In the first part of a two-part interview, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s Chase Masterson answers fan questions which include sexuality, favorite Deep Space Nine moments and her life outside of Star Trek.
Masterson came from an acting family so it was natural that she gravitated towards acting. “My mom was a theater director and actress while I was growing up,” she said. “I did my first play when I was five, and continued working throughout high school; instead of going to standard activities after school, or just hanging out with friends.”
In addition to theater, the young Masterson was interested in other arts and the work ethic involved helped her when it came to her later acting career. “I also was a ballet dancer,” she said. “I danced en pointe until I was eighteen, so there was a lot of rehearsal and discipline involved in my life early on.”
Masterson’s Leeta was a secondary character on Deep Space Nine, but that was not a problem for Masterson. “DS9 was so well-written that there wasn’t really an issue of main characters without much to do,” said Masterson, “indeed, one of the strengths of the show was that our writers created an entire world in which the audience got to know individuals who weren’t always in the spotlight, just as you would if you were living in that world”
Plus – it gave Masterson the freedom to do other projects during Deep Space Nine‘s run. “I got a lot of experience playing a wide variety of different roles on other shows during the run of DS9 that I wouldn’t have had if I were a series regular,” she said. “Being a series regular would have been nice, of course, but I enjoyed the versatility of the other work I was free to do during those years.
Leeta may have been intended as “eye-candy,” but she had other elements of her character that made her interesting to watch. “Sexuality is a driving force in many women’s roles in television and film,” said Masterson, “you can’t fight that, but you do get to stand your own internal ground and bring the elements of humanity that make a character interesting. Sexy looking women, without compelling internal life, are pretty boring, right? Leeta had a lot of built-in elements that made her interesting: integrity, loyalty – and yes, Quark, her own brand of ‘brains’ that served her quite well, thank you.”
What was Masterson’s favorite Deep Space Nine episode? “We all had a huge amount of fun with Take Me Out to the Holosuite,” said Masterson, “partly because it was a drastic change of scene, everybody loved getting out of the studio, into the fresh air, and onto the baseball diamond.”