For her time on stage at Star Trek Las Vegas on Saturday, Star Trek: Voyager star Kate Mulgrew spent much of her time talking about how much she was enjoying her latest role playing Red on Orange is the New Black. There was some talk about her time in the Delta Quadrant, which she used as a jumping off point to talk about how she avoided the casting couch over her career.
Seven was a “blessing” for Janeway
Much has been said about the fourth season introduction of the sexy Borg character Seven of Nine in Star Trek: Voyager, especially the dynamic it introduced on the set with show star Kate Mulgrew and actress Jeri Ryan. At Star Trek Las Vegas, Mulgrew was asked about the ongoing arc of Janeway’s mentoring of Seven regaining her humanity, and she had some interesting things to say about how much it benefited her character:
It was beautifully written by Brannon Braga; he was the main writer of that story. And it was a terribly important thing for Janeway to be endowed with that principle of humanity. Janeway, who was childless, who was stranded in the Delta Quadrant, and who managed to strand 165 of her complement. Right? I missed the gas station.
[Janeway] is given a blessing in the form of a half-human, half-Borg, very beautiful girl, who we call Seven of Nine. So, I am taught vulnerability. I am taught my limitations. I am taught how small I am, in the face of this kind of possible love. Seven of Nine is what Janeway to life, as a deeply human woman, I believe. And I am deeply grateful for that.
Avoiding the casting couch
Mulgrew was also asked by a young woman about the Janeway/Chakotay relationship, with the fan noting how she was glad it was never played for sexual tension. The fan then commented, “As a woman in the industry, women have a lot of pressure to confirm to gender norms.” Mulgrew then interjected, asking, “Do they?”. She then talked at length about how she has dealt with life in Hollywood as an actress over her career:
I say that is an absolute choice…Especially now that we are looking in view of this #MeToo thing. I’m on it, I’m in it, I get it! I have been active for almost forty-four years, but it is a choice! To be who you are, before you are a victim. You only become a victim if you allow it. Some are hurt, some get hurt. I am not suggesting otherwise. But I am saying, you must make a character choice as you enter your young womanhood and say that this is the kind of woman you are going to be. Where men look at you and understand right away, you are not to be fooled around with.
This is sort of pathetic, I suppose many of you will weep for me, but nobody once suggested I should go on the casting couch. And I was pretty when I was young! They never once said “Well if you meet me for a drink, guess what?” Never once! Because I simply would not do it. I wouldn’t do it. I didn’t understand it.
And I am very sympathetic to those who cannot help it, or who have been otherwise hurt, and I am aware of that, but this is a choice for a woman like you, with your head on straight. Head up! Just be a person. I have been a person in the industry. How do you think I have survived?
More STLV 2018
Special thanks for the photos from Sam Dar’Ragh from our friends at TrekkieGirls.com.