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Alexandra Paul Issue

Alexandra Paul Interview
Casey Martin, Tiger Woods, and the Golf War
AIDS, HIV, and Protease Inhibitors


Alexandra Paul is very much in earnest. She became socially responsible at an early age and has actively supported numerous, significant causes.

An exciting talent, Alexandra has excelled as a model, actress and she vigorously trained for and participated in the World Ironman Triathlon Championships in Hawaii this past October. She is probably best known for the five seasons she spent as Lt. Holden on the hit series BAYWATCH.

ABILITY Magazine recently spoke with Alexandra about her acting career and current projects.

Chet Cooper: What was the inspiration for wanting to become a triathlete?

Alexandra Paul: I had been acting for fifteen years by the end of 1996 and I was feeling kind of burned out. The Ironman Corporation had heard I was athletic and asked me if I would participate in the Ironman competition. I had done one triathlon by that time, and it was a very short one. So I said yes, and told my agent, Tim, I wanted to take 1997 off in order to train for the Ironman, which was in October of 1997. He was very supportive. Tim said to me that there is more to life than Hollywood, and a lot of actresses take time off to have babies, for example, and there is no reason why I couldn't. I really appreciated him for that. So I hired Scott Tinley as a coach. He has won the Ironman twice, and has been doing it since it's inception. In fact, he has participated in the Ironman more frequently than any other person. I trained for it like it was a job. When it finally came around, it was incredibly exciting and wonderful.

CC: In training for the event, did you have to make any adjustments to your diet and health regimen?

AP: My normal workout was one hour of cardiovascular a day with, about, a 45 minute weight workout. I was in the gym between 1-2 hours a day. When I started training for the Ironman, my training went to three to seven hours a day. I guess my weight went down, but not that much. I weigh 132.5 lbs. According to my nutritionist last week, I have 13.5 % body fat which stayed there during my training for the Ironman. When I look back at pictures of myself, I think I was a little scrawny looking, but I did not realize it then. After all, I am an American woman and an actress, so you can never be too thin from a work perspective. As for my diet, I ate a lot more, but not everything in sight. My boyfriend, Ian, ate everything in sight! I have been a vegetarian since I was fourteen, mostly for moral reasons. I think it can be healthy to eat chicken and fish but I chose not to. I don't wear leather or wool, and I don't use any products that have been tested on animals. It works better for my life. I do need to watch how much protein I get. I get my protein from eggs whites and protein powder. But I love sugar and I don't have the perfect diet. People think that I am so healthy, and I guess I am, because I don't drink coffee, alcohol or sodas. Nor do I smoke or do drugs. But I do like desserts.

CC: Who had the better time? You or Ian?

AP: He beat me by 90 minutes. He has always been really fast. I beat him in the swim, and then, on the bike, about seven hundred handsome men passed me. All I could think of was, at least I beat them in the swim. I am not a very good cyclist and I am not a very good runner either. I can go for a long time but I am not fast.

CC: Will you race in it again?

AP: When the Ironman was over and I had finished in it, I knew that I was going to go back to acting. I knew it was like a jewel, a one-time wonderful experience. I am currently auditioning for another series.

CC: There is rumor about Wonderwoman?

AP: Well, yes I did audition for Wonderwoman, but I have not heard anything. They have not yet cast the part, but I do know that my publicist got calls from Australia and England that I was the new Wonderwoman. One of my sister's coworkers had heard that I was the new Wonderwoman, but I haven't heard it! I think I would be a very good Wonderwoman! (Laughs) But I have not yet been cast as such.

CC: I interviewed Jay Leno before he became the host of the Tonight Show. There were rumors then, but he had not been contacted. A week later, he got the job.

AP: Oh Wow! (Laughs) Maybe you're a good omen.

CC: What is your involvement with the Rock n' Roll marathon?

AP: Although I really felt that 1997 was my athletic year, when I did the Ironman and became the Bally spokesperson, I also got involved in the Rock n' Roll marathon, which will bleed into 1998. So I am training for a marathon right now. I am one of the founding investors and I own stock in the marathon. It is a new marathon in San Diego and there will be a band every mile. Which, I know from my paltry experience of only having done two marathons, that you need a band every mile or so for the inspiration.

