Women of Star Trek Part II

Women of Star Trek Part II

By: Virginia Eader

I started this blog series about a month ago. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you click here to read it now.

I now turn your attention to Deanna Troi.

I love Deanna Troi. Or shall I say, Counselor Deanna Troi. Maybe it’s the social worker in me, but even when I was a kid watching Star Trek TNG with my dad, I was drawn to her. She is a good listener, she is well respected on the ship, she is calm-even in gruesome alien encounters, and she has partial (partial because the half human in her didn’t mix well with her Betazoid ancestry) telepathic abilities. AWESOME!

I remember one episode (and apparently there were more than one) where Alien’s took control of her mind and spoke through her body. She temporarily gained super-human strength and without effort picked up and threw Warf (THE KLINGON) across the room. That was a TNG moment to remember.

So who is the woman behind this incredible role? (according to wiki)

Marina Sirtis at first read for the role that would become Tasha Yar in 1986. She had, in total, five readings all with Gene Roddenberry (the show’s creator) and other executives. It has been noted that Roddenberry took a liking to her almost immediately.[4] Denise Crosby, who eventually won the role of Tasha, auditioned for the role of Deanna Troi.[5] It was said that Marina Sirtis had a more “exotic” feel about her.[6]

She was just about to return home, in debt and jobless, when she received “the phone call” alerting her that she had the role of Deanna Troi. She stated that if it had been an hour later she would have missed that call and been on her way to England. Sirtis’ U.S. visa was expiring that day, and if she had stayed any longer, she could have run into legal trouble.

For Sirtis, Star Trek was her first big break. Prior to “Deanna Troi”, her acting career was going nowhere: “What they told us about The Next Generation when we first started was that we were guaranteed twenty-six episodes. So that was the longest job I’ve ever had.” She knew little about the Star Trek franchise and at first just thought of it as a good means to pay her bills.[7]

Initially, Sirtis/Troi was planned as the eye-candy of the show. Gene Roddenberry intended her to have four breasts, before his wife told him this was a poor idea.[8] Prior to filming, Sirtis was told to “lose five pounds” 5 pounds (2.3 kg; 0.36 st), but thought herself that she had to drop even more, and was often wearing plunging necklines and form-fitting dresses. After six years, the producers decided to drop the “sexy and brainless” Troi and make her a stronger character:

“I was thrilled when I got my regulation Starfleet uniform… it covered up my cleavage and I got all my brains back, because when you have cleavage you can’t have brains in Hollywood… I was allowed to do things that I hadn’t been allowed to do for five or six years. I went on away teams, I was in charge of staff, I had my pips back, I had phasers, I had all the equipment again, and it was fabulous. I was absolutely thrilled.”[7]

You go girl!

The last thing I must add is that in a later season, Counselor Troi ends up marrying Commander William Riker, who made beards hot before they became a hipster thing.

Until next time. Live Long and Prosper.