One of the frustrations of acting is that sometimes, if one does a character well, that’s all that anyone else sees, which makes getting different roles in the future harder for an actress.
Leeta was not just window-dressing, according to Chase Masterson. “…She was a study of opposites,” said Masterson. “As a Bajoran Dabo girl, she’s both fun and highly spiritual. She dresses sexily, but she’s smart enough to know how to approach Dr. Bashir. It wasn’t ‘hey, Baby…,’ it was more coy, sweeter.
Leeta ended up being more than just a Dabo girl. “…it’s nice that Leeta went from being a lowly Dabo girl to marrying the underdog Ferengi brother,” said Masterson, “that move was very indicative of the ‘things aren’t what they initially seem’ concepts in Trek.”
“While she was an employee who was fairly low on the totem pole,” said Masterson, “she was willing to risk everything to do the right thing and stick up for the Ferengi union. And while Leeta loved Rom with such commitment, she was no push-over. She stood up for what she believed was right in the pre-nuptial issues involving latinum and clothing as a Ferengi wife. And now she’s the wife of the Grand Nagus. Dabo-girl-turned-First Lady-of-the-Ferengi-Empire. There are worse jobs.”
Masterson doesn’t think that today’s audiences would go as much for the “farce comic relief” Leeta’s character brought to Deep Space Nine. “…stylistically, that would never fly on TV these days, now that audiences have developed a taste for grittier sci-fi, like Battlestar.”
Having done the character was both good and bad for Masterson. “I’ve found my role in Trek to be a double-edged sword,” she said. “I love being part of such a legacy. But it has also been limiting. Casting directors don’t generally realize that Leeta is only one of many roles I’ve played that have a huge range of diversity: a driven social worker, a bratty TV journalist, a risk-taking pilot, a grief-stricken Mom in the Emmy-winning episode of ER. And now a deeply empathic, mischievous torch singer in Yesterday Was A Lie.”