I’ve always admired women of strength. Strength takes many forms, from the physical to the mental to the emotional. One of the strongest women I’ve ever known of is my newest interview subject. Spice Williams-Crosby rose like a phoenix from the ashes of addiction and a terrible car accident to become an actress, a stuntwoman, a body-builder and an advocate for abused women.
Over the course of more than 3 decades, Spice has done scores of films, both as an actress and a stuntwoman, and she’s still active to this day. On October 11th, she took time out of her busy schedule to speak to me about her life and career from the 80s to today, and I hope you all enjoy getting to know this tremendous talent.
Say hello to Spice Williams-Crosby!
Johnny: Hello, Spice. It’s Johnny Caps here. How are you?
Spice: Oh, I’m fine, Johnny. How are you?
Johnny: I’m doing good. I have my questions ready to go, and I want to thank you for taking the time to speak to me.
Spice: Not a problem.
Johnny: I always start off my interviews with these two questions. First, what were your pop-cultural likes growing up, like favorite movies and music?
Spice: Well, my dad, during the 30s, lived with John Wayne, and after dad died, I pretty much adopted John Wayne as my dad. He was my hero, so any John Wayne movie. Any western, all the Rawhides, all the Gunsmokes…I was born and raised on a ranch, and I used to ride my horse to Kindergarten. Anything to do with Westerns, and I still today believe that cowboys and the Wild West were the beginning of the kind of America that I really felt at home with, so I would say those kind of movies. As a musician, I played classical piano and I used to do concerts. My favorite composers were like Aaron Copland, and he wrote “Appalachian Spring” and “The Tender Land” and “Billy The Kid”, and so I always kept gravitating towards that open, wild, wild West kind of a sound. I also liked Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, all kinds of those classics, and then I went on the road as a musician with my own rock-and-roll group called Sugar N’ Spice. We did a lot of harmony, my twin sister and I and her husband, who was the lead in our group, and we were pretty much an Earth, Wind And Fire-type group. My all-time favorite group is Earth, Wind And Fire. In fact, I actually have my entire funeral planned out, which my husband hates to hear, but I want to be there after I’m dead. The opening song is going to be “September” from Earth, Wind And Fire. They are my all-time favorite group, so that’s kind of the direction that I’ve always gone
Johnny: Alright. The next question I always ask is: What were your high school days like?
Spice: Wow. Well, my high school days? I had a boyfriend I was madly in love with, but we had a very turbulent time in high school, and there was a lot of trouble in my own family. There were suicides and all kinds of problems when I was young. I was kidnapped, locked in a house and molested. There were all kinds of issues. When I was 18 years old, I was in a car accident where I was thrown out of the car and hit the ground 37 yards away. I actually died on the operating table, went into the light and had that near death experience. Woke up in a coma and could hear everything, but couldn’t move. After 6 days I finally woke up to deal with LIFE and then spent 3 weeks in a wheelchair and then rehab. When I finally got back to school, I had to repeat my last year, and a lot of drugs and alcohol came into play. I was always ditching school and using drugs, getting drunk, things like that. It’s amazing that I had As and Bs. I don’t know how that happened. I had a horrible, horrible time in high school as far as all the issues that were happening in my own personal life.
Johnny: I’m sorry to hear that you went through all that, but I must say you’ve recovered magnificently.
Spice: Well, I must say it made me who I am today, and I don’t regret it because I found my way out and turned my life around from it all. That was my deal. Once I hit my knees after my third drug-and-alcohol overdose, I said, “Alright, God. Here’s the deal. Help me turn my life around. I swear I’ll be an image that changes the world”. I wouldn’t have reached that point had I not had all that turbulence. Going through it, of course it was Hell, but when I look back on it now, I can see how it made me stronger, and made me take a better direction and be more consumed with my Higher Source, God, and be a little more spiritually involved instead of chemically involved.
Johnny: Fascinating. To my next question: Wikipedia says your birth name was Marceline Williams. Where did the name Spice come from?
