Interview with Ming-Na

 
 

AE: What kind of feedback have you heard from your LGBT fans about her and the show?
MN:
I’ve heard some things through Twitter, but I try not to do too much blogging because … if you’re going to believe the good, you have to believe the bad, you know? So I haven’t heard too much feedback, but I guess I will once the "Life" episode airs [November 20]. On my birthday, kinda nice right? It’s my birthday, my first lesbian kiss on camera …(laughs)

I would love for you to let the [AfterEllen.com] readers know that I do
respond quite often on Twitter, so they can always follow me at twitter.com/MingNa
and I would love, love to get their responses to the November 20th
episode. That would be great for me. I do answer Twitter messages, it’s
a great way to keep in touch with the fans. 

Ming-Na and Reiko Aylesworth

AE: Can you tell us more about the relationship between Camile and [her partner] Sharon? I know they’re light years away from each other, but I’m assuming that regardless of the physical distance the relationship will develop and we’ll learn more about their lives together.
MN:
Well, I really think that their relationship will be the most stable and most loving of any relationship on the series. Which to me is a wonderful take on showcasing a lesbian relationship that is extremely healthy and supportive. And yet they are put through the wringer as far as the challenges the separation brings.

And you’ll see in "Life" that there is such a bond between them, and to be ripped away from each other … it will be very heart-warming to see that kind of love between two women showcased on television.

AE: Often when a lesbian relationship is introduced on a show, that isn’t the case. It can be a sweeps week stunt, or the relationship will develop in a direction in which the woman doesn’t end up being a lesbian or something like that. We don’t often get to see those stable relationships portrayed. It’s a real shame.
MN:
Yeah, and it’s really lovely. I was watching The Oprah Show with Ellen DeGeneres and Portia DeRossi, I was listening to them talk about their relationship and looking at their wedding pictures and stuff, and for me, that’s how I feel Camile’s relationship with Sharon is. It’s just love, and it shouldn’t be something that’s controversial. It’s a beautiful thing when two people really care about each other.

So that brought to me a lot of connection when I was watching that particular episode of Oprah. I love Ellen anyway, but it was just great to see she’s so happy right now and that she’s really standing up for the image of what a gay woman is, and that you can be successful, you can be loveable, like anyone else. You like them for who they are, you get the whole package.

Warning: minor spoilers ahead

 

AE: What are your thoughts on the controversy surrounding the upcoming body-swapping storyline? So much has been written about that, especially about the body swap between Camile and Eleanor Perry.
MN:
I believe that episode ("Sabotage")* airs in the second half of the season. Like I said, that was all misconstrued and I think once they see the episode, they will have a completely different response to it. It was extremely emotional on many levels for me to play as an actress, playing a quadriplegic. It really makes you appreciate … I mean, I always appreciate health anyway.

People will ask "Why are you so happy?" and I say, "Because everybody I love is healthy right now and I’m healthy and that’s all that matters." When you’re playing a quadriplegic, it really makes you appreciate how lucky you are if you can pick up a pen, or stand up or sit down when you want too.

And I think the other stuff that’s been expressed has been misunderstood. In the previous episode that has aired, Colonel Telford and Colonel Young exchange bodies and there is an understanding, an underlying understanding, that once you do that, you forfeit your right to your body at that point. And, for me, I feel that if that’s true for all the other characters, then it would sort of be prejudicial not to do that with the gay character.

It’s almost like it has to be equal in every way. But this particular storyline [the "Life" episode] doesn’t address what was the big controversy in the breakdowns.

*Editor’s note: The SyFy network had this to say about the "Sabotage" episode:

Syfy worked closely with Stargate Universe producers in introducing a quadraplegic storyline for future air, to ensure that this very serious subject matter was handled responsibly and with sensitivity. We researched, worked directly with all involved, including executive producers, writers and actors to bring honesty, dignity and understanding to a very sensitive and heartfelt situation. SGU fans can expect a strong episode with emotional performances and a wonderful story about overcoming hardship, love and most of all respect.

AE: Yes, the initial thing that some people were upset or disappointed by was information from the breakdowns. Some people felt like, "We finally have a lesbian character on a show, and when we do see her having physical intimacy with someone, it’s with a man." I mean, are we going to see the straight male characters, when they have a body swap, having sex with other guys?
MN:
As you can see with the "Life" episode, when we see her with her partner, it kind of negates that controversy anyway.

The great thing that I know and that I’m positive about is that the writers from Stargate Universe, all of them, are so respectful and for this series they want to draw out great characters who have real emotional issues and things that happen to them that people can relate to. I fully trust what their sensibilities are, the stories they want to tell.

In "Life," when you watch it … the responses from the people that have watched it, has been all positive. So I’m 100 percent confident that people will enjoy it.

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