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The Glamazon faces the Warrior Princess
In the latest Superstar to Superstar, two strong, sexy women become quick friends, as Women's Champion Beth Phoenix talks to actress and singer Lucy Lawless. It seems the Glamazon and the star of Battlestar Galactica and, of course, Xena: Warrior Princess have plenty in common.
Beth: On Battlestar Galactica, I found out your character was killed off last season, but you'll be returning for additional episodes. I know you can't give me a whole lot of details, but can you give me a taste of what's in store for you?
Lucy: My character … My character …You know what? I've been sworn to absolute secrecy!
B: No problem!
L: With that show … in geek roles, as I lovingly call them, the people really don't want spoilers. So I think the producers really try to honor that, so they can keep everybody surprised all the time. … There are some surprising returns, a lot of the characters. You're going to be shocked, let's put it that way. There are some twists and turns that you would have never predicted.
B: Awesome. So, in other words, make sure we watch! Stay tuned.
B: Well, that segues nicely into my next question, which is: Why is Battlestar Galactica popular among our fans in WWE?
L: The fans are pretty in tune to the larger-than-life characters, and well, just larger-than-life situations. In Battlestar Galactica the characters are very underplayed, actually. But you have to suspend disbelief to think that you're being abducted by aliens every week. They're certainly prepared to go along for the ride, and I think the fans of WWE and Galactica are up for anything.
B: Definitely. I think the sci-fi element, too, would interest our fans because there's just so much colorfulness in WWE.
L: There are a lot of guys, more men than women.
B: Definitely. Our demographic is mostly men, as well, like the 18 to 35 range is our largest demographic. … So let's talk about your appearance on Celebrity Duets. How has this impacted your singing career?
L: A lot of people warned me; they said I shouldn't do that. I said I didn't care, that it was a chance at too much fun, that life is really short, and I think I made the right decision for me. It also propelled me off in a whole different direction. I'm doing quite a lot of singing now. It's just another form of performance. It just makes me happy, and you really don't need more of an excuse than that, do you?
B: No, of course not!
L: Just do something that brings about joy. You've got to do it.
B: I totally agree. So your singing career has obviously given you the opportunity to perform in front of live crowds. How can you compare performing for a live crowd, as opposed to working in a studio on say, the set of Xena or Battlestar Galactica?
L: Live performance is a bit of a drag, I've got to say. What happens to me is that I get such a high, such a buzz off doing a live show, and then I'll go and do television, and it's a much more low-energy kind of performance. And after a while I just sort of meld that energy with the thought of gearing up again. Like, I've got to do another show again in January. It's terrifying! Like, oh my God, how am I going to get back up to that pitch again, in terms of energy? It's very much like training for a big fight, I think. You get into a bit of a doughnut in between time (laughs), so I have to get fighting fit for my next show, and quick!
B: Oh, I'm sure you're always at the top of your game.
L: No, certainly not. The more relaxed you are, the more fun you're having. … There's a time to be a doughnut, and there's a time to be a fighting fit warrior, right?
B: Yeah, you have to have that balance in your life. … Do you have any more plans to star in a reality show of your own?
L: Not really, but I have to admit, I'm not much of a plan-maker. I have all the drive of a jellyfish. I just, like, go with the current and I have a great time wherever I am. That makes me very frustrating for agents or people who want to keep you on the treadmill, thinking about your career all the time, but it makes me much happier, I think.
B: Right, and versatile, too.
L: Yeah, try something else. Risk all.
B: Yeah. So I read that you did the voices for a character in the new Dragonlance and the voice of Wonder Woman in the new Justice League animated movies.
L: Yeah, I thought I needed to cement my cult status just a bit further. It seems like I'm living on the edge of the cult world all the time. Anyway, that was fun.
B: You have been able to play the role of Wonder Woman and play another role of a strong woman, Xena. I am the Glamazon, who is similar to Xena. So what's it been like to play an iconic female character like that?
L: So much fun, though I'm wondering how much of the character… did I get confused about who was who at times? (Laughs) But no, I'm not like that with my family, at all. I mean, they wouldn't put up with it for starters. I'm wondering in my private life, away from this, have there been times where I was a little bit confused? (Laughs) Maybe I did start to identify with that tough-girl side of me, as if I needed that. And maybe growing up I did. I have a lot of brothers. Do you have a lot of brothers?
B: I have one brother, actually. I always was the older sister, so I always had to take the dominant role in our family, kind of looking after him.
L: How come?
B: I felt protective over him, I guess. So I guess I always felt like I took on more of a brotherly role, I think. So you grew up with several brothers?
L: Yeah, so I think you kind of have to be tough because they were not very sympathetic to my prancing about and doing ballet and stuff. I don't know, I think I might have adopted that kind of toughness as them. So now I'm sort of examining these things and thinking, "Do I really need them anymore in my life?" Sometimes you do, you get confused about who is you and who is your job. You're the role.
B: Now that you have a family and children, would you say that helps you identify with who you are?
L: No, I don't really think that. Just slip into new roles as prescribed by your parents, like oh, now I'm a mother, now I'm a wife, now I'm a sister instead of. … No, I think who are you has nothing to do with any of those things. They're just jobs.
B: I told many of the WWE Superstars I would be talking to you, and the common thread amongst everyone is that they all saw your appearance on Curb Your Enthusiasm, and everyone said what a great job you did. Can you tell our fans about your experience on Curb Your Enthusiasm?
L: I don't remember an acting job since Xena that was as much fun. You know, when was the last time you had really great fun? Because it was sunny, we were always out in nature and it was bright and colorful and goofy, and it felt like a six-year-long party. ... And Curb Your Enthusiasm, though, is now picking up our fan base. It was the first time I had that much goofy fun. Everybody was like-minded, and it was just bright and cheery, and I loved it.
B: Awesome. So obviously it was different from filming Xena or doing voice-over work. … I have just one more question to wrap it up: Is it true that an astronomer nicknamed a recently discovered planet "Xena" in honor of you?
L: A guy called Mike Brown at Cal State University was a fan of the show from back -- when did we start, 1996? -- through whenever he identified this huge lump of ice and whatever, out beyond Pluto. And he lovingly referred to it as "Xena" and its moon as "Gabrielle." However, all the astronomers of the world got together and ganged up and decided they could not possibly name this lump of rock after a fictional character on television, so it had to be called something like "Persephone" or whatever -- who wasn't real either, by the way! (Laughs) So, frankly, I think they're all a bunch of dummies. (Laughs) And the main problem … even Pluto got demoted because they suddenly realized they'd gone to the trouble of defining what a planet was. So they formed a definition, and not only did "Xena" lose out on its planet status, but Pluto was kicked out of the solar system, too.
B: Well, in my mind, you're always a star, Lucy.
L: Aww, thanks! I was hoping that my moon could be "Ravishing" Rick Rude or something.
L: He was always my favorite.
B: Really?! He's pretty easy on the eyes, too. (Laughs) He was an amazing star in WWE. … Lucy, I won't keep you any more. I want to thank you, so much, for taking time out of your day.
L: OK, Beth. You're welcome. It was nice to talk to you. Bye-bye, take care.