Spice: Well, my birth name was Marceline Ann Williams, and my mother used to call me Marcie, which I hated. Ugh, every time she’d yell Marcie, my butt would pucker. I never liked that name. My twin sister, Jacqueline Dee Williams, and I, Marceline Ann Williams, were Jackie and Marcie. When we formed our group, The Sugar N’ Spice Group is what it was called, people couldn’t tell us apart because we’re twins. They always said, “You’re the spicy one”, because I did the wild and crazy numbers, and she did the ballad. People started buying me gifts, and sending me bracelets and necklaces, all kinds of things that said Spice on it. They would call me Spice, but when I got off the road as a musician and got into acting, I tried to go with Marceline and nobody could pronounce it right. They’d go Marce-lean or Mar-Lennon. They’d get it all confused. I even tried to spell it a different way, M-A-R-C-E-L-Y-N, and they still couldn’t get it right. I was doing a soap opera, Days Of Our Lives, and it was one of my first days on that show. I walked in and the AD said, “Okay, I’m doing a name count”, and started naming off all the actors who needed to be there at a certain time. He said, “Oh, is there a Martian? Marcella?”. I said, “It’s Marceline! Marceline!”, and he looked at me and said, “Oh, wow. Aren’t you Spice of Sugar N’ Spice? You’re in a group, right? I saw you guys up at Lake Tahoe. You guys are amazing”. He turned around and told everybody, “Hey, Spice is here from the Sugar N’ Spice Group”. I didn’t know what to say. I called my agent, and I said, “Everyone on the set is calling me Spice”. She said, “Well, at least they’ll get it right”. The next thing I knew, I had my head shots printed up, and she put the name on there, Spice Williams. I just went along with it for many years until 9/11. I couldn’t get on a plane, you know, because if your license and passport don’t match up with the name of your ticket, you can’t get on. I was having problems with the ticket, so I had to legally change my name to Spice Williams. My husband Gregory Crosby, who is the grandson of Bing Crosby, is a screenwriter and director, and he’s a producer on Hacksaw Ridge, which Mel Gibson just directed. He said to me, “Are you ever going to take my last name?”. We’ve been married 28 years, and I was like, “Ugh, here we go again”. We had to go change my name AGAIN, so legally now my name is Spice Williams-Crosby, and I’m proud of it.
Johnny: Fascinating story. To my next question: In several TV series, ranging from The Fall Guy in the 80s to Roseanne in the 90s, you’ve played professional wrestlers, and you’ve wrestled in real life as well. Did you ever consider going into wrestling for the WWF or the NWA during the 80s?
Spice: Well, I actually belonged to a group called the American Women’s Wrestling Federation, the AWWF, and I did a lot of wrestling matches in Hawaii on certain teams, and all over the country in various arenas. The thing was, being an actress, I didn’t want to take myself too far out of my acting career. It was bad enough that I started bodybuilding, and people started thinking I couldn’t act because I had muscles. All those wrestling things that I did do, on The Fall Guy and Roseanne and My Two Dads and Stir Crazy…There’s a number of shows I actually wrestled on, and I was hired as an actress who could wrestle. I never wanted to get away from that understanding. I mean, I’ve had casting directors come in and go, “Are you the bodybuilder here to read this role?”, and I say, “No, I’m not”. They go, “What are you here for?”, and I said, “I’m the actress here to read the bodybuilding role”. They’d go, “What’s the difference?”, and I’d say, “About $1000 a day”. I’ve always wanted to maintain the respect I want them to have for my career as an actress, and the fact that I can do stunts or wrestle or lift weights on the side…I don’t want that taking away from my acting.
Johnny: Okay. Speaking of wrestling, in 1987 you played a mud wrestler, and also did stuntwork, in Number One With A Bullet, a Cannon Films release. I’ve interviewed several Cannon veterans over the years, and their feelings about the company, and Golan and Globus themselves, have been mixed to negative. What was your experience like working for Cannon?
Spice: Well, (laughing) wow. It’s so funny. You remind me of Quentin Tarantino. When I met him the first time, he pulled out all these movies out of his hat, and I couldn’t even remember I did them. I’m like, “Really?”. Number One With A Bullet? I did a stunt wrestling job. I had no problem at all because I was hired by the stunt coordinator. I can’t remember his name at this time, but I had a blast. Everyone was kind to me and loved what I bought to the table. I never had a problem with Cannon Films. They had TV series that went up to Canada, and I guest-starred on some of them. I understand where the problems could be for a lot of people. I must say I never had any problems, so I don’t have anything bad to give you on that.
Johnny: Alright. In 1989, you played Vixis in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. As you were a teenager when Star Trek was on the air, what was it like to become part of the franchise?
Spice: It was a dream come true. I was beyond myself. I was blown away. First of all, when I found out I had an audition for it, it was at around 5:30 at night, and I had to get in the car and drive through traffic, at which I probably would’ve been bitching about, but I couldn’t wait to get there. I got there, like, an hour early, I was so excited. I’m at Paramount, and I couldn’t believe it. I mean, I am a Trekkie. I couldn’t believe I was going to be reading for Star Trek. All through the 70s, when we were on the Las Vegas strip in my rock-and-roll group, everybody on the strip who was practicing or rehearsing, all the performers at 4:00 just closed up shop and went home. The entertainment directors were like, “What goes on here? Why does everybody close up shop and go home?”. I was like, “We gotta go home and watch Star Trek”. We were all fans. We were all Trekkies. For me, who was madly in love with Captain Kirk and would’ve done anything to be on that show, here I am auditioning now for the movie. and it was so hard to contain myself. When I went in to get the sides and see what role I was going to play, I was told to just pick up the script. When I found out that it was for a female Klingon, I went to the nearest telephone booth, because we didn’t have cell phones in those days, and I called my agent. I said, “I can’t do this role”. She said, “Why not?”, and I said, “Because they want me to play a Klingon”. She said, “I don’t know what that is, but what’s the problem?”. I said, “They hate Captain Kirk. They want to kill him. I thought I’d be his girlfriend or something”, and she’s like, “What? Shut up. Get a hold of yourself”. It took me months and months. I went in 5 times to audition, and I had a wonderful man named Bill Shepard, who was a casting director who really helped me through all these auditions. The final audition? I went in and read, and I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t reading for Bill Shatner. I was reading for Captain Kirk. I was so beside myself. I’m a fan. I am a fan girl. My son and I are like complete idiots when it comes to conventions and fans. He’s a fan boy. I’m a fan girl. Here I am, reading for Captain Kirk and all these other 3-piece-suits. I did my audition, and he said, “I’d like to redirect you, but I can’t think of any way to make it better”. I was like, “Oh my God, I can’t believe it”. It was such an amazing experience I had, and then when I found out I got it, I almost passed out.
