Female role models blossomed in the 1970s and, to be sure, Lindsay Wagner was at the forefront of it all. As The Bionic Woman, a TV spin-off from the testosterone-infused The Six Million Dollar Man, Wagner garnered an Emmy for her soulful portrayal of Jaime Sommers, an Oaji, California, school teacher, who becomes a fierce government ally when she is given bionic limbs and hearing after surviving a deadly parachute jump.
Young girls and woman were inspired, turning inward to claim their own personal power. Meanwhile, Wagner’s persona sparked a pop culture phenomenon that would span decades, shared only by the likes of Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman), and Farrah Fawcett (Charlie’s Angels).
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Still, fame can feel flat without true inner resolve. After starring in more than 40 TV movies, five mini-series, co-authoring The High Road to Health, a best-selling vegetarian lifestyle cookbook and penning Lindsay Wagner’s New Beauty: The Accupressure Facelift, Wagner has plenty of that.
Actually, Wagner’s holistic side is interesting to note. For many decades now, she has been a passionate advocate for awakening the human potential through integrating the mind, body, and soul—from being the honorary Chair of ICAN (Inter Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect) to being an advocate for animal welfare, domestic violence, the environment and spearheading experiential workshops and retreats. She shares more with Palm Springs Life and her involvement with this year’s Comic Con.
PSL: What do you love most about the Comic Con experience?
Lindsay Wagner: I have the great benefit of having done a show that the vast majority of people who are between the ages of 30 and 50, still remember. So, when people come up to me to say hi to me with a picture, or whatever, that little kid comes out immediately, and it is the cutest thing. I don’t care if it’s the most gnarly biker or serious businessman, by the time we shake hands, there’s an innocent grin on their face and they at 7 years old again. I have to tell you — that is so fun. Seeing the inner child come out.
Lindsay Wagner on The Bionic Woman: “We knew we were creating something unique.”
PSL: Are you surprised that The Bionic Woman remains a cultural phenomenon?
LW: Not any more. It’s been 40 years. But I certainly was for the first couple of decades. We knew we were creating something unique. And not only being the first woman to star in a man’s role, other than a comedy—that was certainly a breaking-of-the-glass ceiling. But it was also what we were doing to give the show uniqueness and not just be a story about a male superhero in a skirt, you know? We worked very hard with collaborating with the writers to have conflict resolution come from a different place.
PSL: The female perspective.
LW: Because Jaime was a woman, women do things differently. And certainly back then, when the gender roles were extremely one or the other — these qualities for men, these for women. For me, it was about raising up the feminine in our culture and allowing people, in general — men and women — to aspire together and be open to the idea that men can be strong and use male qualities and still be sensitive, and woman can still sensitive but also strong. That was our goal, as far as the internal theme.
PSL: I heard that you chose your films by taking into consideration the effect they will have on the audience.
LW: From the very beginning. For me, finding a way to tell stories and communicate certain things that were meaningful to me was always very important. In those days, most of the writers were men, so it was fun for the writers because I was constantly giving them feedback on things. And then they got into it.
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“For me, finding a way to tell stories and communicate certain things that were meaningful to me was always very important. ” — Lindsay Wagner on The Bionic Woman.
PSL: There is also a big health-minded and spiritual aspect to your life — Quiet the Mind & Open the Heart retreats and other modalities such things as tapping and EFT. Why is it important for you to share this side of yourself with others?
LW: Because of my own healing journey and evolution with an illness I had a young age, I was blessed with people who had practitioners and counselors — very special people — who helped me with visualization, meditation, and how to integrate that with prayer, and to see that they were not in any way counterproductive … these are ways to transform the mental patterns we have that are harming us, even if we are acting “nice.”
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PSL: Who were some of the biggest influences of your personal life?
LW: My grandmother in some ways, my mother in other ways.
PSL: So, two strong women?
LW: Yes. But my mom was strong in other ways and one of the things I am most grateful for is that she had, and still has, a sense of humor. She was able to laugh through some horrible times, and she was able to make me laugh.
PSL: What do you think we humans need more of these days?
LW: Wow. Well, I would say … letting go of fear. And we need more forgiveness—for the self and others. So, freedom from fear and profound forgiveness.
Lindsay Wagner will be in attendance at Comic Con Palm Springs, Aug. 25-27, at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros,
Palm Springs. For more information, visit comicconpalmsprings.com or lindsaywagner.com.
“For me, it was about raising up the feminine in our culture and allowing people, in general — men and women — to aspire together and be open to the idea that men can be strong and use male qualities and still be sensitive, and woman can still sensitive but also strong.”Lindsay Wagner