wanted to know if she knows if he's a relative?

Alexandra Tydings:
[03] He's my grandfather and I never met him. I don't actually know that much about him other than he made my father get back on a horse when he was a boy. He co-authored the Tydings-McDuffy act, which gave the Philippines their independence. He served many terms in the Senate until [Senator Joseph] McCarthy went after him. It's a nice bridge and I get occasional calls from east coast friends when they drive over it. I have a brother named Millard as well, but he doesn't have a bridge.

Millard's Bio
Tyding's Hall
Millard the Soldier
Memorial Bridge

Interviewer:
[04] Question by JLynn:

"How vital is chemistry between actors? Can you 'fake it 'til you make it'?"

Alexandra Tydings:
[05] It's our job to work with whatever is in front of us in the moment, so of course we sometimes fake it. Not nearly as much fun, though, and sometimes I think you can see it on the screen. It's always such fun to watch people who are having a good time. Kevin Spacey is the king of this.

Interviewer:
[06] Question by Teri:

"You have a kissing scene coming up and the person you have to kiss has gargoyle breath, do you hand them a tic-tac or gag thru it?"

Alexandra Tydings:
[07] Honestly, I'm way too WASP-y to say anything. If it was really repulsive, I might take out a mint for myself and then offer them one, but I don't think it's ever been a problem.

Interviewer:
[08] Question by Mary:

"Explain please. You are a fresh out of school kid, with talent and a pipe dream to be an actor and head to Hollywood. How do you get your foot in the door? What steps should you take? I.E. Agent? Contacts? Should stay in school? etc?"

Alexandra Tydings:
[09] My advice would be to go to New York instead of Hollywood. Find a great class and work hard in it, and do as much theater as you can. Keep working, people will see you and doors will open. New York is hard but you're young enough to handle it and you'll be able to figure out whether or not acting is something important enough to suffer for. Or go to a conservatory and get some solid training. Someplace with a serious reputation, I think college degrees are great for life confidence, feeling smart, maybe learning to write, and handling sex/ alcohol/ independence from parents; but they're unimpressive to producers. Of course none of this is what I did, but it is what I would advise.

Interviewer:
[10] Question by XenaDude:

"What happened to your website and fanclub?"

Alexandra Tydings:
[11] My website people got my name back (thank you! thank you! thank you!) and moved it over to AlexandraTydings.com. I will update it one of these days. In fact, I'll probably re-do it (which is one reason I haven't updated it - that and my reluctance to remove my tribute to Kevin.) The fan club was pretty Xena-focused, so when the show ended I think it went through a natural winding down process. I'm not really involved with running it though, so you'd have to ask them.

Interviewer:
[12] Is it best to find out for yourself or believe what others tell you?

Alexandra Tydings:
[13] Find out for myself always, unless it's something dangerous or stupid.

Interviewer:
[14] What's the second thing you notice about people when you meet them?

Alexandra Tydings:
[15] Their attitude.

Interviewer:
[16] What did you dream about last night?

Alexandra Tydings:
[17] I dreamt that my father had a face-lift. The scary part is that I thought he looked good. Creepy. Then his wife and I had a drink. I was looking forward to hearing from her what she thought about it, but then my cat decided it was time to wake me up.

Interviewer:
[18] Do actors go out and get parts or does a company contact an agent to get to you?

Alexandra Tydings:
[19] In my experience it is always through my agent. Either they submit me for something they think I'd be right for, or the casting director calls them looking for me.

Interviewer:
[20] How important is exercise in your life? What sports do you play?

Alexandra Tydings:
[21] Since I grew up dancing, my body feels best when it has oxygen moving through it and I tend to be pretty active by nature. But I'm certainly not very disciplined or consistent about it. Right now most of my exercise comes from practicing yoga and remodeling my house. When I start a new thing (tae kwon do, for example, or African dance), I usually obsess for a few months and then slow down and it mixes in with everything else or takes a back seat to a new obsession.

Interviewer:
[22] How do you recognize a hard-core nutball?

Alexandra Tydings:
[23] My instinct has always been reliable.

Interviewer:
[24] What do you envision happening to us after we die? Do you think you're right?

Alexandra Tydings:
[25] Right now I'm thinking we return to a big fantastic soup of light/love/energy where everyone is everything, which is all love... until we reemerge into some other adventure, which is a new form/embodiment/manifestation of that energy. I'm sure I'm not right. If I'm right then it's too big for my little brain to understand, so I couldn't possibly be right.

Interviewer:
[26] Do you carry a notebook with you for ideas? Is it useful?