Spice: It was 3 months of everyday rehearsing, learning the dialogue, working, rehearsing with Todd Bryant, who played Captain Klaa, and getting it down to the point where we all forgot the English part. We had studied our lines so much, and had Marc Okrand come in and help us with the language, I actually had him sticking his hands in my mouth to show me where my tongue should go when I said (Spice spoke briefly in Klingon here). I mean, we were spitting all over the place. Everyone knew when I was rehearsing at the gym because there was spit all over the mirror. We just really got so deep into the part. We analyzed who we were and what we were all about because none of our relationship was ever written on the page. We pretty much created that, and eventually it turned out to be the Klingon Couple. They were 3 days behind schedule, and Paramount was blaming Bill and there was a lot of tension. Todd and I were so well-rehearsed, and so well dialed in, that when we went in on the first take, Bill was just screaming how great it was and how excited he was. We were so well-rehearsed that we put the production right back on schedule. It was a great experience and I learned a lot from it, and I’ll never forget it. I loved the fact that, after all those years, I am still signing autographs and being flown around, going to conventions, which I love. I love conventions. They know, right up front, don’t let me go in the dealers room because I’ll go home broke. I love my fans. I mean, it’s a dream come true. You can’t even buy that kind of therapy, you know what I mean? It’s just an amazing shot. I’m so lucky and so privileged in my life to have one of those dreams come true.
Johnny: Cool. Since you’re speaking of being a Star Trek fan, this leads to my next question: As a veteran of both official and unofficial Star Trek productions, what’s your take on CBS/Paramount’s ruling about Star Trek fan films in the wake of the Axanar lawsuit?
Spice: You know, Paramount has some pretty creative books. I think it’s wrong. I mean, this is about this movie that they don’t want to come out, this fan-financed movie. Is that what we’re talking about?
Spice: Yeah. I think it’s 100% wrong. I mean, they’re so tight on it. It’s so stupid that they have so much control to the point that they told my agent, “Don’t bother having any kind of merchandise contract because Spice will never see anything from it. There will never be any merchandise on her”. I mean, I sign dolls. I’m signing games and signing comic books. There was so much merchandise, but Paramount has a tendency to do stuff like this, and I don’t think it’s right. I think the fans should have the right to honor the Star Trek world. If Paramount was smart, they’d go in as partners with them, but I don’t know. I think it’s a control issue. I’m not happy about it. Nobody asked me to be in that film. I would’ve loved if they’d come to me and asked me if I wanted to be in that film, but all in all, I wish them all the luck in the world. I actually donated to them. I think they were on IndieGoGo…
Johnny: They started out on Kickstarter and went on to IndieGoGo.
Spice: Kickstarter. I donated money to them because they had some good stuff. Why not? I mean, young filmmakers, new filmmakers, it’s so hard. I think they should’ve gotten a better break. I don’t know where it’s at now. Do you know where it’s at now?
Johnny: Not currently, but since you’ve been an essential part of Star Trek through your work in Star Trek V, as well as your stuntwork on DS9 and Voyager, I thought it would be a good question to ask.
Spice: Well, I’ve never been asked that, but it is a good question. I’m just going to come out straight and say I don’t think it’s fair. I think they should have a shot and they should make a known film. I don’t think their hands should be tied in that respect, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I wish them all the luck in the world, though.
Johnny: Alright. Moving into the 00s, you had a small role in one of my favorite films of the 00s, Million Dollar Baby. (Spice laughs) With your fighting expertise, had you auditioned to help train the actors for the fight scenes, or was that strictly an acting role?
