STLV18: Kate Mulgrew Says Seven Of Nine Brought Janeway To Life On ‘Star Trek: Voyager’

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.

Kate Mulgrew at Star Trek Las Vegas 2018

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.

Kate Mulgrew talked about the Janeway/Seven relationship at STLV 2018

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?

Kate Mulgrew offers some advice to young women at STLV 2018

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I shook her hand after the cast and crew premiere of Voyager on the big screen at Paramount Studios a day before the first episode aired publicly. I loved her then as Janeway from the start and still love what she brought to Trek after all of these years. Thanks Kate for bringing class and depth to all your work. <3

Kate Mulgrew is just an upstanding person in general. I loved Janeway! She could be tough when she had to be but was very caring to her crew and as wise as Picard.

Would love it if she made an appearance on the new show!

That would be great. Fingers crossed. 🖖🏾

Actually this may happen! Kirsten Beyer who was the one who came up with the idea for the Picard show and will be producing it is a super Voyager/Janeway fangirl! Her novels are the Voyager relaunch series so I can truly see her doing everything in her power trying to persuade Kate Mulgrew to come on the show! It would probably be a dream come true for her to write some actual dialogue for the real Janeway! :)

First ST series with a female captain leading and she was a good choice. Thumbs up, fingers crossed :-)

Janeway for federation president in Star Trek: Picard!

After doing a re-watch of Voyager, I have nothing less than deep respect for Kate Mulgrew. She is a fierce force of nature.

I did a re-watch as well, and fell in love with Janeway all over again. (I still regret I didn’t go to Paramount Studios and ask that “Captain Janeway” swear me in for my reenlistment in the USCG.)

I didn’t watch a lot of Voyager after first season because the plots in second season seemed to hinge on a lot of technobabble and “time is almost up” script devices.

But on re-watch I found Captain Janeway absolutely 100% worthy of high respect. “A Year in Hell” was Janeway at her stubborn best.

I’m rewatching the series right now (it’s only my second time through), and am between the two “Year of Hell” episodes.

Mulgrew is only a hair beneath Shatner and Stewart for me; and that only because of the nostalgia factor I have with TOS and TNG. I honestly don’t think Voyager is appreciably less good than either.

I saw her speak at DragonCon once and it was as engaging a talk as I’ve ever heard anyone give. She’s awesome.

Whether her statement on the matter of sexual harrassment and the “casting couch” is correct and accurate is obviously a highly sensitive question that I, the uninvolved, wouldn’t presume to know the answer to – especially taking into account that the debate is still ongoing and the results on some finer points are still in flux. Plausible? – Yes! Universally applicable? – I don’t know!
Nevertheless, I do like the way she worded her sentiments: without a hint of belittlement, ridicule or denigration. It takes class to find words like that.

However, what is irritating is that talking about Hollywood in the age of #metoo is not just talking about starry-eyed young actresses being hit on by execs and other men of power, but some actresses (and probably also actors) having been the victims of outright rape! Ignoring those cases would be irresponsible and in light of these facts a clear stance is mandatory! So that’s where I would argue that the notion of “it’s a choice” is not applicable to all cases that have recently come to light.

I think she is right that you have to approach it with character…and it’s not just women who have been exploited, but men as well. You do have to try and be strong. But here’s the thing, not everyone is. Acting is by it’s very nature a draw for the insecure. When it comes to trying to make it in the television or movie industry competition is hard. Often those trying to succeed are struggling financially as well. So what Mulgrew is saying is all very good for those how have the strength of character and the opportunities. But at the same time those who feel desperate are more easily manipulated and preyed on, and it’s those people who need to be defended. That’s why the culture of people with power abusing and exploiting those without it must stop.

I agree with you for the most part, El Chup, but see my comment above.

Business women hoodwinked into a business “meeting” are not necessarily weak in character, which was an unfortunate implication of Mulgrew’s words. If they’re in the industry, and they’re women, they’re already strong.

What a nasty surprise to them, sitting in an office or hotel suite expecting a business meeting, when the executive they’re meeting decides to preempt the business with “dessert.”

My comment doesn’t say anything against what you’ve said. What you’ve described is abuse of power, as per my last sentence.

Personally, I found her wording on the edge of offensive. I’m sure what she was trying to get across was that women who put up obvious barriers wouldn’t get harrassed [because she came across as very firm about it in those days, and I guess it worked, mirabile dictu!]

… but the kind of things that go on, viz. Weinstein, Moonves, et. al., do not involve a choice of any kind. Women were hoodwinked into thinking they were going to a business meeting. I’m not sure even Ms Mulgrew would have made it past bear-sized Weinstein barring the door of his room.