Alexandra Tydings:
[27] Sometimes. Not particularly. If I'm deep in the middle of a project it is.

Interviewer:
[28] You've just won the lottery. What do you do?

Alexandra Tydings:
[29] Call my mom.

Interviewer:
[30] Is it alright for celebrities to express themselves or does it feel like media, religion, and or political functions try to control what's said?

Alexandra Tydings:
[31] Everyone tries to control what's said. Of course it is alright for celebrities to express themselves. I think it's a responsibility that comes with so much visibility. I would much rather be reading in the supermarket about what people think than who they sleep with. What has been happening lately with the threats of blackballing actors who spoke out against the war, the passing of the Patriot Act, accusing people of being "unpatriotic" for questioning the wisdom and morality of our government's recent policies, is all very scary.

Interviewer:
[32] Does it feel like 'Big Brother' is watching you?

Alexandra Tydings:
[33] Not really. I have a lovely haven with my garden and animals here. But my lover is English and every trip across the border makes me nervous. Since the Patriot Act, any non-US citizen can be "detained" indefinitely, without a charge, without a lawyer, without even notifying anyone. That is horrifying to me.

Interviewer:
[34] Do you feel safer now after 9-11? Did society learn anything?

Alexandra Tydings:
[35] Not at all. Our leaders have failed to ask what would possibly motivate healthy young men to kill themselves so dramatically in order to take a stand against the US. I remember some friends asking genuinely "Why do they hate us?" Our media (which post-FCC deregulation should soon be entirely owned by Mr. Murdoch) doesn't tell us about the dictatorships we prop up (Iraq, for instance, but that was 20 years ago), the democracies we help tear down (East Timor, anyone?) the pharmaceutical plant that we accidentally blow up in Sudan - a country that can't afford to lose a thing - no apology, no reparations, these people are starving and dying of malaria, oops. And what we have done since 9-11 can only function to stir up much more anger: invading a Muslim country who has never attacked us, flaunting the killing of Hussein's sons (no trials in this new democratic Iraq?), abandoning Afghanistan yet again, and alienating our allies. Losing sight of the search for Bin Laden certainly doesn't make me feel any safer either.

Interviewer:
[36] In your opinion, what could justify the invasion of a sovereign state?

Alexandra Tydings:
[37] I think everyone needs to study a lot more Gandhi. Violence begets violence. Period. Every time. Even if it's justified. Every suicide bombing in Israel and every invasion of the West Bank is in response to some provocation. It won't end until people choose to stop fighting and then stop fighting. I've never been in a country that's been invaded, and of course my English friends have strong feelings about their need to defend themselves against Hitler. I can't argue with that. But I think war is an abomination, a failure of humanity, and the worse possible option.

Interviewer:
[38] What were/are the best times of your life and the worst times?

Alexandra Tydings:
[39] Traveling and being with the people I love are the best times. The worst times are when I lose people I love or lose faith in myself.

Interviewer:
[40] What is one misconception about you that you'd like to clear up?

Alexandra Tydings:
[41] I recently heard that there is a rumor that I'm sick. While it makes me laugh, it also kind of gives me the creeps, so I'd like people to know that I'm perfectly healthy - physically anyway!

Interviewer:
[42] Do all actors have to join SAG?

Alexandra Tydings:
[43] If they want to act in SAG films and TV shows, absolutely.
Screen Actors' Guild website

Interviewer:
[44] What's going on with HourGlass?

Alex and Claudia as mysterious Arabian spies with a mission

Hourglass
an Alexandra Tydings and Claudia Christian project


Alexandra Tydings:
[45] We had a good little run and got some good interest. I learned a lot about writing and production. But I'm pretty sure it's over.

Interviewer:
[46] Do you have psychic or paranormal powers? If so, what kind?

Alexandra Tydings:
[47] Sometimes I get vibes/instincts/premonitions. Sometimes I can see what I suppose might be called auras or energy. I come from seven generations of women who lived under Mt. Shasta and were descended from Salem witches, so I definitely have some 'bruha blood' in me somewhere. Very proud of it too.
Mt. Shasta website

Interviewer:
[48] Name or quote a portion of a speech that inspired you or has stuck in your head over the years.

Alexandra Tydings:
[49] "Every blade of grass has an angel that leans over it and whispers 'grow.'" --The Talmud

Interviewer:
[50] What is your current project, and what are the plusses and minuses about it so far?

Alexandra Tydings:
[51] A new script for a movie. Plus side - it's an exciting story. Minus side- I have to write it.

Interviewer:
[52] What things have you learned from your family that you would like to forget?

