Andrea Powell plays werewolf and loving mother Karen Crezski on ABC’s The Gates, but did you know that she’s also a runner and an avid supporter of the American Cancer Society? SpaceGypsies caught up with Andrea to talk about her participation in the Run Rock N Roll half marathon in Chicago, the American Cancer Society, Karen’s fantastic wardobe and, of course, werewolves!
Our favorite thing about Andrea? She’s not afraid to squeal with us!
AP: I was originally invited by the Chicago Rock n Roll Half Marathon as a celebrity attendee, but when I learned more about the race itself and the cause, I decided to participate as a runner. Plus it was a great way to get to know a really cool city that I didn’t know much about.
SG: How long did you have to train? Was this your first marathon?
AP: I started doing short-distance triathlons a year or so ago, and the furthest I’d ever run was 10k. The half-marathon was definitely a first for me, and I didn’t know that my shooting schedule would allow me to attend until just a few weeks before. So I was kind of training and tapering at the same time. I’d been running and cycling in the Louisiana heat all summer, which definitely helped my endurance. But the best thing was the advice I got the night before from an Olympic trainer, who basically told me to just relax, break the distance up into small segments, and–most important–make a plan and stick to it. It really worked. I made the entire distance and had a lot of fun doing it!
SG: How was your experience running 13 miles through the city? Was it hard? Did the weather play a factor at all?
AP: I loved it! It was a great way to see the city, and the bands along the way made it even better. Everyone was apologizing about the heat, but I’d been in 100+ degree Shreveport all summer. 78 degrees was sweater weather to me. 🙂 My favorite part was the last few miles around the lake, where you took a turn and all of a sudden there was this spectacular view of the skyline. And the breeze off the water was much appreciated.
SG: What is your advice for novice runners who want to try a marathon?
AP: I can’t speak to a marathon since I still haven’t done one, but I’d definitely say that if you’ve run any distance at all you can definitely do a half. Pace yourself, walk the water breaks, drink when you’re thirsty, and enjoy the scenery. And like the trainer said, make a plan and stick with it. Even if the plan is to run a mile and walk a mile, or break it up some other way, knowing what you’re going to do to get through the distance is really helpful and makes it all seem more manageable in your mind. And during the inevitable uphills and tough parts, you can think ahead to your next move. I’d also say have a little mini-celebration every time you pass one of those mile markers. High-five the people next to you, say “woohoo!” Your’e doing it!
AP: I lost my father to cancer in 2002, and my husband lost both his parents to cancer many years ago. We only had a month between my dad’s diagnosis and when he passed away, so there wasn’t really an opportunity to prepare or learn much about it. But soon after–probably as a way of dealing with it–I tried to learn everything I could, and I became aware of all the people who are or have been touched by cancer in some way. I also have a brother and brother-in-law who have survived cancer thanks to early diagnosis, so I appreciate the efforts the American Cancer Society makes to educate people about the importance of screenings. In addition to their emphasis on research, the ACS also understands the importance of supporting those who are dealing with cancer every day, and giving them the best chance at survival by finding out everything possible about fighting it. Everyone I met with the ACS was amazing and inspiring, and I’m humbled and honored that they asked me to wear their jersey and run on their behalf.
SG: What can people do to help support the American Cancer Society?
AP: You can make an immediate donation at the ACS website at www.cancer.org, and you can also get information there about other ways you can help. There are events across the country to help raise money, and there are all sorts of volunteering opportunities. You can encourage lawmakers to continue supporting legislation requiring insurance companies to cover cancer screenings, and urge your Senators and Representatives to pass the National Pain Care Policy Act, which would allow cancer pain sufferers to receive proper diagnosis and pain relief, which would greatly improve their quality of life. Check out www.acscan.org for more ideas.
SG: Did you do anything fun while you were in the city?
AP: My husband came with me, and the race organizers treated us to the most amazing dinner at 9 Steakhouse. One of the best meals we’ve ever had, and it gave us a chance to get to know our new friends better. Pity it was the night before the race, or I would’ve taken more advantage of the wine. They were pouring our favorite–Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc. Yum!
SG: We hear you ride horses. PlayItGrand and I are also riders (Saddleseat, Hunt Seat and Western) and horse owners. What’s your favorite discipline? Favorite form of riding (trail, jumping, showing)? Do you ride often?
AP: I grew up riding Western, although I’ve also trained English and Australian. I even dabbled in barrel racing when I was young and bounced back more quickly–it can be pretty rough on your body. Trail riding has always been my favorite; there’s nothing like exploring beautiful country on horseback. Unfortunately I don’t get to ride much anymore, but I hope that I can add that back into my life at some point.
SG: When you first received the script for The Gates, what were your impressions when you found out you’d be playing the mother of a werewolf?
AP: How. Cool. Is. That. I was thrilled! And then when I discovered I was a werewolf, too, this officially became one of the best gigs ever.
SG: The Gates has its own set of rules and mythology when it comes to supernatural beings. How do you feel The Gates’ mythos compares to that of Twilight, Underworld, or other supernatural series?
AP: I think all of the shows and stories play around with the traditional rules and mythologies, then add their own to suit. In our case, the vampires have a special sunscreen that lets them walk in the day (a good reason to avoid water, which can wash it off), and the werewolves are vulnerable to regular bullets. But the core rules still apply. For example, in one episode I push my way into Claire’s house, saying “I don’t have to be invited in, unlike some people.”
AP: I know, I LOVE Karen’s clothes! The brilliant designers and wardrobe department find them locally, order online, wherever they can, then our flawless seamstress custom-fits them just for me. Karen’s dresses remind me of a cross between Jackie O and Katherine Hepburn, and they’re pretty close-fitting (that gorgeous peach dress I wore at the fundraiser in episode 6 didn’t allow me to sit, but it was totally worth it). Except for the bikini and sandals she wears in the famous pool party scene, Karen has two wardrobe constants: her pearls and her shoes. No matter what else, those two things are almost always there, and she just doesn’t feel dressed without them. All wardrobe is the property of the show; however, I did end up buying the dress I wear in episode 12. You’ll understand why when you see it.
SG: Who has better fashion sense, Karen’s friends or Claire’s?
AP: Well, neither of them really has many friends to speak of, although they’re making more as the series progresses. But if you’re talking vampires vs. werewolves, I think the vampires have more of a vintage look since they’re strongly influenced by the time at which they were “turned”. Karen’s pack is a little earthier, more animal prints, etc. Karen herself doesn’t really fit any mold, it’s just very important to her to look her best…and better than Claire…at all times. I love that she’s a little over-dressed for every situation.
SG: Will viewers get to find out what happened to cause the rift between the vampires and werewolves within The Gates?
AP: The differences between the two “teams” will be explored more as time goes on, although I think it’s pretty traditional that vampires and werewolves don’t get along. And some of the problems between Karen and Claire have as much to do with mutual misunderstanding as they do with being on one side or the other. Claire thinks that the werewolves are just a bunch of animals, and that Karen doesn’t have true feelings. Karen thinks that the vampires are full of themselves, and that Claire has the perfect life. But in episode 7 they realize that there’s more there than meets the eye, which enables them to put their differences aside.
SG: We have to ask, who do you think would win in a fight, Karen or Claire?
AP: Karen, of course. My husband thinks that she has some serious screws loose and could snap at any moment. Of course, I think she’s just trying to do her best and keep it all together. But I guess I see his point. Karen can be pretty scary. And who knows, she might do something really crazy…maybe later this season…who knows? 😉
The SpaceGypsies would like to thank Andrea for taking time out of her busy schedule to talk with us. The Gates airs Sundays 10/9 c on ABC.