SUMMER ISSUE 2010
VERNON: So, here I am sitting in my lounge looking out at the ocean with one of the most gorgeous people I know, whom I adore working with, and love being around. She is one of the most fiery individuals I've ever had the pleasure of knowing, and I get a great kick out of her as a friend: actress Marina Sirtis. I'm sure the minute that's said everybody goes, "Oh, my God, Star Trek." But today we're gonna talk about a lot more than that.
VERNON: To start off, define Marina in ten words.
MARINA: [Smiling] Bullish, loud, funny, opinionated… kind… [She stops and thinks] Oh, that's only five? I've got five good points, they're not all good points, they are – loyal, I'm loyal, I'm very loyal. I'm fair… justice, I like justice. And… smart. Makes me sound very – and vain [laughter]. I have to have vain because all those things I said about myself... Hairy. I'm very hairy.
VERNON: Very hairy?
PAULA: [Who's sitting in] You're Greek!
MARINA: Yeah, I'm Greek; it goes with the territory.
VERNON: That could start a whole new conversation. Number two: What's your favorite color and why?
MARINA: My favorite color is yellow. I like to look at yellow because it's sunny. But since I'm a soccer fanatic, I kind of have to go with blue and white because that's what my team plays in as well.
VERNON: Okay, blue and white. Fine. And finally: If you were a hamburger, what kind of hamburger would you be and why?
MARINA: If I were a hamburger? I would be a Carl's Jr. Western – whatever the hell it's called – because it has onion rings and everything on it and it's like you need a very big mouth to eat it. And why would I be that sandwich? Because it's over the top. It's way too much stuff in a burger and that's kind-of me, I'm a bit over the top.
MARINA: Western Bacon Burger, that's what it is. It's a Carl's Jr. Western Bacon Burger, that's who I am.
THE EARLY YEARS
VERNON: I feel like we know so much about you already! I know that you are of Greek descent and you lived in –
MARINA: I was born and raised in London.
VERNON: That is an interesting combination. What was your early life like in London?
MARINA: You know, when they say you're born on the wrong side of the tracks? There were no tracks where I grew up. I mean it was very, very working class. We were poor, you know, we had to take in boarders to make more money. My dad was a tailor; my mom was a dress maker. But I was lucky, because in those days, when I was growing up, kids could take an exam called 11-plus that you took when you were 11. If you passed that exam you got to go to a good school and get a good education. And so that basically saved poor kids like me, you know, it gave us opportunities that we wouldn't have gotten.
VERNON: Right. And I believe that you were, as they classify it, one of the soccer hooligans.
MARINA: I was, I was. I actually got into soccer in 1966 when England won the World Cup. There was obviously football fever in England that year and that kind of got me into it. And then I went to an all girls school, and the soccer team – they were the nearest boys. That was the main reason I got into soccer. We used to hang out at the ground just to talk to the boys.
VERNON: So with the World Cup on at the moment then, which team are your loyalties with?
VERNON: You're not supporting Greece?
MARINA: No. If England plays Greece, which has happened, I always support England, much to the chagrin of my family.
ON BECOMING AN ACTRESS
VERNON: [laughter] So what possessed you to go into acting?
MARINA: I always wanted to be an actress. Apparently, when I was little I used to stand up on my seat on the bus and sing "Que Sera Sera" to everybody. I did want to be a ballet dancer and I begged my mom to let me take tap and ballet classes. Finally, one Saturday morning she said, "Okay, I'm taking you to dance class." I was so excited and when we got there it was ballroom dancing because she thought that would come in useful when I was an adult as opposed to ballet and tap, which was not good for anything. My parents – they were very strict. I was brought up the old Greek way: wasn't allowed out, wasn't allowed to have boyfriends. I mean, not that it stopped me having boyfriends, but, you know, it was frowned upon. And my dad wasn't dead-set against me being an actress because he had been an extra in movies in Greece when he was young. But my mom, when I said, "I want to be an actress," what she heard was, "I want to be a prostitute." And so she really fought me and maybe if she hadn't fought me quite as much, I wouldn't have been so determined. But I was determined. And when I turned down a place at university to go to drama school, let's just say she wasn't very happy about that. And it wasn't actually until I got Star Trek and the trading cards came out, you know, that she was kind-of proud of me. Actually, up until the year I left to come to America, I remember her saying to me, "You know, this acting thing hasn't really worked out for you. There's an opening at the Bank of Cypress on High Street, why don't you go and apply for the job and you know, be sensible."
