Original Valarie: Valarie Rae Miller, who plays saucy lesbian ass-kicker Original Cindy on Dark Angel, talks up her film All About the Benjamins—and explains “the Glitter moment” – film – Brief Article

Dennis Hensley

Before they met Valarie Rae Miller, creator James Cameron and his producing team on Fox’s futuristic TV series Dark Angel had offered the plum role of Original Cindy, lead character Jessica Alba’s skirt-chasing lesbian sidekick, to two other actresses. The first passed, out of deference to her Southern Baptist family. The second backed out at the last minute because she didn’t want to do girl-on-girl love scenes. “Then they brought me in,” Miller says slyly between sips of bottled water in her publicist’s conference room, “and they said, `Are you going to have problems kissing a chick?’ I said, `Is she going to be hot?’ They said, `Well, we hope so.’ I said, `Then what’s the problem?'”

So far, Original Cindy’s lesbian life has been more about talk than action, though there was one episode involving the return of an ex-girlfriend that featured the couple in bed together, something you don’t often see on network TV. “The censors watch me more than anything,” says the Louisiana-born, Texas-raised Miller, whose previous gigs include a slew of commercials and a stint as a cartoon VJ on ABC’s One Saturday Morning. “At first, they didn’t want my character to be lesbian; then they thought she was too mean and didn’t like the way she dressed.”

None of which has kept Original Cindy from becoming a fan favorite. “Most of my letters are from young guys,” Miller admits, laughing. “They want to know when I’m going to kiss another girl and when ant I going to be in Maxim.” But not all Cindy watchers have lip locks and cleavage shots on the brain. “This young girl came up to me at a premiere,” recalls Miller, “and she said, `I just want to thank you for being a role model for teenagers that might be questioning their sexuality. It’s given me the strength to do some things that I might not have done.’ I thought that was so nice.”

Miller’s fan base will continue to broaden with the release in March of All About the Benjamins, a big-screen caper comedy in which she plays secretary to a bounty hunter-turned-private dick played by actor-rapper Ice Cube. “There’s something about Ice Cube that’s so charming,” says Miller, who chose to do the film because the script made her laugh out loud. “He’s not overly concerned with trying to impress you, and I like that. I like people that are difficult to get to know.”

Given that philosophy, it’s no surprise that Miller declines to discuss her offscreen love life. “The first question you get when you play a gay character is, `Are you gay?'” she explains. “My problem with that is that people automatically assume that there’s some stigma attached to playing a gay character. What difference does it make?” So site’s not concerned with being typecast as a girl who digs girls? “No, because the role is so great,” she muses. “I’ve already gotten to do a lot of great things that most people never get to do fm a series. And they’re saying that I might be getting a girlfriend soon.” And who, if she could have anybody, would she like to see cast in the role? “Angelina Jolie, no question about it,” Miller says. “She is so hot. I mean, I saw Original Sin the first weekend it came out, because I knew they were going to yank it quick. Had to go support my girl.”

Original Sin on opening weekend? Could the onetime stand-up comic, like many of her gay fans, have a thing for unintentionally campy movies? “Oh, please, Jessica Alba and I had planned for weeks to see Mariah Carey in Glitter on the flay it came out,” Miller confesses. “We had a countdown, and every flay it was like, `Six days, girl.’ Finally we went, and we were so ghetto, talking to the screen and laughing so hard I fell on the floor. Now, when we’re on the set of Dark Angel and something’s not going well, we’ll freeze and be like, `I’m having a Glitter moment.'”

Hensley, author of Misadventures in the (213), also writes for TV Guide.

COPYRIGHT 2002 Liberation Publications, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group

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