Interview With Jennifer Ward-Lealand (Boudica)
by Amy Murphy


Side Note: I would like to send my condolences out to Kym Taborn (Whoosh.org) and her family. Her hubby for many years passed, and she’s in the Xenaverse's thoughts and prayers. Hugs to Kym!

New Zealand’s beauty just isn’t limited to the land it also has very talented, outstanding human beings, and I’ve been very fortunate to be able to interview some of these incredible people.

Jennifer Ward-Lealand ( http://www.jenniferwardlealand.com  ) wears many hats. Wife to the talented Michael Hurst, Mother, Actress is all fields (stage-TV, Screen), singer; you name it, this woman seems to do it all. How she does it without passing out I’ll never know, but she does it with style and class. You can’t help but read her answers to the questions and think what a classy, talented, kind of lady she is.

She’s working on ‘The Bach’ for the Auckland Theatre Company:

( http://www.atc.co.nz/play-detail.php?playID=14 ) As Jennifer told the New Zealand Herald, "The play is exquisitely New Zealand, and offers an intelligent exploration of both marital and fraternal relationships, with great insight and skill."  She also said, "One of the things I love about this play is all the discussions it starts. . . . I walk out of doing this, and I see groups of people having great debates about what they have just seen. That's got to be good." 

Then onto ‘The Goat’ Where Jennifer will star in the New Zealand premiere of Edward Albee's award-winning play, The Goat or Who is Sylvia?, at the Silo Theatre in Auckland from 16 September until 15 October 2005.  She will play Sylvia and Michael Hurst will play her husband Martin, as a couple dealing with a crisis in their marriage and their lives. 

Thank you Ms. Lealand for the interview, now lets get to know this incredible person.

~Inside The Head of Jennifer Ward-Lealand~

How would you describe yourself?

Ms. Lealand:* Tall and blonde – but not your classic tall blonde!

If 15 years where do you hope you will be career wise?

Ms. Lealand:* Still directing  and acting in creatively satisfying projects.

What is you most favorite kind of character to play?

Ms. Lealand:* One that takes me in a lot of different emotional directions.

Which do you like more, theater, television, director, singing, or voice work (radio)?  And Why?

Ms. Lealand:* I adore the theatre which is where I started. I love the energy and challenge of a live audience and also the journey you get to take in a play. I also love the intimacy of film.

What is it like to be an actors? Is it all glitz and glam?

Ms. Lealand:* No! It is hard work but with a lot of joy.

What part would you give your eye teeth to have?

Ms. Lealand:* Well, I am getting to play the role I fell in love with  - Stevie in Edward Albee’s "The Goat"

Can you tell us one thing about yourself that many might not know?

Ms. Lealand:* I’m very organised and don’t  like keeping people waiting. (Except int the case of this questionnaire, sorry!!!) I used to tidy my friends bedrooms when I was young. Their parents loved it – not so sure about my friends!

What is God?

Ms. Lealand:* Everything and Everyone

How do you handle acting and family life?

Ms. Lealand:* By co-ordination and planning ahead.. Once I have a schedule of rehearsals and performances it is easier to work things out.. I have to say though that  it is tough sometimes. You know the image of the swan gliding serenely  along with its feet paddling furiously beneath the water...!

If you were given a gift to heal one disease, what would it be and why?

Ms. Lealand:* Asthma – because the inability to breathe properly must be so distressing

What is your most memorable meal?

Ms. Lealand:* On Waiheke Island at the Mudbrick Café with Michael . Also one we had in Paris last year in a beautiful apartment looking up at Sacre Coeur.

What would you say is the most important thing an actor needs?

Ms. Lealand:* Craft

Describe one of your favorite parts of a holiday.

Ms. Lealand:* Reading at least a book a day! Haven’t been able to do this since having kids!

Describe a hair disaster experience.

Ms. Lealand:* None thus far – cross fingers. I have a terrific hairdresser who sorts my hair for each role.

Do you think there ever be a time when women are take more seriously or are more involved in the entertainment business?