VERNON: I love it. I had a similar situation. My mother was for it, but my father decided that acting was not what I should do because everybody in acting was gay.
MARINA: Neither of my parents thought it was a great idea. Like any Greek parents, my mom wanted me to be a lawyer; she wanted my brother to be an architect. I became an actress and he became a soccer player. Huge, huge, disappointment, both of us, to my mom [laughter].
VERNON: So going back, did you study acting or did you just jump in?
MARINA: Well, I went to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. I had to audition to get in, and then I had to audition for the counsel for my grant. Back in those days, further education was free in England, even drama school, if you passed the audition for the counsel. So, bear in mind, you've auditioned and won a place, beat out like 500 other women, and then you have to go and audition for the counsel. And as you're auditioning you're thinking, “Who am I auditioning for here? Is it the tea lady and the guy who does the wages? I mean who are these people that they're going to tell me whether I can act or not.” Anyway, I got my grant. But I didn't have a great time at drama school. I had a London accent and back in those days – because we're talking back in the Dark Ages now when I was at drama school - you had to speak the Queen's English like the Queen spoke it. Now it's different. No one speaks like that anymore on TV and in film, apart from Judi Dench and Helen Mirren. So I had a real chip on my shoulder - "This is who I am and why should I have to change?" - until I realized that I was really limiting what I would be able to do if I didn't learn how to speak properly. So I did, but I was very unhappy at drama school. I spent many years fighting bulimia and I realize now, looking back, it was because of how miserable I was. And then in the final term at drama school, semester, whatever you call it in this country – that's when they put up the casting for the final three plays and all the agents come to see you. I was cast in the chorus of the musical, I was playing a middle-age black maid, Southern American, not Southern English – in a thing called The Male Animal by Thurber, and I wasn't even in The Rivals, which was the big production of the year. So I was really screwed. I went to complain to the director of drama and he said, "Any agent worth his salt would come and see you walk across a stage," which is bullshit because I thought, “If there's a chance that they're gonna see some chick on theatre row playing Juliet or come and see me playing a fat Southern Black maid, I wonder where they're gonna go”… right? So, I decided to have these great pictures done. I was one of the first British actresses to actually do glamorous head shots because they were all about being real in England and I just thought “I'm not gonna get any work being real because in these plays I can't show anyone my ability right now.” So, I had these great shots done, went to Elizabeth Arden, and got my hair and make-up done. No one ever did this! And I got an agent through my photos and my first paying gig. I got cast as Ophelia in Hamlet in the regional theater called Connaught Theatre in Worthing, which is down on the south coast of England. And I remember going back to drama school – this was about a month before the end of the year, and I was in the elevator with the director of drama and he was bemoaning the fact that none of his girls were gonna get any work. The boys would be fine, but the girls would have a problem. And I said, "Well, you don't have to worry about me because I've got a job." And he said, "What, darling? Community theatre somewhere?" And I said, "No, I'm playing Ophelia at Worthing." And he said, "You can't play Ophelia." And I said, "Well you're the only fucking person who thinks so," and I walked out of the school and I never went back.
VERNON: And that was your first paid acting gig.
MARINA: I got paid 28 pounds a week, of which I put five into the bank for when I was going to be out of work.
VERNON: So that's where it all started?
MARINA: That's where it all started. And I was there for a season and I played Jacqueline in French without Tears, I was Blanche Ingram in Jane Eyre. What else did I do? I can't remember. Four or five plays there, yeah.
VERNON: Well I'm probably one of the many people who, when I first met you, the only thing I could think of was Star Trek. And because of the film we were doing, Green Street Hooligans 2, I was having a problem with associating you with the character. When I actually got to work with you, you're one of the few actors who have made me stop and watch in amazement. You just blew me away.