Alexandra Tydings:
[53] Marriage can end romance.

Interviewer:
[54] Can money buy you happiness?

Alexandra Tydings:
[55] Of course not. If anything, it can relieve stress, but it can create it too. Poverty, however, often does inspire creativity.

Interviewer:
[56] When was the last time you sent anyone flowers?

Alexandra Tydings:
[57] February, when my sister broke her ankle.

Interviewer:
[58] Are you on a special diet for health or moral reasons?

Alexandra Tydings:
[59] Yes. After 14 years of vegetarianism, I am now a deeply committed omnivore. I am especially interested in food as adventure - I had never had sushi, oysters, steak tartare, all of which I love. I am, however, pretty freaked out by the idea of food that has been genetically modified and I'm horrified of course by the treatment of many animals in this country. So I eat a lot from my garden, from local organic growers, and animals that had real lives.



THIS is how sushi grows???

Alexandra Tydings as Aphrodite with a fish
(from FINS FEMMES AND GEMS)


Interviewer:
[60] What book have you reread the most? Why?

Alexandra Tydings:
[61] The Garden of Eden, by Hemingway. It appeals to my sense of decadence and madness.

Interviewer:
[62] What have you ever done to shock people?

Alexandra Tydings:
[63] I can't think of a time that I tried to shock someone, but I can think of lots of things that did. Dying my hair pink, shaving my head, and getting divorced. I think the most shocking thing I did was move to Hollywood to become an actress after four years at Brown studying feminist and Marxist theory.



Who would have believed that this man and his brothers could create a brilliant film like Duck Soup? He really doesn't look like he has a sense of hum--oh.

Xena and Marxism goes way back
(click the graphic to read more...)


Interviewer:
[64] Where do you feel safe?

Alexandra Tydings:
[65] Curled up with my dog. She is bigger than I am, so I am quite literally safe. She also loves better than just about anyone.

Interviewer:
[66] Where does time go?

Alexandra Tydings:
[67] In Bali, they say that time goes backwards and forwards - so that something you did today may be the cause of something that happened last week. I like that.

Interviewer:
[68] What keeps you relatively sane?

Alexandra Tydings:
[69] My animals, my garden, and the people I love, creative projects, learning.

Interviewer:
[70] What's the most satisfying part of the creative process for you?

Alexandra Tydings:
[71] Surprises.

Interviewer:
[72] Are you traveling anywhere this summer?

Alexandra Tydings:
[73] East Coast in August.

Interviewer:
[74] Does it matter to you if they never find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

Alexandra Tydings:
[75] It all matters, to the world I'd say. I think the fact that they haven't found them yet makes it almost irrelevant whether or not they find them eventually. I am glad people are asking questions about Bush's 16 words. I'm glad the Democrats are finally finding something of a backbone to challenge what's been going on. I hope some good new leaders emerge who can really shake things up for us. So much of the power is in the hands of corporations, there is so much corruption, and people have so little voice... Bush plans to raise 200 million dollars for his campaign, 80% of which goes to the media, which is owned by 5 major companies. We're losing our democracy, and I hope people can find a way to win it back.

Interviewer:
[76] What are friends for?

Alexandra Tydings:
[77] Love, growing, and adventure.

Interviewer:
[78] What's your favorite record/album right now?

Alexandra Tydings:
[79] Trance Planet, Volume 1.

Interviewer:
[80] What's your favorite record/album of all time?

Alexandra Tydings:
[81] Blondie's Parallel Lines

Interviewer:
[82] When and how did you last screw up?

Alexandra Tydings:
[83] I didn't stake the zucchini plant properly. It fell over and was uprooted.

Interviewer:
[84] What band/musician's music gets your hormones going?

Alexandra Tydings:
[85] Portishead.

Interviewer:
[86] What's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?

Alexandra Tydings:
[87] Bali.

Interviewer:
[88] Is this Ben Franklin quote out of date?

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Alexandra Tydings:
[89] Everyone deserves safety and liberty, but he's right on the money.

Interviewer:
[90] Describe your ideal of a hero.

Alexandra Tydings:
[91] Someone whose courage supersedes her fear. Who is generous to everyone and who acts from love.

Interviewer:
[92] What radical myth do you think contains more truth than fiction?

Alexandra Tydings:
[93] Moses, Oedipus, all those self-fulfilling prophecy stories.

Interviewer:
[94] What's your ultimate fantasy (take that whichever way you choose)?

Alexandra Tydings:
[95] To have a nomadic tribe of a production company - with all of my friends and everyone I love to work with, roaming the planet making beautiful films together.