Ms. Lealand:* I think we are taken seriously – at least in NZ

What color evokes a strong emotion? Why?

 Ms. Lealand:* A particular blue (like the blue of Lapis Lazuli)  lights up my life.

Which smell evokes a strong emotion? Why?

Ms. Lealand:* Fresh baked bread  - it reminds me of my  wonderful stepmother Rula

What was your favorite cartoon as a kid? Why do you think it was?

Ms. Lealand:* Wacky Races. I loved the name "Penelope Pitstop"

Describe the best way you've ever illuminated a character or characters trait.

Ms. Lealand:* I’m not sure if it the best way, but one way I illuminate a character is by wearing a particular fragrance. For Dietrich I always wear Chanel no5. No one else can smell it but I can.

Describe a time when you did something to save money and then wished you hadn't.

Ms. Lealand:* Not using the more expensive wood for the skirting board in one part of the house. I look at it everyday wishing I had not tried to save money!

Where have all the flowers gone?

Ms. Lealand:* "Sag mir wo die blumen sind?" - I sing this song in German when I perform my Dietrich cabaret "Falling in Love Again"

Have you even been in an area directly affected by a disaster?  

Ms. Lealand:* Fortunately. no.

What sort of letter writer are you? What kind of correspondence do you keep?

Ms. Lealand:* Short missives out of the blue seems to be my style.

Last thing you felt guilty about?

Ms. Lealand:* Saying good bye to the children as I headed off to perform in the theatre.

What is your fondest memory of Kevin Smith?

Ms. Lealand:* Dancing in Spain.

As a parent, what is the greatest wish for your children?

Ms. Lealand:* That they are healthy and love whatever it is they are doing.
Describe a situation or event that really changed the direction of your life.

Ms. Lealand:* Watching the Theatre Corporate acting company in "Metamorphosis"  in Wellington in 1979. I decided then and there that that was where I wanted to study.

What do you do when you're blue to cheer yourself up?

Ms. Lealand:* Have a massage.

What is your favorite ethnic food? How did you discover it?

Ms. Lealand:* Ayurvedic cooking. I went to cooking lessons because I loved this style of food so much. And conquered my fear of lentils!

When is the last time you looked at old school pictures/your year book?

Ms. Lealand:* Yesterday.

Would you ever consider participating in a reality TV show? If so, which one?

Ms. Lealand:* Maybe something to do with dancing because I am a frustrated dancer!

What is your favorite way to spend free time?

Ms. Lealand:* Reading and organising – not at the same time.

What was the last thing that made you laugh yourself silly?

Ms. Lealand:* A rehearsal of a scene in The Bach

What aspects of your current job do you enjoy the most? What aspects do you like the least?

Ms. Lealand:* I love that we get so much change in our lives and that we get to explore so many facets of human nature. I dislike getting up early for the school day after working at nights.

In your daydreams, you are...

Ms. Lealand:* Completely organised with an immaculate office (actually my office is pretty good – it’s just that I will always be on the quest for better organisation!)

Why do some people hate the United States of America?

Ms. Lealand:* Perhaps is a perception that the US has involved itself where it shouldn’t have.

Does forgiving mean forgetting?

Ms. Lealand:* Someone in the theatre told me once "Forgive and Remember". This is particularly useful when working with difficult actors!

What is the purpose of love?

Ms. Lealand:* With love we flourish.

Is it all right for celebrities to express themselves or does it feel like media, religion, and or political functions try to control what's said?

Ms. Lealand:* I think it is as right for a celebrity to speak out about something they believe as it is for anyone . Sometimes a celebrity can bring a very helpful focus to a worthy cause.

Are you on a special diet for health or moral reasons?

Ms. Lealand:* No, I just eat well because it tastes good.

What's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?

Ms. Lealand:* My newborn children.

What band/musician's music gets your hormones going?

Ms. Lealand:* Goldenhorse (NZ), Neil Finn, Coldplay, R&B, Radiohead, Trinity Roots (NZ)

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