Spice: I begged Clint Eastwood. I begged him for one of the fighters, and I went in with my girlfriend. who actually got one of the fighting roles. He kept saying I was too pretty, and I was like, “No! I’m not too pretty! When you guys are looking for pretty, nobody calls my phone”. I sent the casting director all these horrible pictures of me. I just finished doing Days Of Our Lives, playing a prisoner and beating up Deidre Hall, and then I did some martial arts stunts, fighting in the ring. I was beating someone up, and I was getting beat up, and I had that videotaped. I sent it in, and I think Clint Eastwood is a magnificent legend. I love that man. He was just so kind, so gentle and so wonderful to work with and to see his work. I got a call one day when I was pulling up for some gasoline in my car. I pulled out, and then the casting director called and said, “Spice, this is Mr. Eastwood’s office”. I almost crashed the car. I was like, “What?”, but I said, “Yes? Did you get all the stuff I sent?”. She said, “Yes. That was a really good move on your behalf”. I said, “Really?”, and she said, “Yes. Mr. Eastwood would like you to be in his movie”. I said, “Oh my God! I can’t believe it”, and she said, “Yes, but not for the role you wanted”. I said, “I don’t care. I’ll do craft service on the movie just to work for Clint Eastwood”. She said, “No. You’ll be playing this Irish woman, and you’ll have to speak some Gaelic. I’ll send you over the script, and your picture’s up on the wall, so you’ll definitely be our Irish woman screaming in the crowd”. I was so pleased. There was much more to my scene. Of course, they cut it. You just have a small bit of me screaming, “Mo Chuisle, Mo Chuisle”, but to me, to work with Clint Eastwood and to know that I was ever part of his legendary career was a thrill-and-a-half, but I didn’t get to fight. I know all those fighters, but that was not in the cards for me.
Johnny: I see. From the acting, I’d like to go into some questions about your stunt work, starting with The Lost Boys. With all the hanging from suspended tracks and fight scenes, what was the most exciting part of doing stunts on that movie?
Spice: For that movie, I was there to be on the beach at night, when all the motorcycles were going all over the place and they were jumping over people, getting out of the way and stuff like that. That was the only part that I did on that movie. I really liked that movie a lot, but I was bought up to Santa Cruz, California to do ND stunts, nondescript. They would throw you in on the beach, or getting out of the way of a motorcycle on the streets, or trying to make sure the stars are protected. They put you around the stars when things are happening to make sure you’re there for safety. That’s about all I did on The Lost Boys.
Johnny: I see. In 1990, you did stunt work in Arachnophobia. What’s scarier, dealing with spiders or some of the stunts you’ve done in movies?
Spice: Oh, Johnny…Spiders. Dude, they called me up. They said, “Spielberg’s doing this movie and they want you to do this shoot. You have to catch a plane right now”. They sent a limo to my house. I didn’t even have time to pack, and I had to get on a private plane to Cambria, California. They said it was for Arachnophobia. I didn’t know what it was. I thought it was “A rockaphobia” like a fear of rock videos. I didn’t know what it was. I don’t know what arachnophobia is, but when I got up there, I was taken to this little grassy knoll where a beautiful house overlooked the valley. They said, “Okay. You’re going to be coming out of a top window, and you’re going to be climbing down the tree. You’ll grab this trellis, and it’s going to break away and you’re going to fall to the ground, and you’re going to be with this guy”. I said, “Okay, so what are we doing? Is this comedy? Are we eloping? Is there a murdered guy in there? I mean, what’s going on?”. They said, “It’s arachnophobia”. I go, “Oh, arachnophobia. What does that mean?”. They said, “Fear of spiders”, and just then, I looked around and saw about 1000 little boxes wiggling around all over the place. I apparently have arachnophobia. I am scared to death of spiders, and I was like, “Oh, no. Get another stunt girl. There’s no way”. They said, “No, they won’t be in the house”, and I said, “Guys, I have an enormous fear of spiders. I can’t do this”. They said, “Don’t worry. None of them are going to be around you”, and I was a basket case all night long, but we did the film. When the premiere came, I went to the premiere and the only seats available were down in front. I went with my husband and I was beside myself. I was on the ground. The theater personnel said, “Ma’am, you’re going to have to be quiet”. I said, “Oh my God!”. I was screaming so loud. Stunts? No. Spiders? Yeah. I’m really scared of spiders.
Johnny: Alright. Going later into the 90s, in 1995, you did stuntwork in From Dusk ‘Til Dawn. As both Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino are aficionados of B-movies and strong female characters, what was it like to work on that movie?
Spice: I had so much fun. I was on the movie for 3 weeks, and Quentin Tarantino was amazing. I brought my son to the set. He was about a year old, and I’ve got great pictures of Quentin with my baby son, Luke. It’s amazing. Now he’s starring in the movie Maximum Ride. He’s 21 years old, but there he was, a year old. I’d slam him into George Clooney’s arms, and Fred Williamson’s, and Danny Trejo’s. Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino? They were awesome. Those guys were so great. I never had so much blood on me in my life, but it was a lot of fun working with those stunt guys. I played two different vampires. George Clooney tries to kill me in one scene, and Tom Savini, who’s also a friend and plays Sex Machine, also winds up killing me with a pool cue. It was quite an amazing production and a lot of fun. I love special effects and I love monster stuff.