Interviewer:
[96] Name one thing you know you're really good at...

Alexandra Tydings:
[97] Traveling.

Interviewer:
[98] What song or piece of music do you most wish you had written?

Alexandra Tydings:
[99] Imagine, by John Lennon

Interviewer:
[100] Do you watch your old performances? If so, when and how often?

Alexandra Tydings:
[101] I watched THE QUILL IS MIGHTIER when Kevin Smith died. I think that's the only one.



Ares, we hardly knew ye

Aphrodite with the god of war, Ares (played by the late Kevin Smith)
(from THE QUILL IS MIGHTIER)


Interviewer:
[102] Is the Internet a tool of the devil?

Alexandra Tydings:
[103] Oh, absolutely. And we are all her minions.

Interviewer:
[104] Name one thing you have vowed never to do again.

Alexandra Tydings:
[105] Move in with someone I didn't intend to stay with forever.

Interviewer:
[106] All things being possible, what kind of success would you hope for?

Alexandra Tydings:
[107] The kind that would give me access and power to make projects that I think are important.

Interviewer:
[108] How old were you when you had your first kiss, and what was it like?

Alexandra Tydings:
[109] Eleven. Awful. A shoving, wiggly eel of a tongue suddenly in my mouth. Luckily when I was twelve I had my next kiss, which was wonderful - gentle, teasing, affectionate, passionate. Got me back on track.

Interviewer:
[110] What was the last Great Book that did not disappoint you?

Alexandra Tydings:
[111] What exactly is a "great book"? Birdsong is the last novel that I really enjoyed.

Interviewer:
[112] What is the biggest misconception regular Joes have about actors?

Alexandra Tydings:
[113] Working is glamorous.

Interviewer:
[114] What is your favorite song from the 80's?

Alexandra Tydings:
[115] Love-Cats, by the Cure.

Interviewer:
[116] Which is abused more? Freedom of speech or censorship.

Alexandra Tydings:
[117] I don't think there can be too much freedom of speech. Let it all proliferate and let people exercise their maturity and responsibility to deal with it. Repression just empowers the shadow.

Interviewer:
[118] Harry Potter: children's book or devil spawn?

Alexandra Tydings:
[119] Anything that gets eleven year old boys excited about reading an 800-page book in the middle of summer has got to have some kind of magic to it.

Interviewer:
[120] Televangelists: spreading God's love or using god to spread fear and hate?

Alexandra Tydings:
[121] I have no idea because I don't watch them. But I think the biggest threat to peace in the world right now is fundamentalism. Of any religion.

Interviewer:
[122] Any vegetarian recipes for overweight-unhealthy carnivores?

Alexandra Tydings:
[123] I don't do well being denied anything, so the best weight loss advice I can give is about doing 'More' rather than 'Less': Drink more water, eat more vegetables, eat more protein, exercise more (slipped that one in!)

[124] So. I have three ideas.

[125] #1 Interesting water.

[126] I like to spice up water with stuff from my garden - mint, lemon (forget juicing or slicing it, just squeeze a half into a big glass and throw the rest in with it.) Itís a fun way to use the weird herbs that I had to plant but never use - lemon balm, pineapple sage, etc. I also do the old fashioned mom's trick of freezing juice (natural, all juice - no junk!) in ice cube trays. I pretend they're for when my friends' kids come over and then I eat them all myself.

[127] #2 Salad dressing in a jar.

[128] I can be quite lazy, so Iím much more likely to eat a salad if I don't have to do too much washing and chopping. This dressing is useful because it's easy and you can make a ton of it ahead of time in the jar, keep it in the jar, shake it up in the jar and pour whatever you want and save the rest.

lemon juice (from a real lemon!)
olive oil (a good one)
salt (you don't really need much)
pepper
Mix up as much as you want - about 2 parts (tablespoons for example) lemon juice to 5 parts olive oil. Shake it up, eat your salads, you might not even realize you're doing something good for you!

[129] #3 My favorite salad.

a handful of fresh spinach
a handful of fresh peas
feta cheese crumbled on top
lemon dressing
Yum!!!!!!

[130] Iím just learning to cook and it's such an adventure. Jamie Oliver's, Naked Chef series (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0718144392/202-1585289-7771035) is fantastic and easy. Iím also loving, Madhur Jaffrey's, Quick and Easy Indian Cooking. (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0811811832/104-0727925-5022305?vi=glance)

[131] And then take a walk, do something you love, or learn something new - hiking or dancing or something that seems like fun. F--- dieting. Life's too short and they rarely work anyway.