MARINA: Thanks, Vernon. Well it was interesting how I got that part because I was in England and my agent e-mailed me and said, "You have to come back, they're doing this film and I want you to do it." I got the script, read it, and I thought, "I have to play this part." So I rushed back to the States and then I sat and I sat and I sat. And I was like, what's going on? And Jesse, the director, was talking to my agent and saying, "Yes, we know her. We love her, but she's not right for this part." He said they were having the first round of auditions and if they didn't find anybody they'd bring me in. They didn't find anybody, thank – [makes a knocking sound on the coffee table] knocking on wood. And my agent, you know, they always try and boost you up. They're like, "Well you shouldn't have to read for this. It's a low-budget indie and they should just offer it to you. Just go in for a meeting." I said, "No, if I don't read for this, I'm not gonna get it. I have to read for this." It's kind of unusual for actors to insist on reading, but I knew they had this vision of Counselor Deanna Troi in their heads and they didn't know me as a person, they just knew that persona. And they probably thought that I was this, you know, actress who cared about her hair and so I went in and I read. And when I finished, Jesse actually did a little dance and asked me where I found her [meaning the character]. I said I knew people like her, although that actually wasn't true because the people that I knew like her were me. That was me. Because I was hard. I mean I was a really hard, tough, you know, kind of --
MARINA: Person. I was very hard.
VERNON: You had to be to survive.
MARINA: Yeah, I did. I mean I never got into a fight because I usually scared them without having to fight them.
VERNON: I could see that.
MARINA: And also, the other thing is that I was a very ugly child. I know – but it's true, and it wasn't until I was about 13 that I started to get prettier. In fact, when my mom passed away, my sister-in-law called me and asked, "What do you want of your mom's?" I said, "I just want photos." A few nights later, my sister-in-law and brother called me up from Greece in hysterics and my sister-in-law said, "Well, you always said you were ugly but I never believed you, but we found the photos." And she said, "What amazes me, Marina, is that people had you in their wedding as a bride's maid." She said, "I wouldn't care if you were my sister, I wouldn't have had you in my wedding." And actually, that's what made me funny. Because in school, when you're ugly, the only way to be popular is to be funny and outspoken, so that's what I think gave me my personality.
VERNON: Well you were the ugly duckling, sweetheart.
MARINA: I was. I was the ugly duckling. Yes, and it all changed in the space of one afternoon. My hair looked like I had an exploded Brillo pad on my head, I had the unibrow. Like all Greek girls I had a nice mustache and I wore glasses that went up like Edna Everage back in the '60s. And hairy! Finally my girlfriend who was an apprentice hair dresser took me to her salon one afternoon and transformed me in the space of three or four hours. And, when I went home, my mom looked at me and beat the shit out of me because I had left the house as an ugly little Greek girl who was never gonna get in any kind of trouble, and I came back as jail bait.
VERNON: You know, it's funny how much the world has changed. You can't raise your hand to your child anymore.
MARINA: Yeah, but you know what? I'm all for smacking children when they're bad. I don't have any kids, and that's probably why. [Laughter]. Once I had this co-star who was a little boy. I mean little boy actors are so much worse than little girl actors, right? We had one on Star Trek, can't remember his name, actually, but anyway, he was mocking my London accent. And after about two days it got really old, and he was a brat, and finally I said to him, "Look you, let me just warn you, I don't have any problem hitting other people's children. Just warning you ahead of time." And he was like, "Mom, she's gonna hit me." I was like, "Bloody right." [Laughter]
ON STAR TREK
VERNON: Well, now that we're on the subject of Star Trek...
MARINA: Did you audition for it?
MARINA: Yeah, the whole world auditioned for it. I had 5 call-backs. My agent called and said they're casting Star Trek. I knew nothing about Star Trek. I'm not a sci-fi fan. To me, it was just a job. And I was broke. I mean broke – credit cards maxed out. When I finally got it, a girlfriend of mine from England, who was doing a soap opera at the time, paid off my credit cards so that I could stay and do the job. I had moved here and I got Star Trek on the day that I was leaving to go back to England. In fact, I literally got the suitcase off the top of the wardrobe, I put it on the bed, opened the suitcase, and the phone rang to say I got the job. And my visa ran out the next day.
