Friday, February 27, 2009

Actress, Activist,
Designer Roxana Zal

Sustainable Products key in her latest
venture, the handbag line, One October

She may be best remembered and frequently referenced as the star of television’s 1984 watershed telefilm, “Something About Amelia,” but actress Roxana Zal appeared in two movies that had a significant impact on us.

"Testament," the 1983 feature, is a cautionary tale of the effects of nuclear war. It was done so realistically, and the characters so credible, it was the second scariest movie we’ve ever seen (the most frightening film of all is 1988’s similarly themed “Miracle Mile”). Zal’s performance is heartbreaking.

Equally affecting, but in a wholly different role, was Zal’s turn in 1986’s “River’s Edge.” Zal plays a dispassionate teen in this creepy, memorable film, based on a true story.

These days, Zal’s turned handbag designer and spoke to BeansTalk about her latest project, One October.

Zal chose handbags, because “I love accessories and feel that they can really complete an outfit.”

Between acting roles and filming projects Zal started designing and doing PR for fashion companies. That foray proved an ideal catalyst for her to pursue a long-held dream, to become a designer.

Zal’s business partner (and cousin-in-law), Naomi Stokeld, an attorney, grew up in Santiago, Chile, where Stokeld learned about quality tanning methods and sustainable process of salmon-skin production. After Stokefeld moved to Los Angeles and married Zal’s cousin, the women decided to create One October, with a friend-of-a-friend, Adrienne Weller.

Zal says, “We decided the salmon skin was a perfect medium for the bags.”

Unlike a film project that can take years as it goes from idea to pitch, to multiple drafts to pre-production, production, and more, the process of developing a handbag line was less onerous. “It happened so fast,” Zal explains. “We all joined forces about a year and a half ago, we loved the concept, worked so well together and here we are.”

“The most important element to us was to create items that are timeless but still fashion forward.” The purses retail between $200 to $400. For retail information, visit their site,

And Zal is committed to this project, “We are looking to just keep growing within our market and to continue to provide the perfect bag for all occasions.”

And for those of us who’ve long admired her acting talents, Zal assures, “Yes, I am still acting, but in this chapter of my life I am much more inspired and focused on designing.

The Malibu, California-native began acting at 12, as a guest star on “Hart to Hart.” For her role as the devastated daughter of a father (Ted Danson) who molests her, Zal was the youngest winner of a prime-time Emmy for her role in the aforementioned “Amelia.” In 1998, she co-produced and starred in the independent film, “Broken Vessels.”