Telescope Magazine

May 2004

Many thanks to Ann for the scans

WONDER WOMEN

Lucy Lawless hosts discovery channel's warrior women, an action-packed series on history's forgotten heroines.

Ki'em tan speaks to the former warrior princess to find out more.

 

HISTORY hasn't always been fair to outstanding women, but Warrior Women hopes to lluminate the lives of a few bygone heroines who kicked some serious butt back in their day. If these gung-ho gals had their way, there would be no such thing as the weaker sex.

Spanning a period of some 2,000 years and shot on actual battle locations in France, Ireland, Britain, China and the United States, Warrior Women examines the fact and fiction surrounding some of history's most charismatic women. Feisty females like Boudica, the fiery red-headed queen who brought the Roman Empire to its knees; the real Mulan, Wang Cong'er; the 19-year-oid martyr, Joan of Arc; Grace O'Malley. the Irish pirate princess; and the clairvoyant Apache, Lozen.

How appropriate then, that Lucy Lawless, who played Xena: Warrior Princess on television, is leading the assault on the past. The mother of three ditches her leather togs to exchange notes with historians and other experts. "I got to shed some light on remarkable human beings who have been left out of the history books because they're women," says Lawless. "It hasn't been favourable until now to trumpet the infamy or the fame of mighty women characters around the world. It's about time we redress the balance."

TELESCOPE: Which of the five women warriors featured do you relate to most?

LUCY LAWLESS: Grace O'Malley, the female pirate from Ireland, 'cos that's my ancestry as well. I understood her
 predicament. She was just an amazing character. She lived a long time, unlike some of the others, who lived very short and vain, glorious lives.
 

Who would you consider to be a present-day female warrior?

A great many women in politics like Madeline Albright. I know she uses Xena as one of her icons of leadership and strength.

Do you consider yourself a modern female warrior?

No. I'm a mother of three children and that takes all of the strength and character I've got. But any parent who strives
 for his kids to grow up well adjusted and be great citizens and contributors to the planet is a hero.
 

What was it like standing on some of the actual ground where these women once walked?

Fantastic. It gives me goose bumps. What I love about these shows is that it makes you relate to somebody who lived a long time ago. That's a really wonderful thing to
be part of.

In agreeing to host this documentary, weren't you worried about being typecast in Xena-like roles in the future?

Not really. I don't look anything like her and I don't talk like her. People find it very surprising. They think I'm a 700-pound gorilla. I'd like to try more extreme characters where you're really ugly or really stupid. I like playing people in desperate circumstances, like someone in moral, not mortal, peril.
 

What attributes do you think modern women can pick up from warriors of old?

The burning need to be true to yourself, your goal and what you believe is your purpose in life that's what all these women had. They could not allow themselves to fall short of their mission even though it meant death.

What distinguishes strong women in the modern world from strong women in times past?

Strong women have always existed, but it was very hard back then because there was a great amount of prejudice and the culture simply would not allow it.

Do you think strong women are taken seriously in modern society?

I think they're beginning to be taken seriously. We have to tell our daughters they can achieve anything. My parents told me that and I never disbelieved them. That's the number one thing, especially for fathers. When a father says to his daughter, "You are going to do great things," she automatically believes him because he is the ultimate male for her.

What advice do you have for your daughter as she grows up?

I don't want her to miss a moment of her youth. I'm soon to be 36. and you never get those teenage years back.
Keep your eyes open through your teen years because a very clever man once said that youth is wasted on the young.

Warrior Women With Lucy Lawless
Host: Lucy Lawless Discovery (Ch 12) 37 May 10.00pm