The TV series "Xena: Warrior Princess," with its brazen beauties,
captured the attention of viewers in the late 1990s and has maintained
a cult following since its final broadcast in 2001. At the forefront were Xena, portrayed by Lucy Lawless, and her blond-haired, blue-eyed, faithful sidekick Gabrielle, played by Manhattan Beach resident Renee O'Connor.
Born in the small town of Katy, Texas, O'Connor moved to Los Angeles
after high school like so many other Hollywood hopefuls. She booked a
multitude of projects, but it was landing the role of Gabrielle in
1995 that gave her the chance to expand her career.
"My most beloved character that I have played is Gabrielle," O'Connor said.
"I worked in New Zealand for six years on the show and it stills holds
a great place in my heart," she said. "What was important about
working (on `Xena') is that it offered me the opportunity to grow as a
person and actress. ... (It helped me to understand) my place in the
world and also allowed me to observe all of the directors that came in
over the years and learn their skills and tools. That's part of the
reason that I wanted to write and direct in my own project."
O'Connor, a wife and mother of two, has kept true to her ambitions,
and will showcase her second directorial project at the Method Fest
film festival. The festival opens Thursday and continues through March
31, with screenings and events in Calabasas, Agoura Hills and Woodland