Here is a fantastic article from The Daily Herald dated 5 July 2014 where the writer Michele Bates talks to Renee and reviews Fantasy Con.
Chick Power: The impact of 'Xena' on popular culture and girls everywhere
I love "Xena Warrior Princess." Most of the women I know that enjoy fantasy and mythology have a soft spot for the mid-90s television series that featured a kick-butt but soft-hearted warrior and her adorable and lovable sidekick Gabrielle.
FantasyCon managed to score an appearance from Renee O’Connor -- best known for her role as Gabriel in "Xena"-- and I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with her about the impact "Xena" had on television heroines.
In 1975, Lynda Carter appeared on televisions all across America as Wonder Woman. It was a move in the right direction for women with her smarts and super-powers saving the day. However, like Remington Steel and other shows in the 70s and 80s, she was behind glasses and behind the scenes. There was a man who got all the glory and she did all the work.
But, in 1995 a spin-off the very popular show "Hercules" brought a horde of powerful female characters to the forefront of a show making way for powerhouse television women like Buffy, the Halliwell sisters, River Tam and more.
"Xena" wasn’t just made great by the battles, however, it was the realness of the journey of each character that really made the show, and my favorite was that of Gabrielle.
"Gabrielle started out very mousy and young and unsure," O'Connor said. "She always thought she was ready for the fight and didn’t need protection. As the show progressed she learned what it took. She kept her kindness but lost the naiveté. She grew up.”
The depth of the characters is what has really stood out in "Xena" and the shows that followed. Wonder Woman had an invisible shield and invisible emotions. She was never worried, fearful or unsure. Gabrielle was all of these things and so have been the many amazing characters that followed in her footsteps.
"I don’t think there would be a Buffy or a lot of those other beloved female power house characters without our show," O'Connor said. "It was the first of its kind to really show execs that this could sell. That this was the type of show people wanted to watch."
It was indeed. "Xena" was on the air from 1995-2001 and was a ratings juggernaut.
Being a fan of the show, it warmed my heart to see the woman behind the character have so many of her character's qualities. On Wednesday night, FantasyCon put on an event, “Night of Dreams," where kids with disabilities were able to attend the con the night before it officially started, allowing them to avoid the crowds and chaos. I witnessed O'Connor, who was there to open the event with a few other celebrities, push her handlers aside so she could interact with the kids one on one.
There is no more of the young naive Gabrielle in the woman that sat and interviewed with me. Instead there was an excited and seasoned actress who had a myriad of community-driven projects she supports and is enthusiastic to discuss.
If you’re interested in seeing more of O'Connor, as well as a lot of other films that are groundbreaking and interesting, head to San Pedro California this October for the San Pedro International Film Festival (http://www.spiffest.org/) which O'Connor serves on the board for.
She passionately explained why: “As a longtime producer and performer of independent film, I wanted to be able to come at a festival from the perspective of the people that put the films together and help them access an audience and get the word out on these great pieces of art. I love being a part of this festival ... it’s very close to my heart.”