It’s been awhile since I’ve traveled down the Hottie Stop road. Yeah, I miss it. So when the opportunity to chat with one of my personal favorite beauties came along I couldn’t resist. The first time I really discovered the lovely Eliza Dushku was of course her fantastic work on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” As the rogue slayer Faith she embodied fierceness and sexiness into an incredibly memorable character. The actress also shined in another Joss Whedon series “Dollhouse,” and don’t forget she was in cool flicks like TRUE LIES, WRONG TURN and BRING IT ON… Yes, I dug that cheerleading movie!
When the stunning Eliza and I had our little conversation we talked a ton about her family. It’s frankly sort of inspiring to listen to her talk about how much she admires her mother, her brother… hell, even her nieces and nephews. She discussed why she digs meeting fans and just what she does for fun nowadays... Jeez, and all I do is watch a movie and chill out. If you are looking forward to the stunning Ms. Dushku rocking the action again, you can check her out on MachinimaPrime’s sci-fi short “The Gable 5” – which you can witness in all its glory here.
Hey, how are you?
I'm great thanks, how are you?
Well, I'm pretty good. I'm actually really excited to talk to you. I'm a little bit of a fan of Buffy... and it's also my birthday tomorrow, it's a good day...
Happy almost birthday!
How old are you?
I am way too old [Laughing]
Ain't no shame, get at it.
Exactly, I'm good with it actually. I'm healthier now than I ever have been in a long time, so I'm fine with that…
I feel ya, I have people tell me 'you look better now than you did on Buffy'.' Well yeah, I'm living a little bit differently than I was then.
You know what, you actually do, you look great in this show...
Well thank you, I've learned a little about preservation. You know I can't do of the things all night long that you used to.
You can find other ways to have fun though right?
Well like I said, you look amazing... Why did you want to kick ass and do this kind of role again? What is it about that...?
Is that a serious question [Laughing]?
Absolutely, you could easily settle down and play the typical chick but no, you play the bad ass still and you’re still great at it...
I won't be settling down for many years to come my friend. I'm just getting started and I'm not trying to bad mouth anyone but that is absolutely how I feel. I have more tools and passion now and more sort of focus and direction than I did then, hands down.
I read a quote from you that you said something like "make it big or just go home"...
Go big or go home.
Has that always been your motto?
My three brothers taught me that when I was seven years old. Go big or go home, what do you got to lose?
And you apply to your life…
I do, well I say I do but there's nuance and context which should always be considered, as we are older and wiser, but for the most part suit up, show up and leave the results to the universe. But I do like to go big.
Yes you do and I think your fans like that about you.... Now what do you like, you do all these kick ass things, what are you a fan of, what do you like to watch?
I'm a fan of, I mean, a fan was asking me at a convention this weekend. We were down at the Megacon in Florida, they had zombies and THE WALKING DEAD and the cast. I'm a fan of the genre of course. But the fan was asking me 'how have you done this, how have you played these kick ass characters and you play these strong women. As a kid what was it that shaped you into coming to be this person that represents this kind of woman?’ And I said it’s funny because I didn't know anything different. I grew up with three older brothers and my mother is an amazing feminist. I was surrounded by other feminist women and my father too. I was never told I couldn't do something because I was a girl.
I was empowered as a child. It's just sort of in my DNA. It was my natural nature. It was probably when I played my role of Faith on “Buffy” that revealed itself to something that was so much bigger than what I had previously thought was a superficial world within Hollywood. My mom is a professor, both my parents are teachers and I was not planning on being an actress when I was a little kid. I watched my mother and I watched her and I sort of thought Hollywood was superficial. But when I played that character Faith, the way I'd have human beings, men and women approach me and say 'I faced my [own demons] when your character came on screen'. It really resonated with me that I'm providing people with an outlet and a connection and an example of way to face the challenges in their own lives. And I thought was really meaningful and powerful.
Do like that kind of camaraderie you find at a convention, when you get to talk to your fans one on one?
I don't just like it, I love it. It's what fuels me. I am just so grateful to now be in this position. I love meeting people, to talk to them and shaking their hands and feeling their power from even a two minute conversation together where I'm no longer just a person on their TV. I may feel different from them but we're all connected. And really the more people can tap into their own strength and feel understood and have that mentality of 'go big or go home’ what do you have to lose. We're in this world for only a relatively short time and there are so many pieces to our society that makes us want to shy away or make us want to dumb down or not seize what we are put here to do, which is unique and very connected.
What do you do to relax and let it all go, what do you do to have fun?
Well, I've just moved back to Boston and I'm about enroll back in school. For a couple years I've been doing classes online, I'm really interested in people, I love people’s stories. I work at a nonprofit that my mother started in Uganda about five or six years ago. We help former child soldiers and victims of the war in Uganda. And we have a center there, we provide non-medical integrated therapy to these victims and help them to rehabilitate and reintegrate into their society after having these life changing, life shattering events in their lives. I'm really interested in people and helping people. Helping people face the things that have hurt them or change them and then thriving. Our nonprofit is called THRIVEGulu [Visit the official website here].. So I'm going back to school for a combination of political science and sociology and mental health studies. We are so powerful when are empowered and sometimes we need help to become empowered when we've been marginalized and beaten down. I have my own points of being able to identify and my own ways, and when I can share my experience and strength and help to build someone else back up… I love seeing what people are capable of.
You're like a real life superhero!
You’re funny [Laughing].
You've been in the business awhile, who do you look up to? Do have personal heroes, are there people in the business that you respect and strive to be?
Of course. The most obvious that anyone that knows me or has read an article about me – Joss [Whedon], he's funny because he hosted a fundraiser and said 'if you know Eliza then you know about Mama Judy, her mama. The point is its almost annoying, she talks about this woman and this incredible force of nature.' And she is. She is my heroine and my role model in this world. I've watched her be a part of changing people’s lives and helping them change their own lives and she empowers people. She is a feminist and outspoken but she is also unbelievably compassionate and selfless, and I've seen my whole life the way it works.
You have the best relationship with you family.
It's pretty cool, I feel really, really grateful and really lucky and I look around... My mother and I spoke at Brandeis University last year, their ethics conference that the do every year. And this year the keynote speakers were both of Nelson Mandala’s grandsons and we were invited back and we got the chance to meet the two men who were following in the footsteps of their grandfather. Nelson Mandela, he's somebody I admire. He's just un-fricken-believable. Again what someone can do with such a simple idea, like non-violent love, non-violent protest in a circumstance where they are completely marginalizing you. The power of what that contrary action can be is pretty remarkable.
Well, that’s a pretty remarkable way to look at it.
[Laughs] Especially in a time when I've been in LA for fifteen years. And God bless LA I've come to love it for many things, I love the sunshine, and I love people there and I love the experiences there but I'm definitely kind of getting back to my roots here in Boston and with the community I am passionate about. It's about people helping people, people talking to people. It's a different conversation.
What's the first thing you did when you got back to Boston?
Probably picked up my girl from preschool. I love my nieces and nephews. I'm a family girl. I'm a people person.
Well, you definitely are and it was an absolute pleasure to talk to you.
Hey, you too. I appreciate the high praise.
Well I'm fan...
Can I call you on random days when I'm feeling shitty?
You absolutely can...
Have a great day!