Q&A: Lucy Lawless

Lucy Lawless, star of Xena: Warrior Princess, which aired from 1995 to 2001, has given her signature costume to the Museum of American History

What do you and Xena have in common?

Well, I can be quite hard-core myself, I suppose. As an actor, everything has to come out of you somewhere—otherwise it doesn't strike a chord in viewers. Of course, I never killed anybody, I haven't slain warlords, and I really can't do flips.

Did you ever expect to be a leading lady in the world of campy sci-fi?

No, because I never watched it, never read it, never particularly liked it. But the fact is, sci-fi deals with some of the biggest issues of philosophy and humanity and politics today. And I'm offered a lot of roles such as, "Do you want to be a cop?" or "Do you want to be a housewife?" But now sci-fi roles interest me intrinsically.

Was the warrior princess outfit comfortable?

Not at first, because they would put boning in the corset. It would cover up those little floating ribs that are so important for breathing, so I'd feel like I was having panic attacks. But it just became a second skin after a while. It was very functional, once I got over the modesty factor. I admit to being a little bit embarrassed the first couple weeks because I'd never worn anything so short.

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