Spice: One thing about that was, after that film, I did a music video for Meat Loaf called I’d Lie For You (And That’s The Truth). I was hanging from a helicopter for hours and hours, and it was about 120 degrees outside. It was really dangerous. If you look up that video, it’s a take-off on the Indiana Jones thing, going down a river on a raft, the helicopter just before you go off a cliff…My partner throws a bullwhip, hits the skids, and we go down swinging through the air. We were 350 feet in the air under this helicopter, and there were so many mishaps. By the end of the day, that helicopter crashed in front of my car. We wound up picking body parts out of that helicopter, and I remember finding the pilot, who was a friend of mine, laying down decapitated. For a brief moment when I found him, his name was Henry, I said, “Wow, Henry. Um, gosh, you look like a prop in From Dusk ‘Til Dawn”. We had so many headless bodies laying around in From Dusk ‘Til Dawn, and arms and legs, but they were all props. Henry was laying there and he looked like a prop. I was like, “He looks like a prop, but this is real”. It was a really devastating moment, and part of me was like, “The prop guys were really good. They made everything look so real, but wait a minute. This is real”.
Spice: It was a very difficult, touching time, but three weeks on From Dusk ‘Til Dawn with Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, George Clooney, Tom Savini and Danny Trejo? It doesn’t get much more fun than that.
Johnny: Definitely. In 1997, you did uncredited stunt work in Batman And Robin. You’re the second stunt person from that movie that I've interviewed, the first being Julie Michaels, whom I interviewed in 2013, back when I was writing for RetroJunk. What do you recall the most about working on that movie?
Spice: Which one? There was Batman And Robin, and I worked on the other one, Batman Returns. What was the date on that?
Johnny: Batman Returns was released in 1992. Batman And Robin was 1997.
Spice: Oh, that’s right, because the 1997 one? When working on it, my son had come down with diabetes. I remember that. 1992? That was with Danny DeVito as the penguin. I was bought up in to double this actress who was a blonde kind of bodybuilder, and then they kept me around to do ND stunts. I thought it was cool. We were all excited. I’m a Batman fan, too, so it was very exciting, and I thought it was one of the better ones because it was first, innovative. Michelle Pfeiffer, who played Catwoman? My dear friend Anthony DeLongis trained her on bullwhip. On that whip, everything she learned was from Anthony. I just have memories of us all sitting around talking, and thinking it was going to be an amazing movie, and having a lot of fun. Nobody got hurt. That’s always a good thing, and it wound up being quite successful.
Johnny: Definitely. What’s been the most dangerous stunt you’ve ever done? The one where, after it was done, you said, “I can’t believe I did that”?
Spice: (Laughing) Um, well, I’ve probably said that about 100 times, but the one that sticks in my mind the most was on a film called Backstreet Justice. It starred Linda Kozlowski, and I was doubling her throughout the whole movie. We were in Philadelphia, and I remember the scene. We were in the red light district of this town, and I had to run up the fire escape of a 3 story building, and I had to run across the building. It was 3:00 in the morning and it was pitch black, I was chasing after somebody. As I was running up the fire escape, I ran across this building, and then I had to jump from the building I’m on to the next building across the alleyway, onto THAT fire escape, and miss the fire box. I had a 3-foot platform I had to make, or I would’ve crashed 3 stories down on cement. There were no bags, no boxes, no cable, nothing. I had to rely on just making sure that I jumped as far as I could, and landed straight, without killing myself. I don’t like high falls. I like being connected to things. I don’t mind stair falls. I’ll throw myself down 55 feet of stairs and enjoy every bump, but to go 55 feet in the air? I don’t like that, and I knew that, at 3:00 in the morning, everybody broke for lunch. I just walked it off to the end of the building, went back, walked it off, went back, and just did that for an hour to make sure that my footing was absolutely correct. I kept looking down and going, “I can’t believe I’m doing this. Why am I doing this? Why am I doing this? I can’t believe I’m doing this”. When the time came and everybody was ready, I told them, “You’ve got one take. That’s it, guys”. I remember hitting my mark, jumping as far as I could, and when I landed on the second story fire escape…I had to jump across and go down a story. I think my feet went out a little bit from me, and my elbow had caught the railing, which had already been kind of injured from a stair fall I had previously done. That hurt, but I was so elated that I didn’t kill myself that the pain didn’t matter that much. We got it in one take, which was awesome, and to this day, I see pictures of what I did. Today, they cable you. They would never let you do ANYTHING like that today, but this was in 1993. There are so many other things: Diving through glass, riding the hood of a car, stair falls, getting shot off certain platforms, being dragged…I’ve done all that and so many other things that don’t scare me, but boy, that really scared the Hell out of me. When I think that I did it, going back to that, I’m kind of like, “Jeez”. There it comes, your saying. “I can’t believe I did that”.
