(The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
March 2, 1999
Xena Cyberprincess.(Lucy Lawless of 'Xena')(Interview)
Author/s: Michele Kort
LUCY LAWLESS, TV'S XENA, TELLS HOW IT FEELS TO BE THE ULTIMATE FANTASY OF LESBIANS ONLINE
Xena and Gabrielle stare long and lovingly into each other's eyes, then pull each other closer and closer until their lips meet in a passionate kiss.
An upcoming episode of Xena: Warrior Princess, the wildly popular syndicated TV drama about a kick-ass leather-garbed mythic heroine--played by Lucy Lawless--and her adoring female sidekick? You wish. No, romantic moments like this come from a world almost as fantastic as Xena's: cyberspace. On the Internet, aficionadas of the show have established hundreds of sites on which to chat about their heroine(s), post photos and articles, play Xena games, endlessly analyze the possible lesbian "subtext" in Xena and Gabrielle's relationship, and create their own stories. In the new genre known as "alt.fan fiction," the X and G relationship goes as far erotically as the writer wants to take it.
The producers of the show--including out lesbian co-executive producer Liz Friedman--have been both tolerant and supportive of Xena fan-tasizers. "Every fan of a show helps advance it, and the Internet provides a natural opportunity for there to be a community of fans," Friedman says. In fact, Internet discussion spurred the creation of a conscious subtext in which X and G deliver double entendres and have even come very close to lip smacking (under subtle pretenses).
"I thought it was unlikely anyone would ever think that Gabrielle [Renee O'Connor] and Xena were lesbians," Friedman says. "My feeling was that lesbians are pretty much invisible--I should know, I've been invisible. We go to the grocery store, and everyone says, `Oh, you two are sisters, right?' The first place we got feedback that people were having that interpretation was from the Internet, and then we started having fun with it."
Of course, none of the fantasy would fly without an actress as fantasizable as Lawless, the nearly six-foot-tall 30-year-old New Zealander who brings Xena to larger-than-life. We caught up with her by phone in Auckland, where she lives with 10-year-old daughter Daisy and new hubby (and Xena executive producer) Rob Tapert. An intelligent and seemingly well-grounded woman, she speaks with a surprisingly thick "down under" accent that she skillfully conceals in the Xena role.
The Advocate: Obviously the Internet's been quite a boon to Xena, and it seems like the production company has been supportive of the Web sites. Have you checked out sites?
Lawless: I was online last night, and it blew my mind: Somebody had photos of me that I had never seen! It just shocked me. It was the Oh Lucy! site or something.
I've only just discovered E-mail, and I'm dying to get mail every night, so I'm going to have to start writing to people.
To friends or to people on the Internet?
Oh, no, to friends.
How do you stay anonymous on the Internet?
Well, I don't go on and chat.
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