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An Interview with Pam Grier, Dining Out for Life Spokesperson

We had the chance to chat with the national Dining Out for Life spokesperson and phenomenal actor Pam Grier—best known for her roles as Foxy Brown, Jackie Brown (in the Quentin Tarantino flick of the same name), Kit in The L Word and much, much more.

The interview started a little late because Pam had misplaced her phone somewhere on the acreage of her rural Colorado home, but soon we were chatting about everything from Dining Out for Life to Snoop Dogg, to Jimi Hendrix to delicious Northwest salmon.

Lifelong: How did you get involved with Dining Out for Life?

Pam Grier: I really wanted to be a part of a positive movement, a group that does so much. I’ve been with the organization for five years now, and it’s a wonderful group! Ted Allen and Mondo are my favorites. And I do wish I could cook like Daisy. Being a spokesperson…I hope I can inspire people. You can’t really just pontificate or preach to people. You have to show them. Often when I do something, people recognize the action and emulate it.

I feel very fortunate to have had a 45 year career—and I’m fortunate to be able to donate to causes I care about. I live very simply now. I buy old ranch houses and renovate them. Our utility bill is barely $100 a month. When Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and the whole crew came over to have breakfast one morning, they thought it was the caretaker’s house and drove on by. But I’m in a happy place now and I prefer bringing around positive, happy people.

L: Why is this cause so important to you?

P: Well, I did lose a friend. Back in the day—many people did not want to divulge their illness. He didn’t admit it, but I could tell. He was a remarkable person who shouldn’t have suffered. There are ways we can lessen the suffering and be more informed and prepared. To be tested is so important. I always think of that Sex and the City episode about getting tested…I love that episode.

And the problem isn’t over. It’s human nature that it’s going to continue. We have to be ready for it. That’s why volunteering with something like Dining Out for Life is important—I’m volunteering for those who can’t. And exciting things are happening. People are actually getting health insurance through HIV/AIDS organizations. People don’t know what a blessing it is.

At this point we have some very Seattle-centric questions to ask you! Are you ready?

P: Yes, ask away!

L: Have you been to Seattle before? And if so, what are your impressions?

P: I have been to Seattle on my way to Vancouver to shoot the L word. I would stay at the W Hotel and we would eat our way through the city. There were a couple of places downtown that I really loved—there were so many next to one another.

I was also in Seattle for Class of 1999, and almost died of hypothermia in the Puget Sound! (she's joking of course).

L: Who is your favorite Seattle celebrity—Tom Skerritt or Bruce Lee?

P: Tom Skerritt, he’s very handsome.

L: Who is your favorite Seattle musician—Jimi Hendrix or Kurt Cobain?

P: Jimi Hendrix.

L: Would you rather have free coffee every day or fresh salmon?

P: Oh my goodness – free salmon.

L: Would you rather spend a day wandering around Pike Place Market or the Seattle Art Museum?

P: That’s so difficult. But…I guess the art museum, because I already have the salmon taken care of.

L: Umbrella or rain jacket?

P: Jacket.

L: Mountains or ocean?

P: Mountains that overlook the ocean.

L: Why do you think it’s important that people participate in this event?

P: People are so privileged that they are even able to dine at a restaurant. And that experience of getting nourishment with friends will help other spirits. Because of this event other people can dine—people in need. Maybe not in restaurants, but they’ll be able to feed themselves. Which is what matters.

We’re so happy that Pam Grier was able to take the time to chat with us! Join Pam and other generous people in the community at Dining Out for Life on April 30. See what restaurants are participating. We'll see you then!