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Lucy's New Battle

New Zealand TV Guide
28 January 2006

Scans contributed by Calli

Former Xena Warrior Princess star Lucy Lawless tells why she is still fighting for the underdog.


Lucy Lawless may have hung up her leather mini dress and packed away her weapons but five years after the demise of Xena; Warrior Princess she is playing a very different kind of super hero.

She returns to our screens this week in the documentary Lucy Lawless: Five Days In Bangladesh in which she visits the boy she has sponsored for 10 years through World Vision. Cameras followed Lucy on her journey as she came face-to-face with young Evan and his family.

"His family were mystified and honoured that someone so far away gives a darn because they don't get any help from their government," Lucy told TV Guide from Los Angeles. With no television, Evan had no clue that his sponsor was the star of one of the most popular syndicated television fantasy series ever made.

"Evan and his family are Hindu and they were interested in the fact that one of the Xena storylines was about Hindu gods and I had played Kali," Lucy says, with her faint American twang. Her charitable nature was something that was instilled at a young age.

While growing up she remembers there was a little box at home that would slowly fill up with coins for the family's sponsored child.

"I've always had a consciousness of putting aside a little bit for others less fortunate. It's a great way to spread the love."
Lucy, who is renowned for her down-to-earth nature, has used her celebrity status to support many charitable organisations.

"It's important that our consciousness is raised about what's important," is her answer as to why she does it.

"I've seen so much crazy stuff around the world that I'm becoming less reactive about patterns I see in human behaviour and have become more focused on doing what needs to be done in my own small way."

That has involved her throwing her weight behind the appeal to help New Orleans residents following the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina.

The storm came too close to comfort for Lucy, who was in New Orleans shooting the made-for-TV movie Vampire Bats when news of its approach broke. She joined a massive nine-hour traffic jam as thousands exited the city ahead of the hurricane. Only days earlier she had received a reminder that her days as a warrior princess were far from forgotten.
"I was sitting in a restaurant in New Orleans and the waitress said, 'I know you, I know you' and I was like, 'Oh my God, you're good'," says Lucy, claiming it is mainly African American girls who still recognise her from her Xena days.

Based in Los Angeles with her American producer husband, Rob Tapert, the girl from Mt Albert says she misses New Zealand.

"I'm never quite in my comfort zone here because there are a lot of crazy people around for better and for worse," says Lucy, whose new movie, the thriller Darkroom, is due to be released in March.

"For a person like me, who's always so interested in that stuff, it's really rich pickings."

But it's an iconic symbol of New Zealand that keeps her smiling. "My T-shirts have got tikis printed on them. I also wear a kitsch plastic tiki which people think is made of jade. "Some days I wear the plastic tiki because it just makes me happy," she laughs.

Story: Shelley Ashdown
Lucy Lawless: Five Days In Bangladesh
TV2, Tuesday*



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