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Born Performer

New Zealand Woman's Weekly

31 January 1994

Scanned by Roger

 Lucy Lawless is a woman of many actress,  singer, TV reporter and daredevil



Lucy Lawless is a woman of many talents... an actress, singer, TV reporter and daredevil.

WHEN Lucy Lawless was four years old, her godfather asked what she wanted to be when she grew up. "Famous!" was her immediate reply.

More than 20 years later Lucy is well known as an actress and TV presenter. Last year she starred in Marlin Bay as Chloe and travelled the world in Air New Zealand Holiday. She has also appeared in several commercials, including ones for Shell service stations and Philips electrical equipment, and she has been approached by people who've recognised her as the mum of baby Stanley in Auckland Savings Bank advertisements. But fame, she says, is no longer important. "There are other things that matter more."

Such as her husband Garth Lawless and their daughter Daisy. "If my acting career stopped tomorrow I would be all right because I have Garth and Daisy and a wonderful family behind me," Lucy says.

Not that she has any plans to give up acting. She has wanted to tread the boards since she was a child, but kept her dreams to herself.

"I felt I shouldn't tell people I wanted to act because they would think I was a show-off," she recalls. "I've always been like that - part of me tends to cower. I don't want people to think, 'She's up herself.

"But now I think 'big deal'. We should all just be who we are. I'm a horrible ham if I let myself be. I love to perform - but I'll perform more in some places than others. Some of my best performances have been in the shower!"

Lucy, a former Mrs New Zealand, is also a talented singer who once studied opera. "I lost confidence in that," she says. "I woke up one morning and thought, 'I don't really care about music that much', whereas I do care about acting. I'd like to do a musical one day, though -that would be fun. I important to have fun. I'm much more relaxed about things than I have been in the past."

Relaxed or not, the willowy actress says she still had some doubts about the offer to work on the Holiday programme. "I was hesitant because I felt it was a wild diversion from my acting," she says. "But I'm glad I took the offer. "It has expanded my thinking and I've learned a lot about myself. To be a good actress and play a wide range of roles you need to get out there and experience life. With Holiday I've seen a lot of points of view and been in some different situations." She has also done some daring and unusual things for the show, such as bungy jumping from a helicopter, abseiling into the "Lost World" at Waitomo, caving and swimming with dolphins.

"They're the sort of things I have always wanted to do and I couldn't turn down the challenge," she says.
Most of Lucy's assignments have been in New Zealand and the Pacific, but she has also travelled to European destinations like Prague and the Rhineland. It's not the first time she has been there.

"When I was 18 I ran off on my own to I Europe like a mad schoolgirl. It was a bit of a disaster - I didn't have enough money, so I just hung about in cafes in Germany.

"In the end I rang my boyfriend in New Zealand and he came and rescued me. I hate to think where I might have been if it wasn't for him. He was my knight in shining armour and he still is, only now he's my husband!"
Garth and Lucy married in the Australian outback when Lucy was 20 and pregnant with Daisy (now five). "Getting pregnant was not a thing of shame for me," says Lucy. "Occasionally I would feel a bit written off, as if people were saying, 'There's Lucy Ryan (as I was then), we thought she was going to make so much of herself.' But I got unconditional love and support from my parents and in-laws."

While Lucy loves to travel, it has made her realise there's no place like home. "Europe is incredibly civilised. The people are so cool and refined, but as much as that is wonderful, they lack something. Their energy seems to have ebbed. "There's a rawness about New Zealand other countries don't have. When I'm away I miss the land and the rain. No matter what happens, this will be my home. I belong here."

N.Z.W.W. JANUARY 31,1994