-Interview by Nic Brown-
A lot of actors spend time at the gym trying to stay in shape for a role. Not Alicia Ziegler. This versatile actress and writer spends time at the gym, but she’s there looking for the burn, pushing herself to her limits not just to stay in shape, but to shape who she is. It’s no wonder that in addition to her work in front of the camera for film she’s in front of it as a fitness model, oh and did we mention certified personal trainer? It’s a good thing Alicia’s in such awesome shape too since she’s been chased by wolves, giant alligators and dinosaurs just to name a few.
Now B Movie Man Nic Brown has managed to catch her though and she’s spilling the beans about her newest film “Jurassic Attack” (with Michael Worth), how she got started in the business and why your just as likely to find her in the bookstore as on the beach when she has a minute to spare… which isn’t often with all the projects she has right now!
Nic- Alicia, what got you interested in acting?
Alicia- Well, like most kids, the movies inspired me, but where as some may get inspired to become the character in the film, I became inspired to create more characters IN film. I loved that expressive quality. And in truth, I think that is a trait people like me who are very passionate and inquisitive become attracted to. We want a vessel to scream out to the world or to vocalize our inner dreams. For instance, I may want to battle a dinosaur in Belize but chances are I won't unless it’s in “Jurassic Attack” (laughs). I enjoy the whole process of a film coming together as well which is why I ultimately ended up studying it in school. My mother was a huge inspiration too and she allowed me the freedom at an early age to pursue it.
Alicia- That’s a hard one. I mean, as long as there is originality and truth to the writing, I'll enjoy it. Of course it is always fun to play those roles as "far from me" as possible since part of this acting experience is living other lives. I mean if someone said "hey play this actress who is into fitness and loves the Patriots" it would not be as appealing as "play this drug addicted psychopath who wants to discover the cure to the common cold while living in Tibet". But I really would like to get that female that is a bit more "commanding" in her role as the past few years, I have had the "hooker with the heart of gold" and "damsel in distress running from the renegade giant reptile" types of roles.
Nic- In addition to your work as an actress, I understand that you also work as a fitness model. Can you tell us a little about that aspect of your career?
Alicia- Fitness is the other side to my life. It is separate from my film work in that I am not doing it to "stay in shape for a film". I would be studying and learning about health even if I never set foot on a stage. It helps, don't get me wrong, not just in the obvious ways of looking "pleasant", but because it gives you another way to hone and focus your energy. It takes some serious concentration to train correctly, or at least as hard as I do. I'm not the girl talking on her cell phone while I pedal 5 mph on the stationary bike. I enjoy the challenge and the "pain" of breaking through physical barriers, which can help me to deal with all the ups and downs of being an artist in this business. I'm a certified trainer as well. Much of this stemmed from the fact as a young adult, I saw so many obese children who were not going to get a fair foot forward in life with that "baggage" and I wanted to try and help do something about that.
Nic- When you're not in front of the camera, what does Alicia Ziegler like to do for fun?
Alicia- I'm a nerd. As much as I gym it every single day, I'm also the book reading chick with the Buddy Holly glasses. Love to just lie on the couch with the two dogs, Motley and Pixie, and learn something new or get lost in a well told story. But I also enjoy travel. The film business helps assuage that craving a lot when work slows up. When it doesn’t, I do get an itch to drive or fly somewhere, even if just down the coast to Santa Barbara. But outside of that, sit me in a café writing on some cool street corner somewhere and I'm happy.
Nic- Can you tell us a little about your new film "Jurassic Attack" and your role in it?
Alicia- Well, JA2 (as I like to call it) is a film that is produced by Mark Lestor (who did “Commando” and “Firestarter”) and deals with a group of us commandos that get stranded on an island with a dangerous terrorist. All that is fine and dandy until some Dinosaurs show up. The part attracted me because my character got to utilize my physical ability. There was a lot of running and tree hopping and bazooka shooting so I wasn't having to hide the "guns" under my shirt sleeves. It was also shot in Belize which gave me a new travel experience. Hot and sweaty is one of the best ways to explain it. The film had a fun cast and crew which included Gary Stretch (as the command leader) and Michael Worth (as the nutty professor lost on the island). It comes out on DVD in Europe in February 2013 but will hit the US not too much longer I would think.
Alicia- For me, being in the moment. I mean, when acting gets to be just showing up to get a pay check, you are better off handing it to the next actor. I want to make sure I am there and really placing myself inside of that role as if it was me. Trying to do that 100% of the time is a challenge and is very exhausting. Particularly when you are trying to memorize lines and do it in a reasonable amount of time. Sometimes its easy to look at acting and go "what an easy paycheck" but most actors are really working their asses off to be in the moment. In “Wolf Town” for example, I have to be as convincing as I can, remember the lines, deal with real wolves ten feet away and run around in the freezing cold mountains in shorts while trying to look warm. Do that day after day for weeks and you'll see.
Nic- You've done a lot of work on television, do you find television work more challenging than film?
Alicia- As an actor, I approach them both the same way. The production side of it can be different at times since television falls into a much more structured and time focused routine. That can be tough if you come in as a guest star and are trying to figure out the rhythm all the other cast and crew are already on. Some shows are an absolute stickler for every word being said as written and that can challenge you too since on film, you can be granted improvisational lee-way with the dialogue.
Nic- Do you have any interest in stepping behind the camera as a writer or director?
Alicia- Not yet as a director. Down the line, who knows. I have written some "spec" work before (even tried to submit an episode for a TV show once) but I'm still really absorbing this part of the biz. I do love writing though. But right now it's a book I'm working on rather than a script. I'm trying to finish it this year so I can scratch off another bucket list item!
Nic- You're writing a book, that's awesome! Any chance you can
tell us a little about that project?
The "book" is a biographic explosion of comedy and drama shared with all those who have struggled in any
way, shape or form and have yearned to voice their experience in order to share with the world their gains and
losses from this thing called life! :) I express my deepest darkest moments to my greatest joys from both living
as a woman and my continuous journey in the Entertainment business. It's like Tina Fey's “Bossypants” meets a
ting of Cheryl Strayed's “Wild. Whom I've met and love!”
Nic- Let's wrap things up with a lightening round....
and for double points... Who inspires you?
Alicia- Favorite Food: Thai Food & organic crunchy peanut butter by Krema! Haha
Favorite Book: I've already completed 7 since this year has begun. I live for the bookstore so to narrow it down
is extremely tough but if I had to pick I'd say one of them is “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman.
Favorite Film: as an actress you realize this is like Cher from “Clueless” trying to pick an outfit for the day out
her gigantic closet, but a favorite would be “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”, “Good Will Hunting”, “The Town”,
“Jerry Maguire”, “End of Watch”, “Three Kings”... However I truly love film classics too!
Who inspires me?
And it's because through life's adversities and challenges I have had to look inward to keep on. At the end of
the day we are with ourselves and that is where the push, encouragement and fight to keep striving must begin.
You have to light your own fire. I have a friend Bobby Brennan who is on a huge weight loss journey and while
he claims I inspire him, I know he is the one that gets up everyday and makes the choice to transform his life and
outlook and that goes for me too. I appreciate and thrive off the energy of people I see or meet, but I keep at my
passion, dreams, etc. because I want to make an impression on the world. Inspiration can be fleeting. You have
to hold on to it and use it and the only way it remains consistent is if I ignite my own flame!