The star of over 75 feature films and television programs and internationally recognized for her 5-year starring role as Lt. Stephanie Holden in the tv series Baywatch, Alexandra Paul began her acting career at age 18 starring in the highly rated telefilm Paper Dolls. She then starred in the Warner Bros. motion picture American Flyers opposite Kevin Costner, Dragnet opposite Tom Hanks & Dan Ackroyd, Eight Million Ways to Die opposite Jeff Bridges & Andy Garcia, Stephen King’s Christine, Spyhard with Leslie Nielsen and two films opposite Pierce Brosnan.
Alexandra has been driving electric cars since 1990. She is a vegan and will not use any products tested on animals. She has traveled to Nicaragua with a medical aid group, to Louisiana to help animals after Hurricane Katrina, to South Africa to register voters and to Sierra Leone to promote family planning. She was a certified EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) for 23 years, has been registering voters once a week for 15 years and speaks fluent French. A dedicated and accomplished athlete as well, in 1997, Alexandra spent nine months training for the World Ironman Triathlon Championships in Hawaii (a grueling 2.44 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile marathon), which she completed in 13:18:52. In 2012, Alexandra swam around Key West, a 12.5 mile race and in 2014 swam the 14 mile Reto Acapulco off the coast of Mexico.
We’re thrilled to share a little more of her story with you in this issue of Compassionate Man.
Did you always care about animals, or did that interest develop later in life?
As far back as I can remember, I loved animals. We grew up in a rural community in Connecticut with just 1,200 residents, so we always had animals – cats, dogs, horses. I remember worrying about the deer when it snowed – were they going to be cold?
You went vegetarian at fourteen after reading Diet for a Small Planet. When and why did you decide to go vegan?
One of my biggest regrets is that it took me so long to go vegan. I was vegetarian for 33 years and just 6 years ago I went vegan. I had given up wearing leather, wool or silk in the 1980s but it was dairy I was hanging on to, fearing that it would be too restrictive. I had been bulimic in my teens and twenties and was afraid any deprivation would trigger something and I would go back to my eating disorder. Or at least that was my excuse – when I finally committed fully to being vegan, I actually improved my relationship with food, probably because finally my diet was aligned with my values. Becoming vegan changed my life – it just opened my heart to more patience and compassion and I saw injustice inculcated in our society I had not noticed before. It is amazing. Oh and why did I go vegan? I became vegetarian for the planet and vegan for the animals. Although in the end, it is I who have benefited the most.
I understand your mother was a liberal Democrat and your father was a conservative Republican. What positive lessons did you take away from each of them, politically-speaking?
I loved my dad – he gave us kids our love of animals – and him being a conservative just reminds me not to demonize those with whom we do not agree. My brother, sister and I are extremely liberal yet he accepted all of us. My sister is gay, my brother went to jail for animal rights activism, I went to jail for my peace activism and my dad loved us unconditionally through it all. He was ironically more open minded than we are – I am guilty of not exposing myself to messages which are opposite to my beliefs and my mom wept when I had a Republican boyfriend she thought I was going to marry!
If you hadn’t pursued a career in acting, what do you think you would have done?
When I was applying for college, I wanted to be an environmental science major. I probably would be working for the UN working to stabilize human population numbers. Everyone talks about climate change, but none of our environmental problems are going to be solved unless we bring the fertility rate of humans to one child per couple. I know that sounds radical, but the number of people on the planet has more than doubled in my lifetime, and I am just 52. When my mom was born, there were 2 billion people on the planet, now there are 7.3 billion – that is a tripling in 80 years! I did a TEDx talk on human overpopulation if you want to learn why I feel so strongly that one child per couple is so vital for our survival. Not the planet’s survival – the planet will be just fine without us, believe me- but the survival of your grandchildren.
Whom in Hollywood do you admire for their work advocating for animals?
Pamela Anderson for one. She has done so much to bring animal rights to the mainstream – she meets with heads of state to discuss the issue and has her own vegan boot line and a vegan cooking show and when she shows up at a protest the media covers it. But oh my gosh the list is so long of dedicated vegans in the entertainment business! Prince was vegan – lots of amazing actors, singers and athletes who have consciences too. I love it when the big male athletes go vegan because they really dispel the myth that we need to eat animals for protein: NFLer Dave Carter, basketball player John Salley, and the late septuagenarian weight lifter Jim Morris.
You’ve been married to your husband Ian Murray since 2000. What drew you to him? What makes a man attractive in your eyes?
Ian is amazing. We have been together over 20 years and we are very much in love. He has a very positive attitude, which is so wonderful. When I look at him, he has a golden aura around him. He says it is because he is blonde and because as a triathlete he is tan from being outdoors, but no it is really because to me he lights up my life. I also love that he is very capable – he is calm in an emergency. Not that we have a lot of emergencies, but he just radiates competency. Since this magazine is for men, I will say that one thing as a woman that he does that I believe makes such a difference is that he is constantly tells me how much he loves me and that I am beautiful and sexy. It has not diminished from when we first got together –he says it more often as time goes by. And I in turn reciprocate. I know it sounds superficial that that is important, but it really goes a long way in maintaining sexuality in a relationship, which keeps that spark. A lot of couples struggle to maintain that feeling. There is the saying that relationships take work, but Ian and I do not feel our marriage has ever been work. We just prioritize each other. Ian is a meat eater, by the way. That is another thing that makes our marriage work – a sentence in our vows is “I promise to let you be you”. And we do that.
What’s on the horizon for you? Any projects or ventures in the works?
I am shooting the second season of the webseries Mentor, for which I received a Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy award. I have a cameo in Sharknado 4. I am also looking for a warm water 15 mile ocean swim race to start training for next year. And I have a new health coaching business about which I am very excited. I love helping people get healthier because it improves their lives in so many ways. I coach on the phone so I have clients from all over.
This article originally appeared in Issue 6 of Compassionate Man Magazine. You can purchase a PDF copy of the issue for $2.99 by clicking on the image below.
Latest posts by Nick Coughlin (see all)
- Alexandra Paul: A Hollywood Star Talks Politics, Animals, Relationships and More - May 24, 2018
- Share Some Wisdom From a Few Good Men - March 21, 2018
- Nathan Runkle: Believe in the Power You Hold to Change the World - September 19, 2017