The first time I saw Jeri Ryan, out of the
intergalactic catsuit she wears as "Star Trek's" Borg goddess Seven of Nine, was on
"Celebrity Jeopardy." She was sandwiched between two actors whose names
I've long forgotten* (who can remember such
trifling details). I fully expected her to wipe the floor with her male
competitors, and then maybe kick Alex Trebek's butt for an encore, but she did
not. Much to my dismay, her score barely broke zero throughout the entire
proceedings. It was enough to make you click to "Wheel of Fortune," if not
flip the switch altogether.
Perhaps it was unfair of me to harbor such high expectations from Ryan. After
all, she's only human as opposed to being half-human, half-Borg, as she is
on "Star Trek: Voyager." On the other hand, after watching Jeri week after
week, wearing that deliriously tight bodysuit that she herself calls a
"marvel of engineering," crushing all adversaries with a deft
combination of intellectual prowess and platform heels, I couldn't help but
expect nothing short of superhuman feats from the Amazonian beauty.
For example, in one episode of "Voyager," when confronted with an
unruly android, Seven of Nine stared the machine down and icily announced,
"I am Borg," seconds before tearing out its entrails with an
effortless swoop of the hand. The little bugger didn't stand a chance. When Jeri
boldly goes, you'd be well advised to keep out of her way.
And when Seven
is not busy yanking the coils out of hapless robots, she's busy telling the
ship's commander, Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew), to take a long walk off a
short shuttle pad. "I love that I get to go nose-to-nose with the captain
and tell her that she's making stupid decisions," says Ryan. "[My
character's] really been a tremendous treat to play."
An Army man's daughter, Jeri, 30, was born in Munich and then traveled
extensively with her family across the United States. While still in college,
she landed a bit part in Trains, Planes and Automobiles that unfortunately
found its way to the cutting room floor. Ryan's career soon picked up when she
found herself a regular guest star on a number of sitcoms including
"Matlock," "Who's The Boss?," "Murder She Wrote" and "Melrose
Place." Eventually, she landed her first Sci-Fi spot on NBC's "Dark
Skies," setting the stage for her entrance into the "Voyager" series
during its fourth season.
"I was very ambivalent about taking this role," she admits.
"Given that [Seven of Nine] was being added for sex appeal, it would've
been easy that by episode two she's... in bed with this character and then
she's in bed with this other character."
Fortunately, for the male half of the universe, Ryan didn't let
her reservations get the best of her. I should say that, according to Jeri, her
female fan base is also surprisingly healthy. "I get a lot of really nice
fan mail, mostly from women," she claims.
For the record, Ryan's success cannot be solely attributed to her
shrink-wrapped space suit and her pair of big, beautiful
episodes of "Voyager," her talent speaks for itself. She is clearly a strong,
intelligent woman and it can be easily detected in her dialogue as Seven of
Nine, whose super intellect and audacity regularly slays men and women alike.
But with such brain power, why was it that she didn't fare a little better
during her appearance on "Jeopardy"? Who knows, maybe she had a rough night the
day before zipping across the cosmos on Voyager. One thing's for certain,
however, her score may have been low but her charisma still registered at the
high end of the scale. Take it from me, she looked damn good. No doubt about it, Jeri
is definitely the best-looking Borg in town or the universe, for that
* Editors Note: The male contestants on
Jeopardy were Sinbad and Jack Ford.
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