Q) Are you shocked at the lasting impact of the role?
A) This was right after I was nominated for an Emmy for best performance in a TV movie. I had no idea that it would be an iconic symbol of our time. It shows how sick we are in America (laughs). After the film came out, Johnny Carson invited me on, and because I’m an idiot I turned him down.
Q) How did the transition to journalism come about?
A) After my recurring role on Star Trek The Next Generation, I didn’t have a single job for a year. I thought jeez, I’m hitting 30, what am I going to do? I went to college. Took journalism 101 at FAU and loved every minute of it. One of my professors worked at The Palm Beach Post, where I was first hired.
Q) Any memories of The Miami Herald, fond or otherwise?
A) The first thing always pops into my mind is the heat, going from full-body flop sweat to air conditioning. But there are so many good memories. I’d drive down to the Miami office and see the big Miami Herald sign on the building. There was something to aspire to … but at The Herald you had to wait till someone keeled over at their desk to get promoted.
Q) From The Miami Herald you went to the National Enquirer?
A) The whole time at The Herald my dad was still helping me pay rent. Then I got an offer to combine my skill set [show business and journalism] at American Media [publisher of the Enquirer and Star]. Without meeting me, after one conversation on the phone, I was offered two and a half times my Herald salary. They also moved me back to Santa Monica, where I’m from. So, yes, I sold out to the dark side.
Q) At one point during your stay in South Florida, the New Times wrote an article “outing” you as the three-breasted mutant hooker from Mars. Was that unnerving?
A) That was a new reporter for the New Times who was at a Davie council meeting. It was the same night as the presidential election, when Clinton was reelected. I was covering the meeting and talking to people about the election results and I left the meeting to call in the quotes. Back in those days the Broward office probably had one laptop and one cellphone, and if you didn’t have the cell you used a pay phone and expensed the quarters. He wrote in a column that I had walked out with the meeting in progress and, oh yeah, I happened to be the three-breasted woman from Total Recall. I guess he had left by the time I went back in. It was really hurtful. I walked up to him a month later and asked him why he did that. And he goes, “I’m sorry. My mother would have been very ashamed.”
I may be the three-breasted mutant woman from Total Recall, but I did not leave that meeting early.