Many were surprised when the relatively unknown Loken beat out other well-known actresses to land the role of Arnold Schwarzenegger's cyborg nemesis in 2003's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, but her performance earned her critical and popular success. That led to more roles like her current one in BloodRayne, in which Loken plays a half-vampire, half-human who strives to avenge her mother's rape by her father, the King of the Vampires.
Unfortunately for Loken, BloodRayne appears to be a critical and commercial flop, earning only $1.6 million in its opening weekend and getting an overwhelming thumbs down by critics. But she has several other upcoming roles that will give viewers an opportunity to see her in action — literally.
Like her previous roles, her roles in the near future all involve some form of Kristanna Kicking Ass.
First up is the medieval epic Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King, based on a tragic German love story, in which Loken plays a Norse warrior Queen. The mini-series airs in two parts on the Sci Fi Network on March 27th and 28th.
Then there's the big-budget science fiction film In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, opening November 3, in which she plays a wood nymph who lives in the forest with her band of women and protects the trees.
Finally, she plays a femme fatale in Lime Salted Love, which Loken hopes to see released sometime in 2006.
In a 2003 interview with Dark Horizons during the height of her Terminator 3 fame, Loken elaborated on how she incorporates her sexuality into her public image. "I think that you have to present an image that is A, true to you, and B, the way you would like to be perceived," she said, "so I think that through the years I've worked really hard at trying to create an image that is true to me. And I think sensuality is a part of me. It's not all of me, but it's a part of who I am."
Issues of identity and sexuality frequently surface in Loken's interviews, primarily because of the type of tough yet overtly sexy female characters she tends to play.
"There was a period of time where I tried to cut my hair and dye it and change my appearance," Loken told Dark Horizons, "but I realize that in the end, you look better in a specific way and people are always going to pass judgment on you, so it's really up to them to see you in the light that you want to be seen or just not understand you."
As for why she already has so many lesbian fans, Loken tells Curve, "Women are drawn to other strong women. I am the only woman who has ever fought Arnold [Schwarzenegger] in any movie and won. That might turn some women on."
With this decision to come out publicly now, Loken joins a small but growing list of actresses — including Angelina Jolie, Cynthia Nixon, Heather Matarazzo, Tammy Lynn Michaels, and Portia de Rossi — who are openly acknowledging their romantic and sexual involvement with women.
When combined with the increasing visibility of lesbian and bisexual women in American pop culture, and the media's extensive coverage in the last few years of gay rights issues, these women help to chip away at the stereotypes and misconceptions of lesbian and bisexual women that many Americans still hold.
They also make it a little easier for the next woman to come out — and a little more fun for lesbian and bisexual women at the movies.