|n an age when women are
pursuing more career options than ever,
no one exemplifies "Girl Power"
more than the beautiful British
adventurer Lara Croft. Ever since the
release of her book Lara Stamps Out
Bigfoot, Ms. Croft has been a celebrity
among adventure seekers, archaeologists
and the general public. Her subsequent
journals and lectures all over the UK and
the United States gave her standing in
academic circles as well. Quite an
achievment for a motorcycle-riding,
gun-toting 21st century Annie Oakley.
talk has surfaced that Lara has also
recovered the ancient Ark of the
Covenant, the Old Testament vessel of the
power of God. She has been tight-lipped
about the find, as well as another
rumored expedition that took her to the
remnants of the lost continent of
Atlantis. Reportedly, the money earned
from her recent jaunts into parts unkown
has totalled more than $26 million. Lara
has expanded her operations to include
offices in London, New York, Hong Kong
and New Delhi.
I recently caught up
with Lara at her sprawling English
country home. The 60-room mansion is
filled with artifacts from all over the
world. The ballroom has been converted by
Lara into a training room that rivals the
U.S. Olympic Gymnastics center. The
upstairs music room sports a $150,000
Bosendorfer piano (a hobby of Lara's) and
an extensive library devoted to ancient
history, anthropology and mythology.
That's where we met.
Esquire: Lara, thank you
so much for taking time to chat.
Lara: Not at all! I'm just
glad I had a free day.
Esquire: Our readers
would be suprised to know that you play
the piano, Lara. Are you a music lover?
Lara: (laughs) I adore
music, but I'm afraid my skills at the
piano leave a bit to be desired. I do
enjoy listening to a bit of Brahms and
Elgar, and also jazz, especially Bill
Evans. Of course, I'm a huge fan of Elton
Esquire: Lara, let me get
to the point. You've become a celebrity
in recent months. How has your life
changed as a result?
Lara: Oh my, there have been
loads of changes. I have paparazzi
following me around when I go to London.
They even try to sneak onto the grounds
here. Of course that stopped after they
met Boris and Karl, my two Rottweilers.
The thing that really concerns me now is
when reporters try to follow me on
expeditions. I go to some places that are
far too dangerous for amateurs. I know
these newspeople have been to Bosnia and
all, but they are dilettantes compared to
some of the situations I've dealt with.
Esquire: Which brings up
another point. You've been to some places
where others fear to tread. It's commonly
known that you travel armed. Have you
ever had to shoot anyone?
Lara: I don't like answering
that question. People shouldn't die for
the things I search for. But, yes, I have
on occasion been forced to defend myself.
It's not something I boast about, but
there it is isn't it? I intend to come
out alive. I don't cheat anyone in this
business, and don't let it happen to me.
Esquire: It almost
happened to you on your most recent trip.
It has been reported that you went up
against higher-ups in the Natla
corporation. There was supposedly an
ancient artifact invlolved called a
Scion. And you killed a number of strange
animals and a few people in the process.
Lara: The late Jaqueline
Natla hired me to recover the artifact. I
traveled to Peru, the Middle East, and a
few other places. I eventually discovered
a plot to kill me and take the Scion. I
did what I had to do. At the end of the
day I lost the Scion anyway.
Esquire: In a violent
volcanic eruption that sent clouds of
dust halfway around the world. And
resulted in the death of Natla and
several others. There were also rumors of
extraterretrial aliens and CIA
Lara: I wouldn't put much
stock in that. Aliens? I saw none. CIA?
They did ask me a few questions about
Natla, and that was it. I am writing a
book on it as we speak.
Esquire: Your other
recent find is the Lost Ark of the
Covenant. In fact, it's sitting
downstairs in your front room. What's the
story on that?
Lara: The government of
Israel asked that I not reveal any
details of that search. We are now
negotiating the Ark's disposition.
Esquire: Do you mean that
you "own" the Ark?
Lara: The laws of the
country where I recovered the Ark state
that the finder is the nominal owner of
any historical artifact not of local
Esquire: Then you didn't
find the Ark in Israel?
Lara: No. But I can't say
Esquire: So what's going
to happen to it?
Lara: We're looking at
permanently loaning the Ark to Israel,
seeing as how it has great significance
to the Hebrew people.
Esquire: Wow. So what's
next for Lara Croft?
Lara: I'm really excited
about our new project. The Croft
Foundation was set up to provide funding
for archaeological projects all over the
world. We've also allied with several
important universities and research
institutions to provide grants to
deserving students. We even have a brand
Esquire: Lara Croft the
educator? Is that your future?
Lara: Hardly. I still have
too much a taste for adventure for that.
But I think it's important for humanity
to learn about its distant past. It will
give us all a new respect for ourselves.
Esquire: So tell me, is
there a man in your life?
Lara: (laughs) With my
schedule? I would eventually like to be
with someone, but not now. There's just
too much going on. I get dozens of
proposals a day in the mail!
Esquire: How nice for
you! You don't speak much about your
family, but it is known that you're
estranged from your father, a member of
the House of Lords. Is that a sore spot?
Lara: Yes it is. I'd rather
not discuss it if you don't mind.
Esquire: Okay. Then tell
me: where are you off to next?
Lara: It's not confirmed
yet, but I may be heading to Tibet to do
Esquire: Well let me be
the first to wish you a safe journey,
Lara: Thanks. I'll probably
© Esquire Magazine 1997