Balance July 2018 - 28

C R E AT I N G A B U Z Z

turned them down, keeping the number. A while
later, she thought again and ended up landing
small parts in TV shows, the kind which come with
credits like "Girl in cinema", "Benton's girlfriend"
or, even better, "Party guest - uncredited".
Then in 2004, with next to no relevant
experience (and no acting training), her foot fitted
a glass slipper, landing the role of Oceanic Airlines
Flight 815 survivor Kate Austen. She arrived in
Hawaii where she still lives today with her partner,
Norman Kali. She met him on the show when he
was working as a production assistant, and their
two sons, to shoot the pilot. Initially, she loved it.
"I told my parents, 'Oh my God, I can't believe
they paid me to do that. I would do that for free!' It
was so much fun."
After becoming an overnight hit, with US
audiences of 12 million and millions more
worldwide, suddenly, it wasn't fun anymore.
"Living in paradise and becoming a famous TV
star seems like a dream come true," she reflects.
"Unfortunately for me, it wasn't. None of those
things were my dreams. It was a struggle, and
I had a very hard time adjusting to life as a public
figure. I was isolated and alone, far from home, not
knowing anybody and being one of the few single
people on the cast."
She couldn't even bear to watch herself.
"I wanted to curl up in a ball and die because
I thought I was terrible." She found herself at odds
with the production, a discord which manifested
itself in her doing her own hair and make-up.
"I just thought this is ridiculous," she recalls.
"Why would I have somebody else do something
for me that I'm perfectly capable of doing myself?
Not to mention that I found it very overwhelming
to have people touching me all day. I wasn't used
to it. It's a tolerance you build up over the years as
you learn to be an actor and you get used to people
pulling, poking, rubbing, grabbing, adjusting and
constantly touching you. For me, at the beginning,
that was intolerable. I couldn't handle it, so I said,
'No, no, no, I'll do it myself'.
"I did my own hair and make-up in 15 minutes,
because I was supposed to be on a deserted
island. I should have bedhead and no make-up!
I figured I could get a couple of extra hours sleep
in the morning. If I was in the hair and make-up
trailer, it was two hours!"

She did many interviews at the time and most US
journalists commented on her "potty" mouth. But
was she really so sweary?
"I did have, and probably continue to have,
a bit of a foul mouth," she admits with a laugh.
"Back then I would unabashedly not hide it from
journalists as a rebellion, as a way of saying I'm
not going to be the prim, proper, prissy actress you
want me to be. I'm going to be me. I'm going to be
the blue-collar girl I am.
"Over the years, I came to a place of realising that
there's nothing to be gained by throwing my roots
in people's faces."

LOST IN THE MOMENT

WRITING WAS NEVER A
BACK-UP PLAN FOR ME.
IT WAS ALWAYS PLAN A;
ACTING WAS PLAN B...

"Before Lost aired, I was sat down on numerous
occasions," she continues. "I was specifically
instructed on how to behave with the press and in
the public eye. That not only pissed me off, but it
really hurt my feelings because I felt I was being
told who I was and how I am naturally is a liability;
you need to suppress it, hide it, put it away because
otherwise, you will damage this thing we're building
together. At the time I would have told you it pissed
me off. In hindsight, I can see that what it really did
was break my heart. I would sob into my pillow at
night because I felt I was a social leper and that the
way I was wasn't acceptable.
"Remember I had a sense of I'm not going to
do that; I'm not going to be fake. I refuse to be
fake, I refuse to conform to expectations of what
a Hollywood actress is supposed to be. I don't
believe in 'supposed to be'. I think we should all be
individuals, all the different colours of who we are."
Things reached a crisis at the end of season one.
There were tearful conversations with her parents,
who told her to 'tell them all to eff off, come home
and eat chicken noodle soup'. Touching though she
found their support, she ignored them, knuckled
down and committed to the project. By season
three, she let them do her hair and make-up. By the
end, she had a Golden Globe nomination and a SAG
Award. And when it was done?
"When Lost finished, I said I was done and I'd
never act again," she answers. "For two years
I retreated into obscurity. I had a baby. Then, when
my baby was one month old, my partner got a call.
They said Peter Jackson has been trying to contact
your wife for two months and nobody in Hollywood
can reach her. Do you think you could get the
message to her he would like her to play an elf in
an upcoming Hobbit movie? And although I really
didn't want to be acting, I wanted to play an elf for
Peter Jackson more."

28

BA LA N CE July 2018



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Balance July 2018

Balance July 2018 - 1
Balance July 2018 - 2
Balance July 2018 - 3
Balance July 2018 - 4
Balance July 2018 - 5
Balance July 2018 - 6
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