Kate Mulgrew answered fan questions recently, revealing the real person behind the actress and sharing insight as to what influences helped her play Janeway.
Actors are usually outgoing types and as expected, Mulgrew admits to being an extrovert, but she admits that she is also an introvert. “I’d say that my personality is extroverted,” she said. “I’m actually in equal measures an extrovert and an introvert. Socially extroverted. Curious. Generous. Strong. Willful. Happy. By in large. And then there’s the flip side. But we won’t get into that!”
Although Mulgrew works in drama, and is drawn professionally to those who throw themselves into their work wholeheartedly, what she would like in her private life is strength and stability, but no drama please. “I am drawn to a disciplined personality, I am very disciplined,” she said. “I’m drawn to humor. But I’m drawn to someone who loves the work and wants to completely immerse themselves. And I’m very drawn to talent. I don’t have any friends who aren’t talented, do you know what I mean? I love talent. I love goodness, so if that element is present as well, that’s the icing on the cake. In my private life it’s a little different. I’m increasingly – you’ll laugh at me – I’m increasingly drawn to a real alpha personality, who can … sort of take care of me, since I’ve never, ever had that. A warm, but big, almost powerful, I’d say, personality. And devoted, but balanced. No highs, no lows – I don’t need it. I’ll take that when I go to work! In my private life I want somebody there who’s constant.”
In spite of her dislike of drama in her personal life, Mulgrew admits to being a bit of a drama magnet. “My life is always fraught” she said. ” My father said something to me which I will share with you, because it’s true: When I was ten, maybe twelve years old, he said, ‘You’re a catalyst for drama. You’re a lightning rod for it! This room was perfectly fine, and there were twelve people in it. You walked in – within five minutes there was chaos. It’s something you do. It’s just – you stir it up!’ And it is true wherever I go, I manage to stir it up. And I don’t know why, but I do! So that’s … that’s always … been equally fun and troubling.”
Asked what real life experiences or people, fictional or not, she drew on in her role as Captain Janeway, Mulgrew said that it wasn’t just one person but a combination of people, including herself. “It’s an often asked question,” said Mulgrew, “but it’s seldom the case that one draws on any one. One draws on a composite. It’s what I draw from my imagination, from my own personality. From my mother, from women I know in authoritative positions. It’s what I’ve always said about Janeway – that kind of a character emerges as a love affair. When you know you’re going to play somebody for seven years you have to tap into things that you like and trust about yourself as a leader, because the audience will see through it very quickly. So I think that my warmth, my capacity for love, my allegiance, again my curiosity, my discipline – all those things stood me in good stead. And they just translated into Janeway in the end, do you know? Also I think she had a grace … I loved her grace. Always gracious. To the end. Even to the Borg Queen as she was taking her down, right?”