How actress Q'orianka Kilcher staged a dramatic protest with arrest at White House
Since her breakthrough role in 2005 as Pocahontas in "The New World," Q'orianka Kilcher hasn't quite succeeded in finding her next showcase. The jobs have been few; she got good notices for her latest star turn, "Princess Ka'iulani," but the otherwise poorly received movie is playing on only a couple of dozen screens around the country. So it's as if years of pent-up theatricality went into her arrest this month at the White House, to protest a visit by Peruvian President Alan Garcia.
It's no easy thing, after all, to make a splash in Lafayette Square. Her fellow protesters knew she couldn't merely chain herself to the gate, explains her mother, Saskia Kilcher: "They come with the bolt cutters, it's going to take 10 minutes. The whole purpose was, let's try to keep you on there as long as possible." So the half-Peruvian actress, 20, bought a length of PVC pipe and fixed it to her linked arms with two security locks.
The activists oppose the Peruvian government's push to drill and mine indigenous lands -- the subject of violent clashes last year -- and they needed a strong visual. Saskia tells us Q'orianka's 10-year-old brother, Xihuaru, had the brainstorm: If she were drenched in oil, police would have a hard time grabbing her. The stuff they covered her in -- a blend of vegetable oil, black fingerpaint and organic baby shampoo -- was so scary-looking it triggered a hazmat crew.
Both Q'orianka and her mother were arrested -- the actress charged with unlawful entry, her mom with destruction of public property. Saskia thinks her daughter's charge is unfair, but "this was a major embarrassment for Garcia, so we were really glad." (The Peruvian Embassy declined to comment.)
Q'orianka sounded ambivalent about whether she'd do it again -- her wrists were still bruised a week later, and she got a bladder infection after going without water for eight hours. "I lose film roles because I'm a person who doesn't keep quiet about certain things," she said in a phone interview from California. "But if my heart tells me something is wrong, I'm going to go and do something about it."
The Reliable Source
June 14, 2010; 1:03 AM ET
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