NZ Woman's Weekly

6 November 1995

Look Out Hollywood - Lucy Lawless Is On Her Way To The Top

Kiwi actor Lucy Lawless is a force to be reckoned with. In the United States our home-grown talent is a huge star. Her face stares down from giant advertising billboards all over Los Angeles and every week millions of people tune into her hit TV series Xena: Warrior Princess.

That series is shot in great secrecy in locations all around Auckland, using a largely New Zealand cast and crew, but unfortunately we still don't know when we'll see it here.

Lucy, who is 1.83m tall with long hair dyed black for her new role, describes her formidable TV character Xena as "a woman as strong as any man or woman has ever been, who lives by her wits but is also a fighter. She's a very human hero, who knows all about the darker side of human nature since she must battle it within herself every day".

Xena is set in a golden age of myths. Surrounded by barbaric tribes, slave traders and other evil forces, the warrior princess is on a mission to help people free themselves from tyranny and injustice.

For Aucklander Lucy, taking on the starring role in such a major international series has meant work, work and more work. During the winter, she travelled to Los Angeles to train with martial arts master Douglas Wong, who taught her basic kung fu moves as well as fighting techniques with swords and staffs. Now back in Auckland, she's working closely with a personal trainer.

With viewers and critics praising her performance in Xena, there's a starry future awaiting Lucy in Hollywood. But, although the former presenter of Air New Zealand Holiday and Stanley's mum from the ASB Bank ads loves overseas adventures, it's highly unlikely she'll ever abandon her native country.

"No matter what happens this will be my home," insists down-to-earth Lucy. "I belong here."