CC: What other activities are you involved in?

AP: Ian and I tutor a young man once a week in reading. I love to read. Ian and I don't have a television, we prefer to read and do crossword puzzles. Because we had done the Ironman together, we wanted to do something together for 1998, so we decided to volunteer to tutor. It is just an hour a week and it is very rewarding.

CC: Does the young person have a learning disability?

AP: Yes, he does. He has a learning disorder, and my job is to have him read because he won't do it on his own, at all. He hates reading and I am trying to get him to enjoy it more. It's hard.

CC: Does he know you from television?

AP: Yes, I think he has seen me, but he's only eleven years old. What does he care about TV?

CC: Baywatch! Hmm?

AP: (Laughs) Yes, that is our demographics. He doesn't seem to be too impressed, though. He is sweet. His name is Alex.

CC: How did you find Alex?

AP: Through St. Joseph's Center in Venice. They deal with low-income families. I had done a couple of fund-raisers for them as a host, so I called them for information to find out where I could find somebody to tutor. A lot of people want to help, but they think it will take too much time or they don't know where to look. All they have to do is make a phone call. Every call will lead you to something else. I was lucky. I found somebody on my first phone call. I always recommend that people work with small local organizations. I think they reach people more directly. People often don't feel like they are doing anything of real value when they volunteer to answer a phone for a big organization. But it is valuable because they are the ones that do the lobbying and get the money. That is terrific. I think that there is so much you can do to make yourself feel valuable. By tutoring Alex for the one hour, it probably does more for me than him. It is not an altruistic thing at all. It is selfish, but it has a nice by-product.

CC: I understand that you have a twin sister. What does she do?

AP: She is a Firefighter in San Francisco and has a book coming out in May, called Fighting Fire. The book is about herself, and being a female firefighter. It is a really good book. She will be in Life Magazine. I guess a lot of people are interested in the subject of female firefighters.

CC: How similar are the two of you?

AP: I use her as my role model for a lot of my stronger roles. I based my Baywatch character upon her because I was not used to playing someone in charge who was strong. She has been a role model and an inspiration in terms of acting. We definitely have had those moments when I'll feel sad and think something must be wrong with Caroline. I'll call her, and sure enough. That happened one night when I woke up in a panic, and my boyfriend said, "maybe you should call your sister." I called her and she was upset because she had gotten some really bad news. One time I had surgery on my abdomen and she bled that day. We are identical, but we have taken different paths. On the surface we may seem different, but we are a lot alike. She inspired my athleticism because, as kids, she was the athlete and I was the student. Without her as a twin, I don't think I would have been an athlete.

CC: So she's older?

AP: (Laughs) Umm, I'm a few minutes older.

CC: So she looks like you?

AP: Yes, people see her in her firefighter uniform and they think that she is I.

CC: Same haircut?

AP: Yes, her hair is probably a little longer than mine.

CC: Is she married?

AP: No, my sister is gay. She would be married; she has been with her girlfriend for five years.

CC: Have you always known she was gay?

AP: I found out when I was twenty-one. She said she always kind of knew, but she dated and had a lot of boyfriends, too. But she fell in love with women. She loves beautiful men. She loves Tom Cruise. So she has crushes on men and women. She has twice the options.

CC: So you didn't know until she became an adult?

AP: Right, because she had boyfriends. And we went to different boarding schools. Then I asked her one morning if she was gay and she said yes.

CC: You have done a lot of work with environmental issues. When did start to get involved?

AP: When I was seven, I wrote to President Nixon and asked him to stop pollution. I got a form letter back; my sister wrote to him, too, and got the same letter back. We were really disappointed when we realized this.

CC: But he knew you were twins so he could do that.