VERNON: So one would say providence?
VERNON: So you know that you were always known as "the body" on Star Trek right?
MARINA: Yeah, until Jeri Ryan came along.
VERNON: Yeah, but that was way --
MARINA: That was way past, yeah. If they only knew. People say to me – because I'm a bit of a feminist with a small "f." People say, "How can you be a feminist when people regard you as a sex symbol?" And I'm like, okay, first of all, when you've been ugly, if you had said to me when I was 12, you're going to be a sex symbol when you're older, I would've laughed and said, "Are you high?" So, to me it's like a huge compliment. And especially as I'm older. I was in my 30's when I became a sex symbol; it wasn't something that happened when I was young. And I think it's great. I mean, I really think it's great.
However, the body, it was hard to maintain!
VERNON: Yeah, but you learn to accept and understand it when you get older. I mean when you look at the kids today that suddenly have all this thrust on them and they're 18 - 19, the majority of them, it destroys them. They can't handle the money, the fame, because they're not mature enough. As you get older, you have the maturity to go, "This is great because I have actually worked for this and I’m happy I've got it."
MARINA: Because I hit very quickly after I came to LA. People said, "Oh, you're on overnight success." And I'm like, yeah, it's taken me 11 years to become an overnight success. Because I've been killing myself in the theater for ten years for no money, you know, learning my craft. In the ten years after I left drama school, before I came to America, I did shows, what we call "fringe" which is kind of off-off-off-off-off -Broadway in London. I mean we worked for our bus fare. That's what you got, you got five pounds a week and that basically covered your bus or your tube fare to get to the theater and you worked for free because you wanted to play that part, you know? So I don't think people understand – and maybe it's changed now, because I have to remember that I've been gone from England for over 20 years now – but I don't know of one single British actor of my generation and before, who became an actor to make money. In England you don't become an actor to make money. You become an actor for all those messed-up, psychological reasons that you spend ten years in therapy trying to figure out when you come to America, right? Because in England we don't do therapy, we do "have a cup of tea and a cigarette, dear." You know, "You'll be fine."
ON BEING A KOUGAR
VERNON: When I asked you if you would be kind enough to allow me to do an interview with you, for Kougar, you were so excited about Kougar.
MARINA: I was!
VERNON: How do you feel about the new definition?
MARINA: I think it's great. I think in this town, especially, older women are like, I mean I always joke about it and say, "They send us to the glue factory." You know, we're done and dusted with and it's off you go. You have no use or purpose anymore. And, first of all, as a woman in her 50s, I find it insulting because I think they have this idea of what 50 or 40 is, and I want to shake them and say, "This is 55. This is the new 55. Me.” Because actually, funny enough, I am happier, more comfortable in my own skin, more content, easier with the world than I have ever been in my life. I'm more confident, I mean everything is better at this age. Okay, I know that I peaked looks-wise at 40. That was when I looked my best, but as far as how I feel on the inside, I've never felt better than I feel now – apart from the menopause – which, you know, we'll talk about!
VERNON: [laughter] Yeah, we'll talk about that. The continuous hot flashes.
MARINA: But, I think it grates on me because I feel better than I've ever felt in myself and in my head, and yet Hollywood's saying you're obsolete, you're obsolete now, you know? And I take exception to that. I still get hit on - young guys, old guys. Guys still hit on me. And I think that's partly because of the aura I give out by just being like – this is me. Like it or lump it.
VERNON: You're happy.
