Although Kate Mulgrew had no problem with Jeri Ryan, Ryan’s character and why that character was added to Star Trek: Voyager was a problem for Mulgrew.
From a woman’s viewpoint, having a character that she knew was added as “eye candy” was tough for Mulgrew to accept. “I found that that was hard, Jeri notwithstanding,” said Mulgrew. “Certainly, I could see with my own eyes that she was a va-va-va-voom and beautiful-beautiful bombshell of a girl. Sexuality was brought into Voyager, and that’s what I resented. I chose not to use sexuality.”
According to Mulgrew, it would have been better (and different on TV) to have the character without the need to have her be a sex symbol. “I thought that if Paramount and UPN and Rick (Berman) were being exceptionally prescient and brave, they would give a woman a shot at commanding without sex,” said Mulgrew. “‘Can we do this without sex?’ There are always other ways. So I resented that and I was hurt by the immediate, extraordinary attention given to this character.”
Unfortunately for Mulgrew, she saw that sex did indeed sell. “The numbers went up,” she said. “And I thought, ‘Ah, you can’t argue with a business decision and you can’t argue with sex.’ That’s just part of life, but all of that is very difficult for a woman, particularly an actress like me. But it had nothing to do with Jeri.”
Mulgrew is currently working on a project that she is developing that is based on the life of Stella Adler.