Published Jan 22, 2024
Science Fiction Allows Penny Johnson Jerald to Open Doors for Those Who Aren't Represented
Star Trek Explorer #10 features an interview with the actress on her time on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
With tomorrow's release of Star Trek Explorer #10, Titan is ensuring you kick off a new year with plenty of things to come in the worlds of Star Trek!
Within the pages of the latest issue of Star Trek Explorer, dive into a handful of exclusive fiction, interviews, and features.
Star Trek Explorer #10 brings a new "Q Continuum" round-up with Star Trek actors, along with behind-the-scenes crew recalling some of their encounters with fans.
The latest issue sees actress Penny Johnson Jerald reflecting on how science fiction allows her to represent those who aren’t represented, and Susanna Thompson looking back on one of the first same-sex kisses on American TV. Plus, there's a never-before-published interview with Robert Butler, director of the first Star Trek pilot, "The Cage."
Thanks to our friends at Titan Magazines, we have an exclusive excerpt on actress Penny Johnson Jerald's feature below!
Penny Johnson Jerald’s heart always beats faster when she talks about her time on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year.
"I was so proud to be a part of that ensemble," says the Los Angeles-based actress. "We were really doing something special."
On Deep Space Nine, Jerald played Capt. Kasidy Yates, the love interest of lead character Capt. Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks), a widower. Kasidy debuted in the third season episode, "Family Business," where Sisko's teenage son Jake (Cirroc Lofton) successfully plays matchmaker. Afterwards, she became a recurring character. By the end of the series, Kasidy marries Sisko and is pregnant with their child. Jerald called their relationship "powerful."
"Sometimes too powerful," she says, laughing. "The chemistry between Avery and I was uncanny… It was magnetic, because you had two seasoned actors who were both aware of that and who were both happily married." (Jerald has been married to Gralin Jerald since 1982. Brooks has been married to Vicki Bowen since 1976). "We wanted to make sure none of that was residual outside of that stage. We didn’t do dressing room visits or anything. We were smart enough to know the chemistry was so strong not to go there and tease ourselves in that department. A lot of the strength you saw translated on screen was the fact we resisted one another, and I think that was a great dynamic of the characters."
Jerald is well aware she played the first woman of color to captain a ship in the Star Trek canon (Kasidy was the captain of the freighter S.S. Xhosa). However, she had no idea at the time what that really meant.
"I was too busy trying to catch up on the Star Trek universe. I had to educate myself on all of the different species," she recalls. "It was after doing that, the fans brought it to attention. My philosophy when doing a role is playing it from a place of strength and truth. I’m so happy that I stood my ground and played Kasidy from that. Playing opposite of Avery, he was an example because even though I did see him as an African-American male captain, I never saw myself as the first (African-American female captain). Common sense would tell you he wouldn’t be paired with anyone less than who he was. I tried to stay on par with him. I think that truly shaped Kasidy, and set the tone for others to follow in her footsteps, (including Sonequa Martin-Green's Capt. Michael Burnham on Star Trek: Discovery, the first African-American woman to play the lead on a Star Trek series).
Read the full interview in Star Trek Explorer #10 — on sale January 23 — to find out why Jerald almost didn't play the role, and her thoughts on The Orville!
Plus, interviews with Susanna Thompson, Derek Tyler Attico, and a never-before-published interview with "The Cage" director, Robert Butler; your definitive guide to Star Trek: Strange New Worlds' first season; and all-new and exclusive short fiction — including a Star Trek: Picard story by Una McCormack!