AP: Yes, maybe. (Laughing) When I was in sixth grade we stopped eating anything but white tuna because of the killing of dolphins. My mother boycotted Nestles. She was always very aware. We grew up in the country, in Connecticut, and were always very aware of nature. In High School, I became president of the energy committee. It was the seventies and there was an energy crisis. I did a paper on wind energy and slowly became involved with energy issues. I went on a Green Peace march in 1986. It started in Los Angeles and we were to walk across the United States in protest of nuclear arms. I went on it for the first five and a half weeks. I participated in the civil disobedience on the Nevada test sight, which is where they test the nuclear weapons, and I was arrested there over a dozen times. I was in jail for over four days. It was a very small prison in Nevada; another protester, a drunk and me. Then I moved on to overpopulation. If we don't solve the overpopulation issue we won't be able to solve any other environmental problems. It is like the stepchild of the environmental issue. No one wanted to talk about it. They were afraid of being called elitists, baby-haters, etc. People are afraid of that issue. Two years ago, I started speaking in classrooms on the topic of overpopulation. It has been great. There has been no controversy linked with it, at all. It does not have to be offensive. Then I wrote, produced and hosted an environmental film on overpopulation that aired on PBS, which is now being distributed to high schools around the country. Now, I am writing another one on consumption and materialism. How much American's use, want and buy, and does it really make us happy?

CC: Simply buying in bulk can make a difference

AP: Exactly. Packaging has such a horrendous impact on the landfills. But I guess packaging is what catches our eye. We are taught to pay for that packaging and we do.

CC: There needs to be a shift in attitudes about what is correct, from the advertisers on down. There are several programs out there in affect. Ralph's Grocery stores will actually pay you to bring in your old bags and reuse them. Did you know that?

AP: Actually, I didn't know that. I shop at Vons and they don't pay you. I did notice that Ralph's has charging stations at a lot of the LA stores for the EV1.

CC: That's right, you drive an EV1.

AP: Yes, it is my third electric car. I started driving electric cars in 1990.

CC: When you were playing golf?

AP: Yes, that's right. (Laughs) The other two were conversions. The EV1 is the first ground-up car to be mass-produced. After the Exxon Valdez spill, I was really on my high-horse about it. I boycotted Exxon, but I realized I was just a part of the loop. I was buying gas. As long as we buy gas, there will be tankers out there. So the real solution is not to complain and whine and blame, but to break the cycle. So that is when I got my first electric car. It was a conversion. I loved it but I learned a lot. My second one was lighter and smaller. Then I got this one. My first one was seventy-five hundred dollars and my second one was about nine thousand dollars. This one was sticker priced at thirty-three thousand dollars, but I lease it for five thousand dollars a year.

CC: Do you like it?

AP: I love this car.


CC: Have you found any limitations in driving an electric car?

AP: I also have a gas car, and I see more limitations in driving that. It's just that we are so conditioned to gas cars that we accept those limitations without even thinking of them. The limitations of the electric car are definitely there, but without the problems of pollution, noise, and dependence upon foreign oil. An electric car has less than one hundred moving parts, therefore requiring fewer tune-ups and repairs than a gas car with one thousand moving parts. The limitations are the range, the charging units available and the time it takes to charge. It takes three to four hours to recharge.

CC: Tell me how this works; when you go to Ralph's to shop and you plug in, do you get enough charge to get home again?

AP: It takes three to four hours to fully charge. If you shop for half an hour it would give you one-sixth of a tank, which would give you about fifteen miles. You typically can go eighty miles per charge. The EV1 gets between seventy and ninety miles per charge, depending on how you drive. There is a special way to drive an electric car. You don't have to keep your foot on the accelerator. I can go three miles on San Vincente without even hitting the accelerator, if I don't hit stop lights. The momentum will keep it going. Otherwise, it is just like driving a gas car, except that it's better. It is 95% cleaner. The batteries are almost fully recyclable. There is one piece of plastic that cannot be recycled. There are no tune-ups required. You just have to rotate the tires every five thousand miles. My boyfriend has a Ford Bronco utility vehicle. It's not a four-wheel drive or anything, but we have found that my car is five times cheaper to own and run than his.

CC: How do the fees for recharging work?

AP: For now you actually get to recharge for free. I can go to LAX and recharge for free and actually park for free, as well. I have left my car there for three days for free.

CC: So if one travels a lot and parks at the airport, you would save enough money to pay for the car?

AP: (Laughs) Ian went to the airport to pick up his mom, and eight out of the ten units had electric cars charging in them.

CC: So the word is out.