[132] And one last thing about the overweight carnivore issue:

[133] I personally don't believe that vegetarianism is a great idea for weight loss (born-again omnivore that I am). It limits the foods you can eat, which contributes to a feeling of being denied what you like; and also I think you end up eating more carbs to replace all that meat. I would suggest eating more protein (go for free range organic stuff and fish that was caught wild) rather than less. If you want to cut back on something, make it junk food - anything that didn't grow naturally.

[134] The exception on the vegetarian issue is 100% raw vegans. I have some friends who swear by it, and they all drop many pounds without really noticing. I'm having too much fun learning to cook, but they say they have more energy than ever before.



Alex's Resume

Alex's mailing list

Alex's website

"Taboo" video with Claudia Christian and Alexandra Tydings. Directed by Claire Stansfield.

Date of Birth: 15 December 1972, Washington, USA

Films & TV Series

Dodge's City TV Series (1999)
Cricket

Hercules and Xena - The Animated Movie: The Battle for Mount Olympus
Aphrodite (voice)

The Sunchaser (1996)
Victoria Reynolds

Red Shoe Diaries 7: Burning Up (1995)
Lynn
(excerpt from episode "Burning Up")

Angst

Alice

Queerbait

TV guest appearances

Sheena
Elena
"Treasure of Sienna Madre" (episode # 2.6) (2001)

Xena: Warrior Princess
Aphrodite
"Many Happy Returns" (episode # 6.19) (2001)
"You Are There" (episode # 6.13) (2001)
"The God You Know " (episode # 6.12) (2001)
"Motherhood" (episode # 5.22) (2001)
"Married With Fishsticks" (episode # 5.15) (2000)
"Punch Lines" (episode # 5.11) (2000)
"Little Problems" (episode # 5.8) (1999)
"If the Shoe Fits" (episode # 4.12) (1999)
"Fins, Femmes and Gems" (episode # 3.18) (1998)
"Quill Is Mightier..., The" (episode # 3.10) (1998)
"For Him the Bell Tolls" (episode # 2.16) (1997)

Crabella
"Married With Fishsticks" (episode # 5.15) (2000)

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
Aphrodite
"Love, Amazon Style" (episode # 6.2) (1999)
"Love on the Rocks" (episode # 5.18) (1999)
"Reign Of Terror" (episode # 3.18) (1997)
"Green-Eyed Monster, The" (episode # 3.7) (1996)
"Love Takes a Holiday" (episode # 3.3) (1996)
"The Apple" (episode # 2.17) (1996)
Catherine "One Fowl Day" (episode # 4.17) (1998)
Catherine the pig (voice)
"One Fowl Day" (episode # 4.17) (1998)
"Porkules" (episode # 4.16) (1998)
"Stranger In A Strange World" (episode # 4.5) (1997)

Party of Five
Kerry
"Handicaps" (episode # 4.3) (1997)

Vanishing Son

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
"The Visitor,"

Red Shoe Diaries
"Love at first sight" (1992)
Lynn, "Burning Up"

Acknowledgments

Thanks to Kamouraskan for the beta.



Articles

An Interview with Alexandra Tydings, Bret Ryan Rudnick. WHOOSH #17 (02/98)
Inside the Head of Alexandra Tydings, Amy Murphy. WHOOSH #61 (10/01)
Inside the Head of Alexandra Tydings, Redux, Amy Murphy. WHOOSH #72 (09/02)

Friends And Co-Workers Share Their Memories And Impressions Of Kevin Smith, Alexandra Tydings. WHOOSH #67 (04/02)

Alexandra Tydings -- Q&A, Tina Mancuso. Whoosh! On The Road, August 29, 1998.
Gen Con 98, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, August 6-9, 1998, Daniel Charles MacDeavitt. Whoosh! On the Road, August 9, 1998.

L. J. Maas and Murphy Wilson [Amy Murphy].One Step Beyond ... Uber, That Is. WHOOSH #49 (October 2000)

The "Inside the Head of..." series in Whoosh various issues



Biography

Amy Murphy Amy Murphy
Amy Murphy resides in Indiana, and is an avid reader of Xena: Warrior Princess Fan Fiction. If it exists in the Xenaverse, chances are she has read it! Murphy has also tried her hand at writing fan fiction, turning out two very nice pieces that reside on a couple of web sites throughout the Xenaverse.


Favorite episode: IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE (24/124)
Favorite line: "I Have Many Skills" --various episodes
First episode seen: TITANS (07/107)
Least favorite episode: LYRE, LYRE HEARTS ON FIRE (100/510)

 

 

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