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Jeri Ryan: Best-Looking Borg in Town by Mason Hawk

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.

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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… eyes. During 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 matter.

* Editor’s Note: The male contestants on “Jeopardy” were Sinbad and Jack Ford.

January 1999

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