Amber Benson first caught the eye of many a lesbian and bisexual viewer when she joined the cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 1999 as the lesbian love interest of main character Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan). Since then, Benson has gone on to write, direct, produce and act — always maintaining a warm relationship with the gay community.
She has written, directed and produced two films, Chance (in which she also starred) in 2001 and Lovers, Liars and Lunatics in 2005. Her animated web series for the BBC, Ghosts of Albion, launched in 2003, has expanded to include a role-playing game and several novels. She won the Grand Jury Award at Outfest in 2005 for Outstanding Actress in a Feature Film for her role as Maggie in the independent film Race You to the Bottom. In her latest endeavor, Benson teamed up with director Angela Robinson (D.E.B.S.) to play the role of Svetlana Dragovich in the online series Girltrash!
Perhaps most importantly — at least to AfterEllen.com readers — Benson was voted one of our Hot 100 women earlier this year. In light of her enthusiastic fan following, contributing writer Jessica Jones agreed to take your questions directly to Benson, who answered as many as she could.
AfterEllen.com: What can you tell me about your new online series, Girltrash!, and how you got involved?
AE: What has it been like working on the series?
AE: Does your working relationship with Angela Robinson mean there could potentially be any guest appearances for you on The L Word in the future?
AE: What has been your favorite role to date, and why?
AE: In retrospect about your role on Buffy: Would you change anything in the way it was written and how?
AE: What was the casting process like for you as you proceeded through auditions for Buffy?
AE: On Buffy, the characters of Willow and Tara opened the door to lesbian visibility on TV. Did you have any reservations or fears in accepting the role of one of the most memorable and important lesbian characters in the history of television?
AE: Lots of folks seemed to feel that Tara was one of the few characters to demonstrate an appropriate image of "real women." What do you think about this, and how has weight and body image played an issue in your career?
I think the best thing we can do for ourselves is to eat locally grown organic produce — I’m a big fan of farmer’s markets — and try not to overindulge in anything. By the way, everyone should read Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. That book talks about a lot of things involving food that I personally agree with.
AE: Did you talk to Joss about whether it was necessary to kill [Tara]? There have been rumors that Joss wanted you back for a few guest appearances during Season 7, but you decided not to return to the show. If the rumors are true, why did you chose not to return?