Long before it was even conceivable that a woman might very well be the next president of the United States, three strong, intelligent, and slightly badass ladies were doing their best to save the world from those who sought to undermine the balance between good and evil. While they did it with more than a dash of fabulousness, it was still an important statement and moved mass media in a direction that has led to many other break-out episodic shows that offer women the chance to embrace their strength with a sense of grace, while leaving no room or need for apology or explanation.
I recently sat down with Cheryl Ladd who is one hell of an angel, to talk about the past, present, and future. I came away from the discussion with sense that the woman off-screen shares the same insight, compassion, and commitment to entertaining and informing those who have come to love and admire her for a career and life well lived.
Joshua Estrin: In an industry that has a habit of building celebrities up only to tear them down, you have been recognized time and again for your compassion, sense of humor, and authenticity. How have you kept your feet on the ground over the span of your career?
Cheryl Ladd: While “Charlie's Angels” was an important part of my work as an actress, I've been lucky enough to have the support of the industry and go beyond that role to enjoy many other exciting projects. I think it's important for anyone in the industry to be prepared. It's a bit of an oxymoron because there was so much about the industry that I couldn’t control. But I did realize that whatever fame had been afforded me was in many ways temporary. So I stayed grounded by focusing on the things that really mattered to me; my family, my friends, and the people who are real who allowed me that all-important reality check coupled with the ability to go within and monitor my own personal compass. While it's not a judgment, it seems that some in the public eye today exude a sense of desperation or a need to remain a celebrity as a part of their identity. I have lived a remarkable life, and had remarkable opportunities, but my work never defines me. I believe the moment any of us becomes desperate, no matter what we do or what path we follow in life, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Therefore, for me, while it's not groundbreaking advice, it's all about balance and surrounding myself with people who lift me up and keep me real.
JE: Your rise to fame in “Charlie’s Angles” has made you a trailblazer. Onscreen you played a strong, independent woman who was always seeking answers and never apologized for being both sexy and smart. What advice do you have for women (and men) who may hesitate when it comes to taking a leap of faith and being a leader rather than a follower?
CL: I don't believe that life happens in a straight line for very many of us. Life is about taking chances and sometimes that's scary but it can also be exciting. I believe it's important to know who you are, who you want to be, and to what lengths you're willing to go to get there. Happiness is attainable, but unless you're very clear with yourself about what it will look like, who it will involve, and have a commitment to being authentic and genuine on your path to getting there, you might get lost along the way and not even realize the destination when you reach it.
JE: As we get older we have a responsibility to self as well as the one’s we love to being informed about important health issues. Tell me a little bit about your latest project.
CL: I believe that while we can all age gracefully, the process of getting older can often be confusing and little frustrating. That's why educating oneself on important issues is integral. When my husband was told he had cataracts we didn't have a lot of the facts and so we went through a range of emotions. We were concerned, we were scared, and because of this lack of information, like many people, we tried to fill in the blanks. The best way to fill in the blanks is with reliable information and I have to admit that, until we had that information, we felt a bit lost. I don't think it's helpful to beat ourselves up for not knowing everything about the aging process and everything about related conditions, but it does become so much more manageable when we have the best information so that we can make informed decisions.
JE: Why do you think people don't take their eyesight and the potential risks of cataracts as seriously as other conditions, especially since the solution is safe and effective?
CL: I don't believe people intentionally ignore their eyesight. I just think that oftentimes the process is far more gradual than other conditions. As a result, when people are faced with having to deal with cataracts, there is almost a sense of, "wait a minute, when did this happen?" Not everyone is given the gift of sight and, as such, if we are able to experience the world in all its vivid colors, we need to take that very seriously and make it one of our highest priorities. Any medical condition can be anxiety provoking, but when it comes to cataracts, there are so many safe and effective options that people don't need to be afraid of, but they do need to be informed.
JE: With Halloween fast approaching, what is your favorite candy?
I love Halloween. It’s a wonderful time of year that we don't need to make excuses for eating sweets. Like everyone else I do my best to have some self-control but those little Caramel Nips get me every time.
For more information on cataracts check out the Know Your Cataract Eye-Q program