MARINA: I'm very happy. I mean, obviously I'd like more work, but then all actors want more work. But as far as my life and as far as who Marina is and how she feels, I've never felt better. As a guy, you're never going to stop working because, it doesn't matter – I mean you're gorgeous; but it doesn't matter if the guy is, you know, fat, bald, short, tall, overweight, he will always work. And it doesn't matter if they're 70, they're gonna have a 25-year-old blond on their arm…which to me is absurd. I'm sorry, but I think dirty old men, end of story, you know? And that's why I try to work in England as well, because we haven't quite caught that sickness yet. But I think maybe men, or the business, is scared of a powerful woman. We're threatening. And I feel at my age, with my life experience, that I've earned the right to speak my mind and speak my opinion, even if it's not asked for.
VERNON: Why do you always tell people how old you are?
MARINA: Because I'm not ashamed of my age. And this is something that I really hate - the fact that women lie about their age. They feel they have to because, when you're over 40, it's like you suddenly don't exist, so you have to lie. I am 55 years old and I'm not ashamed of it, and I wish women would embrace who they are. Stop trying to be something that you're not. When you embrace who you are, you're happy.
VERNON: Age doesn't matter.
MARINA: Age is just a number, and we, as women, are conditioned to be ashamed of being old.
VERNON: And men.
MARINA: Really? Men too? Well then, all people should stop lying about their age. Be honest about it. I mean you read actresses ages in People Magazine for instance, and you're like, yeah, right. And I discovered this as I started getting older; I realized that, if you're honest about your age, you get positive reinforcement. If you lie about your age – if I was to say I'm 40, they'd go, "Yeah, right." You know, that's negative. I tell people I'm 55 and they go, “Oh, my God, you look amazing.” That's positive reinforcement. That is adding to my wellbeing.
VERNON: And they hire you.
MARINA: And they hire me. There you go.
ON PLASTIC SURGERY
PAULA: I know you wanted to address plastic surgery.
MARINA: I want to talk about plastic surgery.
VERNON: I guess, then, I should ask the question: Do you have an opinion of women who decide that they need to have plastic surgery to stay young?
MARINA: Well, first of all, it doesn't make sense for actresses. It doesn't make sense for actresses to have plastic surgery because there's no point in looking 40 when you're 60 because you know what? They're gonna hire somebody who's 40. They're not gonna hire you – first of all, you look like you've been caught in a wind tunnel! So it doesn't make sense for actresses. I'm going to quote Eileen Atkins here, "If all the actresses look young, who's gonna play the old parts?" Right? One of the reasons I'm so adamant against plastic surgery is because I fell into that trap of being the Hollywood starlet. And I had beautiful boobs. But as I got older, of course they got softer and they didn't stay where I wanted them to stay so I went and had my boobs done. It is the worst thing I ever did; I regretted it from day one, which is maybe why I'm so adamant against everything else now, because I hate 'em. And because I hate them, people ask, "Why don't you have them taken out?" Because I think that again is feeding into that whole thing of let's fix it, let's fix it, let's fix it. You don't have to fix it. I made a decision, I've made my bed, I'm lying in it. I do want to put myself up as an example here though because when people say to me, "How do you look so great? Why do you look so great?" It's because I haven't had a face lift or Botox or any of that and I take care of myself in other ways. Okay, I eat pretty much everything that isn't nailed down, but I workout. And I don't drink to excess. I do smoke, so I really should look worse. But I think there's this thing we're buying into - this bullshit that we have to be 60 and look 40. Why? I would rather be a beautiful 60. I look at Helen Mirren and Judi Dench. They haven't had work done and they look great. They will always look great because their beauty – and I know I'm starting to sound like Oprah right now – but their beauty isn't about this. [Gesturing to her body] It's about what they're exuding from the inside. Okay, it doesn't hurt that, with make-up on, I look pretty good. But you know, my husband sees me first thing in the morning and he's like, "Holy shit, Mum, go put," you know, "go do your hair, go do something!" I mean no one looks great 24 hours a day. But I wish women would just go, "You know what? I'm happy to be me."
VERNON: I agree with you totally.
MARINA: And you know, normal women, women who aren't in show business – want to look as good as they possibly can for as long as they possibly can, but I say "Down with plastic surgery.”
ON SEX AND MENOPAUSE
PAULA: Well can we talk about sex? How's sex?
MARINA: Let me think. Let me try and remember.
