ImageA Better World - Faces of Philanthropy.

Lucy Lawless
Warrior Activist
Written by Rachel Mansky

Big dreams were always a part of Lucy Lawless’s life, though as a little girl growing up in New Zealand, a tiny country at the bottom of the world, she never dreamed her work would take her to the outer stratosphere. After her starring role in the phenomenally successful series Xena: Warrior Princess, Lawless’s alter ego was honored in the naming of a dwarf planet. The dwarf planet originally nicknamed “Xena” is now officially known as Eris, but its moon is called Dysnomia (meaning “lawlessness”) after the Greek goddess of lawlessness. She muses about the honor, “That might have been beyond my imagination!”

Lawless is hard at work on her new series, Spartacus: Blood and Sand, which premiered in January. Of all the work she’s done, this show is the most difficult and challenging. “I thought I was in for two or three days a week, and everybody’s working five days, wall to wall.” She’s not complaining, though. She relishes the role, something completely different for an actress who loves to make people laugh. “I’m an awful schemer and a desperate woman. The intrigue is really taut and electrifying and beautifully written. It’s like Rome meets 300.”

Celebrity has its perks, but Lawless doesn’t take advantage of the offers. Instead, she puts herself front and center where the need is greatest—New Zealand’s Starship Foundation, the fundraising arm of the national children’s hospital in New Zealand. “I don’t know where the health of New Zealand children would be if it were not for this foundation,” she says.

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Submitted by Barbara Davies