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Wonder of a Woman

Lynda Carter is celebrating Pride with a new CD, a round of tour dates and by sharing

a few memories from her Wonder-ful life with us.
Interviewing original Wonder Woman Lynda Carter was a childhood dream come true! We found her to be funny, thoughtful and humble as we discussed Pride parades, re-inventing songs and everyone’s favorite star-spangled gal.

Is it true you came up with Wonder Woman’s spin?
I did! It’s kind of cool, isn’t it?

It is! It’s like an iconic television image now.
Well, they didn’t know how to change her. In the comics, they didn’t show her changing, and you have to remember there were no computer effects back then, and when you’re on a set trying to figure this stuff out, it’s such a waste of time and money. And they were going for hours trying to figure out how to show the change, and they had this sort of Lazy Susan that they wanted to put me on and I was like, “You know, I can just spin.” And that’s how it happened!

When you were Grand Marshal at Pride events in Washington, D.C. and Phoenix, AZ this year, did you see a lot of boys in Wonder Woman costumes?
Of course! But I had these guys coming up to me, and one guy had my face tattooed on his leg. He asked me to sign it because he was going to get the autograph tattooed on him! I just can’t imagine. “What if I disappoint you? You can’t go back.” But it’s not really about me, it’s about the character.

Tell us about your new CD, Crazy Little Things.
Basically, I’ve taken a lot of songs that we know, old rock songs like Queen, for example, and I re-imagine them. But it’s not [just doing a version of someone else’s song]. It’s an entire re-imagining of the song and sort of rethinking the whole approach to it. Everything on the album is like that. I want it to be like, if you heard the song, you’d stop for a minute and think, “What song is this? How do I know this?”

Putting your spin on it, then?
Pretty much. And that’s been the whole collaborative and creative excitement of it, because it was so much fun to do, to really give a lot of thought into how I wanted to do each song. Otherwise, as Simon Cowell used to say, “It’s just karaoke.” Like, I do “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” but I don’t do it in that folk style; instead, it’s kind of haunting. And I think I’m going to do a dance remix.

For your gays?

Are you touring?
Yes, I love it. You hear from actors that they love to do theatre because they get that audience reaction and they feed off of that. That’s how it was for me for years. You know, I started out at 14 singing in clubs, so I’ve been singing in front of people practically my whole life and I love it. You get them laughing and responding to you. Because there’s always a story with each song; there’s always a reason I chose that song.

You took several years off to raise your family.
Eighteen, but who’s counting? But that’s singing. For many of those years I was doing Maybelline [commercials], and I did two series, a bunch of movies; so I wasn’t out of the public eye, but I was out of singing.

Was it difficult to get back into it?
[It was like] riding a bike. But it wasn’t all easy, because it was so scary. If there was anything I wanted to say to people who care about what I say [laughs], it’s that all that nervousness and insecurity, whatever it is that’s making you scared to go outside your comfort zone, it’s the same with everybody. That’s part of the challenge of trying something new. That’s why stretching yourself is so hard. At the end of the day, you get over yourself and do it. … Putting your ass on the line is not a bad thing.■

Our wonderful conversation with Lynda Carter continues — exclusively on Metrosource for the iPad and at Metrosource.com.

What do you think of the new girl taking over the role of Wonder Woman, Adrianne Palicki?
Well, I think she’s absolutely beautiful. I haven’t seen her work, but she’s a working actress and that’s a good thing. You want to see everyone involved doing their best and I think she’s going to be great in the role. I know everyone is working so hard to bring the character back and I hope it’s good. I think it will be.

You’ve always been something of an ambassador for the character and you’ve always been very open to the idea that someday someone else was going to make her come alive.
Oh, yeah! And that’s how it should be. It would be kind of disgusting if I thought any differently. I mean, come on. Even though, it’s always about me [laughs]. No, absolutely; I had the thrill of taking the character off the page and making her a more 3-dimensional person … I didn’t want to make her dumb. And you have to remember, it was the seventies, so a lot of people were uncomfortable with the whole women’s lib aspect of it. So the only way I could get a really strong woman in there, was to play Diana Prince as smart, capable, forward, all of that stuff, but without superpowers.

If you were asked, what advice would you give the Adrianne about tackling the role?
Play her for real. Don’t play “Wonder Woman;” you can’t. You’ve got to create your character and you just have to understand the way she is. …. And I think you have to make sure Diana Prince is likeable. She’s a likeable person. She’s a little more sensible and self-deprecating than Wonder Woman. It ain’t easy playing a superhero.

Why do you think your performance of that character resonated with gay men in particular?
I think with Wonder Woman, there’s a secret self or a hidden self. We all have families … and then we’ve all got our work … but we all have this secret part of ourselves, this chrysalis, just ready to emerge. I think with gay men, it’s about that secret, strong, important part of yourself, and for them, that secret part and coming to grips with it is one of the most important things that ever happens to them.

Do you ever get tired of gay men fawning over you?
Never! I love my gays! It’s a privilege.
By tom & Lorenzo

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