VERNON: [Enlightening the audience] By the way, we're talking about sex.
MARINA: I'm thinking back. First of all, menopause, we have to talk about menopause in Kougar Magazine.
VERNON: We have to?
MARINA: We do, we do. You know why? It's my mission in life to talk about menopause. Do you know why? Because it's like a dirty little secret. No one talks about it, your mother doesn't talk about it, it's like it's something you should be ashamed of. You don't talk about it. I mean I'm sitting there fanning myself with a fan. You know what? I'm not in The Importance of Being Earnest, I'm having a hot flash, you know? Again, it's an acceptance, it's natural. The same way we start our period, you know, one day it's gonna end. And things happen to you when your period ends. And one of the things that happens to you is you really don't think about sex that much. And guess what? Your vagina atrophies, which they also don't tell you. See? Did you know that?
PAULA: [Slightly disturbed!] I didn't know that.
MARINA: You see, you didn't know that. Your vagina atrophies. So guess what? You have to start -
MARINA: No, it's not about muscle control. It's about dryness. So you have to, you know, it can freak you out, sex becomes painful. So you have to buy lube or you can go on hormones or whatever. The regular hormones they make out of horse's urine, Premarin, etc., they have to keep the horses pregnant all the time. It's very cruel to the horses. But you can get biosynthetic hormones, and I went on them for two years when I was really having a bad time with hot flashes. When those started to go I came off the hormones and I thought, “You know what? This is natural for a woman.” And yes, my husband would like to have more sex.
VERNON: What husband wouldn't?
MARINA: What husband wouldn't? Exactly. And no, we don't have as much sex as we used to but when we do it's great.
VERNON: And now you're more friends and buddies, and you have more fun.
[PAULA IS APPALLED]
MARINA: Exactly. We're old now, you know? I'm 55, he's 52. I'd rather, to be honest, watch the World Cup [laughter].
PAULA: This is not very reassuring for us as younger --
MARINA: But you know what? Sex is like… it's not like you don't enjoy it anymore, because you do enjoy it. And as I said, as far as orgasms go, I've had the biggest orgasms of my life at this age. But you don't think about sex because you're not producing those hormones anymore. So on a certain level, you kind of have to make a note, okay, haven't had sex in two weeks, better have sex soon. [Laughter] You know, it's like that. Because if you don't make a note, you'll forget. That's the other thing with menopause, your brain turns to mush and you can't remember a single thing. So you do have to make notes.
PAULA: When did you go through menopause?
MARINA: In my early 40s.
PAULA: That means mine is coming soon.
MARINA: But the good part, of course, is the no periods part.
PAULA: Yeah, that's what I'm talking about.
MARINA: But you know, women have to talk about menopause, we have to not be ashamed of it. We're not ashamed of starting our periods, so we shouldn't be ashamed of ending our periods. It's just another phase of life.
VERNON: I think people are more scared of what you're talking about because once it happens, a lot of the desires and a lot of the things they used to do dissipate. And if you've got a relationship that's based solely on attraction, you've got a big problem. Whereas, if you've got a relationship that's based on mutual respect and love, it's better.
PAULA: What do you suggest men do when they're going through the menopause experience with a person they love?
MARINA: Well my husband said, "When women go through menopause, men should go through a mental-pause." Which is basically just - okay, she's not making sense right now, she has mood swings. I don't know what's going on with her right now, so you know what? I'll just take a little time out. This is the menopause, it's not really her. Let's not get into a fight. I know what's going on, I'm backing off. My husband teases me and says I've been going through menopause since I met him. We've been together for 22 years. But yeah, as for the sex thing - he would have sex, you know, all the time. I can't. I can't, I just can't. I don't desire it all the time; I don't think about it, it's not a priority with me anymore. I have to be honest, it's not. And that's not my head, it's my hormones; that's what's happening in my body. All I can say is thank God for Internet porn.
VERNON: And lube.