Johnny: Wow. Very impressive. To my next question: You created a program called I Fight For My Life, which is about self-defense. What’s been the most rewarding part of that program?
Spice: Well, every two minutes, a woman is raped in this country, and 1000 are murdered a day. Transgenders are murdered once a week, and we have over 200,000 children that are being kidnapped for sex trafficking every year. Our government doesn’t do anything about it. If you step on an airplane, you get 5 minutes to find out what to do in case of an air traffic accident. Where in this world do you ever get any 5 minute instruction as to what to do when someone grabs you, throws you down, and tries to rape you? Tries to knock you out? Tries to choke you? Tries to pull your child into a van? Puts a gun to your head? Puts a knife to your throat? They don’t teach any of that. They say, “Just call 911′. By the time the cops get there, which takes minutes, within seconds you’re injured or dead. From my background of all the molestations and the rapes and being beaten up and stuff that I went through, I know that I finally had a lot of therapy when I turned my life around, but I still looked at myself as a victim. Even though I kind of got into martial arts, and did all my stunt work, and lifted weights…I was the first vegan bodybuilder, squatting 315, benching 225. I really looked like a tough guy, but I wasn’t inside. When I started learning street smart survival skills, which is more like Krav Maga and Kapap, Israeli face-to-face fighting, I realized, “Wow…Maximum amount of damage, least amount of effort, and skills to really protect your life”. I studied it. I got certified by the Israeli Ministry Of Education in hand-to-hand combat, and then I got certified in self-defense tactics, Inc. in Puerto Rico. I’m also certified in Guatemala, which is Kapap, face-to-face combat. I watered it down, and put it into a language women can understand. I actually say, “We speak vagina. That’s a language, apparently, which no man has been able to interpret”.
Spice: It’s just the way you talk to women and show women they’re not incapable of protecting themselves. It’s how you teach them. I have taken women who have been raped, stabbed, shot, beaten, and in my TV show, which I’m currently trying to sell, I teach them my style of fighting. I then put them in a room with my black belts that are fully padded. They come out one at a time to attack that woman, and this time she has to fight for her life, something she did not do when she was being attacked. It rewires the PTSD. It makes them go from a victim to a victor. It literally makes them find their female warrior spirit, and let the world know they plan on staying alive and protecting themselves. For me, the most rewarding thing is to see these women who have come into my class, scared and crying, victimizing themselves, and come out like ball-busters. Anybody that tries to touch them? They can commit to shutting anyone down in a nice way, or a committed attack way. I’m very proud of the women who have made the choice to say, “I want to learn these skills and not be a victim anymore”. There’s so many women that go, “Naah, I don’t want to learn that”. I’m saying to myself, “So, what are you going to do when somebody tries to hurt you or hurt your kids?”. A lot of people don’t feel it’s necessary to learn this, but I know the value in it, and we do seminars all over the world. My partner Jennifer Silverstein spent two years in the Israeli Army, and we teamed up about 3 years ago to really push the women in our seminars. We’ve got so many things coming up. As of right now, we have a seminar through Pierce College. We wanted to get into colleges because rape is up 68%, and that’s so unnecessary. 85% of the time, it’s a woman’s responsibility to get off her cell phone, not drink the drink the guy is giving her, and don’t show up at a party by yourself. Awareness is number 1, and so many young girls have no clue that the predator has already done his homework. He knows where the girl has parked her car, where she lives…He knows what color eyes she has, what she’s wearing, her shoes, her necklace, her earrings. I mean, the predator’s got it all dialed in. He did his homework, and most women are totally oblivious to that. I mean, if we were over in Israel, you’d be looking out for a missile, but over here in America, we look down at our cell phones for the next text. It’s ridiculous. We should all know how to protect ourselves. I’m a big fan of guns, and I don’t really like knives, but I do work with knives and guns. I don’t kill anything. I’ve been a vegan for 40 years, but I do believe that if you’re going to own a gun, or a knife, or a car, you need to be skilled and trained before you utilize those weapons, and I look at a car as a weapon. The reason why I call it I Fight For My Life is because most women today don’t know they have the right to fight for their lives. When I ask them to hit some guy in the face, and he has a face mask on, they’re scared to do it. They’re, like, very nurturing. They’ll put their hands on their cheek, and I’m like, “No. This man is going to slit your throat, grab you. You have a right to fight for your life. You need to keep that man away from you”.
Spice: So many women have a problem with that. It’s just a matter of us being told to cross our legs, act like ladies, don’t make waves. I believe that a woman has a right to go out, wear some high heels, a little mini-skirt, a bustier, dressed to the 9s and looking gorgeous, but she should have her skills so that nobody drugs her. Nobody tries to grab her. If anybody wants to rape her, she’d better know how to get out of that position. You can actually see it on my website, which is I Fight For My Life, and I have a lot of videos there that show women how to do certain techniques, and understand the mental aspect of being able to save your life, which is not a bad thing, you know. We should all know that.
