"Star Wars" was released 35 years ago today. I was really young and honestly, I don't remember a time in my life that I wasn't in love with the film. My favorite book as a kid was the giant "Star Wars" book my parents bought me. I was Princess Leia for Halloween. Gosh, I remember my mom wrapping my super long hair around donut-shaped netting to get her signature look and lending me a silver belt to wrap around the robes she gave me. I don't think I've ever been prouder on Halloween!
I had all the toys, though no one could understand why I wanted anything but Leia dolls. I found sticks in the yard and colored them with green or blue chalk so they looked like lightsabers. I played "Star Wars" in the yard with my friend Lisa. I said, "May the force be with you" to my friends on the playground. I was hooked.
The thing is, I loved all sorts of things as a kid. "Star Wars," however, stuck. I went to "Empire Strikes Back" in my footie pajamas with my parents and their friends. I used to pretend I was flying the Millenium Falcon. I remember getting the Leia/Luke connection spoiled for me on the swings. Didn't care. I just wanted to see it.
Later in life, the Yoda's line, "Do or do not. There is no try" actually popped into my head at important forks in the road. When I chose to go onstage and audition for my first play. When I challenged my parents and insisted on going to college for Musical Theatre. Every time I changed careers. Every time I got in front of the camera. When I moved across the country.
The idea of fighting for what is good and right in the world stuck with me, as well as trying again, no matter how many times you fail. Even Han Solo's rouge personality rubbed off on me. Who needs to say what everyone else wants to hear? Take risks. Do what no one else will do.
Getting a chance to visit Skywalker Ranch was a high point in my life, and finally interviewing George Lucas and having the opportunity to tell him how much the films meant to me was a dream come true. Interviewing Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford ... playing every "Star Wars" video game ... I never would have given up a career I was comfortable to do what I do without the feeling that I needed to give my all and do, not try. To take chances. To shake myself out of my regular life and go on an adventure. And what an adventure it's been.
Thank you "Star Wars." May the force be with you.
Where to Find Me at Star Wars Celebration Orlando - Star Wars Celebration Orlando is nearly here! The ultimate gathering for Star Wars fans is happening from April 13-April 16. *I'll be back as the host of t...
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