MARINA: Internet porn, because when he gets horny and I'm like – because men always get horny at inappropriate times. I mean, what is it about me in the kitchen cooking with a pinney on that turns my husband on, right? I don't know. But, it's like, honey, go turn the computer on, leave me alone. Right? Really. People like Elizabeth Hasselbeck who says if she ever caught her husband reading "Playboy" she'd divorce him. I was like, “Wait till you get to my age, honey. You'll be like bringing up the web sites for him.” [Laughter]
VERNON: Yeah, it's that thing that, once your friends with somebody and you're married because you're friends, that whole thing of "I married my best friend," it's real because you find so many things that you both love doing, regardless of the sexual side of it. But then, I think everything is still sexual because, if you just touch, or you talk, if you remember to bring home a rose, or it's a special day – all of that is still sexual and loving, and people forget that you don't have to have intercourse to be sexual.
MARINA: Exactly. I mean we're very touchy-feely, sick kissy, you know, huggy. We're very tactile with each other, and we show our love in other ways. I mean I – I know it sounds weird, but I know he loves me to cook. I cook. And that shows him how much I love him that I spend so much time feeding him, you know?
ON FUTURE PROJECTS
PAULA: What do you have coming up? Anything interesting?
MARINA: This movie that we're shooting in Australia, it's an expose of the airline industry. So hopefully there will be some questions asked after this movie comes out. Can't give too much away because I don't want to give away the storyline. And Vernon and I may be working together.
VERNON: And I must admit I'm looking forward to it.
MARINA: Yeah, me too!
ON STAYING IN SHAPE
MARINA: As I said, I eat everything. Actually, I wasn't joking, I had an eating disorder from the age of 13 to the age of 32. And I actually woke up one morning and was bored with having an eating disorder. I just woke up one morning and thought, "This is ridiculous. I'm so bored with all I think about all day, every day, being what I can eat and what I can't eat." So I was looking through the Hollywood Reporter, of all things, that morning and there was an ad for a therapist who dealt with eating disorders. I called her up and I went into therapy and got better, because an eating disorder is never the problem, it's a symptom of the problem.
PAULA: What was the eating disorder caused by?
MARINA: Well, I had a very, very unhappy childhood. My mother had an eating disorder, although we didn't know at the time. And when I was growing up, anorexia had a name. Bulimia hadn't been invented yet. Bulimia didn't have a name when I was 18 - 19. Basically you just thought you were a big, fat pig who couldn't stop eating. And the only thing that saved me was the fact that I couldn't throw-up. I literally can't throw-up. I'd have my fingers down my throat for hours and nothing would come up. So I used to eat a table full of food and then take a handful of laxatives at the end of it. And as I said, I just got bored with it. And ever since I finished my therapy, I can't diet now. It's like my brain won't let me. It's like, okay, if I want to lose a little bit of weight I'll stop eating so much, I won't eat desert. I'll have fruit instead of cake. The other thing is that when I was bulimic I was never full. I could eat and eat and never feel full. Now that I'm better, I get full. And when I'm full, I literally cannot put another mouthful of food in my mouth. I cannot eat another mouthful of food because I have a full switch. It goes – okay, you're full, you can stop eating now.
VERNON: Well, now that we've covered acting, diet, sex, marriage, menopause –
MARINA: Plastic surgery.
VERNON: Plastic surgery. We didn't get to religion but we'll do that in a follow-up.
MARINA: And they should legalize pot.
VERNON: [laughter] Oh, Lord!
MARINA: It would be the end of California's troubles financially. Legalize pot and tax it.
VERNON: On that note…
PAULA: On that note, let's get you into hair and makeup! [Laughter]
VERNON: I would say it's been the utmost pleasure and it is still, whether you're in menopause or not, [Kiss] love ya.
VERNON G. WELLS
CELEBRITY & BEHIND-THE-SCENES INTERVIEWS/KOUGAR CUDDLER
This son of Australia and actor of both the big screen and television is one of America’s favorite cult heroes from his work both as Wez in Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior and Bennett in Commando. Vernon is also a prolific writer and is with us to share the inside world of his celebrity friends in unbiased and, most certainly, candid conversations. One of Vernon’s passions is encouraging young people to stay in school.