Johnny: It’s a very noble thing you’re doing.
Spice: Thank you.
Johnny: On a lighter note, you’ve appeared on several reality shows, including the VH1 Celebreality program New York Goes To Work, where you appeared in one episode training Tiffany Pollard for a boxing match. As I asked another stuntwoman and actress, Rocky DeMarco, how much reality would you say is in reality television?
Spice: Wow, where do you get these, man? (Laughing) That is so funny. I remember that day. Somebody asked me if I would do it, and I did it. Let me see. How much reality is in reality television? Um, probably none…Very rarely. They all script them. They’re all smoke and mirrors, mostly, but there are what we call “shoots”. That’s where you get into a wrestling match, and one person’s supposed to throw it, and then he says, “I’m not going to throw it”, and it turns into a real match. That’s a shoot, and when I got in the ring with New York, we had to train her first, so she could know what she was doing. When I got in the ring with her, I could’ve killed her. That was so scary. She didn’t have a clue about what she had to do, or what to do. I remember talking to her, when I got up pretty close to her, and telling her, “Do this. Do that”. I believe, after that, I got in the ring with the guy that was with her, and he was pretty cocky, acting like he was going to beat the pants off me. I think, I remember, I really put the boots to him. I pretty much took him straight down the center and freaked him out, hoping that I didn’t hurt anything, but I think I really hurt his ego. I wasn’t planning on holding back on that guy, but I think I was told to hold back on New York a little bit. Those reality shows are all B.S.
Johnny: I see. To my next question: I think you looked great in the 80s, and you still look great now, but a lot of people look back at 80s hairstyles with a sense of mockery and shame. Why do you think that is?
Spice: Well, I don’t know. Everything that goes around comes around, and pretty soon, in another 20 years, everybody’s going to want to look retro. My son, who’s 21, absolutely loves the 80s, loves the hair, loves everything. I mean, we do kind of make fun of it all, but he says, “Man, that’s when everyone was individuals”. There were creative characterizations of things. They weren’t all blended in and monotone, and today, everybody looks like the same person. In the 80s, we all kind of did our own thing. There was spandex, tank tops, cut-up T-shirts, long hairstyles, big hair…There were a lot of things we did that people CAN make fun of. It’s pretty easy because, today, everything’s so toned down, really. The 80s, for me, were good. I love the 80s, and parts of the 90s. It was good. I didn’t like the 60s. I thought the 60s was ridiculous, and I don’t remember too much of the 60s. I mean, if you remember the 60s, you weren’t really there, but I didn’t like the 60s. The 70s were good, but the 80s were a blast, man. That’s when Arnold starting coming out and everybody was doing their own thing, pumping up. We got into fitness. Nutrition started really coming forth. There were a lot of characterizations that represented strength and fitness and individuality, something that people make fun of today because they don’t want you to be an individual. They want you to tow the line and be like everyone else, which is a shame. That individual creativity? Nobody had a problem with it. Everybody thrived on it in the 80s, but today they want you to shut up. I think they control people that way. That’s why so many young boys and girl are drugged in school. They don’t want you to be an an individual. They just want you to shut up and be quiet like church mice and do what they tell you to. In the 80s, we didn’t do that stuff. We rebelled in the 60s, we got very creative in the 70s, and in the 80s, we got bigger than life, so I like the 80s a lot.
Johnny: Me, too. That’s my favorite decade for pop culture. Now I come to my final question: What would you say has been the biggest change in the entertainment industry between the 1980s and 2016?
Spice: My husband’s movie, Hacksaw Ridge, is coming out November 4th. It’s a true story about a young man who made a conviction with God that he would never touch a gun, because in the 10 Commandments, it’s Thou Shalt Not Kill, and he was a Seventh-day Adventist. He joined the Army because he believe in the war, but he wouldn’t touch a gun. Because of that, they beat him up, broke his nose, knocked his teeth out, took him to court, tried to kick him out, and called him a coward. He said, “You can’t kick me out because of my faith in God. Make me a medic”. On a 400-foot cliff in Okinawa, in an impossible situation, 133 men climbed up these ropes over these cliffs, and they were all mowed down with machine guns by 17 Japanese soldiers within 27 seconds. This young man was scared to death. Everybody retreated and he was the last man left. He basically said, “God, what do You want me to do?”, and he heard someone screaming, “Medic!”. He realized, “Okay. I got it. This is where I belong”, and for 8 hours, he ran and saved 75 men’s lives. Picking them up, giving them morphine, dragging them to the edge of the cliff…He tied a rope around his waist and a tree stump, and shimmied 75 men down to save their lives, and not one bullet could hit them. He kicked grenades out of the way, slapped them out of the way, had bullets whiz through his hair…Nothing could kill this man, and he saved the same men who beat him up and called him a coward. He got the Medal Of Honor, and he’s the only man in the history of the Medal Of Honor who got it for not touching a gun. It’s a true story. The man died about 6 years ago. His name was Desmond T. Doss.