I’m glad I’m not the only one who picked up on that. There was a touch of condescension in her comments. It’s fortunate that she was strong, and never had an issue with unwanted advances, that doesn’t lessen the assault for the numerous women who met Bill Cosby to talk business, only to find themselves coming too naked in the back seat of their car wondering what the hell happened, or young gymnasts who were told Larry Nassar and his treatments would get them to the Olympics.

She’s stating an opinion here and I think she said explicitly that she’s not talking about people who are assaulted or coerced – but rather, the opposite end of the spectrum were there probably are some people who take advantage of being taken advantage of or who blindly step into these situations. From her words, I also wouldn’t draw the conclusion that she never had unwanted advances, but rather that she learned to deal with them (which is probably not a solution for the whole problem, but perhaps a bit of old Hollywood wisdom from an actress who has over four decades of experience in the industry).

Considering that Mulgrew herself experienced rape when she was a young actress (though unrelated to the industry), I’d say she very much knows what it means to be in these situations. So perhaps we can give her some leeway on having an opinion on the matter.

I think there will be some who may interpret a shade of victim blaming into her comment, even though I don’t think that is what she intended. What she is saying is that she figures she projected an air of self-confidence and no-nonsense that made it clear she was not be messed around with. That is probably good advice in an exploitative environment. But the sad thing is that also people who appear vulnerable or insecure should never need to worry about harrassment, but should be able to feel safe just the way they are. The other sad thing is that it has been revealed there were real consequences for those who clearly said no, such as being smeared as a “difficult actress”. Hope this changes.


You hit on something important to understanding Mulgrew there. You mention that she was raped, I myself was subjected to sexual abuse by an adult (not family). One of the things you learn, and something many of the support groups and such talk about, is that your not a victim, your a survivor. You only become a victim if you let what happened dominate your life from that day forward. Yes some of the women and men who have been abused by those with power in Hollywood have been assaulted but its only now that some of them are starting to throw off being a victim.

Rose McGowan, much as I love her, still chose to take the settlement and stay silent while Harvey abused others. Would speaking out have cost her professionally? Possibly, maybe even probably, but if she’s honest with herself she might admit she could have already won this war by now.

the settlement, one of many he had set up, stipulated he would be fired if he harassed or attacked any more women.
just became a way to keep them quiet while he went for his next victim.

Does not change the fact that Rose chose to stay silent, especially factoring in her claims that she knew he was continuing to abuse others.

are you serious? The poor women were “hoodwinked” into thinking they were going to a business meeting….at a hotel, in the middle of the night. I live in LA and work in “Hollywood.” I am well placed to know exactly what is going on… me, 90% of those women knew EXACTLY what they were getting into. EVERYONE who was even remotely involved with the industry knew exactly what these men were like. Im sure a lot of the women went to the “business meetings” determined to land the part……

and before you go off on some half baked feminist rant, wasn’t that the point of feminism? Choice? If you want to use your charms as a weapon …go for it. Just don’t complain after if it didn’t work or it did work and you want to join the band wagon. As a woman in Hollywood, we ALL knew what was going on.

Absolutely classy and gorgeous lady and I agree 100 percent with her opinions and advice to the women in the industry.

more Mulgrew please

Kate Mulgrew is awesome. Strong, gorgeous, fierce. She was amazing as Janeway. She’s amazing as Red on oitnb. She’s a role model on and off screen. What a legend :)

Her work on ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK is so good I am constantly even forgetting I know who she is as an actress, which almost never happens with me. She just IS that character, and I can’t think of a higher tribute.

It also reminds me of how articulate she sounded in her first interview about TREK, and it always killed me that she sounded so much more intelligent and interesting speaking extemporaneously than she did when saddled with sad tired trekspeak.

So, after the wide reports of Mulgrew making Ryan’s life miserable while on the show, Mulgrew is now changing her tune? Okay.

Yes this is exactly what I was thinking when I read this article. Kate apparently has privately told Garret Wang that she regrets her actions, but she hasn’t publicly discussed this on any level. Kate may be looking upon the addition of Seven in hindsight, but by all accounts she did not like the addition of Seven when they were shooting the series – and took it out on Jeri Ryan.

I think she also discussed it with Ryan. Mulgrew and Ryan were awfully close during the Voyager reunion panel a couple of years ago. Laughing with each other, touching each others knees… I think they made up.

You took the words right out of my mouth.

If you notice, she goes from talking about sevens impact on Janeway to “I” learned, “I” this or that. I think she’s addressing how the addition of sevens character helped her grow as an actress as well. All of the points she makes could very well apply to Janeway AND Mulgrew.

but sticking jeri in that catsuit was ill advised, undermining her subtle performances in the role.