Getting Personal: Lisa Gaye Dixon

Getting Personal: Lisa Gaye Dixon

What time do you typically get up? What do you do the first hour of the morning?
6:30 a.m. Blech. I am NOT a morning person. First, I feed my cat, Rudy, who seems to be STARVING even though there is still food in the bowl. Then I make coffee and just sit still for a bit. Then it's breakfast and the news and out the door between 8 and 9 a.m.

What did you have for lunch today? Where? With whom?
An apple, an orange and a ham-and-cheese croissant from Mirabelle! in my very untidy office, with my very untidy self.

Best high school memory:

Tell me about your favorite pair of shoes.
There are SO many to choose from. But at the moment, a pair of black leather Mary-Jane mules with a slight wedge and gold beading and sparkling designs on cute little rounded toes. I got them in Chinatown in San Francisco last summer. They go with everything, whether they do or not.

What does a perfect Sunday afternoon include?
A nap and bad television in no particular order.

Was there one book you read as a child that you still cherish? Own? Read?
Not that I read anymore but I loved "The Secret Garden" and read it dozens of times, I am sure.

Where on Earth are you dying to go? Why?
EVERYWHERE! I would love to travel extensively but mostly back to London to visit friends, former colleagues. It is my soul's home. In London I feel complete. To paraphrase Ben Jonson: When one is tired of London, one is tired of life.

Tell me about your favorite pet.
That would have to be my cat, Rudy, acquired from the Champaign County Humane Society. He is an absolute family member and though I am allergic to cats in general, I have never had one day of reaction to him. So it must, of course, be love.

Have you discovered as you matured that you are becoming like one of your parents? Which one and how?
Will my mother be reading this?

What would you order for your last meal?
Shark and bake from Trinidad, and tandoori butter chicken from a (sadly) now defunct restaurant near the Stockwell Tube station in south London.

What can you NOT live without?

Who do you have on your iPod?
Haahaahaahaaa. I am a Luddite.

What's the happiest memory of your life?
A birthday celebration given to me by friends in London, where, as we drunkenly walked down the streets late at night, they decided to sing "Home on the Range" to me because they thought I was homesick. I still laugh when I think of hearing an iconic Western American song sung in a popular London accent. It was touching – and ridiculous.

If you could host a dinner party with any three living people in the world, whom would you invite?
Dame Maggie Smith, Barack Obama and Mel Brooks (to keep it honest).

What's the best advice you've ever been given?
My former hair stylist said, "When you get out of bed in the morning you got to tell yourself, 'You da bomb,' 'cause no one else is gonna believe it if you don't."

What's your best piece of advice?
Work to love and forgive yourself; then you can love and forgive others.

What was your first job, and how much did you make an hour?
As a kitchen prep worker in the old Round Barn Restaurant. I think I made $2.15 an hour.

What was a pivotal decision in your career, and how did you arrive at that decision?
After a couple of years of inertia and low-level jobs, I sat sadly on the edge of my tiny bed in my tiny, drafty apartment on a gray Monday morning and said, "... I am unhappy and poor right now. I might as well be happy and poor." So I went to grad school and got my MFA in acting.

Do you have a bad habit? What is it?
I have many. But never cleaning the kitchen on time is the most visible. Oh, and paying bills late. That's two.

How do you handle a stressful situation?
When I am at my best I take a deep breath and go over many possible responses and the ramifications of those responses. Then think about what is the outcome I really WANT. And take the best seen path to that. Sometimes it means delayed or subordinated good feelings of self-righteousness, but I am often a better person for that. I am usually pretty cool under pressure and often use humor to diffuse. I HAVE to laugh. Dance and laugh, or what's the point?

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