Spice: My husband in 1999, that’s 17 years ago, desperately tried to sell this film. People told him, “Nobody’s interested in seeing a man who wouldn’t touch a gun and go to war”. They wanted action. They wanted all kinds of crap that we were putting out then. They were like, “It will never make any money” and “Who cares?” and “Oh, it’s too much God and faith-based”. Because it was faith-based, he wound up getting this movie into the right hands with David Permut, and David Permut, within a matter of minutes, said, “This movie must be made”. It took another 15 years of hard work and now we’re looking at 16, almost 17 years, of getting people to believe that a faith-based movie is what the people really want to see. The problem is you’ve got a bunch of bean-counters and data people that think they know what movies the public wants to see, and they’re wrong. The minute Mel Gibson came out of retirement, read the script, and said he wants to make it, it’s now estimated to be the most anticipated movie of the century. It’s estimated to make over a billion dollars, and it got a 10 minute standing ovation at the Venice film festival in Italy. They think it’s going to sweep the Oscars. All those people who told him, “Gregory Crosby, you’ll never do this. You’ll never get it off the ground. You’ll never make any money. Nobody wants to see a faith-based movie”, were wrong. They need to understand that people are hungry for good, positive movies with a spiritual, enlightened message. Movies like Heaven Is For Real? There’s a bunch of them that are starting to come forth because the public’s saying, “We don’t want to see something that we can’t take home and feel good about”. I’ll say I’ve played a lot of witches, bitches, whores, alien creatures, biker broads, zombies, you name it. I made a lot of money playing in all these gore-horror films and crazy films, but I’ve actually been in some pretty cool films like Reach Me, which you can now rent. I didn’t know what I was doing when I was filming it. I played a warden, but when I actually saw the whole film, I was like, “Wow! This is a faith-based film”, and it was beautiful. I think that’s the big difference. I used to do all kinds of talk shows for whatever movies I did. They’d go, “Okay. You can talk about anything you want, but watch your language because it’s going out to all these people, and try not to say the G word”. I was like, “The G Word? What’s that?”. They’d say, “Try not to talk about God”. I’m like, “Why? Did He do something wrong? Why is everybody so afraid?”. They were very, “Don’t bring faith into any of this, your movies, your dialogue”. It was just like medicine, “God has no place in medicine”. I’d say, in the years since 2000, I’ve seen more and more people craving faith-based movies because, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but our world ain’t doing so great. You can spend 30 dollars on tickets and parking for a movie, and who wants to walk out feeling worse than they went in from all the people they’re making movies on? I think the trend has gone more towards giving us something we can feel good about. Give us something spiritually enlightened, and someone who has changed the world for the better. My husband’s next film will be on Nikola Tesla, and most people don’t even know who he is, but he invented the 20th century. Everything we have today is because of Nikola Tesla, and he was squelched by J.P Morgan and Thomas Edison, who were the biggest creeps in the world. Tesla was spiritually engaged, and that’s how he invented everything we have today. Satellites, cell phones, MRIs are done in Tesla units, florescent lighting, the light bulb, remote control, AC current…Every single thing that we have today, Tesla invented. In fact, in 1902, he had a wireless fax machine. When he went to JP Morgan, he said, “I found a way to bring free electricity to all mankind”, and JP Morgan said, “If I can’t put a meter on it, nobody gets it”. I think the world should know about this man. They don’t teach about him in school. They still say Marconi invented the radio, and he didn’t. It was Nikola Tesla. J.P Morgan and Thomas Edison found a way to squelch this man right out of history, but I think it’s time that movies like that need to be made to get the truth out, and understand the spiritual connection with our Higher Source. I think that’s where we’re going, so for me, that’s been a huge, huge change, and eventually, if the people don’t speak up and say what they want, supply and demand, then the bean counters and money men will still be pumping out $200 million dollars films they’ll lose money on, and nobody wants to go spend money on them. They just wait until it gets to TV anyway.
Johnny: I see. I certainly wish you and your family the best of luck with those upcoming projects, and I thank you for taking the time to speak to me. I first read about you online back when I was in high school, and I found you to be a very intriguing personality. By interviewing you, you’ve definitely proven that. It was really an honor to speak to you.
Spice: Oh, thank you, Johnny. I find it a great pleasure, and I’m definitely honored you sought me out and wanted to interview me. I love anybody that’s interested in me. Why wouldn’t I be, you know? (Laughing) It just freaks me out a bit that people can read up on me, but I hope everything they read is good. I hope nobody’s reading bad stuff about me.
Johnny: I think you’ve been fantastic. I hope you have a good evening, and once again, thanks for speaking to me. I’ll talk to you soon.
Spice: Okay, sweetheart. Have a wonderful evening.
Johnny: You, too. Bye.
Spice: Bye bye.
Who will I Flashback with next? Stay tuned.